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How well do you know the Bible? Is Scripture memory a regular part of your life? As Christians, we are in the middle of a war. Everywhere we go, we are confronted on every side by temptation and sin, and on our own, we will fail every time. We don’t have the strength to win this fight. Fortunately, we have help. Ephesians 6:10-17 tells us that God has made His armor available to us. This armor includes the belt of truth, the breastplate of righteousness, the shoes of the gospel of peace, the shield of faith, the helmet of salvation, and finally the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. Notice that Scripture, the sword of the Spirit, is the only offensive weapon that this passage mentions. Imagine a soldier going out to war without a weapon. He’s fully decked out in his armor, but he has no way of attacking the enemy. He may last a while, but ultimately he will fall, because he can’t defeat his foes. In our war against sin, it is essential that we bring our sword into the fight. Without Scripture, we are just like a soldier with no sword.
Does this mean that we should carry a physical copy of the Bible with us wherever we go? No, but it does mean that to the best of our ability we should carry its words with us. In our passage this week Jesus gives us a great picture of what it looks like to fight temptation; we fight temptation with Scripture. The way Jesus uses Scripture is also enlightening. Matthew doesn’t describe Jesus pulling out His pocket Old Testament to read a passage. He knows these passages by heart. He has these passages ready to go, so that when He is faced with temptation these words immediately come to mind. This only happens after memorizing and meditating on a Bible passage, which makes this kind of memorization essential for our fight against sin. In moments of temptation, reciting relevant Scripture passages gives us power to resist sin that we cannot muster on our own. It turns our eyes away from the sinful desire of our heart towards God and His love for us. Using Scripture in our fight against temptation begins with identifying sin patterns in your life. Then, find a Scripture passage that addresses your specific temptation, and in the moments when you are tempted, bring it to mind. As you meditate over the Bible verse, pray for deliverance from temptation. Don’t try to beat temptation on your own; if you do, you will fail every time. Look to the freeing power of our union with Christ, and use the sword that He has given you.
Here are some passages of Scripture that address various sin struggles, many of which I have found helpful in my own walk. This is a limited list from my own experience. The Scripture passages that are beneficial in the fight against sin are as numerous as the ways that we can sin. For God knows the depths of our sin, and “he gives more grace.” (James 4:6)
Fear of Man: Jeremiah 17:5-8
Hate: Matthew 5:21-22
Laziness: Colossians 3:23-24
Quarreling: James 4:1-2
Sinful thoughts: Philippians 4:8
Sinful words: James 3:5-12
Selfishness and pride: Philippians 2:3-11
Sexual sin: 1 Corinthians 6:18
Temptation to despair: Psalm 61:1-3
General temptation: 1 Corinthians 10:13; Romans 6:1-4
Scripture: Matthew 4:1-11
Sermon: Triumph Over Temptation