As a Christian, you’re aware of the risk associated with participating in sinful activities. These can be physical things or within your mind. The bible is clear that sin gives birth to death, every single time. Although it may not be immediate, sin has a way of festering in our lives until its full consequence is seen. To avoid this death in our life, we are instructed to resist the devil. However, to resist the devil in the moment is a lot harder than we’d like to admit. Here are 3 steps to help you combat your temptations and resist the devil.
“Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death.”James 1:15
Understanding the Enemy
When in battle, it’s important to know your enemy. Satan has studied mankind from the beginning of time and is well aware of your individual weaknesses. John 10:10 says the enemy prowls like a lion – ready to steal, kill and destroy. The enemy is a master of patience and is willing to wait for a plan to come to fruition. Just like the saying, “death by a thousand cuts”, the enemy takes great pleasure in creating difficult circumstances until you feel like you can’t take anymore and ultimately give into temptation – death. This is why we need to be able to stop the devil in his tracks and not let him claim territory in our lives.
Satan can work in many ways. Maybe it’s a comment that rubs you wrong, a moment of overwhelming stress, those days when nothing goes right, a person who abuses you, and more. Unfortunately, the list of ways the enemy can try to reach are unlimited. He can use people, circumstances, and even your own mind. Hurts and frustrations can make sin an appetizing choice for escape. This could look like snapping back at someone, choosing to end a relationship over showing grace, or something more obvious like picking up that bad habit or relationship when you know it’s not good for you. Satan knows what brings you to your breaking point and takes great pleasure in wearing you down until you give.
Resist the Devil
Joyce Meyer has a great book called Do It Afraid. In this book, she gives three steps to resisting the devil:
- use scripture to counter the enemy’s attack
- refuse to let the devil get a foothold
Again, these sound good on paper, but for those (me) who need something more direct and spelled out, here are these steps broken down in to actions. For this, we use a 1 – 2 – 3 action plan. Step one has one action, step two has two actions, and step three has three actions. Each step’s actions are simple, which make them easy to remember and apply when temptation rears its ugly head.
As you walk through the three steps, I encourage you to write down an action plan that can apply directly to your situation. Make your battle plan now – the devil already has his. Don’t feel discouraged if you need to come back to this and tweak your battle plan. The important thing is to get a plan in place and go from there. Let’s get our battle plan on paper!
Step One: Resist
Resist means to withstand the action or effect of something. The bible specifically uses the word resist when it comes to the devil’s schemes against our life. When we are tempted to sin, we are tempted with the action or effect of that sin. Even when we know that Satan’s end game is to kill, steal and destroy, the action or effect of sin can still be appetizing in the moment.
Our first action is to resist – to withstand the action or effect of the sin that is tempting us. The one action that comes with step one is to know that you are in a moment of temptation and prepare to resist the devil and his schemes. Therefore, have your battle plan in an accessible place – on your phone in the notes, somewhere handy at home/work, in your wallet, car, etc. Think through the best place to store this so you always have it on hand.
Step Two: Fight Back with Scripture
God calls us to use his word against the devil. God’s word is true, powerful and lasting. It will remain long after this world comes to an end. The devil knows that and can’t stand against the majesty of our God or his word.
For the second step, research two scriptures that you find empowering. A simple google search of your sin will make this easy. For example, if my sin is an addiction, I would search ‘scriptures about fighting an addiction’. Take your time and narrow your results to two scriptures. Write those down wherever you have chosen to keep your battle plan.
When temptation comes, you will have these two scriptures handy to break your thought process and redirect your attention to the God who can get you through any difficult moment. The two actions for step two are to review the two scriptures.
Step Three: Don’t Let the Devil Have a Foothold
As mentioned earlier, the enemy is a master at patience. He’s willing to wait you out. Again, think of the “death by a thousand cuts.” He will keep coming at you until you give and sin. Each cut is a foothold. For the third step, you need three things: a place, a face, and a case.
Your sin is no guessing game. You know where you’re most likely to be tempted. Prepare by coming up with a counter location. If your temptation is out the front door, then make your space on the top level of your house as far away from the door as possible. If your temptation is at work, think of a breakroom, a bathroom, a friend’s cube – anywhere other than where sin is an opportunity.
One of God’s greatest gifts is our ability to fellowship with each other. As friends, we help bare each other’s burdens. Think of one person that you can call on at any time. Maybe give that person a heads up, that in a weary moment, you may be calling on them just to talk until your temptation is gone. When tempted, find your place and call on your face!
Having a ‘why’ makes any plan more effective. Write down why you need to resist this temptation and this sin. What does it do to you, your family, your future, etc. Be honest with yourself. Write this down and when you’re tempted, read it and remind yourself of why you don’t need this sin in your life.
Resist the Devil – the 3-step action plan
- Step One – 1 action
- Acknowledge temptation and prepare to resist
- Step Two – 2 actions
- Read scripture #1
- Read scripture #2
- Step Three – 3 actions
- Go to your ‘place’
- Call your ‘face’
- Read and remember your ‘case’
Resist the Devil and Take Back Territory
Steven Furtick has a wonderful sermon called Same Devil, Different Level. In this, he talks about when David battled Goliath, that was not the end of his battles. Two decades later, he battled that same group of people. Yes, he defeated Goliath, but that didn’t mean the battles stopped.
Maybe your sin is like that – you’ve had the same handful of sins that you’ve battled for years. You may have them defeated for a timeframe but they always seem to come back. This is why it’s imperative to have a battle plan in place – you know the battle is coming. Now, you can be prepared. When temptation comes, get your battle plan out and act out your 1 – 2 – 3 steps. You will be able to resist the devil!
“No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.”Corinthians 10:13