Have you ever been desperate, because the onslaught of sin’s temptation and Satan’s merciless attacks have overwhelmed your soul to the point of feeling like you’re about to lose your mind? All sincere and devoted disciples of Jesus Christ will experience such moments in our lives.
What our minds and hearts need in such times is faith, and “faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ” (Rom. 10.17). In these encounters we must repeatedly quote memorized Scripture that directly addresses Satan’s lies, for though our temptation and its devilish torments come with astounding fierceness, our great Enemy cannot withstand the constant thrusts of our God’s mighty sword from our lips for very long. William Gurnall offers any soldier of the cross encouragement regarding such experiences in the following quote.
“There is more odds between you and Satan than between the weakest idiot and the greatest scholar in the world…But there is a divine authority in the word which faith builds on, and this has a throne in the conscience of the devil; he flies at this. For this reason Christ, though He was able to have baffled the devil by reason, yet to give us a pattern that arms us for our defense in our conflicts with Satan, He repels him only by lifting up the shield of the word. “It is written,” says Christ (Luke 4:4), and again, (ver. 8), “it is written,” says Christ. And it is very observable how powerful the word was when quoted by Christ to nonplus the devil; so that he did not have a word to reply to any scripture that was brought, but was taken off on the very mention of the word and forced to go to another argument. Had Eve but stood to her first answer, “God has said You shall not eat of it” (Gen. 3.3), she would have been too hard for the devil. But letting her hand-hold go which she had by faith on the word, presently she fell into her enemy’s hand. Thus, in this particular, when, in the heat of temptation, the Christian stands by faith on His defense, interposing the word between him and Satan’s blows, saying, “I believe that God is; though I cannot comprehend His nature nor answer your sophistry, yet I believe the report the word makes of God.” Satan may trouble such a one but he cannot hurt him. No, it is probable he will not trouble him for long. The devil’s antipathy is so great to the word, that he loves not to hear it sound in his ear. But, if you throw down the shield of the word, and think you can cut your way through the temptation by the [power] or force of your reason, you may soon see yourself surrounded by your subtle enemy, and put beyond an honorable retreat.” – William Gurnall, The Christian in Complete Armor (pp. 380-81), emphasis mine