Defend Against Temptation
Blessed is a man who perseveres under trial; for once he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him. Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am being tempted by God”; for God cannot be tempted by evil, and He Himself does not tempt anyone. But each one is tempted when he is carried away and enticed by his own lust. Then when lust has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and when sin is accomplished, it brings forth death. Do not be deceived, my beloved brethren.
To build a defense against temptation, we must understand how it works. Every sin originates as a thought, often the result of a flaming arrow Satan shoots our way (Eph. 6:16). If a believer holds on to the thought, it becomes a fantasy—the chance to imagine what it would be like to pursue that notion, without actually doing so. The problem with fantasies is that they can easily become entangled with a person’s emotions. This creates a desire, which brings the believer to the point where a choice must be made. And he or she must either consent to the sin or refuse. This process is quite dangerous, as the progression from thought to choice can be almost instantaneous.
Wise believers determine ahead of time to resist temptation—before it enters their consciousness. There are two cornerstones to a good defense: the commitment to obey God, and the recognition that He is in control and has limited what Satan can do (1 Cor. 10:13).
We can further fortify our defense when temptation actually comes. Satan has a way of spotlighting the pleasure of sin until it’s all we see. But with conscious effort, we can retrain our focus to take in the bigger picture: Is this choice a violation of God’s Word? What are the consequences? Am I prepared to pay that price?
No defense against temptation is complete without Scripture and prayer. Every moment spent meditating on the Word and communicating with God builds our faith. As the bulwark around our mind and heart strengthens, we are ever more prepared to douse Satan’s flaming arrows.