just beat it

November 12, 2016

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The Biblical concept of temptation refers to putting a person to the test. This trial might be for the benevolent purpose of proving or improving a person’s character or, as is more often the case, with the nefarious aim of exploiting a person’s weakness or trapping them into engaging in sin.

In Scripture, the one doing the tempting is usually Satan and his demons (see Mt 4:3; 1Th 3:5). In 1 Corinthians 10:13, God promises he is faithful to stand with us when we are tempted.

 Here are three Biblical strategies for handling temptation:

  1. Resist—James says, “Resist the devil, and he will flee from you” (Jas 4:7). This usage is a military metaphor; James is urging us to stand our ground against Satan’s attacks. We “resist the devil” when we refuse to surrender to the impulse to sin. Satan only has power over us when we surrender and do his bidding.

  Evil cannot coerce the human will but is dependent upon it, much like a parasite. The devil is the active opponent of God and his people, but he resorts to his lying, deceptive capacities. Human creatures that believe these lies contribute their physical and mental strengths to his cause of influencing humanity for their destruction and his glory.

  1. Flee—Sometimes the best way to “stand our ground” is to “run away.” In several places the Bible tells us the best way to resist temptation is to flee from it. Paul says to flee from sexual immorality (see 1Co 6:18), idolatry (see 1Co 10:14), the love of money (see 1Ti 6:11) and the evil desires of youth (i.e., youthful immaturity) (see 2Ti 2:22).

 This isn’t merely metaphorical language. To flee is to run away from dangers or pursuers. Often the best way to avoid temptation is to physically remove ourselves (i.e., run away) from either the situation or the people encouraging us to sin.

  1. Pray—When Jesus taught his disciples how to pray he told them to say “lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one” (Mt 6:13). These words seem best taken as “don’t let us succumb to temptation” (cf. Mk 14:38) or “don’t abandon us to temptation.”

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com


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