You were doing well. Your life in God was growing. It had been months since you had fallen into sin. For the first time in years you were feeling as though it was behind you. It seemed as though you were emerging from a long, dark tunnel. Your prospects looked bright. God’s hand was blessing. Hope filled your heart. All of this pointed to the fact that you had crossed a line: you had finally surrendered your life to God.
Then suddenly, when you least expected it, you were bushwhacked by the enemy. Perhaps you were innocently writing emails when a pornographic email showed up in your inbox. You were temporarily bewitched by it and found yourself opening it before you could even gather your defenses against the assault. The pull was tremendous. After it was over you felt devastated.
Or maybe an old boyfriend suddenly showed up when you were in a particularly weak state of mind. You had just been thinking how much you wish there was someone to love you, to hold you… Then your phone rang and you heard that familiar voice. The bad memories and the reasons you had cut off the relationship seemed to evaporate. “Someone to hold you…” The words seemed to echo in your mind. Before you knew what had happened, you were leaving a hotel room, so disgusted with yourself that you were physically sick.
Whatever the case may be, you need to be reminded of a two things.
You Need to Know that Jesus Christ Broke the Power of the Enemy on the Cross.
This means that as a born again believer, sin will not and cannot hold you. You may have your struggles for a time, but your victory is assured. You have the Spirit of the living God indwelling you. You will find that as your relationship with Christ grows so too will your determination and strength to resist temptation.
Once a person truly repents of his sin and submits to the lordship of Jesus Christ, Satan can no longer hold him in sin. The power of sin is broken. The best the devil can hope to do now is to try to lure him back through temptation.
When the enemy determines to plot the downfall of a believer, he can only work within the boundaries set forth by God. As Paul pointed out, "No temptation has overtaken you but such as is common to man; and God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, that you may be able to endure it." (I Corinthians 10:13) The veteran apostle does not promise a life free of temptations, but rather that God will keep them within His limits and always provide a way of escape in order that the believer may continue to stand.
You Need to be Reminded that Failure is Not Final.
Someone once said, “Failure is not falling down; it is remaining there when you have fallen.” That is so true! Every single believer I have ever known who has gained the victory over sexual sin did so after many defeats.
The way it typically happens is like this: The person begins to feel a growing sense of being fed up with the consequences of his sin. He is tired of being a hypocrite. At some point, in utter exacerbation with his condition, a surrender to God occurs in his heart. An emotional experience may or may not accompany this pivotal spiritual decision. From that day forth, he begins to grow in strength. His failures become more seldom. Before long, victories outnumber defeats. It is not unusual for him to walk in freedom for a time, only to fall once again to some temptation. For the true believer, this final spiritual fall is usually the last. Failure is not final; it is often only the door into a life of victory. Nevertheless, you can be assured that some lying devil will do its utmost to remind you of your past string of failures so that you won’t look with hope to the certain victory that is yours.
Yes, we are in a war on this planet earth. The devil rages all around us. And although the city of Satan may open its gates and vomit every vile spirit of hell against us, in the end, their failure is assured. And the next time you are feeling wearied by the battle or discouraged by some failure, remember the words spoken by the Captain of the host: “I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.” (Matthew 16:18 KJV)
Steve Gallagher is the Founder and President of Pure Life Ministries. He has dedicated his life to helping men find freedom from sexual sin and leading Christians into the abundant life in God that comes through deep repentance.
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