Topic: Winning the War with Temptation
No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it (Hebrews 12:11 NIV).
Friend to Friend
I am constantly amazed by the arrogance of which I am capable, daring to think I have the power within myself to intimidate Satan or thwart his efforts. I have no power apart from God.
I am weak without His strength, vulnerable to sin and a prime target for temptation. I can easily get caught up in human affirmation, my own sense of self-importance or the flattery of others. The result is always spiritual arrogance. The solution is always Godly discipline.
Godly discipline is not only a hedge of protection in our lives; it is a catalyst for spiritual growth and necessary to win the war with temptation. I know the very word, “discipline,” evokes distasteful images of pain, deprivation, sacrifice and surrender when, in fact, true discipline is simply a wholehearted “yes” to God.
Discipline is not usually a pleasant experience, but it has great rewards. Hebrews tells us that if we submit to the loving discipline of God, we will experience right living and peace as a result.
The Bible tells us, “No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it” (Hebrews 12:11 NIV).
As a little boy, our son fell while skateboarding, cut his chin wide open, and needed stitches. We raced to the nearest emergency clinic where we were greeted by a young doctor who seemed friendly. Jered, however, took one look at the strange man in white and panicked.
After several attempts to gain Jered’s trust and cooperation, the doctor grew impatient and threatened, “Son, this won’t hurt. If you cannot be still we will have to put you in restraints.” This man obviously did not know who Jered was – mine – nor did he understand that he was now dealing with the wrath of Mary. I was more than willing to enlighten him.
I had two major problems with the doctor’s statements. First, no restraints were going to be placed on my son. Secondly, of course the stitches would hurt. Glaring at the doctor I firmly explained, “If you will just tell Jered the truth and explain what you are doing he will be still for you.”
The doctor looked up at me as if I had just arrived from another planet and sarcastically spit out, “Right, lady. I know how to handle this.” So did I – but Dan intervened, telling the doctor we had a plan. I knew what my plan was but thought it wise to consider Dan’s plan.
Gently holding Jered’s head in his “daddy-sized” hands, Dan softly explained what the doctor would do and sweetly instructed our son to fix his eyes on me while I told him a story. Jered calmed down and the stitches were done in a matter of minutes.
The doctor offered a sheepish apology, thanking us for teaching him a lesson in working with children. I decided to let him live. Even though Jered did not fully understand the process or trust the doctor, he did fully understand and trust his father.
Godly discipline is the basis for trust and is found at the feet of Jesus where we will come to know Him better, love Him more, and find the discipline we so desperately crave.
Discipline is obedience, a lifetime process that brings us to a state of God-ordained order by training and controlling our behavior. Discipline is not self-improvement but rather, placing oneself under orders. Discipline is not the result of legalism but the reward of grace. Discipline is not rigidity but flexibility, always free to respond to the plan of the Master. Discipline is focusing and eliminating, zeroing in on what is important.
Our Father will neither give us good habits nor supply exemplary character. We must resolve to walk in an “upright” way. We must choose the good habits over the bad and “work out the salvation that God has worked in.” When we do, we will win the war with temptation.
Father, please forgive me when I give in to temptation. I know You have given me
everything I need to make the right choices. I do not want to believe the lies of Satan. I choose Your truth instead. Give me a hunger for Your Word so I can use it to win the war with temptation. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Now It’s Your Turn
How did Jesus fight Satan’s temptations when He was in the desert?
What will Satan do when we fight him with Scripture?