Larry Arrowood, tell us a little about yourself and your ministry.
Nancy, my wife of 44 years, and I have two married sons, both in ministry. I delight in my five grandchildren. I have pastored The Tabernacle in Seymour, Indiana for the past 26 years. I currently serve as presbyter of Section 7 of the Indiana District. I have written eight books: Overcoming Temptation; Building the Home; Surviving the Storm of Suffering; Grace, Faith, Works (finding the Biblical balance); They Came To Save Us, Bloodroot, Troublesome Blue, and Cross Switch. I graduated from Apostolic Bible Institute with a religious degree in 1972 and the University of Findlay in 1989 with emphasis in Psychology.
Our churches and saints are under tremendous spiritual attack today. Why do you think this is happening?
I don’t think we are an exception; persecution of the righteous has been since mankind’s fall from the garden. Perhaps life has gotten more complex, and our expectations have changed, especially living in a democratic society. Like, let’s take a poll and see if the devil should be able to bother us. Modern technology has allowed more — in quantity and degree of debauchery — to infiltrate every facet of our lives. The current trend of society is to offer protection for rights that the Bible, as well as present and past cultures, defines as base and wicked.
What are some positive, practical steps that people can take to protect themselves and their families against excessive temptation?
Prevention is one of the best of defenses: if you’ve never tasted apple pie, you’ll never crave apple pie. One must remove the temptation from one’s environment as much as possible. Parents must not be naive about a child’s Adamic nature and must recognize that their children are susceptible to temptation; therefore, they must create, as much as possible, a hedge of protection by way of guiding principles: curfew, dating guidelines, control of media, and participation in their lives. A spiritual environment is essential: church attendance, personal Bible reading, and consistent prayer are absolutes. We must learn to use the Scripture as a defense: calling upon the name of the Lord, rebuking the adversary in Jesus’ name, pleading the blood of Calvary. Recognize that some individuals sin because they are wicked; some sin because they are weak. We must approach both in a way that addresses the root of the sin, but both from a spiritual perspective of a relationship with Christ and a continual diet of His Word.
What should Christians avoid to help guard themselves against excessive temptation and sin?
We are tempted through the mind (an imagination that is carnal in nature) and senses (externals that stimulate lustful desires). When we let down in our spiritual progress, we always default to a carnal nature; therefore, we must always be pressing onward and upward, feeding the spiritual nature within us and starving the carnal nature. With this said, we must make commitments that guard against what enters our mind through the external senses, and we must take control of our thoughts. It becomes a matter of removing that which is carnal and acquiring that which is righteous.
You recently wrote a book entitled Overcoming Temptation. What prompted you to write this book?
The title sounds a bit forlorn and could well be a turnoff. However, whether the text is relevant at the moment is inconsequential, one’s situation can change without notice. Like as with Job of old, the gales of adversity appear abruptly, and nothing you do can prevent them. My hope, even if one is sensing no immediate inclination for the subject, is that they read the book for the sake of future attacks and to be able to offer guidance to someone dealing with the issue of temptation. Temptation is not sin; it is the precursor to sin. If we have a biblical means of dealing with temptation we may well avoid committing the sin. Temptation is mankind’s age-old companion. Ironically, this companion is not a colleague of choice. Conversely, this companion is an intruder of ultimate magnitude, a prowler of devastating potential. Temptation is one of the adversary’s most effective tools. Like a bloodthirsty tick, this culprit will eventually find and attach itself. There are a dozen ways to deal with ticks, but we must deal with them or we may contact a disease. The same is true for dealing with temptation.
I also wanted to offer hope to those who are under the adversary’s attack. Others have been there and overcome: that offers hope to us today. We can study their temptation and response to the temptation—good or bad—and find direction for our situation. The Bible has a lot to say about overcoming sin, and it has a host of characters to study.
In the book’s origination, there were a lot of books out there defining sin and telling the believer not to sin, but I found little information in prevention. I hope this book answers that need. It is a great book for new converts, or to use in counseling, and as a small group study guide.
What material do you cover in the book?
In twelve chapters (each concluding with points of interest to discuss), I cover a number of topics regarding temptation. Some include: knowing our enemy, recognize God planned redemption from our past sins and hope if we fail, the shock that comes to the newborn Christian when they are still tempted, preventative maintenance, early warning signs, God’s provision for overcoming, what we are to do if we succumb to temptation and sin, an explanation of the unpardonable sin, and an overview of our Lord who was likewise tempted but never sinned.
For more information and to order:
The retail cost is $13.95 but some outlets offer discounts. The title is: Overcoming Temptation (ISBN 978-0-9892291-5-9). The book is available online at its lowest cost through the publisher: Woodsong Publishing: www.woodsongsongpublishing.com but is also available through Pentecostal Publishing House and various Christian outlets. Multiple online stores carry it, including Amazon and Barnes and Noble. It is also available in digital form as an Amazon e-book for $2.99.