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.