The temptation was overwhelming. I wanted to complain after hearing the news of the dreaded snowstorm heading our direction.
When colossal snow storms arrive, they bring breathtaking beauty to my woodsy neighborhood. But they take down branches or power lines, as the weight of heavy, wet snow combined with wind gusts will do. My family now thinks less of the charming transformation and resents the voluminous, white flakes that steals our electricity. A couple days of a frigid, dark house without running water makes a house full of cranky occupants.
I remember the first time we were caught living in our temporary igloo. It wasn’t fun being an Eskimo. I’m not fond of memories of that scenario playing out in the past, so my family prepared like diligent ants. We prepared food, finished laundry, found flashlights, and filled bathtubs.
At other times, we don’t lose power, but we still prepare for the possibility.
Wisdom admonishes us to prepare on spiritual matters as well, such as knowing what to do when faced with temptation. Whether it’s an obvious enticement or a subtle deception, the fact remains that sinful attractions will come.
Whether we fall into them or not could be as simple as learning and knowing a proven strategy.
How Did Jesus Respond to Temptation?
Jesus faced temptation in the Garden. We don’t know what His thoughts were, but we know that He prayed fervently while yielding to the will of the Father. In the midst of that, He warned the disciples He brought with Him there that they needed to pray (Matthew 26:41).
Why did Jesus say to pray? That was part of the strategy to flee temptation.
Another example is when the Spirit led Jesus to the wilderness. The devil came to tempt Him.
Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. Matthew 4:1
That strikes me as strange, but when I think about it, we can glean a lot from this recorded time of His life. It’s powerful!
The first action Jesus took after being led to the wilderness was to prepare by fasting. Have you ever thought to fast in a season when you thought you would be faced with temptation? One time I went on a three day fast for deliverance from a stronghold (something that had a strong hold on me).
It worked, but God also used it as priming to fight temptation in the days ahead. When a tempting thought came after those three days, I fell back on Jesus’ wisdom. I took the same advice He gave His disciples in the garden and prayed so I wouldn’t fall into temptation.
Jesus used the strategy of speaking Scripture to fight off temptation. I also spoke what I knew to be true in the Word. Jesus spoke Scripture in response to every sinful attraction the devil presented to Him. I was resolved to triumph over temptation.
I Made a Clear Plan
- Yield to holiness (Romans 6:19; 8:13)
- Discipline my body & bring it into subjection (1 Corinthians 9:27)
- Put off sinful desires (Ephesians 4:22)
- Renew my mind—reminding myself what God wants (Ephesians 4:23)
- Put on whatever was the opposite of my sinful desire (Ephesians 4:24) (See also Colossians 3:8-10,12-14)
I decided to use this process whether I was being enticed by a fleeting thought or a plan to overcome a stronghold. I found it to be the “way of escape” that God provided through His wonderful Word.
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. 1 Cor. 10:13b ESV
Preparation defeats the lure of temptation by knowing Jesus’ strategy to defeat temptation. Pray. Fast. Speak the Word. Let’s stand on the power of His Word as the way to escape any temptation. It’s the perfect strategy.