Dealing With Temptation || A Conversation With J'shawn Cook

J’shawn is a blogger [walkswithjay.co.uk] and creative who loves to encourage and uplift others with the message of God’s grace and freedom. He also runs a fellowship group for people who may struggle with same-sex attraction as he is a living proof that Jesus saves!

 

What advice would you give to someone who is struggling with temptation?


1. You’re not alone (1 Cor. 10:13)

2. Fix your eyes on Christ (Heb. 12:2, Ro. 8:1)

I would encourage anyone who is struggling with temptation that as Hebrews 4:14-16 reads that we have a High Priest who has gone before us, who has endured the mass of temptation that we have and yet did not sin. The encouragement here is that because Christ did not sin, and as a believer, Christ lives in you (Gal 2:20) so you too have the ability and self control/power (2 Timothy 1:7, Gal 5:22) to overcome temptations. As believers, we must hold firm to the truth which is that the battle has already been won; consider this 1 Cor. 15:57 says that Thanks be to God who has given us victory over sin and what does that tell us? Well it tells us that we are more than conquerors! Brother or sister, remind yourself that you are dead to sin and alive to God and that the truth is because you are a new creation, you simply do not desire to indulge in sin anymore; it’s not who you are!

Don’t forget that you are not alone, if you are struggling remember that you was never meant to walk this walk alone; it’s better to confide in a trusted friend or family in Christ than to deal with this on your own. Most importantly brethren, God is not looking at your performance; if you do happen to fall (because it happens) get straight back up! Stand firm in the birthright/identity you’ve been given and remind yourself there is no condemnation to those who belong to Christ Jesus— it is no longer you who lives but Christ who lives in you!

Most importantly, please hold onto the truth even in times of trouble remember that God is faithful and he who started the good work in you is faithful to bring it on to completion {Philippians 1:6}. His character is constant and will never change, rest assured that even when you are faithless, he is faithful {2 Tim. 2:13} and so you are in safe hands.


 

What are some habits/things you’ve put in place to avoid falling into temptation?


I know often people look for practical advice when it comes to dealing with temptations like accountability partners, blocking certain sities/content and don’t get me wrong that’s all good but when it comes down to it, knowing who you are in Christ (free from sin) and the authority (2 Cor. 10:3-5) he’s given you in the face of temptation is what will help you remember you are an overcomer.


Hebrews 12:2 is one of my favourite verses because it reminds me that in Christ I have all I need; the author and finisher of my faith who has been seated at the right hand of God. The only habit I can suggest is to meditate and really ensure that your identity in Christ and what the cross has actually done for you is not just head knowledge but is something you believe in your heart and in turn walk in freedom {Proverbs 4:23, 23:7}. This can be done by meditating on specific chapters of the Bible (I would recommend Romans 6 and Colossians/Ephesians especially) and/or talking to someone you trust again before things get too deep so that as James 5:16 reads they can intercede on your behalf.


I’ve learnt to be transparent and vulnerable with the Father rather than running from him. We are taught the power of prayer, yet fail to realise that God has invited us into everlasting communion with him. God’s spirit is a comforter who loves to hear from you so don’t forget to remain steadfast in prayer {Romans 12:12, 2 Thesa 5:17} ensuring that the identity you’ve been given becomes your reality. Paul talks a lot throughout his epistles about “Putting on the new man” which in the original Greek means to sink into and so we are called to sink into the new identity we’ve been given which comes from renewing our minds to who we are in Christ {Col. 3:10, Eph. 4:24, Ro. 12:2}

Fortunately for us, it really is that simple; amazing right? It doesn’t require much...

 

Would you say God ever tempts us to test us?

No never! Why? God does not and will not tempt his children in order to test them, it is in fact an insult to his character and nature (it’s ridiculous really, what is he testing us for; was the sacrifice of Christ not enough??) James cleared this up for us very well actually in James 1:13-14 where he writes no man should say they are tempted by God, for God cannot be tempted with evil. Right let’s stop there, here’s one thing we must understand because our understanding of God’s nature is very important for our walk; God is love.

Jesus wasn’t just the nice side of God, Jesus was the express image of God’s character{Heb. 1:3} and so just as Christ did not come in the world to condemn but to save {John 3:17}, it’s the same for the Father— because they are one! God cannot be tempted with evil why, because he is the light and in him there is no darkness; how can God who is light, goodness, love, grace and mercy tempt one with such evil. One key thing to note about the passage in James is the phrase “of God” (some translations say ‘by God’) because we see in both James 1:3 and Romans 5:3-5 that yes trials and tribulations will bring about endurance and perseverance not because God is testing us in attempt to stretch our faith, absolutely not— remember we have received faith in totality (Heb 12:2). We must understand that the temptation, trials, testing does not originate from God. God has no relationship with sin, the two are practically a juxtaposition.

 

Can believers ‘fall’ into temptation? Ie: as a result of the original fall of Adam, are there some temptations we are unable to resist?


That’s an interesting question actually because it’s imperative to distinguish the difference between temptation and sin. Being tempted in itself isn’t a sin, the act of falling into temptation is a sin. As Christians, we aren’t exempt or immune from experiencing temptations simply because of the fallen world we live in but it’s important to remember the significance of the Cross! My answer is simple, as believers we have the power and victory to overcome all temptation; there is nothing under the sun that has the power to overcome especially not because of the Fall of Adam— in Adam, we was bound to sin; in Christ sin’s grip has no hold over us! The truth is by one man’s disobedience (Adam) all experienced death, but by one man’s obedience (Jesus) all were brought to life {Ro. 5:12-21}. We have been given life and the life we’ve received comes with a birthright, one that comes with authority and power to trample over serpents and to withstand all the schemes of the enemy.

1 Cor. 10:13 is such an encouraging verse because it reminds us of this: God is faithful and there is no temptation that can ever overtake you. Jesus Christ is your way out, he has offered you freedom!

 

Can you share an example of how you have been tempted in the past and how you overcame it?

“Therefore let the one who thinks he stands firm [immune to temptation, being overconfident and self-righteous], take care that he does not fall [into sin and condemnation].” 1 Corinthians‬ ‭10:12‬ ‭AMP‬‬


I remember one time I had fallen in masturbation towards the end of last year, I was beating myself up because ‘I had a good run’ and I just felt somewhat deflated instantaneously falling into self condemnation.


One thing I’ve learnt is that often times when I’ve fallen into temptation it’s because I’ve taken my mind away from my identity in Christ {James 1:23-24} or because I was trying in my own strength to resist(with some of the common practical steps to overcoming temptation) when in reality and from experience it’s knowing and truly understanding that you’ve been made righteous and holy in Christ and when you start to accept what God says about you; you will naturally be able to resist temptation because again sin just isn’t apart of your nature anymore— you’ve been given a new birthright, new nature and heart (Romans 6:6-17, Eze 36:26) !


When you truly accept and believe what God says about you, you will find that temptations become easier to bear.

 

To stay updated and connect with J'Shawn, follow his socials @mrjaycook_ on Instagram and Twitter.

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