For several months in 1980 scientists warned that Mount Saint Helens was going to erupt. Residents around the Washington State volcano were strongly encouraged to evacuate for their very lives. Obviously most people did evacuate, but a few chose to stay home.
One such resident was Harry Truman (no, not the President). The 83 year old told one local reporter, “I don’t know whether the volcano will erupt. But I don’t believe it to the point that I am ready to pack up.” Those words stand as a monument to poor decision making. When the deadliest eruption in American history took place, Harry Truman’s house was buried under 150 feet of mud and debris, and his body was never discovered. It is foolish to disregard reality, and Truman learned that lesson the hard way.
Christians make the same mistake when they act as if temptations will never come, or that the devil is not able to get them to fall into sin. Yes, the Bible says that “He who is in you is greater than he that is in the world (I John 4:4);” the Holy Spirit of God resides within every child of God, starting at our moment of salvation. God’s Spirit is stronger than all the forces of evil combined, but that does not mean that we are invincible. James told us, “But each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed (1:14).”
Temptation is going to come. After all, if Jesus Himself was tempted, why should we think we we wont be? In Luke 4:1-13 (and Matthew 4:1-11) Jesus gave us the playbook for how to find victory over temptation. The cat is out of the bag. We can see what Jesus did and adopt it for ourselves. In Luke 4:1 we read that prior to being tempted Jesus was “filled with the Holy Spirit.” To be filled with literally means to be saturated with. Then, with each of the three recorded enticements from Satan, Jesus responded by saying, “It is written.” Three times Jesus Spoke words from the Old Testament book of Deuteronomy to explain why He was saying no to what the devil wanted Him to do.
Since temptation is going to come, we need to be saturated with the Spirit, and we need to study the Scriptures. We can pray, “lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one (Matthew 6:13).” We need to know what the Bible says so that we can quote it back to the devil. When David had the opportunity to assassinate King Saul and install himself as king, he asked his supporters, “How can I do this thing and be guiltless (I Samuel 26:9)?”
Don’t be like Harry Truman. Heed the warnings that temptation is going to come, and make sure you are prepared for it. Ask God to saturate you with the Spirit, and study the Scriptures. When the devil begins to tempt you, like Jesus you can say, “It is written.”