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How to Overcome Temptation

July 21, 2023

How to Overcome Temptation

How to Overcome Temptation

By Brooke Holt

“Once when Jacob was cooking stew, Esau came in from the field, and he was exhausted. And Esau said to Jacob, ‘Let me eat some of that red stew, for I am exhausted!’ Jacob said, ‘Sell me your birthright now.’ Esau said, ‘I am about to die; of what use is a birthright to me?’ Jacob said, ‘Swear to me now.’ So he swore to him and sold his birthright to Jacob. Then Jacob gave Esau bread and lentil stew, and he ate and drank and rose and went his way. Thurs, Esau despised his birthright.” Genesis 25:29-34

We live in a world of instant gratification. Why wait for a gourmet meal when you can throw something in the microwave? Why go to the gym and work out when the Emsculpt machine can do the equivalent of 20,000 sit ups for you in 30 minutes? We want the results without the work; we modern-day people love shortcuts!

In today’s reading, Esau was no different. He had spent a long day out in the field and obviously had forgotten to bring a snack or plan a homecoming meal. The desire for food so overwhelmed him that he was willing to sell his birthright for Jacob’s lentil stew. He had serious hunger pangs! Esau traded a long-term benefit for a short-term fulfillment. While he felt satisfied for the moment, he experienced regret for the rest of his life.

Temptations to sin are often much like that bowl of soup. When you feel hungry, scared, or lonely, an advertisement for a delicious-looking pizza appears on your computer. You can find plenty of distractions online to make you forget the fear, and far too many opportunities to find unholy fellowship abound on the internet as well. Yet, what feels good or desirable to your hungry flesh right now will not satisfy you in the long-term. These quick fixes have lasting consequences.

The story of Jacob and Esau and the birthright reminds you of the importance of living with intentionality. You must recognize your weaknesses and plan for them. If ice cream wrecks your health goals, keep it out of the house and avoid ice cream shops. If social media causes you to feel inferior or to struggle with envy and greed, take it off all your devices. If the internet leads you to make unholy choices, put blocks on those sites. Make decisions that result in long-term blessings to your life instead of quick fixes or instant gratification.

The Lord thinks from an eternal perspective. He invites you to do the same. Sin may feel good in the moment but think beyond the moment to the long-term implications.


Esau gave up his birthright for a bowl of lentil soup and bread. It seems crazy, but do you ever sacrifice God’s best for your life for what is right before you, what feels good in the moment, or what seems right? We would love to hear your thoughts in the comments.

Recommended Resource:

Honest Prayer

Our honest prayer before God is evidence that we understand the ways He loves, cherishes, sees, and hears us. Through prayer, we can acknowledge with Hagar, “You are the living One who sees me” (Genesis 16:14). When we pray, we are affirming the same. Why do we often hide from this privilege? Why do we avoid God, the One who sees us as we are and stands ready to provide and answer us in his holy, timely way? In this 8-week study on the prayers of Job, Ruth, Hannah, and David, grow your prayer life by facing your honest need and bringing your whole self before God. Acknowledging God as the One who guides your path can change your heart. It can take you past fear and into faith, strength, and hope.  Learn more about Honest Prayer.


Pilgrim's Path

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