Here it comes again. That same old temptation is back to try to take you down, to pull you away from God, to fill you with depression, condemnation and especially a guilty conscience. Remember, as I heard a preacher say years ago, ‘Sin is not the problem. Sin is the answer. But it’s the wrong answer.’ You see you may have an itch and you want to scratch it, but you need to see if your answer to that itch is God’s answer. Or else you may be falling into a trap.
Satan doesn’t parade answers to your itch in front of you to help you. He doesn’t tempt you because he likes you. He’s trying to kill you.
In John 14:30 Jesus said about Satan, ‘he has nothing in Me.’ You could say it another way, ‘He’s got no hooks in me.’ He tries but he is not successful in tempting me. There is nothing left in me to tempt me with.
1Peter 4:1 “Therefore, since Christ suffered for us in the flesh, arm yourselves also with the same mind, for he who has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin”.
Can you imagine being done with temptation? Being in a place where Satan has no hooks in you? Being literally unresponsive to the temptations paraded before you to get you to fall? Can you imagine that? Most likely your flesh can’t imagine that. Your flesh still wants to have its own way. But this verse in 1Peter 4 says that he who has suffered in the flesh is ceased from sin. Does that mean if you’ve been persecuted with bodily harm for the Gospel that you have an immunity to being tempted? It could mean that. (Stick with me, I’ll unpack that.)
So there are two kinds of suffering in the flesh to discuss then: there’s the persecution where someone has received bodily harm and there’s the kind where we cause our own flesh to suffer through fasting, denying the flesh its appetite. Paul talks about putting the flesh under. He talks about beating it and making it his slave.
We can be ruled by the demands of the flesh, the itch that screams at us, the desire that tries to pull us off. Or we can rule over the flesh, put it under, make it obey us. But fleeing something is not as good as pursuing something. Often times when trying to avoid temptation people try to ‘turn off the darkness’ instead of ‘turning on the light’.
What do you desire? If its godly, pursue it. If its not godly, not only should you not pursue it but you should change your desires. Set your heart on something good instead of something negative. Most often you will pursue what you desire. If you pursue godly desires, temptation is no where in sight. Instead of turning off the darkness, turn on the light of good godly desires. Set your affections on things that God wants. Desire them. Desire them strongly. Now pursue them. That’s turning on the light.