– Frederick W. Faber
One Second at a Time
You’ve probably heard the phrase, based upon the song title, “On Day at a Time,” and that’s how we can break down our resisting sin when we are tempted. It’s not a sin to be tempted, but if we don’t flee temptation, temptation will catch us. How about this; try one second at a time or one minute at a time. When you look at the whole day and think, “I’ll never be able to resist the urge to sin all day,” it can be discouraging, so just think of it this way; every second you resist temptation is a victory. Take it one second or one minute at a time and you won’t feel so overwhelmed.
Resist the Devil
How can we resist the Devil and his temptations? Jesus’ brother, James, has a way as he says, “Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you” (James 4:7). What this says is that unless we are first submitted to God, we cannot resist the Devil and his demonic temptations to sin. Submitting to God means submitting to His Word and His law but also to the laws of man (Rom 13:1-5), so only until we submit to God can we resist the Devil and then, he must “flee from you.”
Keeping in the Word
I have heard the saying that “sin keeps you out of the Bible but the Bible keeps you out of sin,” and that’s true to a large extent. When we are living in sin, our conscience troubles us and we cannot easily read the Word of God because it convicts us and finds us “Guilty as charged,” so unless you and I are abiding in the Word of God, the Word will not be abiding in us.
Praying to Avoid Temptation
When Jesus was teaching the disciple how to pray, but not what to pray, He told them to pray to God to not “lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil” (Matt 6:13). The “evil” is actually the “evil one” or Satan, so pray that we can avoid temptation and be delivered from the evil one’s temptations. Of course, God does not lead us into temptation because we’re carried away by our own lusts which lead us into sin as James writes that, “desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death” (James 1:15).
Don’t try to look at the whole day and think, “I can’t resist temptation all day.” Try to make it one second or one minute at a time because each time you resist temptation, it is a victory, so submit to God and the Devil will flee from you, and if you are staying in the Word, the Word will stay in you and help you resist temptation, and finally, pray that you would be able to resist the Devil and not allow that temptation to be conceived and birthed into sin.