James 4:7 – Resist the devil and he will flee from you. (NIV 1978)
My Musings – Sin. Our earthly nature. We read the items on the list (sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed – among others) and are outwardly repulsed by them. Yet, because we still have a sin nature (our old self) we
are sometimes inwardly attracted to and desire them anyway. More often than we care to admit it, our outward actions become guided by our inward desires. Virtues. We read the items on the list (compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience – among others) and outwardly admire them. Yet, even though we are Christians (our new self) and sin has no real power over us, at times we inwardly find them unattractive and undesirable. More often than we care to admit it, our outward actions are not guided by them. This seems so illogical, but it is a struggle we all face every day. We need to learn how to put off our old self and its earthly desires and to put on our new self and its heavenly desires.
My Advice – How do we keep temptation from becoming sin? First, we need to know and understand our enemy, because “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 (Ephesians 6:12).” This is spiritual warfare, we have a spiritual adversary, but he is not all powerful. Second, we need be aware “in order that Satan might not outwit us. For we are not unaware of his schemes (2 Corinthians 2:11).” If we know his devises, tactics and schemes we will be better prepared to do battle. Third, we need to beware, to “be self-controlled and alert,” because, “the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour (1 Peter 5:8).” What were Adam and Eve doing at the tree anyway? If we do not want to eat the fruit, we need to stop hanging around the tree. Fourth, we need to arm ourselves for battle. This is not a second amendment right, but a Biblical imperative. We need to “put on the full armor of God; so that when the day of evil comes, [we] may be able to stand [our] ground (Ephesians 6:13).” Spiritual battles call for spiritual weapons. You should not take a knife to a gunfight. Finally, we need to stand our ground, because if we “resist the devil he will flee from [us] (James 4:7).”
Coming Soon – An updated version of my Bible study “Got Spiritual Milk?” will soon be available in the Store link on my home page. What you see above is a short excerpt the chapter dealing with the tenth of twelve “steps” discussed in the study.