“Put on salvation as your helmet, and take the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.” ~ Ephesians 6:17 (NLT)
After Jesus was baptized by his cousin, John the Baptist, He spent 40 days and nights in the wilderness and was tempted by the devil. With every temptation that Satan hurled at Jesus, Jesus responded with Scripture. (Matthew 4:1-11 NKLV)
When we find ourselves being tempted, we often try to fight the enemy with our own strength, rather than making use of the weapons that God has provided. A few months ago, I did just that.
After a visit with my doctor, I had to stop at the pharmacy to fill my prescription. As I was driving, the enemy whispered in my ear, “Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups.” (Really, he did!) There was no delay in Satan’s efforts to help me rationalize why it would be okay for me to get and eat the candy:
“You missed lunch today to go see the doctor. You shouldn’t take your medicine on an empty stomach.”
“Just eat and enjoy! Tomorrow is a new day. You can start your healthy eating then.”
I reminded myself that I didn’t change my mind about wanting to live a healthier life and, by the time I pulled into the parking lot, I was steadfast that I did not want, or need, Reese’s Peanut Butter cups. I was quite pleased with myself that I had fought off the devil with my own willpower!
I walked back to the pharmacy in the rear of the store and filled my prescription. On my way back out, I saw a table marked “75% off,” so I stopped to see what it was.
Do I even need to tell you what was in that bin? It was Easter clearance, including bags of Reese’s Peanut Butter cups, wrapped in pretty pastel foil! On one hand, I couldn’t believe it; on the other, I wasn’t the least bit surprised!
I would love to tell you that this is a story of victory, that I put the bag down and walked out of the store, but, that isn’t what happened. With bag in hand, the enemy’s voice became louder.
“The pharmacist specifically told you not to take your medicine on an empty stomach.”
“It’s only $1.25! How can you pass that up?”
As I was at the check-out, paying for the candy, I already felt defeated. I returned to my car and drove back to work. That was around 2pm. By 5pm the candy was gone. In addition to an earache, I was now nauseous and ashamed.
When I got home from work, I crashed from the sugar high and fell asleep on the couch. I woke up two hours later, still completely disgusted with my lack of self-control, but realizing exactly where I went wrong.
The issue wasn’t that I let the enemy get inside my head; it’s that I engaged him in a battle of wits from my own strength. The minute Satan put the temptation in my mind; I should have immediately resisted him. (James 4:7 NKJV)
Instead of debating with the devil, I should have followed the example of Jesus.
For the longest time, I couldn’t understand the importance of memorizing Scripture. I thought it was enough to just read and meditate on it. I have since learned that those memorized verses are what fill your arsenal so you are always ready to stand your ground when the enemy attacks.
The devil was bold enough to tempt Jesus. Surely, he knows our weaknesses and will continue to tempt you and me for the remainder of our earthly life.
My weakness is sugar addiction. For others it may be shopping, gambling, drinking or loneliness. Whatever it is, don’t leave yourself vulnerable to his attacks.
Arm yourself with the sword of the Spirit…The Word of God. Study it, meditate on it, memorize it and be victorious!