The Greatest Defense Against Temptation


What?s the best defense against temptation? ?Rebuke it? ?Tell it to go away? ?Try not to think about it?

Sometimes when we try to resist temptation head on, it?s like trying not to think of the words ?pink elephant? for the next ?20 seconds – the more you try not to, the more you do. ?There?s a better way to fight the allurements of our flesh and the devil. ?John Owen tells us:

?Keep the heart full of a sense of the love of God in Christ. This is the greatest preservative against the power of temptation in the world…?

?Store the heart with a sense of the love of God in Christ, and his love in the shedding of it; get a relish of the privileges we have thereby, our adoption, justification, [acceptance] with God; fill the heart with thoughts of the beauty of his death; and thou wilt, in an ordinary course of walking with God, have great peace and security as to the disturbance of temptations.?

One way to keep a sense of Jesus? love is by thanking him throughout the day. ?Thank him for his steadfast love that never ceases and his mercies that never come to an end. ?Thank him for taking your place on the cross and paying for your sins to bring you to God. ?Thank him for his sympathy and compassion, and that he?s ever interceding for you.

As Jude says, ?Keep yourselves in the love of God, waiting for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ that leads to eternal life.? (Jude 1:21)

Keep yourself in the love of God today. ?He demonstrated his love for you at the cross. ?Ask him for more of a sense of it. ?And when you?re tempted, don?t fight it head on. ?Run to your great high priest on the throne of grace for help in your time of need.


  • Ethan says:

    Love the bit about thanksgiving! Nothing returns me to a posture of humility and submission quicker than simply spending some time saying 'thank You'. Appreciate your writing!

  • Louis Tullo says:

    With sin it always is an attack on our affections. If we're tempted we're being asked to give our affection to the things of this world, and if we place our affections there we divert them from God by necessity of the sole-worship He demands of us. Thanks for the great reminder of how thanksgiving keeps our affections fixed on Him Mark. It truly is a great defense for us as believers. :)

  • Elaine says:

    Excellent advice, Mark! Thank you!

    I love the picture of the snake – scary but oh, so spot on. It gives an excellent reminder of what temptation really is – no matter how alluring it is or how much it appeals to the flesh, temptation's design is always our destruction.

    Another image that is helpful to me is that of a child, hiding behind her father. Just a reminder than when I am tempted, my response should always be to run to the Father and cling to Him.

    Thanks again!

  • JackW says:

    Very good. Using fleshy means to fight the flesh may work for awhile, but just sets you up for failure later on.

  • Mark Altrogge says:

    Thanks Ethan,

    Yes I find it has the same effect on me….

  • Mark Altrogge says:

    Thanks for adding these comments about our affections, Louis! So true.

  • Mark Altrogge says:

    Hi Elaine,

    Amen – run to our Father!

  • Mark Altrogge says:

    Right, Jack! Good point! Thanks for adding it.

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