Temptation: The Ultimate Attack
While there are many attacks the Devil tries to use to bring us down, all of them originate with one very basic yet highly effective attack: Temptation. It is the one attack that everybody will face, not just once, but repeatedly throughout their lives. If you aren’t tempted regularly by Satan it is probably because he already has possession of your life. Temptation is something Satan has been using since before man existed. He brought down 1/3 of heaven’s angels with it and he confused and deceived Eve and so many other humans since her. It is the most common attack of the enemy recorded in the Bible and most Christians will admit that temptation is the hardest and most frequent spiritual attack they face today.
Temptation can occur in our computers and our cars. It seeks to infiltrate our workplace and our home life. Temptation looks to dominate our conversations and our daily actions. Every relationship is targeted by temptation. When unexpected situations happen, both good and bad, temptation is waiting in the wings to swarm us. The Devil will parade a litany of desires and sins before us at every opportunity in order to draw us away from God, and the avenues with which he uses to introduce them into our lives is limited only by our ability to protect against it.
For sure, temptation looks to get us to sin and fall short of the glory of God. However, temptation also looks to discourage and frustrate us. If Satan get us to compromise our relationship with God, he will try to stifle us in it. Frustration, bitterness, and resentment are powerful forms of temptation. They don’t necessarily steal our salvation, but they prevent us from living a life to the fullest in the Kingdom of God.
As we’ve shown so far, temptation operates more like a hidden bomb in a crowd of civilians or a lone wolf attacker hiding in the shadows. With this perspective, we see temptation is more like a terrorist attack than a straightforward onslaught by the enemy. That’s right, the Devil is the original terrorist and his hope isn’t to topple a country or city. His goal is to demolish our souls and drag us into the pit of misery. When we see this attack for what it is, a cowardly and vicious attack on us simply because he hates our way of life, we can understand exactly the approach we must take to defeat him.
You can’t defeat terrorism through traditional military approaches. You have to be diligent and on guard at all times. A careless approach to temptation leaves us vulnerable in areas where the devil can bring his attacks. We have to shore up every area of our lives with prayer, fasting and the word. If we aren’t taking time to commune with God in our offices, in our cars, in our homes and every place we regularly spend time, we leave open the door for temptation to creep in. The same is true for every relationship. Our marriages, relationships with our kids, parents, friends, coworkers, clients and neighbors will suffer if they aren’t covered by the presence of God. We must also look and honestly examine where we are most vulnerable to temptation. Where are we most likely to fall short and sin? Where might we find ourselves getting bogged down in stress and frustration? Those are areas that must be taken care of now. Give those areas to God to shore up or we risk seeing them become a ground zero in our lives.
Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. (Philippians 4:6)
Overcome Fear With Faith
Being careful to provide spiritual safeguards and protections for our lives is important. However, we can’t allow our concern for guarding against temptation lead us to live in fear of temptation. Terrorists succeed when they force their targets to live in fear just as much as when they explode a bomb in their communities. The devil will happily sit back and laugh as we run to and fro in fear of what he’ll do next. It makes him feel powerful, the thing he craves the most. However, God never gave us the spirit of fear (2 Timothy 1:7) and he doesn't lead us into temptation (Matthew 6:13). Instead he delivers us from evil and provides us with the power to overcome the Devil and all of his abilities. We just have to let Him lead us. God has a path for us to follow that requires boldness. Fear has no place on this path, but one other f word does: Faith. With faith in God, fear of temptation and Satan begins to wash away and we can walk in the boldness that God desires for us.
A Way To Redemption
When Israel was careless in the Old Testament, they found themselves entrenched in sin and idolatry. Eventually succumbing to temptation and the enemy in the spirit led to them succumbing to their enemies in the physical. They became prisoners and slaves to the nations around them. They also began to live in fear and believed that they would never be able to overcome their situations. When we are careless with our spiritual lives, it will eventually bleed over into the temporal world. Just like with Israel was unable to escape the dominance of their enemies, we won’t be able to overcome the consequences in the temporal. The lustful temptations will eventually destroy your marriage. The fits of rage that come with getting stressed with your work load will cost you your job, cause a car wreck or result in a heart attack. Giving into the temptation to be depressed due to life’s issues can result in an introverted lifestyle, loss of connection to those we love and God, and even our own lives. When all that has occurred, we will be left with only the ashes of our lives and the fear that comes with failure.
Israel may have had several spiritual and temporal disasters and terrorist attacks occur due to their carelessness. However, they also had opportunities to shine their commitment to God. One such example is when Samuel had Israel return to serve God after several years of idolatry and sin. Not only were they completely restored in their spiritual walk with God, all that had been taken from them was restored and more (1 Samuel 7). This is just one example of the power of taking care of our walk with God. What makes this one awesome, though, is that it show that it doesn’t take much to turn around our situations. Israel had been under the destructive attacks of Satan and the Philistines for generations before this day. In one day of repentance and commitment, they were freed from that destruction. It just takes one action to wipe away all the success of Satan: turn to God. In that moment, God can restore marriages, jobs, ministries, health, and so much more. He gave Israel their nation (the physical) and the ark (the spiritual) back. He will do the same for us if we recognize our failures and turn to him. From there, we must return our hearts and minds to careful and faithful living with an understanding of the temptation the devil looks to inflict on our lives. When we do, we’ll begin the process of taking the fight to Satan and his cowardly attack of temptation.
Now we have an understanding of what temptation is. It is the desires and lusts the enemy tries to put before us. However, it is also the pull of negative emotional responses that lead to resentment, bitterness and rage. Temptation, once it starts to take hold of our lives leads to fear and tentativeness in the Kingdom and will eventually bleed over into the temporal world and start to destroy every facet of our lives. This terror attack of the Devil can be defeated, though. By understanding what tempts us and what areas of our lives need protection from temptation, we can take care to protect them with prayer, fasting, the Word and relationship with God. We can walk in faith believing that God will protect us from the spiritual attacks of the enemy. To be sure, life can still happen and cause difficult times; but by having that protection that comes with relationship with God and prayerful guards placed over vulnerable areas of our lives, we will not have to fear a spiritual explosion of temptation in our lives.
Thought to Ask Ourselves:
Do we desire freedom from temptation enough to understand our vulnerabilities to temptation and take the necessary steps to protect them from the enemy? If you do go to our Facebook and tell us about your desire in the comments for this post.
Chris Farris is the author of The Way, a manual detailing how to implement the Beatitudes into your life. He review events and other media and offers other insights into writing and working for the Kingdom of God.