Have you ever been in that place where you have given in? To temptation? To sin? Or maybe you know someone who you see falling into temptation again and again. We wonder – how can this happen ? We have this amazing truth; we have this wonderful, merciful and grace full Saviour – So how can anyone possibly turn around and give in to sin after having all this revealed to them?
Having been washed in the watery grave of baptism; having received the infilling of the Holy Ghost I know all too well that it does not end there. At no point when we are born again does life become “easy street”. In fact if remember correctly, my life got more challenging after I was born again. It seemed in some cases that there was more around every corner to tempt me than ever before.
And having people in my life who were not born again, who did not have the revelation that I had – well that only complicates things all the more. To friends we used to party with suddenly we gave up alcohol, we stopped smoking; we changed our dress and maybe we gave up all that profanity. We are different than before. And they wonder if we are trapped, following some church’s crazy rules. Because frankly most of Christianity is so watered down; many churches barely preach sin or if they do it is “a sanitized view” of sin, as says Nathan Ward in Daybreak – A Guide to Overcoming Temptation.
This is a little book but one that grabs you. Lots to contemplate as you read too. I admit to being rather surprised at all the questions, all the scripture – the many gems within this book that really made me think about my sin. And the things that tempt me. Where am I? Am I overcoming?
“God doesn’t want us to be happy so much as He wants us to be crucified.” I have heard this said another way too; that God wants us not happy, but holy.”
What does it mean to be crucified? Why is it so important? We hae to understand the denial of self; the sacrifice of self. We have to know that our worst enemy is not Satan at all; it our our own self. If we do not know ourselves well enough; if we are not honest with ourself, our walk is likely to be more often in the flesh than in the Spirit. Point being, e need to not just believe, but to KNOW that He doesn’t want any thing from us. He just wants us. Ad for us to follow Him we must be willing t give up everything we own and everything we are, trusting Him to provide a way that is greater. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me (Gal 2:20).
So what about Satan? First of all we need to understand that God is God alone; there is none other. Satan does not have the power to do anything that God has not already allowed him to do. Let’s take some of that power away from Satan; remember self? It is far more damaging to us than Satan can be in any ways. If we go back to the Garden, where Satan first tempted man, we must remember that “Eve chose to think of what she could not have rather than thinking of all the good things she was blessed with.” How many of us can understand this? Haven’t we all fallen for this at some point? We want something new, something better. That temptation stares us right in the face and we forget the blessings we have feeling a desperate “need” fr that which we do not have. Until we have it. And something new comes to tempt us. We desire and feel the need to provide for ourselves; suddenly we distrust God’s word. We maybe question, or forget, His promises to us. And we fall. Do you see how important it is for us to have that firm foundation> To know His word and have it hidden in our heart? Barclay says, “every man is a walking Civil War….pulled in two directions…if temptation truck no answering chord than temptation would not be temptation.”
We need to control our desires. We need to listen to God and not self. Let us go to His word when we are feeling a need. Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for he shall receive the crown of life…let no one say “I am tempted by God, for God cannot be tempted with evil and he himself tempts no one…But each is tempted when he is lured and enticed y his own desires…desire gives birth to sin and sin when grown brings forth death (James 1:12-15).
It is a battle. We are in a war. We need to remember that. And we need to plan ahead. Be a prepper if you will. Let us not forget how revolting sin is; nor that we are alone in our fight against sin. There are numerous examples of those in the pages of God’s word, who fought sin. From their playbook we can learn how to prepare for the battle before it strikes. We can better understand how and why we are tempted. Have we already determined to sin? Is our attitude one of defeat or are we sure of the victory we have in Christ? Have we set anything unworthy before our eyes; are we walking in integrity?
What would Jesus do? Its cheesy but there is much we can gain by considering this when trials come our way. Do you not know that you are a temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwells in you? (1 Corinthians 3:16). Let us be prayerful in all things. Let us have a plan; who we shall call and where we shall turn when temptation comes our way. And not just for ourselves. We all know others who struggle with sin; some who continue to lose the battle again and again. As Stott says ” it’s too easy to pray sometimes with some perserverance for some of God’s people….to replace some with all…introduces us to a new dimension of prayer.” Much like being called to love your enemies and to pray for them that do wrong to you. The challenge comes in looking beyond ones sin and shining the truth of God’s word on the lie that sin is. See it for what is it; expose it and it cannot live.
Let us never forget, in any trial we face; He will provide a way of escape. It may not look the way we think it should but it will be there. Let us know it. Let us grow in it. And let us do it. Look to Christ, our example, our advocate, our Lord and Saviour…And we shall never fall.
This is how we overcome. 🙂