T. PIERCE BROWN
Every teacher and parent needs to know for themselves and for the sake of the children how to overcome temptation. This seems especially relevant in view of the apparent increase in the number and kinds of temptations to which our children are subjected today. One of the most beautiful stories illustrating the mind of Christ is His experience in overcoming temptations on the mountain with the Devil. How can I develop a Christlike mind and be able to do likewise?
First, there must be a deliberate choice to be led by and filled with the Spirit. This is not some miraculous or “charismatic” experience. It simply means that when one finds a command or desire of God in any area, no matter what his conscious desire or preference is, he deliberately chooses, as Christ did, “Not my will, but thine be done” (Luke 2:42). Then we must notice 1 Corinthians 10:13, “There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way of escape, that ye may be able to bear it.” But how does one accept and appropriate that promise?
First, he has to be aware of it and have it in his conscious and subconscious mind to be able to rely on it. It is also important to be “filled with the Spirit (Eph.5:18-19) by letting ” the word of Christ dwell in you richly” (Col. 3:16). That word, “richly,” is a significant word. It suggests a deep and broad familiarity with the Word, and a constant practice of its contents. When you are familiar enough with the scriptures, you will discover that there is no temptation that can come to you that a scripture does not fit. So, when you have a temptation to lie, Colossians 3:9, or another such scripture will come to your mind. If you are tempted to steal, Ephesians4:28will be remembered. If you are consciously relying on God’s promise in 1 Cor.10:13, the Devil will simply not have enough power to overcome you.
This is the specific way you “Resist the devil and he will flee from you” (James 4:7). You have noted that Jesus quoted Scripture to the Devil when He was tempted, but you may not have been aware that the principle of “letting the word of Christ dwell in you richly” will give you the same kind of power. You will simply be “strengthened by the Spirit in the inner man” (Eph.3:16) so that you will not fall. All of us need to know this and teach it early to our children.