This is a continuation from yesterday’s post, that can be found here.
Firstly, we must use discernment to recognize the deceptive subtleties of sin.
The same way Eve corrected the serpent’s interpretation of what God had really said in Genesis 3:2, we also should recognize when the truth is being distorted. Jesus himself operated under this same principle in Matthew 4:6, when Satan quotes Psalm 91:11-12 as a way of tempting Jesus to jump from the highest point of the temple. It’s a lot easier to succumb to temptation when the sin we are being tempted with is clothed in religiosity.
Satan is an excellent Bible scholar but he is a terrible exegete. He can easily distort and pervert the truth of what God has said and tempt you to misapply scripture to justify your sin.
Let me give you an example of this.
A married Christian man meets another Christian woman and they form a friendship. The friendship eventually becomes an emotional attachment, and now the man is faced with the temptation of committing adultery, or even leaving his current wife for the woman. He knows what God’s Word says about divorce but he justifies the sin of divorce by claiming that the other person is also Christian, so they are, at least, not equally yoked. That makes sense, right?. Moreover, he appeals to 1 John 1:9 which says, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” This is deception clothed in biblical language.
Secondly, we need to have our minds saturated with God’s Word.
Jesus replied to all of Satan’s temptations by rightly quoting scripture. Jesus did not engage in any philosophical or intellectual debate with Satan. He simply pulled out the sword and hacked Satan’s temptations to pieces. Psalm 119:11 says, “I have hidden your Word in my heart so that I might not sin against thee.” What does this mean? How do you hide God’s Word in your heart? I would suggest that this is done simply by reading it, studying it, meditating on it, memorizing it, and applying it. Romans 12:2 calls us to be transformed by the renewing of our minds. The mind is renewed when you saturate yourself with the things of God—primarily His Word and prayer.
A Christian who does not feed daily on the food of scripture and spend time at the Master’s feet in prayer will more than likely fall head first into the sin he or she is being tempted with.
By Guest Blogger: Jesse Botella