We recently learned that another high-profile Christian evangelist was engaged in ongoing sinful conduct. It’s heartbreaking to find out someone who has been boldly proclaiming the Word of God hasn’t been living by it. If these “people of God” can fall into sinful lifestyles, what hope is there for us “regular people” to stand firm in temptation?
Temptation is nothing new. It has always been the devil’s favorite tool. The opening pages of the Bible demonstrate that. (Genesis 3) It is real, and we will all face it. Could it be these leaders of the faith had pridefully come to believe they were above temptation? No one is! Even Jesus was tempted. (Luke 4:1-13)
Fortunately, God did not leave us unprepared for the battle. He gave us the Bible and He gave us the Holy Spirit. If we set aside either of these, we will be woefully outmatched. The devil will always aim for the part of our life we haven’t fortified.
Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour. – 1 Peter 5:8 NLT
Here are five critical things we must do to stand firm in temptation and come out victoriously:
Know God’s Word and His character so you can recognize what displeases Him.
Consistent and meaningful study of the Bible is critical if we want to be prepared for battle. There will always be messages around us that go against what God says in His word. If we don’t regularly feast on the truth of the Bible, we will be easily swayed by the lies of the world. When that happens, the lines get blurred and we start to tolerate what God calls sin.
“Sanctify them by the truth; Your word is truth.” – John 17:17 CSB
Don’t compromise. Repent immediately.
If you crack open the door of temptation, the devil will kick it down. Downfall begins with a “little lie” or a “harmless flirtation” or “just one drink.” When you are tempted, resist! Immediate assistance is available. Find the way out that God has provided and take it! (1 Corinthians 10:13) And if you slip, repent immediately. Don’t let the devil pull you down further.
Don’t you realize that sin is like a little yeast that spreads through the whole batch of dough? – 1 Corinthians 5:6 NLT
Be accountable to other people.
Have meaningful relationships with other godly people (of the same sex). Sin grows in secret. If there is an area of your life that you keep hidden from others, that’s where the devil will attack.
As iron sharpens iron, so a friend sharpens a friend. – Proverbs 27:17 NLT
Don’t ignore the prompting of the Holy Spirit.
God will not allow you to venture into sin without warning you to stop. Your “guilty conscience” is a guardrail placed there by God. Unfortunately, if you continually ignore it you will end up not recognizing it.
Do not quench [subdue or be unresponsive to the working and guidance of] the [Holy] Spirit. – 1 Thessalonians 5:19 (The Amplified Translation)
Pray continually and rebuke the enemy!
Ask God to reveal the areas in your life that need confession and correction. Ask Him to show you the way out and to give you the strength to take it. Remind yourself and your enemy that you have victory in Christ. Sin does not have the last word! (Romans 6:1-14)
Who perceives his unintentional sins? Cleanse me from my hidden faults. Moreover, keep your servant from willful sins; do not let them rule me. Then I will be blameless and cleansed from blatant rebellion. – Psalm 19:12-13 CSB
We all struggle with temptation and have the potential to fall into sin, but we can stand firm in temptation if we arm ourselves for battle. And when we see a high-profile Christian leader fall, we can be reminded that our focus should be on the God of the gospel message, not on the person delivering it. God’s Word is always good, even if the messenger is flawed. (Philippians 1:18) His Word will always accomplish what He intends it to.
It is the same with My word. I send it out, and it always produces fruit. It will accomplish all I want it to, and it will prosper everywhere I send it. – Isaiah 55:11 NLT