by Jon Walker
So humble yourselves before God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. (James 4:7 NLT)
When Leo Tolstoy, the great Russian novelist, was a boy, he reportedly started the “White Polar Bear Club” with two of his friends. In order to become a member, you had to stand in the corner and for 30 consecutive minutes not think of a white polar bear.
Have you ever tried to intentionally not think about something? It’s almost impossible to keep it out of your mind!
We often handle temptation in a similar fashion, thinking we can stand near it, but if we just don’t think about it, then we’ll have victory over it.
The problem is, the more we try not to concentrate on temptation, the more it becomes the center of our focus – even if it’s a “not gonna do it” focus. And the longer we think about not submitting to the temptation, the more likely it is that we will.
James says we should focus on God instead of the temptation. We tend to quote the latter half of this verse: “Resist the devil and he will flee from you.” (James 4:7 NLT) But the full context brings us back to the “I can’t; God can” understanding necessary to live as God intended us to live.
If all we do is focus on the devil, then we’re still focusing on the temptation. I’m not suggesting that, in standing firm on our decisions, we can’t say “No, I’m not going to do that” to the enemy just as Jesus said, “Get behind me, Satan!”
What I am saying is that we don’t do this in our own strength; we do it humbly submitted to God, knowing that he is our strength and that he is the source of our authority to push back on the Devil.
· Focus on God – Instead of focusing on sin, temptation, or the Devil, keep your focus on God. When tempted, get your eyes back on God; tell him you’re tempted; and the Devil will flee because you are resisting him by embracing God.
· Be humble enough to seek help – A sure sign that you’re about to fall past temptation into sin is when you think, “I can handle this temptation.” You should see that as an urgent alarm to humbly submit to God, confessing, “I can’t handle this, Lord. I need your strength and wisdom. Lead me not into temptation.” Then walk away from the temptation and call a friend for prayer and accountability.
© 2007 Jon Walker. All rights reserved.
Devocionales Cristianos www.devocionalescristianos.org