Verbs stick out. They help your mind connect with what you are reading or listening to.
Have you ever noticed the verbs of sin?
Crouch, ensnare, separate, consume, harden, heap, and bring forth death make me want to run the other way.
However, when sin is still only a temptation, I often forget the truth of the verbs of sin and just think of the lie that promises pleasure.
Jim Logan, in his book Reclaiming Surrendered Ground, writes, “Interestingly, we are never told in the Bible to resist temptation. The Bible tells us to resist the tempter. If we try to resist the temptation, what are we looking at? The very thing that wipes us out.”
When I throw my effort into resisting temptation, all I can think about is the thing that is tempting me. What a sneaky way to draw our attention off of these verbs that tell us exactly what sin does!
Instead of the fruitless resistance of temptation, the Bible gives us some other helpful verbs in resisting the Tempter: resist, flee, give no opportunity, stand against, escape, be watchful.
My sons like to sword fight. One of the things I’ve learned while being a boy mom is that anything can be a weapon. The disparity in their ages (12 and 4) makes their contests a little uneven. My little guy always focuses on the sword, be it foam sword or stick, that my older son is holding. He chops away at it to no avail while his big brother grins at me over his head. (This is what we do when we try to resist temptation, with no thought to the tempter.)
However, when my husband gets involved, he shows the little one how to go for big brother’s shin or shoulder. (This is how we resist the tempter.) Most often, my husband gets involved in the melee himself and the little guy ends up winning after all. (This is us drawing near to the Lord.)
Notice in the verbs addressing how to resist the devil, the Word never says attack. That is the Lord’s job. More often, in resisting the enemy, the Bible gives even better advice than just stalwart resistance: Submit yourselves therefore to God; Be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might; Endure because the Lord has provided a way of escape.
The verbs of sin may seem distressing, but they melt away in light of Who Jesus is and what He has promised to do for us.
Our hearts, souls, minds, and strength are sapped by sin, emptying them of the love that belongs to the Lord Jesus. However, when we rest in His strength, we are able to love Him with all that we have.
The Lenten season gives us time to reflect on the gravity of sin but also on its Cure. You can find daily Lenten devotions to help you grow in your love for Jesus at http://www.sarahdixonyoung.com/lent2022.