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Spiritual Battle


I’ve been struggling with a particular sin. I want to know why I feel so weak to temptation, even when I call to Jesus in prayer. Is it because I’m not relying on my own strength to resist? Or is it because it’s a spiritual battle, and I have to fight it with spiritual things?

Steve Answers:

Sin, temptation, and prayer are definitely ingredients for a spiritual battle. And you’ve already been utilizing the great spiritual weapon of prayer.

Before we look at a text about spiritual warfare, let’s first consider a text about temptation. Notice the progression in this sequence: "God is never tempted to do wrong, and

he never tempts anyone else either. Temptation comes from the lure of our own evil desires. These evil desires lead to evil actions, and evil actions lead to death" (James 1:13-16, NLT).*

If you rely on your own strength to resist temptation, you’ll lose every time. Because we have a sinful nature that feels right at home with temptation, I still think it’s a good idea to physically walk or even run away from temptations–as Joseph ran away from Potiphar’s wife (Genesis 39:12).

Paul wrote, "When you follow the desires of your sinful nature, your lives will produce these evil results: sexual immorality, . . . idolatry, participation in demonic activities, hostility, quarreling, jealousy, outbursts of anger, selfish ambition, divisions, the feeling that everyone is wrong except those in your own little group, envy, drunkenness, wild parties, and other kinds of sin. Let me tell you again, as I have before, that anyone living that sort of life will not inherit the Kingdom of God" (Galatians 5:19-21, NLT).

When you continue reading this passage, there’s some good news: "But when the Holy Spirit controls our lives, he will produce this kind of fruit in us: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Here there is no conflict with the law. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have nailed the passions and desires of their sinful nature to his cross and crucified them there" (verses 22-25, NLT).

When I face temptation, I need God’s power to overcome it. But I also need God to change my desires, since I naturally want what the temptation offers me. So my prayer is for power from God to overcome temptation and to change me.

My youth pastor friend Brett Hadley shares with young people that sin is SAD–seductive, addictive, destructive. Sin seduces us by luring us into what it offers. Next it becomes addictive–instead of sin chasing you, you begin to chase it. And finally sin destroys you. If not now, it’ll eternally destroy you.

You mentioned that you’ve been praying. Right on! Check out Ephesians 6:10-18 for more spiritual weapons to use in battle, such as truth, God’s righteousness, peace, the gospel, faith, salvation, Scripture, and persistent praying. Why not utilize all the weapons God’s provided for you? 

*Scripture quotations marked NLT are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Wheaton, Illinois 60189. All rights reserved.

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