I remember a famous line from a sci-fi movie called The Terminator wherein the actor who played the role of the hero described this human-lookalike, killing machine: “He kills . . . that’s all he does. He will wade right through your defenses and tear your heart out. He cannot be bought or bargained with. He does not care about your pity and he will not stop until you are dead.” In dealing with Satan and sexual temptation, these words describe him to a T. Following are some simple rules that can help us to overcome this diabolical killer.
Rule Number 1: Stay off the devil’s territory. Never put yourself in a place where something can happen, especially if you feel an innocent spark even in the mildest and lowest form. Out-of-control and raging infernos start with one tiny, little, harmless spark. Be where you know you are supposed to be. That tingly feeling in the pit of your stomach and little voice in your head saying, “I think I oughta” are warning signs that you are on the wrong street, like an innocent lamb waiting for the slaughter. Can a man walk on hot coals without his feet being scorched? (Proverbs 6:28). When we play with fire, we will get burned . . . every time. Famous last words: “I never intended for this to happen.” (Ephesians 4:27, Proverbs 7:6-27)
Rule Number 2: NEVER violate Rule Number 1. Some territorial violations are verbal. When we start talking about having sex, we are on our way to having sex. The body will help us distinguish between when we are just talking about sex, and when we are “talking about sex”. As a man thinks, so is he. We choose which mental DVDs we are going to play over and over in our heads, and our bodies will always respond to our thoughts. (Proverbs 23:7, Ephesians 4:27, Proverbs 7:6-27)
Rule Number 3: Always have a game plan ready. Temptation generally comes when you least expect it. Temptation comes when you least expect it. . . . I know; it bears repeating. Trying to formulate a game plan in the throes of temptation is like trying to extinguish a house engulfed in flames from the inside. Sometimes we are overrun with temptation’s passion. When our building is ablaze, we have to sound the alarm. When an army battalion is being overrun, they call for reinforcements by using the code words “broken arrow”. This phrase means defeat is imminent. We have to raise the war cry by calling on the name of the Lord when failure is inevitable. (1 Chronicles 5:18-19)
Rule Number 4: A good run is better than a bad stand. If, by chance, you find yourself in the situation in Rule Number 1 – and you will – run. Leaving abruptly is the right thing to do. If you have to run out of your coat like Joseph, tell the person left holding it to put it in the trash, because you have an extra one. When they take your coat off, you are one step closer to being undressed. Selah. The more you talk and try to be nice, the more ground you stand to lose. Sexual sins and witchcraft are the only two sins the Bible tells us to physically run from. Both are terribly seductive in nature. (Genesis 39:13)
Rule Number 5: Have an accountability partner. Think, “I Need You to Survive” (Hezekiah Walker). When you are struggling, have a TRUSTED confidant that you can share the struggle with who will pray for you and help you with sound counsel. Everybody can use a good bomb-squad person to cut the red wire. Did I mention someone you can trust, and not a blabbermouth? (1 Samuel 18:1, Proverbs 27:6)
Rule Number 6: Always, always, always spend quality time quenching your spiritual thirst and satisfying your spiritual hunger. “I’ll pass on the NY cheesecake. I’m stuffed.” Spend quality time in God’s presence worshipping, praying and studying the Word daily. Spiritual thirst can easily be masked as sexual thirst. Sexual lust can never be crushed . . . until you get caught. Drinking polluted water will ALWAYS make you sick, no matter how clean it may look. (Proverbs 27:7)
Rule Number 7: “Dis far, no mo’.” Draw lines in the sand by maintaining mental boundaries in social spaces (email, text, cell phone, lunch offers, Twitter, LinkedIn). Accessibility is necessary for temptation to happen. Be sure to maintain boundaries and discern agendas. Never talk to strange snakes in gardens. Snakes have formulated a game plan in advance. When they say, “Heeeeey . . . Ain’t seen you in a while,” let the games begin. Did I say Facebook, too? Oh yeah, add that to the list of boundaries. Unfriend all sneaky snakes. (Genesis 3:1-8)
Rule Number 8: Understand your sentinels and use them as watchmen over your life. Sentinels are major historical failures. When you know the reason why you failed, that is a watchful soldier standing on post to keep you from repeating the same mistake. When you are heading back into the same territory, these sentinels will remind you that this is why you failed. Obey their voices of warning. There are times of the month and year when we are more prone to wander. Look for historical patterns and know them – e.g., Christmas, springtime when the sap rises, the end of summer, birthdays, New Year celebrations, turning 40, before a female gets her monthly, weekends, lonely periods of time, a surplus of money, out-of-town business trips, midlife changes, too much ’70s music, R. Kelly and Luther. (John 14:26)
Rule Number 9: “Warning! Danger Will Robinson!” Watch out for flattery. The more flattery that is heaped on you, the more danger you are in. Queue the music: “Nobody does it better . . . Why’d you have to be sooooo good?” (Proverbs 6:24)
Rule Number 10: “I’m too smart for that.” If you think it cannot happen to you, you are 99.9% on your way there. Scam artists pick people who say they cannot be scammed because they realize these people are prime targets. Always assume that it WILL happen to you and you will always stay alert. Pride goes before a fall. Arrogance is the sweet nectar of fools. Many great men and women, much greater than you or I, have fallen prey to sexual temptation. Famous last words: “I never thought he or she would be interested in me.” Well, believe it. (Proverbs 16:18)
Rule Number 11: You can wait it out. We ALL have weeds waiting for the right circumstances to get them growing. A lake can be beautiful, but if the sun dries out the lake the conditions are ripe for dormant weeds to grow tall and lush. These seeds are always within us, waiting on the right season and condition. They just need the right opportunity to grow. Satan knows how to drain our lakes, expose our weeds to fresh sunlight and let nature take its course. Satan is a master at connecting together two people in the same season. That phone call or accidental meeting from someone you have not spoken to in years may signal that both of you are “back in season”.
God even allows temptation to expose and remove our weeds. Temptation can be won by resistance. When you are ready to yield, just say to yourself, “Let me do this tomorrow.” It is amazing how putting off sinning works. Know why: You are giving yourself time to think HOW STUPID THIS IS. Submit yourself to God and resist the devil, and he will flee. (Mark 4:16-20, James 4:7-8)
Rule Number 12: When tempted, Satan wishes to ALWAYS exchange your valuable possessions for something of little value. He is a con artist that invented the game of the raw deal. He wants your character for a thrill, your anointing for a feeling, your relationship with God for a touch, your future for a bowl of beans. The devil will promise you an elevator ride to the top, but you will end up falling down the shaft. (Genesis 25:29-34)
Rule Number 13: SATAN CANNOT DEFEAT SPIRITUAL WEAPONS. If you use intellect, emotion and fleshly strategy as a primary defense, the devil will wade through these in short order and defeat you. The ONLY thing that backs Satan down is a flaming sword. Use the Word of God as your response. The devil has got to deceive you into taking off your armor, lowering your shield of faith and dropping your sword. Then, he can spoil your house. (Luke 11:21-22, Ephesians 6:10-18)