As Christians, we’re engaged in a war being waged all day, every day in different ways. Ephesians 3:19 says our goal is to become wholly filled with God Himself. Meanwhile, Satan’s goal is to fill us with his wickedness, because he can’t function without finding somebody he can work through.
Obviously, God “tempts” us to love people and treat them right, while Satan tempts us to do things that separate us from God and hurt other people. The question is, whose “temptation” are we going to take?
We need to pay close attention to the temptations we face in our daily life, because whatever we yield to repeatedly, we become a slave to—good or bad. The apostles called themselves “bond slaves of the Lord Jesus Christ,” which means they wanted to yield to His every “temptation” or leading. It should be our goal to do the same.
Rising Above Human Nature
Galatians 5:16 gives us some practical advice on facing temptations: “But I say, walk and live [habitually] in the [Holy] Spirit [responsive to and controlled and guided by the Spirit]; then you will certainly not gratify the cravings and desires of the flesh (of human nature without God)” (AMP).
If you get up every day and fill your mind with the Word and all kinds of wonderful thoughts and plans about how you can be a blessing to people, then the devil has no opportunity to come in. But one thing I’ve learned is that we have to do that on purpose.
Have you ever noticed that you don’t ever have to try to be selfish or impatient? It’s human nature to act that way. But as soon as you take that step to do the right thing, God links up with you and gives you the strength you need to do it.
When we’re sensitive to the Holy Spirit, we’re tempted, or led, to do good—to give a gift or a smile or a word of encouragement to someone that could be life-changing. So when God “tempts” you to do those things, don’t let the devil steal that desire. Don’t let him reason with you and talk you out of doing what God puts on your heart to do.
What to Do When Times Get Hard
During difficult times, we can easily give in to the temptation to feel sorry for ourselves. But if we’re going to glorify God, we need to learn to remain stable in good times and bad.
Habakkuk 3:19 tells us that God is our strength, our bravery and our invincible army who helps us make spiritual progress during our “high places” of trouble, suffering and responsibility. I believe they’re called “high places” because they require us to lean on God like never before. They are times in which we have a distinct opportunity to prove that He is alive and well and working in our lives.
In fact, we are more than conquerors in Christ. We can stand up to every temptation the enemy throws our way and come out victorious on the other side.
Don’t pray for difficulties not to come. Pray that when they do come, you won’t fall for Satan’s lies, because God is able to help you and He is on your side.
Leaning on God Is the Only Way
Whether you’re a new believer or you’ve been walking with God for a lifetime, you have your own personal issues to deal with. But in Christ, you’re free from guilt and condemnation—and you never have to face your struggles alone.
Think like this: I have a heart for God. I get up every day with a desire to do what’s right, and I’m trusting God to keep working with me so I can glorify Him in my life.
As long as you’re on that path, then you are living out Galatians 5:16—guided by the Holy Spirit and responding to Him instead of the temptation of the enemy.
Joyce Meyer is a New York Times best-selling author and founder of Joyce Meyer Ministries, Inc. She has authored nearly 100 books, including Battlefield of the Mind and Do Yourself a Favor ... Forgive (Hachette). She hosts the Enjoying Everyday Life radio and TV programs. For more information, visit joycemeyer.org. To read past columns in Charisma by Joyce, visit charismamag.com/meyer.