Be On Guard!
Discipline yourselves, keep alert. Like a roaring lion your adversary the devil prowls around, looking for someone to devour. (1 Peter 5:8).
During the first week of boot camp, the new recruits were taking a written examination. When one of them was asked why he wasn’t working, he replied, “Sir, I have neither paper nor pencil.” “Well,” exclaimed the instructor, “what would you think of a soldier who went into battle with neither rifle nor ammunition?” The recruit thought for a moment, and then answered, “I’d think he was an officer, sir.”
Unfortunately, too many Christians today think they are “officers” in God’s army and don’t really have to prepare for the battle. Not true and very dangerous thinking! The best way to avoid sin is to stay prepared to face temptation. The minute we let our guard down or the minute we are unprepared, the enemy strikes. Here are three actions we can take in order to be on guard against temptation.
Action One: Be Alert. “Alert” literally means “to stay on guard” or “to keep watch.” Our Father wants us to stay alert and always be on guard. It doesn’t matter how long we have known God, we must get up each day, prepared to guard against sin, knowing we will face temptation. The best way to stay alert and the greatest deterrent to sin is the word of God.
I have hidden Your word in my heart that I might not sin against You. (Psalm 119: 11) It is important to remember that God’s truth came before Satan’s lies. When God’s truth comes first in our lives, we will be able to recognize the lies of Satan and temptation will be easier to withstand. When we get away from God’s word, however, we become an easy target for temptation and sin. Sin will keep us from God’s Word or God’s Word will keep us from sin.
Action Two: Pray continually. Paul tells us in 1 Thessalonians 5:17 to “pray without ceasing,” But many times, we pray only as a last resort when it should be our first response. A kindergarten class went to the fire station for a tour. The fireman was explaining what to do in case of a fire. “First go to the door and feel the door to see if it’s hot. If it is hot, fall to your knees! Does anyone know why you should fall to your knees?” A little voice spoke up, “Yeah, to start praying and asking God to get us out of this mess!” How true! The power to withstand temptation comes from a praying heart. The devil will do anything to keep us from praying. He laughs at our religious activities and mocks our human wisdom, but he trembles when we pray.
Action Three: Practice self-control. But one is tempted by one’s own desire, being lured and enticed by it; then, when that desire has conceived it gives birth to sin… (James 1:14-15a) Temptation is the first step on the road to sin. It begins in human desire and can stop there if we learn how to control those desires. Sin is not usually one giant leap, but the result of many small steps. When we choose to give in to, rather than control our natural desires and physical appetites, we will sin. Self-control is the choice to do the right thing in preparation for facing temptation. To win the war with temptation, we must be prepared by staying alert, praying continually, and practicing self-control.
Grace & Peace,