Personal Growth

A.R.I.S.E to Overcome Temptation

by Zach Sparkman

Man viewing mountain scenery whlie hiking

Can you relate to any of these scenarios?

  • You’re getting the kids ready for bed, and one of them is taking for-ev-er. This is not unusual, but it still frustrates you. You are tempted to lash out and harshly command him to move it along.
  • Your child has started to pick up some bad habits and questionable language from their friends. You lay in bed at night and wrestle with the temptation to worry and fret over them.
  • It’s been a long week and by Friday night you and your wife are exhausted. After the kids go down you settle in for a movie, but it has some lewd content in it. Now, in addition to being tired, you are fighting the temptation to lust.

In all these situations, you have a choice to make. Temptation is knocking at your door, luring and enticing you to sin. How do you fight temptation to sin in the heat of the battle? Recently, I have been using the acrostic “A.R.I.S.E.” to help me overcome temptation before it conceives sin (James 1:13–15). Here’s what “A.R.I.S.E.” means and how following these five steps can help you fight your spiritual battles as well.

A- Ask the Holy Spirit for help.

You can’t and won’t defeat temptation with just your effort. The Holy Spirit empowers you in every spiritual battle. Christians grow through “grace-driven effort.” A friend of mine says, “We pour a teaspoon of effort, God backs up a dump truck of grace.” You are going to fight with all your might, but you need the Holy Spirit’s empowerment. The fight against temptation starts by inviting the Holy Spirit into the battle and receiving His strength to resist.

R- Resist immediately.

How immediately? Within 3 seconds. Temptation’s goal is to conceive sin. Say no to it right away, and do not let temptation become sin. Engage your will and do not let it linger at the door of your heart. Stop it in its tracks by resisting it immediately!

I- Inject God into the situation.

When you inject God into the situation, you will see the temptation from his point of view. Your view of God makes all the difference in the world. Reject the lies the temptation whispers to you and replace them with truth about God. Remember his character (who God is), his commands (what God says), and his commitments (what God promises). In the heat of temptation, you may not have much time to think, so remember one or two truths about God and then move to the next step.

After the temptation is over, take some time to break down how you were tempted so that you can respond in a more godly way. Here’s how to do that:

  1. Learn the triggers of your temptation. When were you tempted to sin?
  2. Identify the lies behind your temptation. Behind every sin is a lie. These lies rationalize the sin, justify it in your mind, and excuse it away.
  3. Replace the lies with truth about God. The key to overcoming temptation is to identify the wrong beliefs about God and replace them with truth. At the heart of every sin is an unbelieving heart, which means spiritual battles are faith battles. Do you believe God’s Word enough to resist the temptation?

S- Seek satisfaction in your Savior.

This is the missing step for many people. When you enjoy Jesus and have tasted his goodness, your appetite for sin slowly changes. Therefore, fight desire for sin with greater desire for Jesus. This is the power of greater satisfaction in God. Being a Christian is not missing out on good stuff while everyone else enjoys it. God is not holding out on you; he’s actually offering you something so much better, so much more satisfying. Yes, there is a small amount of satisfaction in sin, but it is quickly gone and it is never enough. There is greater, more abiding satisfaction in Christ, and He is always enough.

E- Escape the temptation.

1 Corinthians 10:13–14 contains God’s escape plan: “No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it. Therefore, my beloved, flee from idolatry.”

Temptation is common, which means it can be defeated. God is faithful to always provide you an escape hatch. There are two escape routes that you can choose in a temptation. First is to endure temptation, to resist it without giving in. The second is to flee, to get away from the temptation.

This is the Joseph principle: Get away from the situation as often as you can, but when you can’t, rely on God’s grace to resist it. Joseph resisted the advances of Potiphar’s wife by not enduring her seductive lies and then by literally running away. Why did Joseph resist? Because he believed something was better. Joseph fought temptation with truth about God. He said, “How then can I do this great wickedness and sin against God?” (Gen. 39:9) Joseph’s right view of God changed his thinking, guided his actions, and helped him escape the temptation.


Temptation comes in various shapes and sizes. It tries to get us to sin against the very people we love the most and would give anything to protect. We all have chosen to sin instead of resisting temptation. Proverbs 24:16 says, “for the righteous falls seven times and rises again, but the wicked stumble in times of calamity.” If you have sinned, confess that to the Lord and He will forgive. And then, my friend, A.R.I.S.E and resist temptation!

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