ABCs Part II: Battle Lustful Thoughts!

Satan can relentlessly bombard our minds with impure thoughts, and if we chose to dwell on these thoughts, they would form an impure image in our minds. We will then feel pressure (i.e., lust) to satisfy this image via some form of sin (James 1:14,15).

If we follow through in obedience to this temptation, we are actually performing an act of worship to that image (i.e., the idol) in our minds. Recall, we were commanded not to worship idols (1) due to the spiritual law that whatever we chose to worship, we fellowship and join with, resulting in becoming just like what we are worshipping over time (Exodus 20:4. Psalms 115:4-8). This is a wonderful law when we worship the only true God as it causes us to become increasingly like Jesus (2 Corinthians 3:18. 1 John 3:2). However, as we submit to the impure image or idol in our minds, then we are actually fellowshipping with and becoming like the demons that are tempting us! (Psalms 106:36,37. 1 Corinthians 10:19, 20).

Furthermore, by yielding to this sin, we will create a satanic foothold in our lives from which a satanic stronghold can develop over time (Ephesians 4:27. 2 Corinthians 10:4,5). Once a stronghold has developed, you will find yourself almost unable to stop thinking about the sin, and your lifestyle will change to support your stronghold. A sign that you have a stronghold in your life is that you have no peace, not doing the sin, and you have no peace once you have done it. Sadly, if you do not escape this stronghold, something will eventually die (e.g., a relationship, your career, your ministry, your wife, your children, you, etc.) (James 1:15. John 10:10. Romans 6:23).

So, what can we do to prevent satanic footholds from forming, thereby preventing satanic strongholds from developing in our lives? We can start by dressing for spiritual success! That is, we as Christians must put on the spiritual armor (1) of God so that we can withstand the weapons of our enemy Satan! (Ephesians 6:11) So, how do we put on this prayer clothing? (1) We do that by learning by (spiritual) heart the following fundamental or foundational teachings of the Gospel of Jesus Christ as portrayed in the armor of God (Ephesians 4:24).

Remember, in school, we learned things by heart by first memorizing them with our brain but then persisted in saying them until we could quote them without even thinking about it (i.e., we learned them by (spiritual) heart (1)). We must do the same thing with scripture that addresses these fundamental teachings. Realize that the Apostle Paul was in prison in Rome (Ephesians 3:1;4:1;6:20) while teaching on this subject, so he used a Roman soldier’s armor as an object lesson to help us understand its importance (Ephesians 6:11-18).

Again, we put this armor on by learning by (spiritual) heart Bible verses that support our understanding of the following six armor pieces that represent foundational teachings of the Bible. Note that each of these pieces of armor is designed to neutralize Satan’s most successful strategy, which is causing us to fear rejection (1) from:

  • God (Genesis 3:1-8),
  • others (which can lead to us preemptively rejecting them before they can reject us), and
  • ourselves (i.e., self-rejection).

If you fear rejection by God, rejection by others, and ultimately reject yourself, then you are without God and without hope in the world and indeed very vulnerable to the enemy’s attacks (Ephesians 2:12. 1 Peter 5:8).

Therefore remember that formerly you, the Gentiles in the flesh—who are called “uncircumcision” by the so-called “circumcision” that is performed on the body by human hands—that you were at that time without the Messiah, alienated from the citizenship of Israel and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world. (Ephesians 2:11–12 NET)
Be sober and alert. Your enemy the devil, like a roaring lion, is on the prowl looking for someone to devour. Resist him, strong in your faith, because you know that your brothers and sisters throughout the world are enduring the same kinds of suffering. And, after you have suffered for a little while, the God of all grace who called you to his eternal glory in Christ will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you. To him belongs the power forever. Amen. (1 Peter 5:8–11 NET)

Rejected people reject people, and easily feel rejected by others. Rejected people seek something to comfort this feeling of rejection, and Satan offers more sin! He also blinds us to the reality that sin caused us to feel rejected in the first place! While this may provide false comfort via temporary pleasure (Hebrews 11:25), it does not remove the feelings of rejection and make us whole. God alone can bring us true comfort that removes the feelings of rejection and makes us whole! (2 Corinthians 1:3,4)

Again, we put this armor on by learning by (spiritual) heart Bible verses that support our understanding of the six armor pieces representing foundational teachings of the Bible. Come follow me and pray the promises (1) of God’s Word, the Bible. The scripture will be presented then a synopsis of that scripture that is to be prayed. Note that the scriptures are in the New King James as that is the version I used for scripture memorization many years, ago. However, please use whatever version of the Bible you prefer.

Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. (Ephesians 6:10–13 NKJ)

This passage of scripture does not describe our being strong in our ability but rather being strong in the ability of Jesus. We are to put on Jesus by putting on or putting into our spiritual hearts the various truths of the scripture identified by armor pieces.

Finally, being strong in the Lord and the power of His might, I put on the whole armor of God that I may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil and having done all to stand.

Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness, (Ephesians 6:14 NKJ)

Belt of Truth (Ephesians 6:14) The truth that holds everything together like a belt is that God is grace, mercy, and compassion, and He is for us and not against us (Exodus 34:6,7. Romans 8:31). That we are accepted, not based on our performance but our FAITH in Jesus’ sinless performance (Ephesians 2:8,9). We never have to hide from God when we sin but instead turn to Him to be cleansed of it (1 John 1:9). He is not holding out on us (i.e., not rejecting us) but has already given us everything He has, including Himself! (Romans 8:32.2 Peter 1:3,4). These things are always true, meaning they are TRUTH (Hebrews 13:8). For prayer, this is a reminder that we must pray the truth, also known as praying the promises (1) of the Bible.

I put on the belt of truth; your Word is the truth (Ephesians 6:14. John 17:17). Your Word have I hid in my heart that I might not sin against you (Psalms 119:11). Your Word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path (Psalms 119:105). How shall a young person cleanse his way? By taking heed according to Your Word (Psalms 119:9). Jesus, you are the Lord that is more than enough El-Shaddai (1), Genesis 17:1. Philippians 4:19). You are the Lord, our provider! Yahweh-Yireh (1), (Genesis 22:14. Matthew 6:33). In the Authority of the name of Jesus, by the Blood of God who became flesh, by the Cross that bore my sin away, and by the Spirit of Holiness who raised Christ from the dead, I bind all evil from operating against me and declare I am loosed from the snares of the enemy of our souls who only comes to steal, kill and destroy! (Philippians 2:8-10. Hebrews 2:14,15. 1 John 4:2. Galatians 3:13. Romans 8:11. Matthew 16:19. John 10:10)

Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness, (Ephesians 6:14 NKJ)

Breastplate of Righteousness (Ephesians 6:14. Isaiah 59:17) Our spiritual heart is protected knowing Jesus entered an exchange at the Cross of Calvary where He took our sin so that we might have His righteousness or right standing with God (i.e., we can stand right with God at His throne!) (2 Corinthians 5:21.Hebrews 4:16. 1 Thessalonians 5:8). This means we are as righteous as Jesus Christ is righteous! (1 Corinthians 1:30). This righteousness is not something we have earned but instead received by FAITH as a free gift (Romans 3:21-26;5:17;6:23). Consequently, we cannot lose this righteousness by our poor performance! Realize, that when we sin, it is between Jesus and us and is none of Satan’s business! If we repent (i.e., realize that sin hurts our fellowship with God, change our mind to stop doing it with God’s help and align with what God has said about it – that sin kills), then He is faithful to forgive the sin and to cleanse us from all the unrighteousness (1 John 1:9). Nevertheless, the sin did not make us unrighteous, just like dirt that gets on sandaled feet does not make a freshly bathed body dirty – only the feet have dirt on them (John 13:10). For prayer, this is a reminder that when we make requests of God, this must be done in Jesus’ name (1).

I put on the breastplate of righteousness (Ephesians 6:14). You made Him that knew no sin to be sin for me that I might become the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus (2 Corinthians 5:21). Jesus has been made unto me wisdom, righteousness, sanctification, and redemption (1 Corinthians 1:30). I have awakened to righteousness and sin no more (1 Corinthians 15:34). By the beautiful blood of Jesus, I have been made righteous (Romans 5:9). I protect my heart with all diligence for out of it flow the sources of life (Proverbs 4:23). Jesus, you are the Lord our righteousness! Yahweh-Tsidkenu (1), (Jeremiah 33:16. 2 Corinthians 5:21).

and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; (Ephesians 6:15 NKJ)

Sandals of the preparation that comes from the Gospel of Peace (Ephesians 6:15) We will not slip, trip, or stumble due to wondering if God is angry with us because the war for mankind’s eternal fate is over! (Isaiah 54:8,9) God’s just wrath against sin has been fully satisfied, having been released in full upon Jesus at the cross (Isaiah 53:4,5,10,11. Colossians 1:20). Consequently, the price for man’s sin has been paid in full by the God-Man Jesus Christ at the Cross of Calvary, thus canceling it (i.e., making it as if we never owed the debt!) (Colossians 2:13-15;1:13,14). We have peace with God, and the offer is available to all that will, by FAITH, accept it – the free gift of God’s salvation through Jesus Christ! (Acts 2:39. Ephesians 2:8,9. Romans 10:9,10,13). For prayer, this means that we must forgive others and ourselves even as God has forgiven us (Ephesians 4:32), leading to a lifestyle of gratitude (1).

I put the preparation of the Gospel of Peace on my feet, making me receptive to others, for I choose to give grace, mercy, and compassion (1) and not judgment (Ephesians 6:15. Romans 10:15). I am quick to forgive, quick to be forgiven, quick to forgive (Matthew 6:14. Matthew 5:7). I choose today to have an attitude of gratitude! (1) (1 Thessalonians 5:18) I choose not to be anxious about anything. Instead, in every situation, through prayer and petition with thanksgiving, I tell my requests to God, and the peace of God that surpasses all understanding guards my heart and mind in Christ Jesus (Philippians 4:6,7). Jesus, you are the Lord our peace! Yahweh-Shalom (1), (Judges 6:23,24. John 14:27) I do not have a spirit of fear but of power, love, and self-control! (2 Timothy 1:7)

above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one. (Ephesians 6:16 NKJ)

Shield of Faith (Ephesians 6:16) The shield of FAITH stops the fiery thoughts of Satan that attempt to undermine our relationship with God. Note that all the other pieces of this armor are worn by FAITH, too. So, how do we put it into use? When a fiery thought of the enemy comes, such as God is not pleased with you because you are not doing enough for Him (i.e., a works-based “condemnation” message), the shield goes up by doing what Jesus did when He was tempted by Satan (Luke 4:1-13). That is to say: “It is written,” and finish with scripture that addresses the area of temptation. In this temptation, the following scriptures would work nicely to run off the tempter: Romans 8:1. Ephesians 2:8,9. Hebrews 11:6, etc. However, we must remember that to operate in faith, we must be living in the love of God (Galatians 5:6). That is because fear is the opposite of faith in God, and it is chased away by living in the love of God (1 John 4:18). For prayer, this means that we must pray the promise in faith (1) and then stay in faith even when all things in the natural look hopeless.

I take up the shield of faith with which I quench all the fiery darts of the enemy! (Ephesians 6:16) Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God (Romans 10:17). I count it all joy when I fall into various trials and tribulations (1) for the trying of my faith produces perseverance, and perseverance has its perfect work making me perfect and complete lacking nothing (James 1:2-4). Tribulation produces endurance (1), endurance produces character, character produces hope, and hope does not disappoint because the love of God is shed abroad in our heart by You, Holy Spirit, who has been given to us (Romans 5:3-5). Jesus, you are the Lord our shield! Yahweh-Magen (1), (Psalms 28:7. John 17:15)

And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God; (Ephesians 6:17 NKJ)

Helmet of Salvation (Ephesians 6:17. Isaiah 59:17) Our minds are protected and can be kept in perfect peace knowing that we can trust God to always be there for us (Isaiah 26:3. 1 Thessalonians 5:8). We know that nothing can separate us from God and that He desires to be with us forever! (Romans 8:38,39. Hebrews 13:5,6) We never have to be anxious because God is more than enough for any and all situations and has already made provision for all of our needs in Christ Jesus! (Philippians 4:6,7,19) By not being anxious, we avoid the side effect of depression (Proverbs 12:25). Because God has saved us completely through Jesus’ death, burial, and resurrection (1 Corinthians 15:1-4), we can always have hope no matter the darkness of our personal situation in life (1 Thessalonians 5:8). Furthermore, what we have hoped for becomes a reality when activated by faith (Hebrews 11:1). For prayer, we must recognize that the motive for the request must only be to seek our Heavenly Father’s glory. (1)

I put on the helmet of salvation (Ephesians 6:17). I choose today not to conform to this World’s way of thinking but rather be transformed by the renewing of my mind to Your Word that I may know your good, fully pleasing, and perfect will (Romans 12:2). I trust in You Lord with all my heart and lean not unto my understanding. In all my ways, I acknowledge You, and You direct my paths. I choose not to be wise in my own eyes but rather fearing You, Lord, I turn away from evil, and You bring healing to my flesh and strength to my bones (Proverbs 3:5-8). Jesus, you are the Lord our sanctification Yahweh-M’Kaddesh (1), (Leviticus 20:26. John 17:17) and the Lord, our Healer! Yahweh-Rapha (1), (Exodus 15:26, Matthew 8:16,17)

And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God; (Ephesians 6:17 NKJ)

Sword of the Spirit (Ephesians 6:17) The sword of the Spirit, is wielded by saying the word of God – that the Holy Spirit prompts us to say – from our spiritual heart (Ephesians 6:18. Luke 12:12. Revelation 19:15). Note that this is the “Sword of the Holy Spirit,” not our sword. That is, the Holy Spirit attacks the enemy of souls when we say from our spiritual heart the Word of God He brings to our remembrance (2 Corinthians 10:4,5. John 14:26). This is the same way we operated the shield of faith; however, the sword is an offensive weapon whereas the shield is defensive. The sword of the Spirit is sharper than any two-edged sword, and this double-edged sword is designed for stabbing the enemy to their death. (Judges 3:16-22. Hebrews 4:12,13) The soldier had to wield the sword as it would accomplish nothing in its sheath. For prayer, this means that we must ask (1) and be persistent (1) with our requests to God.

I wield the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God alive and powerful, sharper than any two-edged sword dividing the soul and of spirit, joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the spiritual heart (Ephesians 6:17,18. Hebrews 4:12). Set a watch over my mouth to keep the door of my lips that I may only say things today that are full of grace and truth (Psalms 141:3. Ephesians 4:29. Ephesians 5:4. Colossians 3:8,9. Colossians 4:6) Jesus, you are the Lord our victory, and we rally around your banner of conquest! Yahweh-Nissi (1), (Exodus 17:15. 1 Corinthians 15:57)

Then your light shall break forth like the morning, Your healing shall spring forth speedily, And your righteousness shall go before you; The glory of the Lord shall be your rear guard. (Isaiah 58:8 NKJ)

The Glory of God is my rear God! (Isaiah 58:8) Thank you, Lord Jesus, for having my back! Jesus, you are the ever-present Lord! Yahweh-Shammah (1), (Ezekiel 48:35. Hebrews 13:5)

You are the Lord, the highest God! EL-Elyon (1) (Genesis 14:22) Jesus, You are the Lord my Shepherd (Yahweh-Rohi (1), Psalms 23:1. Hebrews 13:20). The LORD is my shepherd (1); I lack nothing. He takes me to lush pastures; He leads me to refreshing water. He restores my strength. He leads me down the right path for the sake of his reputation. Even when I must walk through the darkest valley, I fear no danger, for you are with me; your rod and your staff reassure me. You prepare a feast before me in plain sight of my enemies. You refresh my head with oil; my cup is completely full. Surely, your goodness and faithfulness will pursue me all my days, and I will live in the LORD’s house for the rest of my life. (Psalms 23)

In conclusion, to have the armor of God on, we must spend time studying and memorizing the Bible until we know it by (spiritual) heart (2 Timothy 2:15). An excellent way to learn scripture by (spiritual) heart is to say it over and over to God out loud in prayer! (1) (Isaiah 55:10,11) Over time, we will find that this will change how we think, respond, and pray about the events in our lives (Romans 12:2). We will also cultivate our relationship with the Holy Spirit, and it is He who will cause us to live according to the Word of God and not the flesh (Ezekiel 36:27. Galatians 5:16. Isaiah 58:8). It is He, the Holy Spirit (1), who empowers the Word of God coming out of our spiritual hearts to rout the enemy! (James 4:7. Psalms 149:5-9. Romans 16:19,20) 

And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love. (1 Corinthians 13:13 NET)

Lastly, we have also learned that we must walk in love and have hope activated by faith to wear the armor of God!

ABCs of Overcoming Temptation series:

(Security, Wholeness, Success)

Then he said to them, “Therefore every expert in the law who has been trained for the kingdom of heaven is like the owner of a house who brings out of his treasure what is new and old.” (Matthew 13:52 NET)

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Hal has taught the Bible for over three decades. Through an interdenominational ministry dedicated to helping the local church build men for Jesus, Hal trained men, the leaders of men’s ministries, and provided pulpit supply. Before that, he was a Men’s Ministry Leader and an Adult Bible Fellowship teacher of a seventy-five-member class at a denominational megachurch. Presently, Hal desires to honor Jesus Christ through this Internet teaching ministry, thereby glorifying the Heavenly Father in the power and presence of the Holy Spirit. He believes, second to cultivating his relationship with God that raising his family unto the Lord is the most significant task for him while on Earth. Furthermore, Hal believes that being a successful leader in the church or workplace is no substitute for failing to be a successful leader at home.  DOULOS HAL'S TOPICAL INDEX

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