We have all been tempted to either do something wrong or simply to not do something right.
Temptation begins with the little, easy things like not really doing that chore or losing my temper quickly with my brother. I can only imagine where they go from there.
But since I have begun to intentionally do little hard things, flying in the face of these impulses and refusing to bow to them, the temptations to shirk or shout have not gone away.
Because our Enemy does not like us doing anything for God, I have found myself more open than ever to temptation. If Satan can get me to fall and then pin me down under my guilt, he is ever hopeful that I will never get up again to carry on God’s work.
Jesus went through temptation just like we do, but He did not sin. That is why He gave us this promise:
“No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to humanity. God is faithful, and He will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation He will also provide a way of escape so that you are able to bear it.” — 1 Corinthians 10:13
While comforting, I never found that the promise held true. I cannot count the number of times I have given in to temptations to slack on my chores, or disobey my parents, or any number of other failings. I was expecting God to bar Satan from my path and let me walk happily along.
But would that grow my faith? Would it deepen my relationship with God?
No, it is trouble, hardship, and perseverance that do those things.
When I was drafted into God’s army, I received my armor and weapons by His own hand. But I found them unnatural and difficult to use, so I ignored them. I have been attacked and conquered with loaded weapons in my hand! God had provided me with three all along: Avoidance, Warfare, and Accountability.
“How happy is the man who does not follow the advice of the wicked or take the path of sinners or join a group of mockers!” — Psalm 1:1
This is guerrilla warfare. We have our orders—it will be a small operation, diving in, throwing the enemy off our shoulders, and running out. They won’t know what hit them.
Simply removing the temptation from your path so it can’t come across again is the first measure in battling temptation. Turn away from your annoying little sibling before you start shouting. Put that amazing book in your parents’ care until you have finished your tasks.
Avoidance takes wisdom to know how to tie up the desire, but God provides that, too!
“Therefore, submit to God. But resist the Devil, and he will flee from you.” — James 4:7
Our army is a motley crew. Not everyone has a sword, there are not many rifles, and only a couple of tanks. But we all have prayer.
Prayer is by far the most potent weapon we have available to us in the fight against Satan.
We are under orders to use this weapon in every encounter, but it is even more valuable when there is no way to remove the temptation. Prayer serves two purposes: first, it takes the mind off of whatever the temptation is, and second Satan will realize that attacking you turns you into a prayer warrior, working harder than ever for God’s kingdom.
You will be surprised at how quickly he will flee.
“Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, so that you may be healed. The urgent request of a righteous person is very powerful in its effect.” — James 5:16
Stick with your buddy. Even if you are separated from the rest of the army, stay together and help each other out. We are stronger together.
This is by far the hardest weapon to wield. For some reason, we want other people to think we are perfect and don’t struggle with anything.
It isn’t true. Everyone knows it isn’t true. But it still hurts to let down our cover and confess.
The weapon is designed to destroy temptations that consistently give the enemy ground. Choose carefully who you will tell—find someone who will pray for you as well as keeping you accountable.
Finally, to help us use these weapons, Christ gives us one final word of encouragement: In this world you will have trouble. But take heart; I have overcome the world!
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