By now, you have heard about Ravi Zacharias’s sexual sins. How could a famous icon of the Christian faith have fallen into this kind of sin? Sadly, he is not alone. Many well-known Christian leaders have fallen to temptation. We all suffer temptations; it’s what you do with the tempting thoughts that entice you to sin. The mistake most of us make is to dwell on them, which leads to desire, and when we act on our passion, we sin (James 1:14-16). Victory in the battle of temptations is why we need to suit up with God’s armor every day. Which piece of armor do you think Ravi did not put on that would have protected him from sinning?
If you only have some armor on but not all of it, then Satan can readily defeat you. For example:
- Believing the truth is your spiritual belt. But if you don’t trust God’s Word is the truth, then you will be tempted to believe all kinds of false teachings and philosophies. Being devoid of truth leaves you feeling empty and despairing. Learning and applying the truth in the Bible is crucial for victory. We quickly forget, so meditate on His Word day and night.
- Being righteous through faith in Jesus Christ is your spiritual breastplate. If your belt is on, and you believe Scripture is the truth. But if you haven’t asked Jesus to forgive your sins and save you, then make Him Lord; then you leave yourself open to give in to your fleshly desires. Jesus’s righteousness protects you when you make Him Lord of your life, and you fear God by shunning evil and doing what is pleasing to Him.
- Being sure of your salvation is our spiritual helmet. Suppose you believe the truth and rely on Jesus to be righteous, but you forget your redemption from sin and continue to live a worldly life. In that case, you will be tempted to doubt your salvation. Worldly living keeps you from bearing the fruit of the Spirit because you are not abiding in the word and life of Jesus Christ.
- Having faith in God to keep His promises is your spiritual shield. Suppose you believe the truth, have Jesus’ righteousness, and are sure of your salvation, yet do not practice God’s truth by faith. In that case, you will stumble when you face trials and tribulations. Satan’s fiery arrows of doubt, temptations, accusations, and condemnation will destroy your faith.
- Being ready to share the peace of Christ is your spiritual shoes. If you don’t live in peace with others and don’t share the gospel of Christ Jesus, your Christian witness will be useless. Without the gospel of peace, you will appear as a hypocrite because you will be tempted to be angry, contentious, argumentative, divisive, etc.
- Applying God’s Word is your spiritual sword against all demonic attacks. But, if you don’t read the Bible or know God’s Word, you will suffer many oppressive blows from the enemy, and he will spiritually and emotionally cripple you.
Let’s look at Christ’s example. When the devil tempted Jesus, He immediately said, “It is written” (Matthew 4:4, 7, 10). If you don’t know God’s Word, how can you overcome tempting thoughts? Ravi appeared to know God’s Word very well. It seems that Ravi did not put on the breastplate of righteousness. If he made Jesus Lord of his life and feared God, then he could have called on God to help him. Hebrews 2:18 states, “For because he himself has suffered when tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted.” Hebrews 4:12-16 explains the role of God’s Word and Jesus Christ.
For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart. And no creature (NIV: nothing in creation) is hidden from his [God’s] sight, but all are naked and exposed to the eyes of him to whom we must give account. Since then we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.
The Word of God exposes our sinful thoughts and we can go to God with confidence in Jesus Christ to help us take our thoughts captive in prayer (2Cor. 10:5). We need to make it our aim to please God. 2Corinthians 5:9b-10 states, “We make it our aim to please him. For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may receive what is due for what he has done in the body, whether good or evil.”.
Jesus taught us to pray in Matthew 6:13, “And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.” God does not tempt us, but we are enticed through our sinful nature as explained in James 1:13-15, “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.” When we fear God, we will shun evil and practice righteousness. More on that in another post.
One more thought, Luke 22:40 states, “And when he came to the place, he said to them, ‘Pray that you may not enter into temptation.’” This verse explains why we need to pray at all times. Ephesians 6:18 explains how we are to pray after putting on the armor of God, “Praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end, keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints.” How is your prayer life? When you pray, submit your concerns to God and seek His divine power to live a godly life. 2Peter 1:3 states, “His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence.”
Grace and peace to you.