In the world of nature, God has wonderfully equipped many of His creatures with defense mechanisms and instincts suited perfectly to their environments. Some creatures have hard shells covering their bodies and shielding them from predators. Some creatures have great speed, and others can even change their color to blend in with their surroundings! Some attack their predators in return, with sharp tusks, teeth, and claws. The bombardier beetle emits a small chemical explosion from its backside to blow away its attacker, and there is one kind of lizard that will climb into a hole in a rock when preyed upon and will blow itself up to the size of the hole so that the pursuer cannot reach in and get it.
The parallels that God has made between physical creation and our spiritual lives are very noteworthy. We also have an enemy, the devil, who, “as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour” (1 Peter 5:8). He often attacks in subtle ways, like deception and temptation. Temptation is something that has come to every soul ever to inhabit a human body, and to listen to it and be snared by it will lead to sin, and henceforth to death (James 1:14, 15). It sounds bleak, doesn’t it? However, there is good news!
“There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it” (1 Corinthians 10:13).
There it is! -- A promise from our faithful God to always provide for us a way of escape when temptation comes our way-- and it will come! Just as He has endowed His creatures with incredible modes of escape, He has also given us a way of escape in this realm of spiritual war. But what is this “way of escape”?
We will see the answer by observing the way taken by Jesus, Who is our perfect example. In Matthew 4, we read that Jesus fasted for forty days in the wilderness and was tempted by the devil. The devil was trying to persuade Jesus to do things that were outside God’s parameters, but Jesus, Who was sinless and perfect, knew how to combat these. Three times he replied, “It is written…” and proclaimed the words of God as ammunition against satan. Three times he overcame temptation with the very words of God.
In Ephesians chapter 6, we see a list of the armor God has given us to stand against the wiles of the devil. Many of these are defensive weapons to shield ourselves from the devil’s attacks; however, one of these is offensive, and that is “the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God.” The Bible is not just a book; it is the very words of God translated into our language so we can read and know His will and see His character. Therefore, when we use Scripture against temptation, we are using the steadfast, unfailing words of a steadfast, unfailing God. (Read Psalm 19 for a beautiful description of the Word of God.) With God’s Word, we hack away any guise of deception and see sin for what it really is. Satan cannot stand before the mighty Word of God, and has no choice but to flee.
So what does this mean for us? We have established a knowledge of the function of the Bible in spiritual warfare. But what shall we do with this knowledge? How do we know the Word of God to use it as weaponry against Satan?
The writer of Psalm 119 (probably King David) said, “Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against Thee” (Psalm 119:11). There is a direct answer. We must not only listen to God’s Word and read it, but we must also hide it in our heart by diligent meditation and memorization. We must gird ourselves with the Word of God so that throughout the day we can detect Satan’s deceptions and combat them. We cannot let it go in one ear and out the other; we must “chew it down” into our soul and hide in our hearts. This is emphasized very emphatically in this Psalm. So when Satan comes along throughout the day and whispers in your ear a subtle temptation to disobey your parents or lie about something, you will have the verse in your mind ready to take out and use against Satan and to help you do right. Remember, it is the very words of God that you are memorizing, and God is so much more powerful than Satan is! The Word of God has all power to defend against the enemy and set our hearts upon our heavenly Father. It is truly a way of escape!