Over the years I’ve heard people say, “When Satan reminds you of your past, remind him of his future.” While this may work when the accuser of our brethren (Revelation 12:9-11) reminds us of our past sins, what do we do when it is ourselves doing all the reminding? What do we do when our flesh (Romans 7:18 ,Galatians 5:17-26, Romans 8:5-18, 1 Peter 2:11) rises up and rears its ugly head? How do we deal with temptations that stream from our old desires?
The truth is we are all sinners (Romans 3:23). We all struggle with sin and temptations. I will say that a majority of the time we are our own worst enemy. We can blame Satan for our faults, but the truth is we do enough damage all by ourselves because of our sinful nature. I’m not dismissing the power of Satan to tempt us with sin (1 Peter 5:8); I’m just pointing out that we are fully capable to sin without his help. We are born sinners, and we are totally depraved because of this nature. I believe the advice of reminding Satan of his future when he reminds us of our past can keep our eye upon Satan instead of turning to Jesus when we are tempted by sin. Why even talk to Satan when we can go before God Almighty? Why waste the time talking to the father of lies (John 8:44) when we can approach our Father in Heaven?
My advice is very simple and to the point. When we are being tempted by the lusts and desires of our flesh, we need to go before our Father in prayer as soon as we are being tempted with sin. If we have a sin problem that is fed by elements in our environment, I suggest removing ourselves and/or those temptations from our grasp. For some, that means not going down the beer/wine aisle when grocery shopping. For others, that means blocking certain TV channels. For some, that might mean throwing out the home computer. And for others, it may be simply removing yourself from certain people. Since we all are different, we are tempted in different ways because of personal sin. The solution is always the same: go to Jesus in prayer and ask Him to help you. Jesus is faithful and He will never forsake us.
1 John 2:1-2 (NASB)
1 My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous; 2 and He Himself is the propitiation for our sins; and not for ours only, but also for those of the whole world.
Personally, I do not like the advice of reminding Satan of his future. I believe it’s far better to turn to Jesus when we are being tempted to sin. The time we are wasting telling Satan about his future can be used to go to Jesus, asking Him to deliver us from temptation.
Ephesians 6:10-18 (NASB)
10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might.
11 Put on the full armor of God, so that you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil.
12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places.
13 Therefore, take up the full armor of God, so that you will be able to resist in the evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm.
14 Stand firm therefore, HAVING GIRDED YOUR LOINS WITH TRUTH, and HAVING PUT ON THE BREASTPLATE OF RIGHTEOUSNESS,
15 and having shod YOUR FEET WITH THE PREPARATION OF THE GOSPEL OF PEACE;
16 in addition to all, taking up the shield of faith with which you will be able to extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one.
17 And take THE HELMET OF SALVATION, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.
18 With all prayer and petition pray at all times in the Spirit, and with this in view, be on the alert with all perseverance and petition for all the saints,