It does no good to make a list of temptations. There are myriads. I think that might be what Paul was thinking when he wrote Ephesians 6:11. It says, “Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.” Wiles means schemings or strategies.
Our defense starts with a heart-felt acknowledgment of where we are weak. We are well equipped through God’s word to handle any wily temptation. Yet, if we know that we are prone to a particular temptation, we need to fortify our faith in that area.
1 Corinthians 10:13 says, “No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to man; but God is faithful…” Another way to say this is that we are not the only ones who have ever been tempted. Remember Eve. From there we could take many characters in the Bible and point out a temptation that they faced and conquered or were conquered by them.
We are not alone. It is essential to remember that Jesus understands our temptations. He went through them. Hebrews 4:15 says, “…but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin.” Let’s make this really clear. We do not have to sin.
Romans 6:1-2 says, “What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound? Certainly not! How shall we who died to sin live any longer in it?” Verse 11 is our key. It says, “…reckon yourselves to be dead indeed to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
Dead things have no ability to respond to any stimulus. That is how we can be to the devil’s temptations when we stand in God’s word. Ephesians 6:13 says, “Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.”
That ‘evil day’ is any time that the enemy of your soul has set his wily trap for you. Romans 12:2 J. B. Phillips says, “Don’t let the world around you squeeze you into its own mould, but let God re-mould your minds from within, so that you may prove in practice that the plan of God for you is good, meets all His demands and moves towards the goal of true maturity.”
1 John 1:6 says, “If we say that we have fellowship with Him, and walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth.” Psalm 119:3 says, “They also do no iniquity; they walk in His ways.” When we fall for satan’s temptation, we have veered off God’s path, and iniquity is the fruit. Verse 4 says, “You have commanded us to keep Your precepts diligently.” Are you keeping them?
1 John 2:3 says, “Now by this we know that we know Him, if we keep His commandments.” Here is the key to our spiritual growth. Verse 5 says, “But whoever keeps His word, truly the love of God is perfected in him. By this we know that we are in Him.” To ‘keep’ His word means to hide it in our heart so that it is a ready arrow in our hand. Think of David. He had the stone ready. God’s hidden word is our stone to slay the giant that opposes God’s will through satan’s wily temptation.
To ‘know’ God’s word also means that we are living it out experientially. Ephesians 3:19 Amplified says, “(That you may really come) to know (practically, through experience for yourselves) the love of Christ, which far surpasses mere knowledge (without experience); that you may be filled (through all your being) unto all the fullness of God (may have the richest measure of the divine Presence, and become a body wholly filled and flooded with God Himself)!”
It is the truth that we read, observe, and apply it to our daily lives that works to set us free. It is never the print on the page. It is the living word that makes our spirit thrive. Jesus is that word that dwells within us. It is only through His word that we can know Him intimately. It is Heart-to-heart communion.