STANDING FIRM DURING TIMES OF TEMPTATION

Scripture Reading: I Thessalonians 3:1-5

“For this reason when I could bear it no longer, I sent to learn about your faith, for fear that somehow the tempter had tempted you and our labor would be in vain.” (I Thessalonians 3:5)

Paul knew the reality of temptation. He faced it daily and so do we. Paul was very concerned about the Thessalonians. He was afraid that the tempter had deceived them and that they had turned away from their new found faith.

We all face temptation. How can we stand firm when we are being tempted? First, we must be aware of Satan’s schemes — “Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil” (Ephesians 6:11). Satan has a huge bag of tricks. He uses many means to tempt us. Therefore, we must be aware that we are in a spiritual struggle — “For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places” (Ephesians 6:12).

Second, we must be armed for the spiritual battles we will face — “Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm” (Ephesians 6:18). God has provided the armor we need to face the battles we will experience (Ephesians 6:14-17).

Third, we must constantly be on guard — “Be sober-minded, be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls about like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour” (I Peter 5:8). Satan is a formidable enemy. We must keep our eyes open to his attacks. Some are severe and some are very subtle. Thus, we must resist him — “Resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same kinds of suffering are being experience by your brotherhood throughout the world” (I Peter 5:9).

Finally, we must remember that Satan has already been defeated by Christ. As Martin Luther put it in his hymn A Mighty Fortress, “his doom is sure!” Jesus disarmed Satan and his host when He conquered death — “He disarmed the rulers and authorities and put them to open shame, by triumphing over them in Him” (Colossians 2:15). In the end, Christ Jesus will give us the victory. We have to rely upon His presence and strength always, especially during times of temptation.

Lord Jesus, I know that I will face temptation today and everyday. Give me wisdom to identify the schemes of Satan. Arm me for the battles I will face. Empower me to resist the devil, for I know that he has already been defeated by You. Let me rely upon Your presence and strength and grant me victory over the temptations I will face.

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