Just say “No” to Temptation with the Scripture

The best way to defend against the tempter’s lie is to know God’s truth. Jesus answered Satan’s temptations with specific scripture.

To know your opponent’s modus operandi is essential in any field, but particularly for an NFL quarterback. Sportswriter Pete Prisco explains it best,

“Watching film, or tape to be precise, is key to the success of any quarterback no matter the level of play. But in the NFL, it’s even more so with all the complicated defenses and looks now thrown at quarterbacks, who must decipher it all in split-second decisions or risk throwing an interception that will show up on all the highlight shows.

They’d better know their stuff, and know it well.

Colts quarterback Peyton Manning is legendary in his film study. He has a film room in his basement. Manning loves studying tape, almost needs it like a drug. Others don’t put in the time and end up in quarterback bust-land.” 1

When you read Jesus’ temptation account (Matt. 4. Luke 4) it’s easy to see that Jesus understood his opponent. As Satan tempts through deception, Jesus answers with God’s Word of truth. His remarkable ability to recall the right Scripture for the specific situation is the pattern we should emulate.

If you could watch tape on your opponent you would see that his regular method of temptation is to deceive. He returns to it again and again. But what Satan lacks in originality he makes up for in thoroughness. He is mercilessly meticulous. He understands the desires of the human heart, and the best way to lure and entice us to sin (James 1:19-20).

Yet, because Satan often returns to deception as his means of temptation, you and I can game – plan for his attack. Jesus did. He knew the right verse for each situation. A part of my game plan has to been to memorize the Scripture in conjunction with Satan’s lies.

Satan, as the deceiver, often brings his temptations in the same way (1 John 2:16). Sometime ago it occurred to me that if I could memorize the lie that Satan brought, and the corresponding truth from God’s Word I would be more prepared for the temptations I faced.

This was the kind of reliance Jesus had upon the Scripture (Matt. 4, Luke 4). He has the right verse for each specific situation.

Developing a select set of verses to answer temptation is essential in the life of any believer. We have developed a verse memory pack that contain 33 of the tempter’s lies and God’s Word of truth as a defense against the temptation. You can download them for free at our church’s website. http://aboutfbc.org/downloads/scripture-memory-verse-cards.pdf

For additional resources on this subject including notes, audio, video, and a really cool sword fight please visit: http://aboutfbc.org/using-the-scriptures-like-jesus-part-2

1 http://www.cbssports.com/nfl/story/13350572/private-showing-ryans-road-to-qb-stardom-paved-with-tape

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The Scripture’s Effect on the Mind

Twenty years ago a deeply troubled young man stepped into my office.  He was accompanied by a friend for the sake of encouragement. Together they began to pour out his sad story. When he was in 8th grade he became a victim of sexual abuse at the hand of high school teen. As he had entered high school he struggled with depression, attempted to take his own life, and was hospitalized. He had carried the dark secret alone. Neither parents, nor counselors knew his past.

Now, seven years later his anxiety was all-consuming.  His struggle with fear and worry had even crept into his sleeping hours, revealing itself through nightmares of the teen who had abused him.

I was fresh out of seminary, with limited experience in the ministry. As I reached for my Bible I remember praying to the Lord for guidance. I knew I was in way over my head.

I asked the young man what he was thinking about before he fell asleep. He acknowledged his painful past consumed his thoughts. He said tearfully, “I’m just praying to God that the nightmares won’t come back.”

“I understand you’re praying, but what are you thinking about.”

 “The nightmares” he said, “I don’t know how to stop.”

 Together we opened up our Bibles to Philippians 4:8 and we read,

Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. [emphasis added] (Phil. 4:8)

“Your challenge,” I said, “Will be to develop a plan where you think on the things that are in that list.” Together we read  the promise that came next,

What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me—practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you [emphasis added] (Phil. 4:9).

 “Memorizing is only the first part” then I added, “You’re actually going to have to do it.”

“Do what?” he said.

 “Think on these things,” I replied.

Together we drew an octagon. He wrote each of the 8 qualities found in verse  on the outside boarders of the sign. Inside the sign we wrote the words “Stop! Think on these things.”  On a separate piece of paper he wrote each quality as the heading for a list. The 8 lists would be comprised of  anything he could think of that was “true, honorable, just, pure, lovely, commendable, excellent, and worthy of praise.”

One week later he returned to my office with his friend. The two sat down. I began the conversation “ How’s that Bible verse I asked you to memorize?”

His friend smiled, and shook his head as if he knew something I did not.

“Why the smile?” I asked.

 “Did you want him to tell it to you, forwards or backwards?” he replied.

 “Let’s start with forwards.” I said. The young man quoted the verse word perfect one word after the other.

 “Can  you really quote the verse backwards?” I asked incredulously.

 Phrase by phrase he gave the verse backwards. He didn’t miss a beat.

 “That’s pretty amazing” I said. “So how are the nightmares?

 He looked me in the eyes, shrugged his shoulders, and smiled.

 “What nightmares?”