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The Bible first mentions Laban in Genesis 24:29. Laban was the brother of Isaac’s wife, Rebekah. Abraham had sent his trusted servant back to his home country to find a wife for Isaac among his relatives (Genesis 24:2–4). When the servant found Rebekah, he made the purpose of his visit known, and she ran and told her father’s household the news. Her brother Laban came out to welcome the servant and invited him to stay with them.

Laban was involved in the decision to allow his sister to travel to a foreign land and marry a man she had never met (Genesis 24:50, 55). Laban may have been the eldest son in his family, as the Bible records specifically that he played the role of host to Abraham’s servant and had the right to voice an opinion on his sister’s future (Genesis 24:29, 50, 55).

We hear nothing more of Laban until many years later when Isaac and Rebekah send their son Jacob back to those same relatives to find a wife (Genesis 28:1–2). Jacob returned to his mother’s homeland and met Laban’s daughter Rachel, with whom he fell madly in love (Genesis 29:18). Laban promised to give Rachel to Jacob if he would work for him for seven years (Genesis 29:19–20).

However, Laban proved to be as duplicitous as Jacob himself. After Jacob had served the time agreed upon, Laban tricked Jacob and switched brides on the wedding night. When Jacob awoke the next morning, he found he had spent the night with Laban’s older daughter, Leah (Genesis 29:25). Infuriated, Jacob demanded an explanation. Laban replied, “It is not our custom here to give the younger daughter in marriage before the older one. Finish this daughter’s bridal week; then we will give you the younger one also, in return for another seven years of work” (Genesis 29:26–27).

Laban continued to connive throughout his and Jacob’s twenty-year relationship (Genesis 31:38). However, God blessed Jacob because Jacob was His choice to carry on the covenant He had made with his grandfather Abraham (Genesis 28:11–15). Genesis 31:1–3 indicates that Laban’s sons were jealous of Jacob because of how much God had prospered him. They said, “‘Jacob has taken everything our father owned and has gained all this wealth from what belonged to our father.’ And Jacob noticed that Laban’s attitude toward him was not what it had been. Then the Lord said to Jacob, ‘Go back to the land of your fathers and to your relatives, and I will be with you.’”

Fearful that Laban would take his wives, children, and everything he had, Jacob fled in the night, taking what he owned. However, unbeknownst to Jacob, Rachel had stolen her father’s household idols (Genesis 31:19, 34). When Laban learned of the departure of Jacob and his family, he pursued them. He caught up with them, and he rebuked Jacob for sneaking off. Then the idolater Laban demanded the return of his pagan images. But Jacob knew nothing of Rachel’s theft, and he scolded Laban for accusing him. Laban never found his idols.

The last mention of Laban in the Bible is after he had rebuked Jacob for disappearing without notice. After their exchange of angry words, Laban suggested that they make a covenant (Genesis 31:44). This overture appears to have been motivated by fear that Jacob might return to harm him (verse 52). Although there is no indication that Laban worshiped the Lord, he did hold a healthy fear of Him and invoked the name of Jacob’s God in forming the covenant between them (Genesis 31:49–50). Laban and his son-in-law shared a meal, and then Laban kissed his children and grandchildren and returned home.

After Laban said good-bye, Jacob and his family were free to continue their journey to the land God had given them. Whether he knew it or not, Laban played a large part in God’s plan for humanity, as his grandsons would grow up to head six of the twelve tribes known as Israel (Genesis 49:28; Revelation 21:12).

I ask as each of us enter into our Nations’ Independence Day celebration and listen to this artists rendition of “Amazing Grace,” that you will be moved to pray for God’s renewed grace upon our lives and our Nation.

May the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob bless each of us and may His face once again shine upon these United States of America. May He bless and restore us.

“May our Chains be Broken – Let Us be Set Free!”

Rebekah in the Bible was the wife of Isaac and mother of Jacob and Esau. We first meet Rebekah in Genesis 24:15, where she is identified as “the daughter of Bethuel son of Milkah, who was the wife of Abraham’s brother Nahor.” This would have made Rebekah a great-niece to Abraham and second cousin to Isaac.

Abraham had been looking for a wife for his son, Isaac, but he was unwilling for Isaac to marry a Canaanite—Abraham and his family were living in Canaan at the time. So Abraham sent his servant to his own kinsmen, to the city of Nahor, to find a wife for Isaac. The servant came to a well and prayed that God would give him success in this mission. Specifically, he prayed that whichever young woman provided water for him and his camels would be God’s choice to be Isaac’s wife. As the servant was praying, along came a beautiful young virgin named Rebekah, who not only gave the servant a drink but also watered his camels, providing the sign to Abraham’s servant that she was the appointed bride (Genesis 24:10–28).

Everything was settled peaceably between Abraham’s servant and Rebekah’s father—and her brother, Laban—and the servant took Rebekah back to Isaac. Isaac and Rebekah were married (Genesis 24:67), but for many years Rebekah could not have children. Isaac prayed for his wife; the Lord answered his prayer, and Rebekah became pregnant (Genesis 25:21). Rebekah became the mother of Jacob and Esau, the first twins mentioned in the Bible (Genesis 25:22–24). From these twins came two conflicted nations. God gave Rebekah a prophecy during her pregnancy. She had noticed that the twins were struggling against one another in her womb, and she asked the Lord why they were fighting. The Lord told her that two nations were in her womb and that those nations would be at odds with one another (Genesis 25:22–23). This prophecy came true. Jacob, whose name was later changed to Israel (Genesis 32:28), became the father of the twelve tribes of Israel. Esau became the father of the Edomites, who warred against Israel for ages and were finally wiped out (Obadiah 1:1—21).

Esau was born first, and he was Isaac’s favorite son (Genesis 25:28). The younger Jacob was Rebekah’s favorite. As the firstborn, Esau was due the birthright, but Rebekah helped Jacob deceive Isaac so that the blessing would fall to the younger son instead of to the elder (Genesis 27:1–40).

When Esau discovered Jacob and Rebekah’s deceit, he planned to kill Jacob. Rebekah devised a plan to help save her favorite son, but it again involved deceiving her husband, Isaac. Rebekah made up an excuse to send Jacob to her brother, Laban, to look for a wife for himself (Genesis 27:41–46). Deceit was apparently a family trait.

Rebekah’s marriage to Isaac was the result of God’s providence, her pregnancy was an answer to prayer, and the lives of her sons fulfilled prophecy. Rebekah’s choice to lie and deceive her husband is an example of how wrongdoing in human beings does not thwart the plans of God and how God can ultimately bring about His will, through His mercy and wisdom, despite our sin (see Genesis 50:20).

The Bible speaks very clearly about the relationship between the believer and the government. We are to obey governmental authorities, and the government is to treat us justly and fairly. Even when the government does not live up to its role, we are still to live up to ours. Finally, when the government asks us to do something that is in direct disobedience to God’s Word, we are to disobey the government in faithful confidence of the Lord’s power to protect us.Whether the Bible uses the terms “master,” “ruler,” “government,” or any other name for an established authority, the instruction is always the same – obey. We must remember that God created the authorities ruling over us just as He created us. As Paul wrote to the Romans, “Everyone must submit himself to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. Consequently, he who rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves” (Romans 13:1-2). Peter wrote, “Submit yourselves for the Lord’s sake to every authority instituted among men: whether to the king, as the supreme authority, or to governors, who are sent by him to punish those who do wrong and to commend those who do right” (1 Peter 2:13-14). Both Peter and Paul also remind slaves repeatedly to be obedient to their masters for the same reasons (Ephesians 6:5-8; Colossians 3:22-25; 1 Timothy 6:1-2; 1 Peter 2:18-20; Titus 2:9-11).The instructions to government “masters” are just as clear and just as numerous. Jesus modeled the behavior and attitude every leader or authority should take. “Jesus called them together and said, ‘You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them. Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be your slave – just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many’” (Matthew 20:25-28). A government or authority exists to serve those governed.

Many times, however, a government will stray from its purpose and become oppressive. When that happens, we are still to live in obedience. “Slaves, submit yourselves to your masters with all respect, not only to those who are good and considerate, but also to those who are harsh. For it is commendable if a man bears up under the pain of unjust suffering because he is conscious of God” (1 Peter 2:18-19). Both Jesus and Paul used taxes as a way to illustrate this. The Roman government taxed the Jews unjustly and many of the tax collectors were thieves. When asked about this dilemma, Jesus took a coin and said, “‘Whose portrait is this? And whose inscription?’ ‘Caesar’s,’ they replied. Then he said to them, ‘Give to Caesar what is Caesar’s, and to God what is God’s’” (Matthew 22:20-21). Evidently, the believers in Rome were still asking the same question because Paul instructed them on the matter. “This is also why you pay taxes, for the authorities are God’s servants, who give their full time to governing” (Romans 13:6).

In the Old Testament, Daniel is a model we should use when it comes to our relationship with government. The Babylonians were given authority over the Jews because of the Jews’ disobedience. Daniel worked himself into the highest levels of this pagan and unbelieving government. Although the rulers respected Daniel’s God, their lives and actions show they did not believe. Daniel served the king as a true servant when he requested the wise men not be executed for failing to interpret the king’s dream. Instead, he asked for the key to interpret the dream from God and saved those, including himself, who would have been executed. While Daniel was in the royal court, his three friends refused to bow to the idol erected by King Nebuchadnezzar and were sentenced to death in the furnace (Daniel 3:12-15). Their response was confident faith. They did not defend themselves, but instead told the king their God would save them, adding that even if He didn’t, they still would not worship or serve Nebuchadnezzar’s gods (Daniel 3:16-18).

After the Medes conquered Babylon, Daniel continued to serve faithfully and to rise in power within the government. Here, Daniel faced the same dilemma when the governors and satraps tricked the king into signing a decree “…that whoever petitions any god or man for thirty days, except you, O king, shall be cast into the den of lions” (Daniel 6:7). Daniel responded by directly, and in full view of everyone, disobeying the order. “Now when Daniel knew that the writing was signed, he went home. And in his upper room, with his windows open toward Jerusalem, he knelt down on his knees three times that day, and prayed and gave thanks before his God, as was his custom since early days” (Daniel 6:10). Daniel was completely loyal to any ruler placed over him until that ruler ordered him to disobey God. At that moment, when a choice had to be made between the world and God, Daniel chose God. As should we all.

 

The Bible nowhere presents an instance where lying is considered to be the right thing to do. The ninth commandment prohibits bearing false witness (Exodus 20:16). Proverbs 6:16-19 lists “a lying tongue” and “a false witness who pours out lies” as two of the seven abominations to the Lord. Love “rejoices with the truth” (1 Corinthians 13:6). For other Scriptures that speak negatively of lying, see Psalm 119:29, 163; 120:2; Proverbs 12:22; 13:5; Ephesians 4:25; Colossians 3:9; and Revelation 21:8. There are many examples of liars in Scripture, from Jacob’s deceit in Genesis 27 to the pretense of Ananias and Sapphira in Acts 5. Time after time, we see that falsehood leads to misery, loss, and judgment.

There are at least two instances in the Bible where lying produced a favorable result. For example, the lie the Hebrew midwives tell Pharaoh seems to result in the Lord’s blessing on them (Exodus 1:15-21), and it probably saved the lives of many Hebrew babies. Another example is Rahab’s lie to protect the Israelite spies in Joshua 2:5. It is important to note, however, that God never condones these lies. Despite the “positive” outcome of these lies, the Bible nowhere praises the lies themselves. The Bible nowhere states that there are instances where lying is the right thing to do. At the same time, the Bible does not declare that there is no possible instance in which lying is an acceptable option.

The question then remains: is there ever a time when lying is the right thing to do? The most common illustration of this dilemma comes from the life of Corrie ten Boom in Nazi-occupied Holland. Essentially, the story is this: Corrie ten Boom is hiding Jews in her home to protect them from the Nazis. Nazi soldiers come to her home and ask her if she knows where any Jews are hiding. What is she to do? Should she tell the truth and allow the Nazis to capture the Jews she was trying to protect? Or, should she lie and deny that she knows anything about them?

In an instance such as this, where lying may be the only possible way to prevent a horrible evil, perhaps lying would be an acceptable thing to do. Such an instance would be somewhat similar to the lies of the Hebrew midwives and Rahab. In an evil world, and in a desperate situation, it may be the right thing to commit a lesser evil, lying, in order to prevent a much greater evil. However, it must be noted that such instances are extremely rare. It is highly likely that the vast majority of people in human history have never faced a situation in which lying was the right thing to do.

 

The Bible is clear that lying is a sin and is displeasing to God. The first sin in this world involved a lie told to Eve. The Ten Commandments given to Moses includes “You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor” (Exodus 20:16).

In the early church, Ananias and Sapphira lied regarding a donation in order to make themselves look more generous than they really were. Peter’s rebuke is stern: “Ananias, why has Satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit?” God’s judgment was sterner: the couple died as a result of their sin of lying.

Colossians 3:9 says, “Do not lie to each other, since you have taken off your old self with its practices.” Lying is listed in 1 Timothy 1:9-11 as something practiced by the lawless. Furthermore, liars will be among those judged in the end (Revelation 21:8). In contrast, God never lies (Titus 1:2). He is the source of truth. “It is impossible for God to lie” (Hebrews 6:18).

Jesus called Himself the way, the truth, and the life (John 14:6), and He expects those who follow Him to be people of truth. The truth is to be expressed in love (Ephesians 4:15), offering hope to those seeking redemption from the lies of the world.

For an explanation of the instances in the Bible in which lying appears to be acceptable, please see my post on: “Is it ever right to lie?”.

Ressentir is an old French word, literally meaning “intense feeling.” In English, it is resent, and it refers to feeling pain and indignation due to injustice or insult. People may feel resentful when they are cheated on, stolen from, or lied to. Resentment is often a reaction to being insulted or having one’s errors or weaknesses exposed. Resentment can be directed at an action, a statement, or a person—often, an authority figure, such as a parent, a teacher, or God. Resentment is the cheapest and least legitimate form of anger. It is all emotion and no strength.

Resentment can be sparked by perceived unfair treatment by another person. It could be an injustice, like not getting a deserved promotion, or it could be an insult. Either way, resentment stems from a love of the things of the world and a lack of faith in God and His plan. It is legitimate to recognize unfair treatment, and even to do something about it. But it is not helpful to wallow in feelings of self-righteous anger. The Bible is not concerned with the honor of human pride. An intense emotional response to an otherwise harmless insult may show a lack of spiritual maturity and a love of self (Matthew 5:38-39). As David fled Jerusalem, he faced the curses and insults of Shimei (2 Samuel 16:5-8). Rather than respond with resentment towards Shimei—and instead of killing him, as was the king’s right (verse 9)—David chose the path of humility. His words are amazing: “If he is cursing because the LORD said to him, ‘Curse David,’ who can ask, ‘Why do you do this?’” (verse 10). David avoided feelings of resentment by viewing the situation as from the Lord.

Other times, people feel resentment when God allows or orchestrates an injustice in the course of ministry. If we’re serving God, we should be treated fairly—or so the logic goes. But then we have the example of Elijah, who faced many hardships although he was a faithful servant of the Lord (1 Kings 19:10). Not to mention Job. Jesus warned us of injustice in this fallen world: “If the world hates you, you know that it has hated Me before it hated you” (John 15:18). Knowing injustice is a fact of life should circumvent resentment in our hearts, as should keeping our eyes on the goal. Being treated unfairly is painful, but our heavenly rewards will more than compensate (Matthew 5:11-12; 6:19-21).

Another situation that can foster resentment is when we are dishonored because of personal sin. Being accused of a failing we’re innocent of is injustice. Being accused of sin we are guilty of can bring overwhelming shame and a goodly amount of denial. Sometimes the only way God can draw our attention to our sin is to expose our faults in public. As the saying goes, “He loves us too much to leave us where we are.” We may dislike what God is speaking into our lives, but resentment isn’t going to help. Instead, when our sins have found us out (Numbers 32:23), it’s vital to admit we’re wrong. Human pride is nothing compared to the true honor we receive when He sanctifies us (1 Thessalonians 5:23).

Resentment is a passive, weak emotion that has no place in the Christian life. If there is injustice, we should deal with it through prayer and godly action. If there is insult, we should concentrate on who we are in Christ and not place too much value on the cruel words of others. If we face injustice in the course of our work for God, we should accept it as to be expected. And if God allows us to be dishonored for the sake of sanctification, the best, least painful response is to repent and allow Him to work in us.

Temptation, by its very nature, feels wrong. God’s moral law is written in the heart of every human being (Romans 1:20), and when a sinful temptation is introduced, our consciences immediately sense danger. However, the temptation itself is not the sin. Jesus was tempted (Mark 1:13; Luke 4:1-13), but He never sinned (Hebrews 4:15). Sin occurs when we mishandle temptation.

There are two avenues by which we are tempted: Satan and our own sinful flesh. Acts 5 gives an example of someone tempted by Satan. Ananias and his wife, Sapphira, wanting to appear more spiritual than they really were, lied to the apostles and pretended they were giving as an offering the full price of some property they had sold. Peter confronted them: “How is it that Satan has so filled your heart that you have lied to the Holy Spirit and have kept for yourself some of the money you received for the land?”(verse 3). In this instance, Peter knew that the temptation to lie had come from Satan. Ananias and his wife both gave in to that temptation (verses 7-10). The betrayal of Jesus by Judas Iscariot is also attributed to Satan’s influence (Luke 22:3; John 13:2).

Ultimately, since Satan is the “god of this world” (2 Corinthians 4:4) and the father of lies (John 8:44), all evil originates with him. However, our own selfish nature is an ally of Satan’s. We need no prompting from Satan to entertain sinful ideas. James 1:13-14 says, “When tempted, no one should say, ‘God is tempting me.’ For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone; but each person is tempted when they are dragged away by their own evil desire and enticed.”

Even though we may desire to do good, we are all tempted. No one is above it, even someone like the apostle Paul. He shared his own struggle of flesh against spirit when he wrote in Roman 7:22-23, “For in my inner being I delight in God’s law; but I see another law at work in me, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within me.”

Temptation is not of itself sinful. It becomes sin when we allow the temptation to become action, even in our minds. Lust, for example, is sin even though it may never be acted upon (Matthew 5:28). Covetousness, pride, greed, and envy are all sins of the heart; even though they may not be apparent to anyone else, they are still sin (Romans 1:29; Mark 7:21-22). When we give in to the temptation to entertain such thoughts, they take root in our hearts and defile us (Matthew 17:19). When we yield to temptation, we replace the fruit of the Spirit with the fruit of the flesh (Ephesians 5:9; Galatians 5:19-23). And, many times, what was first entertained as a thought becomes action (see James 1:15).

The best defense against giving in to temptation is to flee at the first suggestion. Joseph is a great example of someone who did not allow temptation to become sin (Genesis 39:6-11). Although tempted to sin sexually, he did not give the temptation time to take root. He used the legs God gave him and physically fled. Rather than stay in a potentially dangerous situation and try to talk, reason, justify, explain, or otherwise weaken his resolve, Joseph took off. The temptation was not sin for him because he dealt with it in a God-honoring way. It could easily have become sin if Joseph had stayed around to try to match his wits and self-control against the power of the flesh.

Romans 13:13-14 (ESV) gives us a guideline for avoiding situations that can lead to temptation. “Let us walk properly as in the daytime, not in orgies and drunkenness, not in sexual immorality and sensuality, not in quarreling and jealousy. But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to gratify its desires.” If we determine to “make no provision for the flesh,” we will keep ourselves out of situations that may prove too tempting. When we put ourselves in situations where we know we will be tempted, we are asking for trouble. God promises to provide a “way of escape” when we are tempted (1 Corinthians 10:13), but often that way is to avoid the situation altogether. “Flee the evil desires of youth” (2 Timothy 2:22). Jesus taught us to pray, “Lead us not into temptation” (Luke 11:4), but we have a responsibility to pay attention to the direction God is leading us and avoid temptation whenever we can.

Proverbs offers men much wisdom related to avoiding the trap of sexually immoral relationships with women. However, Solomon’s greatest personal weakest was with women. He is recorded as having 700 wives and 300 concubines (1 Kings 11:3). Unfortunately, “as Solomon grew old, his wives turned his heart after other gods” (1 Kings 11:4). Solomon knew what was right. Why didn’t he follow his own advice concerning women?

Many explanations have been offered, though the Bible does not specifically give the answer. It should be mentioned that Solomon’s father, David, also struggled in this area, though not to the extent that Solomon did. David took many wives and concubines (2 Samuel 5:13), but, even then, he lusted after Bathsheba and committed adultery with her. Like father, like son, they say, and Solomon it seems inherited his father’s sin and amplified it in his own life.

One reason often noted for Solomon failing to follow his own advice is that Solomon learned his lessons from experience. If the Proverbs were compiled in the later part of Solomon’s life, it would make sense that he recorded wise sayings to help others avoid problems he dealt with in his own life. If so, the proverbs of Solomon are deeply personal, since they were born out of the author’s personal struggles with foolishness.

Another possible reason Solomon did not follow his own advice regarding women is that there’s a difference between having knowledge and applying knowledge. Solomon knew it was wrong to obtain many wives—in fact, it was against the Mosaic Law (Deuteronomy 17:17)—but he did it regardless of his knowledge. Solomon likely later regretted his choices, as can be seen in the way he speaks of avoiding sexual immorality in Proverbs.

A third possible answer to this issue is that not all of the book of Proverbs was written by Solomon. The book indicates that some of the proverbs were written by other wise men (Proverbs 22:17—24:34), Agur son of Jakeh (Proverbs 30:1–33) and King Lemuel (Proverbs 31).

A fourth possible reason that Solomon did not follow his own advice concerning women can be found in the second part of 1 Kings 11:4: “His heart was not fully devoted to the Lord his God, as the heart of David his father had been.” The historian notes that it was when Solomon was older that he strayed from God’s ways. God then gave a judgment concerning Solomon and his kingdom (1 Kings 11:9–13). Since Solomon had experienced judgment in his own life in this area, he determined to help others to avoid similar judgment in their lives.

In the end, we have some possible reasons why Solomon may have neglected his own advice, but we are not told for certain in Scripture. Solomon was extremely wise, but he was a man with temptations like any other person. He obeyed God in many areas, yet he often failed in his relationships with women. Instead of questioning the reasons why Solomon failed to follow his own advice, we would do better to learn from his mistakes and his wisdom recorded in Proverbs to avoid these problems in our own lives.

Nelson’s Bible Dictionary defines temptation as “an enticement or invitation to sin, with the implied promise of greater good to be derived from following the way of disobedience.” Resisting temptation begins with knowing that Satan is the supreme “tempter” (Matthew 4:3; 1 Thessalonians 3:5) who has been tempting mankind since our Creator placed His first two children in the Garden of Eden (Genesis 3; 1 John 3:8). Ultimately, however, we know that Satan’s power over Christians has been effectively destroyed as the war has already been won through our Savior’s death and resurrection which conquered the power of sin and death forever. Nonetheless, Satan still prowls the earth looking to drive a wedge between God and His children, and his temptations are unfortunately a daily part of our lives (1 Peter 5:8). Yet with the power of the Holy Spirit and the truth of God’s Word to help us, we will find ourselves effectively resisting temptations.

The apostle Paul encourages us with these words: “No temptation has seized you except what is common to man” (1 Corinthians 10:13). Indeed, every one of us faces temptations of some kind; even Jesus was not immune as He was “tempted in every way, just as we are” (Hebrews 4:15). Although Satan may be the dark force ultimately behind the tempting, it is our fallen and corrupted human nature that allows these temptations to take root and causes us to act on them, thereby “giving birth to sin” (James 1:15). But it is the power of the Holy Spirit that enables us to free ourselves from the sin and temptations we struggle with in our daily lives. Thus, if we have the Spirit of Christ residing in our hearts, we already have what it takes to resist the flaming arrows the devil sends our way. As Paul told the Galatians, “live by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the sinful nature” (Galatians 5:16).

The Word of God has always been our best defense against Satan’s temptations, and the better we know His Word, the easier it will be to claim victory over our daily struggles. The psalmist tells us, “I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you” (Psalm 119:11). When Christ was tempted by Satan in the desert, the first thing He did was to quote Scripture (Matthew 4:4–10), which eventually caused the devil to leave Him. Indeed, Christians need to be diligent in studying God’s Word. “Oh, how I love your law! I meditate on it all day long. Your commands make me wiser than my enemies” (Psalm 119:97–98).

In addition to God’s Word, prayer can help us to resist temptation. The night He was betrayed, Jesus prayed in the Garden of Gethsemane, and He told Peter to pray “so that you will not fall into temptation” (Mark 14:38). Also, in the “Lord’s Prayer,” Jesus taught us to pray that we would not be led into temptation (Matthew 6:13; Luke 11:4). Yet, when we do fall into temptation, we know that “God is faithful; He will not let us be tempted beyond what [we] can bear,” and that He will provide us with a way out (1 Corinthians 10:13). This is a promise from God, and like Abraham, Christians should be “fully persuaded” that God has the power to do what He has promised (Romans 4:21).

Another way to help us resist temptation is to remember what Jesus Christ did for us. Even though He never committed a sin, He willingly endured the torture of the cross for us while we were still sinners (Romans 5:8). Every sin we’ve ever committed, or will commit, played a part in nailing our Savior to the cross. How we respond to Satan’s worldly allurements is a great indicator as to just how much the love of Jesus Christ occupies our hearts.

Now, even though Christians already have the tools necessary for victory, we need to use our common sense and not place ourselves in situations that prey upon, or stimulate, our weaknesses. We are already bombarded every day with images and messages that tantalize our sinful lusts. We don’t need to make it more difficult than it already is. Even though Christ’s Spirit resides in our hearts, our flesh can be very weak at times (Matthew 26:41). When we know something is or can be sinful, Paul warns us to “flee from it.” Remember, the “tempter” is also the master of rationalization, and there is no limit to the arguments the devil can offer us to justify our sinful behavior.

Armed with God’s Spirit and the truth of His Word, we are well equipped to overcome Satan’s assaults (Ephesians 6). No matter what trials and temptations come our way, God’s Word and Spirit are infinitely more powerful than any of Satan’s schemes. When we walk with the Spirit we can look at temptations as opportunities for us to show God that He is indeed the Master of our lives.