How You Can Defeat Temptation in 2007
- Tuesday, January 23, 2007
In Matthew chapter 4, the Bible gives us one of the most incredible - and important - stories in all of Scripture. It’s the story of Jesus being tempted by the devil in the wilderness.
As one of the temptations, Satan comes to Jesus and says, “If You are the Son of God, command that these stones become bread.” To which Jesus says, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.’”
Now, you have to remember that Jesus had been fasting for 40 days, and you have to know that in His humanity, He was hungry! So how did He fight off this incredible temptation? By quoting Deuteronomy 8:3! He took the Sword of the Spirit — the Scriptures — and gave the devil a whack!
But if you read further, you find that the devil was persistent. A moment later, he took Jesus up to the pinnacle of the temple and told Him, “If You are the Son of God, throw Yourself down. For it is written: ‘He shall give His angels charge over you,’ and ‘In their hands they shall bear you up, lest you dash your foot against a stone.’”
How did Jesus fight off that temptation? He took up the Sword of the Spirit by repeating Deuteronomy 6:16, “You shall not tempt the LORD your God.” He stuck the devil again!
But Satan still didn’t go away. He came back and showed Jesus all the kingdoms of the world and pronounced, “All these things I will give You if You will fall down and worship me.”
And what did Jesus do then? He repeated Deuteronomy 6:13, “You shall worship the LORD your God, and Him only you shall serve.” He stuck him with the Sword again! And that’s when the Bible says Satan left Jesus alone.
In Revelation 1:16, Christ is depicted as having a sharp two-edged sword coming out of His mouth. And when you and I…as followers of Christ…are sensitive to the Holy Spirit in our lives, He will give us Scriptures that become a sword in our mouth against the devil and his forces!
In fact, I believe that Christians should expect the Holy Spirit to help us with the right words from the Bible to fight off Satan when we pray.
Look at what Paul tells us in Ephesians 6:10-18:
Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God; praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints (emphasis mine).
Until we get to the sword of the Spirit here, all the armor Paul talks about is defensive…it’s armor that protects us when the devil attacks. But in verse 17, Paul says, “Alright, now you go on the offensive. And here’s how you do it: You take the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God.”
As Christians, you and I can depend upon the Holy Spirit to help us defeat the temptations and attacks of Satan with God’s Word! But you know what? No Word in, no Word out.
That’s right! If you want the sword to be in your mouth, you’ve got to be a “sword-swallower.” No sword in, no sword out! If you want the Word to come out when you’re attacked by Satan, the Word has got to go in first.
So let me ask you today… are you a sword-swallower? Have you been letting the Word into your heart and life every day? Or are you still fighting your battles on your own?
Perhaps this new year, you’ve made the commitment to spend a few more minutes every day in God’s Word. If you haven’t done this, I encourage you to do so today.
Let God’s Word in so that you can let it out when you’re attacked by temptation, doubt, guilt, fear, or whatever it is that Satan tries to defeat you with today, tomorrow, and in the year to come!
Answers with Bayless Conley broadcasts practical teachings of the Bible to its viewers in a non-religious way. For years, Bayless Conley struggled with drugs and alcohol while searching for answers. It was not until he was more than 20 years of age that a 12-year-old boy showed him the powerful reality of a relationship with Christ. Since 1979, the Lord has opened the television airwaves to the Answers program, which currently airs each week in more than 100 nations around the world.
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