After the struggle and sacrifice to purge ourself and obtain a pure heart before God, we enter the perpetual challenge to keep it pure! Scripture gives very practical advice on how to stay pure before God, once we have attained “his heart”. In his book, What Every Christian Ought to Know, Pastor Adrian Rodgers explains that our human nature is composed of three different parts: body, soul, and spirit, and that Satan is the expert at knowing how to tempt each one. After all, he’s been doing it since the dawn of man.
John 2:15-17 declares that sin will attack us in each of these three areas:
The lust of the flesh attacks our physical body with our own sinful nature .
The lust of the eyes attacks our soul, the center of our psychological, emotional, and intellectual self, with worldly enticements like power, money, and prestige.
The pride of life attacks our spirit in the arena of our pride and self sufficiency by Satan himself. He enticed Adam and Eve to their fall in exactly this way.
How do we combat these three areas of temptation? The Bible has the answers:
Paul states in 2 Timothy 2:22, “Flee also youthful lusts,” and in 1 Corinthians 6:18, “Flee sexual immorality.” Our spiritual common sense directs us to get out of tempting environments and to avoid bad ones in the first place. We must be spiritually sensitive to what we look at, listen to, read, and in what we absorb ourselves. Avoidance is the best advise for fleshly temptations. Don’t give your fleshly nature opportunity to work its cravings on you.
Against the world we must exercise faith.
As children of God we will never find real satisfaction from what this world offers and promotes. There is no point searching in the world to find spiritual satisfaction. 1 John 2:15 tells us, “If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.” God is now the center of our hunger and thirst in this world! Our treasures are not found in this world, but we are preparing them right now for heaven.
We must depend entirely on Jesus. Don’t permit Satan to create a wedge between you and God by manipulating your pride, bitterness, or persistent grudges toward others. If we think we are religiously okay and following all the spiritual p’s and q’s, this is the exact moment that Satan eases into our complacency to create a sense of spiritual pride that will distance us from God, just as happened with David before he committed his great sin with Bathsheba.
Anytime we realize what the evil one is about, we must declare, as Jesus did in Matthew 16:22-24, “Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to me; you do not have in mind the concerns of God, but merely human concerns.”
To be fully prepared the Word of God, his righteousness, must be ever present in our mind for the Spirit to employ in our thoughts, heart, and will.
“Sin befogs and beclouds the heart so that one cannot see God. Purity clears and clarifies the senses and gives vision to everything,” as Archibald T. Robertson states in Robertson’s Word Pictures of the New Testament.
The Bible assures us that no temptation shall overwhelm us, if we depend upon and look to God. First, Corinthians 10:13 promises, “No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but when you are tempted he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.”