From the writings of the Rev. Billy Graham

Dear Dr. Graham:

How do you know if the devil is tempting you to do something wrong, or if it is only your own desires? — G.T.

Dear G.T.: The basic issue is the same; we are being tempted to turn our backs on God because we live in a fallen world where the devil seeks to devour us (1 Peter 5:8).

The Bible declares that the devil is the source of all temptation and is called the “tempter.” (Matthew 4:3). But he is able to succeed because we let him — and we let him succeed because of our own weakness and sinfulness. We want what seems pleasurable without counting the cost.

We should not dwell on temptations. We shouldn’t savor them or toy with them or replay them over in our minds. The more we think about temptations, the more enticing they become.

This is the reason we need Christ. Only He can forgive us when we sin, and only He can give us the strength, by the power of His Spirit, to resist temptation. In His own encounter with the devil at the beginning of His ministry, Jesus pointed the way to victory; using the truth of God’s Word to counteract Satan’s lies. Three times Satan attacked Him with almost overwhelming temptations. And three times Jesus replied with Scripture. This is why it is vitally important to stay in God’s Word daily and let the richness of His truth fill our hearts and minds.

The Word of God is the loving weapon against the attacks of Satan. This is what Scripture means when the Word of God is called the Sword of truth. “Blessed are all who hear the word of God and put it into practice” (Luke 11:28, NLT).