Last week, I wrote about resisting the devil. In the past, I thought it was a one-time deal for each temptation. For instance, If I see a cookie sitting there, and I am on a diet and I’m not supposed to eat that cookie. So I thought–walk away and it’s over. But that’s not how the devil works. He comes back a few times. In this example, I would walk away, and go back to my desk–but I would still smell the chocolate chips. I would think about the cookie again. Then say to myself, “No, I’m not going to eat it,” and distract myself with work. But in the back of my head, I hear, “I’m the cookie and I’m still here, waiting for you.” Ugh. Then I give in and eat the cookie.
This is a very simplistic example (no need to get too graphic, but insert your sin here), but I’m learning that once is not enough to resist. It takes as many times as it takes. That’s where the “wrestling” comes in. I wish someone had explained this to me 20 years ago.
Resist the devil and he will flee. I thought it was “just say no” and the temptation is gone. The truth is, he comes back again, usually a little harder, a little more attractive temptation. This is more difficult to resist.
Then, the next time, it will be even harder to resist. This is the part I didn’t understand. As Satan said to Eve, “Did God really say not to eat that?” He tries to make us doubt God’s word. I would think to myself, “Well, it’s not the end of the world if I eat that. I have no willpower anyway, I tried and failed.” I would eat and then think, “What is wrong with me?” I didn’t understand that I still had to resist. I thought I had lost because the temptation came back. In reality, the wrestling match was not over yet.
So I need to deliver the Word every time. Whether I feel like it or not, and especially when I feel like I can’t do it (we can’t do it in our own strength anyway, we need God’s power.)
I hope this makes sense, anyway, I needed to write it out so I could digest it for myself.