Did you know that the word temptation comes from the Latin word “tentare”, meaning “to test”? When temptation strikes us in its’ subtle, devious forms we are apt to ask many questions about this urge pulling at us – is this coming from God or is this the wiles of the devil trying to destroy us? The first thing we can do when in doubt is ask ourselves if our peace has been stolen and if the feelings of turmoil, confusion and anxiety are surrounding us. Are our thoughts lining up with the word of God or are they contrary to it? The devil knows that if we open the door to his bidding we will soon find ourselves in trouble, so we must be very careful to regard everything that comes into our mind. From personal experience, I can think back to several times that something seemed Godly, and at first I thought it was from Him, but quickly it turned into a situation that caused me a lot of turmoil.
2 Corinthians 10: 5 states: “We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ”. We cannot afford to let the enemy take advantage of us by being ignorant of his schemes. The Bible teaches us that: “My people perish for a lack of knowledge” (Hosea 4:6), therefore, it is important that we understand the methods of evil interference. “
Guard your thoughts
Temptation itself is not a sin; Jesus was tempted by Satan in the desert. ” For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are – yet was without sin” (Heb. 4:15). Allowing temptation to overtake us by acting out the evil thought is when it becomes sin. Sin is a choice we freely make; no one is twisting our arm to do it. When we focus on the thing being desired our urge to sin will become stronger, but if we focus on the truth and see that it is the devil that is trying to stump us, we will be bolted back to reality. One area that I feel we must guard as Christians is our mind. By allowing thoughts that we know are not beneficial to come into our mind, we are in a sense opening the door for the devil to get his foot in. If we continually meditate on this thought, we allow this thought to have unnecessary power and control in our lives. At this point, if we aren’t using discernment, it is very possible that we will act out the thought. That is when we are faced with bearing the fruit of an ungodly thought – and judging from my own past experiences, that can be pretty rocky terrain to walk in. We need to realize that the devil will always try to tempt us and the closer we walk with God and are a threat to the devil, the more he will try to bring us down.
Our environment, the places that we inhabit and the people around us are sometimes a source of temptation. When we are living, working and/or socializing with unregenerate souls we will inevitably be surrounded by and experience their words and actions – some of which will be unbefitting to a Christian. The tug for camaraderie, peer pressure and herd mentality will try to force us into things that we should really have no part in. Temptation will try to reach us through the five senses of seeing, hearing, smelling, tasting and feeling. Our culture is known for continually bombarding us with visuals and sounds that emanate straight from the pit of hell. We should always remember the three main areas of attack that Satan uses against us, just like he used against Jesus: “For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world” (1 John 2:16). Gods’ word also tells us to: “resist the devil and he will flee” (James 4:7). By reading and hearing the word of God and by prayer we can keep our mind strong. We should be praying without ceasing, not just for ourselves and our loved ones, but also for church leaders who are constantly under attack.
Be strong in the Lord
When we are being tempted we can protect ourselves by putting on the full armor of God: Ephesians 6: 10-18: “Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints”.
The great thing about our Lord Jesus Christ is that He has given all of us the power and authority to battle evil. We are also given the power of His blood and the Holy Spirit, which breaks every yoke and bondage. Another thing we have been given is the victory over sin and death through the finished work of our Lord Jesus. We also have the assistance of God’s ministering angels who are assigned to help us.
As Christians we need to stand up to evil and fight back and not give the devil a foothold. We should bind every evil and loose our freedom from it. Why? Because He gave us the power to do all of these things and He wants us to use it. We should declare all God’s promises and blessings over our lives and take authority against all evil spirits and evil working through men. The church needs to take back everything that was stolen by the devil and not allow him to take anything else from us. We must quench the fiery darts of the enemy that works through curses, iniquities, rebellion, pride, sexual perversions, sorcery, witchcraft, addictions, rejection, divorce, poverty, loneliness, jealousy, mental illness, etc. My Christian brothers and sisters, don’t allow yourselves to be seduced by the wiles of the enemy – he will comes in all forms and manner. It is a wonderful thing that we have the ability to succeed in doing battle with the enemy by taking authority over anything that is not from our God. The next time temptation knocks on your door- don’t invite it in! The church is well equipped for every good work and that includes resisting evil – Let no evil be established in my life, but let Your righteousness be established.