Temptation isn’t going away anytime soon, not in this lifetime. The Bible promises deliverance from sin, but never promises that sin will stop calling our names just because we have committed ourselves to Christ. We are at war. Combating temptation is part of the fight, part of the training, and part of what makes us strong. We are called to declare a faith-filled “Get thee behind me,” and then walk through the fiercest assaults by utter dependence on the grace of God. When victory comes, we honor him and have yet another reason to offer praise and worship. Thus, sin’s own weapons are turned against itself.
These are the lies we must refute: Temptation is a sin. Sin is inevitable.
The villain in many a sci-fi movie exclaims at some point, “Resistance is futile!” hoping to convince the good guys to give up the ship. Satan tries that lie as well. It belongs on the trash heap. It isn’t true. Surely, since we are called to live a holy life, we don’t have to be enslaved to sin.
- “God did not call us to be impure, but to live a holy life” (1 Thessalonians 4:7).
- “You may become blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a warped and crooked generation’” (Philippians 2:15).
Picture a couple of captives on a torture rack, blindfolded, hands bound with thick cords. If the tormenter convinces his victims that it’s only a matter of time before they’ll break, then why should they bother to suffer? Why not give in right away? Satan’s scheme is to make us believe sin is inevitable. His tactic is clever, really, because if we buy that one, we’re probably going to sin plenty. In reality, though, his torture rack is broken. It turns only so far, not nearly far enough to make giving up inevitable. The evil one has a single option. While trying to hide his ultimate impotence, he must make his prisoners believe in a level of power and control that doesn’t really exist.
When we’re tempted, it’s as if we’re on an enemy’s rack. That’s not a sin. When the wheel turns, and the temptation increases, we may feel pain, but the rack is still broken. The enemy will never be able to deal out more than we can take, and that’s a promise. Resistance is not futile. We can fight back and tell that torturer to desist, since we are on to him and have chosen to resist his schemes by the grace of God.
Are you on the rack of temptation today? Don’t give up! You have been promised a way out:
- “Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you” (James 4:7).
- “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” (1 Corinthians 10:13).
Inspired by the writings of Hannah Whitall Smith