At the start of His earthly ministry, Jesus went off alone in the desert. For 40 days His companion—if you can call it that—was the devil. Satan tried every wicked way he could to tempt Jesus away from obedience to God the Father.
And Satan failed. But he didn’t give up.
There’s a crucial point in Luke’s account of the temptation that’s easy to miss. In the fourth chapter, Luke writes,
“When the devil had finished all this tempting, he left [Jesus] until an opportune time” (verse 13).
When is it the “opportune time” for temptation in your life?
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Our enemy wanted to defeat our Lord Jesus, and he wants to defeat you. We’re in the midst of an invisible war. I guarantee he’s watching right now for the right moment to try to accomplish his evil purposes in your life.
It’s true that the devil and his demons are not omniscient, or all-knowing, as God is. But they know human nature. They know how to trip us and make us fall. And they’re determined to do it!
Satan knows your weak spots. So should you.
Everyone is different. The perfect opportunity to be tempted will be different for you than for the guy next to you. A single person’s temptations are different from those faced by young parents or empty-nesters. A college student struggles differently than a professor.
But there are universal areas of weakness. And if you can learn them, you can H.A.L.T. the temptation before it starts!
Let me explain.
There are at least four predictable times in every human being’s life when temptation will feel more powerful. If you’re not aware of them, it’s a pretty good chance that you’ll give in.
The H stands for when you’re hungry.
When you’re hungry, you’re vulnerable to a lot of things. For example, when you’re famished, do you notice you feel impatient with people? Cut them off in traffic, or conversation? Maybe even belittle them?
The A is for when you’re angry.
You might put a star by this one. The Scripture is blunt:
“In your anger do not sin: Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry” (Ephesians 4:26).
That’s because there’s probably no more common way that we allow deception and condemnation to fester. It’s an open door for the enemy!
The L is for when you’re lonely.
Loneliness is a green light for Satan. Maybe you’re surrounded by people but feel isolated. Maybe you’re on a business trip and miss your spouse and kids. Whatever, the evil one is ready to pounce with something that supposedly solves the loneliness problem but really just pulls you away from your divine Companion.
Lastly, the T is for when you’re tired.
When we’re physically depleted, it’s easy to feel down or discouraged. You might be tempted to give in to something unwise or unhealthy or even immoral.
Remember, the apostle Peter tells us that the enemy prowls around looking for someone to devour (1 Peter 5:8). The devil is eager to find those “opportune times.” When you’re hungry, when you’re angry, when you’re lonely or when you’re tired, you’re vulnerable!
But you can H.A.L.T. him!
“Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you” (James 4:7).
HALT the devil with the new study from Chip Ingram – The Invisible War.
Founder & Teaching Pastor, Living on the Edge
Chip Ingram is the CEO and teaching pastor of Living on the Edge, an international teaching and discipleship ministry. A pastor for over thirty years, Chip has a unique ability to communicate truth and challenge people to live out their faith. He is the author of many books, including The Real God, Culture Shock and The Real Heaven. Chip and his wife, Theresa, have four grown children and twelve grandchildren and live in California.More Articles by Chip