- Watch! The first key to resisting temptation is to watch (Matt. 26:41). We are to guard ourselves (Prov. 4:23) and watch for the schemes (2 Cor. 2:11) of the evil one who “prowls around like a roaring lion seeking whom he may devour.” As a former wrestler, I know that the key to gaining on the upper hand on any opponent was to anticipate his move. To succeed, we must anticipate the various tactics the evil one will use to tempt us. Are you aware of how he may exploit your weaknesses” Are you aware of your sinful tendencies? A famous pastor, John Owen, once said, “Be alert that you might discover temptation early. Most men do not perceive their enemy until they have been wounded.” Let’s face it. Many of us are walking with many wounds because we have not exercised vigilance. I don’t know about you, but I don’t want any more wounds slowing me down. Watching is of great importance but prayer must also accompany it.
- Pray! Jesus taught us to pray, “Lead us not into temptation.” This prayer is not a plea from exemption. It is a plea for the Father to preserve us in temptation. Even God’s own Son wasn’t granted a free pass. Prior to the greatest test of his life, facing death on the Cross, Jesus prayed (Luke 22:39-46). Through prayer, God the Father empowered Jesus to faithfully complete the agonizing task assigned to him. Prayer is our direct communication with mission control by which we ask Jesus, our Master and Commander for help in temptation. He is ready and willing to help us as our Great High Priest (Heb. 4:14-16) who successfully endured temptation for the Father’s glory and our good.
- Word up! When God speaks, think happen. When God spoke, the world came into existence. In the wilderness, Jesus countered Satan’s subversive temptation with the the word of God. The result: Satan fled. Unlike Adam who caved to Satan’s devices, Jesus, the Second Adam conquered them. We would do well to emulate his pattern. As with weight training, we need many, many reps with God’s word to build up our spiritual strength so that we have the power to resist and even flee temptation. King David said in Psalm 119:11, “I have stored up your word in my heart that I might not sin against you.” A great way to word up is by memorizing portions of scripture such as 1 Cor. 10:13. This way, when temptation comes, we can meet it head-on with some power. Resisting temptation, isn’t an easy task; it may be downright agonizing. However, it is not an impossible one provided we wield these divine weapons with great persistence.
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