Today, that old serpent the Devil still attacks on the same two fronts he used to attack Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden: the truth of God’s Word (Gen. 3:4) and the goodness of God’s person (Gen. 3:1b, 5). And yet they are both one attack; to cast doubt on God’s Word is to cast doubt on His character.
Although you may never experience Satan personally tempting you – he probably has more important people to tempt – each of us has a little Satan inside us that lies to us: our sinful nature. It tries to deceive us just like Satan deceived Eve.
And if you want to resist Satan’s attacks, you must fight back on both fronts, not just one. How can you do this?
You must know God’s Word and you must trust God’s goodness. Your relationship with the Bible means life or death for you. Did you read and meditate in your Bible this morning? Do you know what it says – exactly what it says? Do you trust God’s Word? Do you trust God to be good and loving and faithful? If not, beware – your fall into sin and shame is surely coming.
Because I need to remember these things, and I’m sure you do as well, I’ve written a five-step plan using the acronym F.I.G.H.T. for you to remember and use in resisting temptation and fighting sin. You must plan ahead if you want to resist temptation; if you wait until the moment of temptation, it will be too late.
1. Find the lie.
Your flesh is lying to you somehow, making you doubt God’s character and/or His Word. Look into your heart, motives, and find out the lie your flesh is telling you – “God is not good, or He’d let you do this.” “This sin will bring you greater pleasure than obedience to God.”
2. Identify a promise in the Bible.
Find one that specifically addresses and refutes the lie. One of my favourites is Psalm 16:11: “Thou wilt shew me the path of life: in thy presence is fulness of joy; at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore.”
3. Go to God in prayer with the lie and the promise, asking for His help.
You need God’s strength; you cannot do this on your own – to try to do this by yourself is to commit the sin of self-reliance!
4. Hide the promise in your heart and carry it with you everywhere.
Memorize it and meditate upon it and believe it. Eve failed because she didn’t know God’s Word well – know the promise you’ve chosen better than Eve did!
5. Trust and obey the promise when the lie comes.
That is, act as if the promise is true, and not the lie. Then do this over and over and over again.
You will never be out of danger; the serpent of your flesh is always ready to slither beside you and whisper sweet lies in your ear. You must always hold the sword of God’s Word in your hand to fight the slimy snake of doubt in God’s Word and God’s person. If you do this, you will live – and you must do this to live! (Rom. 8:13)
So trust God with all your might; know His Word accurately and deeply; walk daily in submission to His Word. The old, simple hymn says it best: “There’s no other way to be happy in Jesus than to trust and obey.”