Guarded By Faith

Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am being tempted by God,” for God cannot be tempted with evil, and he himself tempts no one. But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire. Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death.

– James 1:13-15

This morning our pastor taught out of James and it reminded me again that our sin is not rooted in what we do, but in what we desire. That before a sinful outward act occurs, there in an inward rebellion to the things of God. A choosing within to pursue the things of this world over the things of God.

Our temptations to sin take place on the battlefield of our thoughts and affections, not in the will power to restrain our hands. Yes, we should practice restraint and physically remove ourselves from places, people, and possessions that pull at our weak points. The physical restraint can help us in the fight, but it is a change in desires that will win the war with our sin. When I think on this, it always brings my mind to Ephesians 6, and the shield of faith.

In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one – Ephesians 6:16

I find it interesting that there is this connection between temptations attacking our desires, and faith being able to extinguish the temptations from our enemy. I believe these are connected in the idea that the one who is born again, who has faith, is able to defend against temptations by both believing in and experiencing God as a superior satisfaction than sin.

Believers are able to snuff out the darts of the evil one by trusting in the warnings God has made about sin, and trusting in the promises God has made to us. And those promises and warnings are found in his word. So, if you expect to fight sin without being in the word of God, under the teaching of the word of God, and in prayer for help to the one who wrote the word of God, you are fighting an uphill battle.

Get in God's word and continually remind yourself, "The joy of the Lord is my strength. Being in his presence is more rewarding, satisfying, and enduring than the cheap fading lie this sin offers." 

Find a verse that connects directly to your struggle, memorize it, and recall it when you feel your desires slipping. If you are not sure where to start, I suggest Psalm 1. When I finally took my fight against sin seriously, I memorized it and would recite to myself many times a day.

Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers;
but his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night.
 
He is like a tree planted by streams of water that yields its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither.In all that he does, he prospers.
 
The wicked are not so, but are like chaff that the wind drives away.
Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous;
for the Lord knows the way of the righteous, but the way of the wicked will perish.

I hope and pray our delight grows more and more in God and his word, and it begins to sever our desires for sin. The new born’s cry of the new birth in faith, is a battle cry against sin! So get in the battle and fight!