Latching On to God’s Promises
Shortly before His death, Jesus pleaded with His Father on behalf of His followers, “Make them pure and holy by teaching them your words of truth” (John 17:17). Our loving God has given us a tool for our spiritual well-being: His written Word, which is “full of living power” (Hebrews 4:12).
This was a tool used by Jesus Himself when He was tempted in the wilderness. For forty days Jesus fasted, and during this time Satan tempted Him to turn stones into bread, to jump off a high point of the temple, and to receive the whole world in exchange for bowing to Satan. Each time, Jesus countered the Devil’s temptation with a scriptural quotation. The Devil was silenced at the last (see Matthew 4:1-11).
The Bible is a multipurpose tool. It “is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It straightens us out and teaches us to do what is right. It is God’s way of preparing us in every way, fully equipped for every good thing God wants us to do” (2 Timothy 3:16-17).
The Word of God, or the Bible, is called a “sword” in Ephesians 6:17. We would be foolish not to take up this weapon in our battle against sin. We can use the truths of Scripture against sin when we read them or recall them from memory to remind ourselves that, through Christ, we can have victory over sin.
These are just a few of the Bible’s powerful messages about freedom from sin:
- “The power of the life-giving Spirit has freed you through Christ Jesus from the power of sin that leads to death” (Romans 8:2).
- “Your sins have been washed away, and you have been set apart for God” (1 Corinthians 6:11).
- “You are a new person, created in God’s likeness—righteous, holy, and true” (Ephesians 4:24).
Does one of these verses give you courage for your struggle against sin? Or can you think of an encouraging verse related to your particular sin problem.¹ Commit one or more verses to memory and then recall them when you need a reminder that you need not give in to temptation. Let them permeate your thought life and your prayer life.
Bible promises are not mantras. They are not magic spells. But they are powerful, Holy Spirit–inspired truths that God can use to change us inside as we allow their meaning to permeate our being. He has promised to make us holy—and He fulfills His promises!
Solomon urged, “Do not … follow the path of evildoers. Avoid their haunts. Turn away and go somewhere else” (Proverbs 4:14-15). He was saying we need to take steps to keep away from temptation to do wrong, just like I (Bill) have refused to be alone with any woman besides Vonette.
Why not make avoiding sin as easy as possible? If you sometimes overindulge in alcohol, get rid of the liquor bottles in your house. If you are tempted to click your way to immoral websites, install filtering software on your computer. If you keep thinking about embezzling from the accounting department where you work, request a job transfer. If another person seems to always get you started gossiping, tell that person you will have to stop talking to him or her. If you dabble in the occult, throw out your tarot cards.
It is a matter of being practical. Whatever the temptation is for you, be aggressive in cutting yourself off from its influence as much as possible. Be bold! Act now!
One way that all of us can safeguard ourselves from sin, regardless of our moral weak spots, is by seeking help from our fellow believers. The Christian life is not something we were meant to do on our own. Let other trusted Christians into your life through participating in a small group or finding an accountability partner who will check up on your progress toward holiness. Bring the power of other people’s prayers and wisdom to bear on your sin problem.
Of course, even if you establish every possible safeguard, you will still sometimes be tempted. That’s because temptation is essentially a crisis of the spirit, and you can never entirely hedge your spirit from wicked influences. But having temptation tap you on the shoulder and try to get you to turn around is a lot different from what happens when you are already facing in the direction of the sin that most tempts you. Prayerfully consider how to establish every safeguard against temptation that you can.
¹See chapters in part two for verses related to specific sins.