In Matthew 4 we read a vivid account of Satan tempting Jesus. Matthew records Christ victory over Satan and temptation and provides for us this great historical account. We are to rest in Christ victory over Satan and sin, if you are in Christ, His victory is our victory.
The apostle John tells us,
Whoever makes a practice of sinning is of the devil, for the devil has been sinning from the beginning. The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the works of the devil.No one born of God makes a practice of sinning, for God’s seed abides in him, and he cannot keep on sinning because he has been born of God. – 1 John 3:8-9
Do you see what John is saying? Christ destroyed the works of the devil, that is why he came. Then John states if there is no change in your life after you claim to be a Christ follower, you are fooling yourself, because Christ followers cannot keep on sinning. Satan and sin have no power over the believer and yet as believers we still struggle, John isn’t talking about sinless perfection, but he is saying Christians will sin less as they progress and mature.
Through Mathew’s account of Christ victory we can glean principles for overcoming temptation. Last week we discovered the first two, Jesus was led by the Spirit and practiced the spiritual disciplines. This week we will look at two more.
Be Filled with the Word
If we want to have victory over temptation we must become people of the book. Our lives must be saturated with the Word of God. Every temptation Christ faced he responded with Scripture. Far too many Christians experience defeat in there walk with Christ because they are not filled with the the word of God. The Bible is sufficient to help you overcome your temptation and sin issues. Psalms 119 is magnificent piece of scripture, in this psalm we discover that God’s word is powerful and sufficient for victory. Let’s take a look at some of Psalms 119,
How can a young man keep his way pure? By guarding it according to your word. – Psalm 119:9
I have stored up your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you. – Psalm 119:11
My soul clings to the dust; give me life according to your word! – Psalm 119:25
My soul melts away for sorrow; strengthen me according to your word! – Psalm 119:28
Incline my heart to your testimonies, and not to selfish gain! Turn my eyes from looking at worthless things; and give me life in your ways. – Psalm 119:36-37
God’s word is powerful and sufficient to keep you pure, to prevent you from sinning, provide life, provide strength, help you avoid selfishness, help you turn from worthless things and so much more. We need to be filled with God’s word.
Being filled with God’s word, for me, carries along some implications. A person filled with the Word strives to understand the Bible. We must enngage the text and study to draw out its meaning to the original hearers and discover how that applies to us. If you are filled with the Word you know when the Bible is being twisted to spread error. Notice Satan used God’s word to deceive Jesus and Jesus recognized it. Be a person who knows how to handle God’s word. Paul exhorted Timothy saying,
Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth. – 2 Timothy 2:15
A person filled with the Word is obedient to the word. We must be doers of the Word. James said someone who hears God’s word and doesn’t do it, is like someone who forgets what he looks like after he leaves the mirror. God through his Word gives us purpose, meaning and significance. When we are only hearers and not doers we become a people who forget our purpose, meaning and significance in this world.
Be Filled with Awareness
The Bible is filled with the command to be aware. Jesus was in the wilderness, coming off a 40 day fast, and yet he was still filled with awareness. He was ready for anything. Sometimes we can skip a meal and it throws us into a tail spin. But as believers we must be aware, watchful and ready to kill sin and thwart every flaming arrow of the devil. Many times we fall into sin because we are going through life unaware and comfortable with the world we are surrounded with. That is a dangerous place to be. The Apostle Perer gives a word of warning and a word of hope,
Be sober- minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. 9 Resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same kinds of suffering are being experienced by your brotherhood throughout the world. 10 And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you. (1 Peter 5:8-9)
Satan is out there, be aware at all times and resist him with the word.
We must also be aware of the subtle allures of the world. This world can subtly lure us into a life of comfort that it derails us from God’s purpose and will in our lives. John warns us of being sucked in by the world,
15 Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.For all that is in the world-the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride of life-is not from the Father but is from the world.And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever. – 1 John 2:15-17
We also must be aware of possibly the greatest enemy we have, our own heart and desires. Many times we don’t need Satan or the world to tempt us because we are drawn away by our own desires. James warns us,
But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire. Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death. – James 1:14-15
Be aware of the sins your heart is attracted to and hate it, kill it, starve it and daily crucify it at the cross.
Until next time
Soli Deo Gloria