Escaping Temptation?

Q. I seem to remember a passage in the Bible where we are told that if we are being tempted by Satan, we can tell him to leave by claiming God’s promise that that he has conquered Satan and that we, too, can make him leave. Do you know in what book or verse this might be?

G., via email

A. Here’s a reply from TCA columnist Father Ray Ryland, Ph.D., J.D:

We know that Our Lord rejected temptation by commanding, “Get away, Satan!” (Mt 4:10) or “Get behind me, Satan” (Mt 16:23). I can find no passage in which this assurance you have described is clearly stated. Yet it does paraphrase God’s promise about help in time of temptation. “No trial has come to you but what is human. God is faithful and will not let you be tried beyond your strength [a blessed promise!], but with the trial he will also provide a way out, so that you may be able to bear it” (1 Cor 10:13).

We must never wrestle with a temptation. When you wrestle, you’re thinking about the temptation and thereby helping it grow in strength. Instantly, when the temptation comes into conscious mind, we must refuse to think about it and turn to our God-given “way out.”

And what is the “way out” from temptation that God has provided? It is calling on the holy name of Jesus in the time of temptation. Any time temptation arises, if we immediately and sincerely call on Jesus to take away the temptation, He will rescue us from it.

“Whatever you ask in my name, I will do” (Jn 14:13), if it is right and good. Surely, escape from temptation falls under that category. We must cultivate the habit of instantly calling on the holy name of Jesus in time of any temptation.