Peace, grace, and mercy to you all from the Lord Jesus Christ.
For those of you seeking to strengthen your faith by turning your back on worldly temptation, I am writing to you today with a simple 3-step system you can use in order to stop these distractions dead in their tracks.
As you will see, each step of this system is clearly outlined in Scripture as a perfect remedy for putting on the armor of God against the attacks of the Enemy, whose sole purpose is to keep you from knowing Christ. Remember, the Devil does not need worship to win; he only needs you not to worship God.
If the Enemy can diminish your focus on God by getting you to place it on the mindless accumulation of wealth, occultism, or indulgence in casual sex, that’s just as much a victory for him as getting you to draw pentagrams on your walls. Thus, today’s article will describe how to catch these attacks when they’re occurring–and stop them before you find yourself indulging in sin.
Remember as you read this article that the Enemy knows your particular and personal buttons for what is most likely to lead you astray. He has been around much longer than humanity; as such, he is already familiar with our most powerful weaknesses and failings.
Even more insidiously, he and his minions are intimately familiar with the individual failings and weaknesses of every single man and woman on this Earth–and just like a good conman, he knows exactly how to present himself and his offerings in order to best entice you by way of those weaknesses.
Before I continue, I would like to point out that I am aware some people like to read articles like this and immediately look for flaws in the writer, as a way of “disproving” the truth of what he is saying. So let me spare you the time and energy; I am an imperfect man and would never claim otherwise.
But having turned my back on worldliness to seek a relationship with God, I have discovered tremendously powerful ways to catch these flaws in action before they can turn into sinful behavior.
So with the caveat that I am not successful with them 100% of the time (nor should true perfection ever realistically be expected), I would now like to share with you some simple and Scriptural tools which will help you succeed in your efforts more often than not.
1. Recognize When You Are Feeling Compelled To Sin
We read in James 1:14 that “Every man is tempted when he is drawn away of his own desires, and enticed.”
Thus, we can see the Apostle James (the brother of Jesus) explaining that sin begins in your own mind and heart, before it ever expresses itself as the outward behavior. When we allow ourselves to fan the flames of desire, whether it’s the desire for a fancier car than our neighbor or the desire to sexually possess an attractive woman, we are being “enticed” and will soon be “drawn away” unless we learn how to reverse the process.
Thus, the first step in this system is to catch the desire beginning to burn in your own heart and your own mind. This can take two forms; you will either catch yourself thinking “I really want that,” or feeling the pull of compulsion to possess.
Regardless of whether you first become aware of your own desire via your thoughts or your feelings, you must first catch your own lower instincts in the process of their beginning to take hold of you. The contents of your heart and mind matter just as much as your outwards behavior; this is why our Lord said in the book of Matthew that, “whoever looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart.”
Once you have recognized the desire to possess a worldly thing, you can then stop that desire from boiling over by moving on to second step in the process.
2. Pray For Deliverance From The Desire
One of the most important steps on the path toward Christian development, and something I mentioned in my article on celibacy, was the realization that human beings are quite powerless against the dark spirits of the world. They are older than us, they are stronger than us, and we are relatively helpless to fight against their influence without wearing the armor of God.
Fortunately, this armor is available to every believer and can effectively shield you from their attacks. This is why we read in 1 John 4:4 that, “he who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.”
Recall that God gave Jesus authority over all creation–and that creation includes all the angels and demons which constantly surround us. They are all powerless against His name and against His authority.
Therefore, once you have caught a worldly desire beginning to burn in your mind or heart, the next step is that you must begin to sincerely pray for assistance. Jesus demonstrates how to pray in the Sermon On The Mount in the Book of Matthew, by invoking God’s aid and saying “YOUR WILL BE DONE.”
This is a theme Jesus demonstrates again in the Book of Luke when he prays, “Father, if you are willing, take this cup of suffering from me; yet not my will, but yours be done.”
The key takeaway here is that our desires come from our will and our base and lower instincts; these are in strict opposition to the Holy Will of God the Father in Heaven. Jesus prays as He does because He knows that He cannot overcome the suffering of earthly life by His own will and power; He must invoke God’s aid and beg for God’s will to supersede His own.
Two pillars hold up the prayers of Christ: that of humility and that of submission. He has the humility to recognize His own relative powerlessness compared to that of God, and He is willing to submit His own will in order to live by God’s instead.
This is how you should also pray; by first recognizing a sinful compulsion, and then immediately invoking God’s aid in overcoming it before it can take hold in you and cause you to act on it. Be humble enough not to try and “bulldoze” your way through it of your own will; this is like being a “dry drunk” whose moment-to-moment existence is nothing but struggle.
If you try that, you will likely find the same compulsion expressing itself again soon afterward. It may be for the same desire, or that pent-up energy may seek to express itself by way of a different sinful outlet, instead.
Either way, you must have the humility and submissiveness to pray for God’s help in squashing the desire and restoring your heart and mind to the pure state which He desires them to be in.
3. You Must Believe God Has Heard Your Call
Prayer without faith is like rock music without a guitar solo; the structure is there, but the soul is not. Thus, the importance of genuine faith cannot be overestimated.
In the Book of Mark, Jesus explains that not only is faith in God’s power necessary for prayer to work, but He even gives us actionable instructions on how we can use this information for our greatest spiritual benefit. We read the following in Chapter 11, Verse 24.
“Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.”
While many New Age deceivers like to take this line out of context, it’s important to remember that Jesus is talking about praying for spiritual victory—not a fancy new car. He’s also constantly asking that His prayers be answered if it’s God’s will.
With this one powerful line, Jesus gives us the instruction that our faith in God should be so absolute that we must believe God has heard us; that we must believe God has answered; and that our request will then materialize as a result.
As gratitude to God is an important tenet of this path, it then follows that we must thank God for providing the answer to our prayer–even before it has materialized–having full faith in the fact that it will. There is no room for doubt.
“I hope this works” is not faith. “I guess I’ll try this” is not faith. Faith is “Thank you, Father, for giving me the power to overcome these demons and impulses.”
To recap, the 3-step process is therefore:
- Recognize when sin takes root in your heart or mind
- Immediately pray in the name of Jesus Christ for the spiritual armor to fend off the attack
- Profusely thank God for answering your call and providing you with the solution.
It’s not easy at first to have such absolute faith…but the more often you see the results, the faster this process will move from faith to knowledge and become a core practice in your spiritual life.
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