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I was taught as a child that giving in to temptation is sin, and I know this to be true. I’ve known from my teens that fighting temptation is hard. I’ve learnt from experience that giving in to it made giving in easier next time, whereas overcoming it built my “overcoming muscles” as it were.

But one thing I never really took note of until recently was that every temptation started long before I thought it did. Oh how I wish I had understood this, if only it had sunk in early enough!

Temptation doesn’t actually happen in minutes, and I believe this is one of the enemy’s best kept secrets; he’s working on you long before that “big” day. That time when you fall is not actually when “it” happened. “It” has been happening for some time.

On their own they seem tiny and not-so-harmful, these temptations that make you susceptible to a fall.

  • If you’re honest with yourself you’ll admit what a huge part of your spiritual wellbeing church on Sunday is, what with the music and word ministrations, the prayer, the fellowship, but… This bed is too enjoyable, sleep in today; God will understand, is it not just this one Sunday?
  • You kept this money aside for giving, but… This is on sale and you want it badly, so just use the money to buy it. After all, giving is voluntary, it’s not by force.
  • You know that taking in God’s Word daily and meditating on it is crucial to your spiritual health, but… Today is a very busy day. You’ll make up for it by reading more tomorrow.
  • Spending time praying each day builds you up in your most holy faith and helps you stay strong, especially when you take time out to pray in the Holy Ghost, and you know this very well, but… Going without prayer for one day will not kill you, what about all the ones you’ve been praying since?

That’s how the enemy creeps up on us, tempting us to move away from intimacy and commitment to God just a little at a time – even in choices like the music we listen to, the literature we read, the movies and shows we watch, and the jokes we laugh at.

If he can get you to be a little less obedient, a little less committed; to lower your God-given standards just a little bit here, a little bit there; to rely less and less on God one decision at a time; then you become the kind of person who falls when he strikes.

The Bible says that the flesh is constantly desiring what is contrary to the spirit, and the spirit is constantly desiring what is contrary to the flesh. It also tells me that as long as I’m in this body, this fight will continue. “These two forces within us are constantly fighting each other to win control over us, and our wishes are never free from their pressures.” (Galatians 5:17b).

So these days I treat the flesh like a lifestyle disease. A person who has diabetes can’t afford to go through life pretending that they don’t. It’s the same with the flesh; it has to be dealt with and put under daily. One morning without my medication and I’m asking for trouble; one day off my proper, Doctor-recommended diet and I’m setting myself up.

What are the treatments that minister to your inner man? What spiritual foods nourish you and what activities keep you healthy? What are you supposed to avoid? Is your spirit in good shape to withstand temptation?

It’s the little things, people.

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This article was first published on 11th December 2016


Joy Ehonwa is an editor and a writer who is passionate about relationships and personal development. She runs Pinpoint Creatives, a proofreading, editing, transcription and ghostwriting service. Email: pinpointcreatives [at]

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