When tempted to do wrong, we often make the mistake of just trying not to do the wrong thing rather than figure out my legitimate God given need and the godly way to meet it. Just not doing wrong creates a vacuum which allows sin to gain power. It promises to meet a genuine need in a quick, easy, no-cost way. If I don’t meet the need in a sinful way, the need still exists and will create and ever growing vacuum. I must push out the negative with an opposite.
Can you imagine a good outcome to a sword fight in which the enemy gets to jab and slice and the defendant is not allowed to thrust back; is just limited to defending himself? When I feel burdened, or accused, or afraid, or inferior etc. it is important to realize this is never of the Lord.
First I look at the situation I’m concerned about . Then I ask if I am taking on God’s part of the task? Am I attaching my worth or security to the outcome or the perfection of my response?
Second I cast my cares back on him; remember that he really does care for me. When the devil says I am worthless, hopeless and powerless; I reply with a resounding YES YES I can see your point BUT GOD seems to think I am infinitely valuable, secure and powerful, able to do all thing through him. So devil TAKE IT UP WITH GOD he doesn’t agree with you.
Then I MAKE HIM PAY. Having parried with truth it is time to thrust back. “Just for that devil, I will pray for my pastor, for my family one by one out loud and by name, (the devil can’t tell what you are thinking so to make him wish he hadn’t attacked, pray out loud) I will praise the Lord for the following things———-, I will write a letter (or text) of encouragement to someone who needs it and pray for them, I will memorize a verse and repeat it out loud. I will write a song or pick up a hymnbook and sing out loud.
Martin Luther suffered bouts of depression and would write hymns such as A might Fortress is Our God then sing it at the devil and obtain relief. When depressed, Charles Spurgeon would read the psalms and write out the things God gave him out of them and share the writings with others.
I try to be creative and look for ways to take a glass of cold water to thirsty people.
When sin abounds grace even more abounds. When tempted God will not let me be tested to the point of sin but will pour out even more grace to attack the enemy. The picture to keep in mind is of someone holed up in an attacked city and their gates will crumble and the attackers will invade. It is the gates of hell that will not be able to withstand our attack. He is the one cowering in the city and God and his people are on the attack. Remind the devil that I belong to Jesus and am paid for by Jesus’ blood and I am not afraid of death because I only fear the one who GETS THE LAST WORD on me and the devil. Revelation 12:11
When I find that the devil backs off and I have less doubt and fear and self contempt. Then I press the advantage and keep up the attack.