How do I deal with temptation in my Christian life?
Howard Coles, Coleford, England
We are all different; as our faces differ so does everything about us. This is also true with regard to the different temptations that would draw us away from fellowship with the Lord Jesus. Temptation that may draw one person will have little attraction for another. However, one thing is common to every Christian and that is we are all subject to temptation every day, no matter how long we have been a Christian. Our enemy, Satan and his messengers, use our everyday world and the things in it to appeal to our unchanged old nature, exploiting our particular weakness, and so at times every Christian is in danger of falling into sin.
It is spiritual warfare; the enemy is very active, and we need to be constantly on our guard. It was in the garden of Gethsemane that Matthew tells us how the Lord coming to the disciples, found them asleep and said to Peter, 'What, could ye not watch with me one hour? Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation: the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.' Matt. 26. 40, 41. Shortly after this the temptation to which He referred came and the disciples failed the Lord because they were unprepared.
We must therefore arm ourselves with the resources God has given and these are:
THE WORD OF GOD
When Satan tempted the Lord, he was rebuked by scriptures quoted by the Lord from Deuteronomy chapters 6 to 8. These scriptures would probably have been on one scroll and the Lord used them to silence and defeat him. We will not be in a state of readiness spiritually unless we read the bible each day and feed our minds with Christ.
THE HOLY SPIRIT
The promise in Romans 6. 14 is made to all believers, ‘Sin shall not have dominion over you’. How is this standard to be met in our individual lives? Certainly it will not be in the energy of the flesh, that is our natural ability to resist evil, see Romans chapter 7. There will need to be a different kind of strength altogether and this we derive from the Holy Spirit who indwells each believer. ‘There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death’, Rom 8. 1, 2 NKJV.
THE ARMOUR OF GOD
Provision is made for the spiritual protection of every aspect of our lives, minds and hearts from satanic attack, see Eph. 6. 11- 18. Once we have learnt to put them in place we are able to defeat the enemy and serve the Lord unhindered. Again, as the Lord told the disciples in the garden, so here in Ephesians 6, we are finally exhorted to pray and be in a constant state of watchfulness.
CLEANSING AND FORGIVENESS
Finally, if we do fall to temptation and become aware of defilement, we need to repair the damage and receive the forgiveness that is available through God’s infinite grace. We must meet the conditions of confession and repentance according to 1 John 1. 9. Failure to do this will mean communion with God is suspended and will result in further movement away from the Lord.
Finally let us realize that this issue is serious and essential and as scripture exhorts us, ‘Let every one that nameth the name of Christ depart from iniquity’, 2 Tim. 2. 19.