In the last post we looked at the ways we can be deceived, especially when we’re in the middle of storms and difficult times in life. But the good news is that God has prepared us to stand in these turbulent times. Here are five ways God’s Word equips us to persevere in the hurricanes, the downpours, and the unsteady waters we face.
1. God’s Word reminds us of His grace.
Once we have been redeemed, we desire to please God and fulfill His will for our lives out of a love for Him and His Word—not to try to make ourselves right with God or become good enough for His grace. God’s grace meets us where we are. Even when we fail, we can get back up again. If it was up to us to earn God’s grace by doing what was right, we would have no hope. But because of Jesus’ work on the cross, we are free to do what is right and to humbly confess and try again when we fall short. We will always fall short of the glory of God (Rom. 3:23), but never of His grace.
But he gives more grace. Therefore it says, “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.” Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. (James 4:6–7)
2. God’s Word makes us aware of sin struggles.
The best way to combat an enemy is to learn about that enemy—not to become entangled in Satan’s ways, but to learn enough to understand his strategies and be prepared for his attacks. When we forget the origin of sin and its outcome, it becomes less tragic to us. But seeing sin as God sees it softens our hearts to the voice of God and makes us aware of the voice of temptation.
Sin always leads to death. Ultimately, we will all physically die. Those who do not accept the gracious gift of Jesus’ blood shed in their place will also spiritually die, suffering eternity in hell, separated from God. But on a day-to-day basis, sin also means the death of good relationships, a clear conscience, pride, a healthy prayer life, and so much more. The Bible reminds us there will always be a struggle with sin (Rom. 7), but there is ultimate victory through Jesus. We have the ability to resist temptation now, because “everyone who has been born of God overcomes the world” (1 John 5:4).
3. God’s Word provides a plan to resist temptation.
Trying to resist temptation does no good if we don’t have a plan. God brought this concept to life for me earlier this summer by using the image of a man meeting his enemy in the field. The man has a chance to escape from the enemy if he has a safe place to run and hide. Running from temptation does us no good if we do not run to something else. For instance, if I am tempted to complain, my instinct is to say, “I shouldn’t be complaining,” but I end up complaining anyhow. A wiser response would be to immediately start thinking of things to be grateful for instead of complaining. 1 Cor. 10:13 says, “God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.” He provides a way for us to escape sin. When you are tempted, look for the way out. We need to have a plan for which right actions and thought patterns can replace our habitual wrong ones.
4. God’s Word gives reassurance of our righteous standing with God.
Satan knows we are sinners by nature. He tries to remind us that it’s only natural to do what he is tempting us to do. But we are righteous in God’s eyes because of the blood of Christ (Rom. 5:9). The other truth Satan wants us to forget is that we have the power to choose righteousness when we live according to the Holy Spirit (Rom. 8). We can’t fight temptation in our own strength. But we have the Holy Spirit inside of us. His power is stronger than any temptation that comes our way.
For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit. For to set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace. (Rom. 8:5–6)
5. God’s Word empowers us to combat the lies.
Finally, the Word of God trains us to resist sin and choose righteousness by giving us truth with which we can combat the enemy’s lies. Jesus gave us the perfect example of using truth to deflect lies when He was tempted by Satan in the wilderness. You can read the whole story in Matthew 4:1–11. In the same way, having 1,000 plus pages of truth is our greatest advantage when it comes to learning to think, speak, and act righteously.
The Word of God is our toolbox for navigating life in the midst of a spiritual hurricane. In it, we find all that we need to stand strong and endure when truth is challenged. We are not left alone, wind-whipped, standing in the road with water up to our knees, wondering if the next falling branch will be the one that takes us down. While the deceptive voices of evil men and imposters are daily growing louder, we are called to equip ourselves with truth from the constant and sufficient source of the breathed-out words of God.
Do not try to stand in this storm unprepared and unequipped. Use what God has given you to endure.