How To Meet Temptation
We cannot escape the fact of temptation while in a state of probation, but we need not despair; nor need we be overcome by the same; for God has promised to make a way of escape. We should meet temptation:
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I. By Watchfulness And Prayer
“Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation” (Matt. 26:41). To be forewarned is to be forearmed. Be careful to keep off of the devil’s territory. We fear some people actually tempt the devil to tempt them, by trespassing on his territory. They try to see how near they may walk to the danger line, and by so doing expose themselves to unnecessary temptations. We cannot prevent the enemy from assaulting us, but we can frequently avoid the occasion for temptation by keeping out of the danger zone, and attending strictly to our own business. To play with temptation is to invite defeat, While the Lord delivered Daniel when he was cast into the lions’ den, we do not believe that He would have thus delivered him if Daniel had deliberately jumped into the lions’ den, as an experiment.
Not only need we be watchful, but prayerful. “The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much” (Jas. 5:16). It is said, “Satan trembles when he sees, the weakest saint upon his knees.” By prayer we receive renewed help, and strength, for the conflict, and deliverance in the hour of temptation. Like the little boy who was being taunted by his schoolmates, and knew that he could not withstand them alone; but having an elder brother in an adjoining room, he would run and call on his big brother for assistance; and when the big brother appeared on the scene, the tormenting schoolmates would all disappear. Even so, we too have an “elder brother,” and when we call upon Him in prayer, and He appears on the scene, the enemy is soon discomfited and put to flight. “Because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world” (1 John 4:4).
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II. By Using The Sword Of The Spirit
Jesus met temptation, and triumphed over the same by saying, “It is written.” His only weapon of defense was the Word of God which is “the sword of the Spirit” (Eph. 6:17). Human arguments and human wisdom are not sufficient. He who is thoroughly equipped and fortified by the Word of God, has the surest way of victory. David said, “Thy word have I hid in my heart, that I might not sin against thee” (Psalm 119:11). To meet the temptation with a “Thus saith the Lord,” and an unwavering faith in the promises of God, is to defeat and discomfit the foe, and bring certain victory to the soul. “His truth shall be thy shield and buckler” (Psalm 91:4).
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III. By A Steady Faith
“Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked” (Eph. 6:16). There has never yet been any artillery invented, in earth or hell, that can penetrate “the shield of faith.” Ever since Christ has said, “According to your faith be it unto you,” this has been the victory that overcometh, “even our faith” (Matt. 9:29; 1 john 5:4). All the mighty warriors, whose portraits are hung up in the gallery of fame — the eleventh chapter of Hebrews — obtained their “good report through faith” (Heb. 11:39). “With God all things are possible;” and “all things are possible to him that believeth;” faith couples up with the arm of omnipotence, and thus enables the Christian to triumph over every foe. The “shield of faith” makes one invulnerable, invincible, and unconquerable. “Kept by the power of God, through faith” (1 Peter 1:5); “By faith ye stand” (2 Cor. 1:24).
No person can withstand Satan in his own strength, or by his own ingenuity. It will help the saint to always remember this fact, lest he rely upon himself instead of “looking unto Jesus.” We are “overcomers,” and “more than conquerors” only “through him that loved us” (Rom. 8:37). When self-sufficient and self-reliant, we are certain to go down in defeat.
Since there is a way of victory for every soul — regardless of circumstances — there can be no reasonable excuse for failure or defeat. “God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape” (1 Cor. 10:13). With this assurance the soul should meet temptation in “quietness and confidence,” knowing that the greater the conflict, the more glorious the victory. So that with Paul we can say, “Thanks be unto God, which always causeth us to triumph, in Christ” (2 Cor. 2:14).