Birds Nesting In Your Hair
Recently my wife told me that when she was a child, she used to think it would be awesome to be an adult because grown-ups were never tempted to do “naughty things”. If only that were true! One of the unfortunate realities of life is that, if we're alive, then we're going to be tempted to sin. We will never be too old or too “religious” to come under spiritual attack. That’s because Satan wants to destroy our relationship with God, and since sin starts with temptation, it's something that will always be around as a weapon for Satan to use against us. So we need to set our minds to the fact that we will be tempted - and then be ready for it.
In Ephesians 6:11, the Apostle Paul reinforces this concept by telling us: “Put on the full armor of God so that you'll be able to stand firm against all strategies and tricks of the Devil”. This passage not only reminds us that temptation is going to happen, it also tells us that we can prepare for it if we understand that Satan has a strategy he will use against us. Once we understand that our lives are lived out in the middle of a spiritual battle - and that there's an enemy who wants to make us stumble - it becomes much easier to take the necessary steps to protect ourselves.
Once again, Paul helps us stand firm against the enemy’s attacks by telling us the steps we need to take in order to protect ourselves. In Philippians 4:8 he writes: “Fix your thoughts on what is true and honorable and right. Think about things that are pure and lovely and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.” If temptation begins with our thoughts, then changing what we think about is going to be foundational to the battle of resisting sin. So when we're tempted, the first thing we need to do is change our focus - refocusing on God. In other words, we get our eyes off our own desires and onto the goodness of God and what His Word tells us about overcoming temptation and living how we should live.
My grandmother used to tell me, “You can't keep birds from flying over your head - but that doesn't mean you have to invite them to nest in your hair.” It might sound like a funny statement, but it speaks perfectly to our struggles with inviting sin into our lives once we've been tempted. We can't live in a temptation-free world. But the good news is, temptation itself is not sin, so we shouldn't be intimidated by it. Instead, we should understand what Satan's trying to do, and then turn the opposite direction - giving ourselves over to God.
So today, let's ask God to first of all give us the desire to resist Satan. Then let's ask Him to help us trust in His ability to help us overcome temptation so that we can live fully, and freely, for Him.