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Sunday, August 20, 2017
Two Steps to Handle Temptation BY RICK WARREN — AUGUST 20 Sunday
“Accept God’s salvation as your helmet, and take the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God” (Ephesians 6:17 NCV)
If you want to be able to handle temptation, you need to claim the promises of God that he has given in his Word about temptation. Everybody ought to memorize 1 Corinthians 10:13b: “God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it” (NIV).
I’ve had many people tell me, “I couldn’t help myself. It was impossible to resist. I had no choice but to give in.” When you say that, you’re calling God a liar! God says he’ll always offer an escape from the temptation you face. It may be tough and painful. It might even be embarrassing. But there will always be a way out. God makes sure of it! That is his promise.
Satan is constantly battling for your mind. That’s where the battle happens. When God gives us an idea, it’s inspiration. When the Devil gives us an idea, it’s temptation. You choose every day which thought you’re going to dwell on.
You can change your mind by replacing the temptation with truth, and truth is found in the Bible.
The Bible says to resist the devil. How do you do that? By preparing for the temptation. Ephesians 6:17 says, “Accept God’s salvation as your helmet, and take the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God” (NCV).
There are two things you need to do in order to handle temptation. Salvation is the first step: “Accept God’s salvation as your helmet.” What does a helmet do? It protects your head and your mind, and that’s where the battle is going on. Before you can say “no” to the Devil, you have to learn to say “yes” to Jesus Christ. You’ve got to have his power through salvation.
The second step is to receive God’s Word to use as a sword. Truth is the antidote to temptation. You can keep your Bible on the coffee table at home, but when you’re at work and you are tempted, what good is it going to do you? No good at all! You need to get the truth that is in that book in your mind.
Without a doubt, the single most effective tool to combating temptation is to memorize Scripture. If you don’t have any verses memorized, you’ve got no bullets in your gun! When the Devil comes along, how are you going to counter him? He’s not afraid of your opinion, but he does fear the truth. The sword of God is God’s truth, but it only becomes a weapon when you memorize it.