Saturday, February 22, 2020

Temptations will Come

Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted there by the devil. Matthew 4:1 NLT 

A holy character will not prevent temptation—even Jesus was tempted. When Satan tempts us, his sparks fall on dry wood; but in the case of Christ, it was like Satan struck matches underwater. And yet the enemy continued his evil work. Now, if the devil goes on striking when there is no result, how much more will he do it when he knows what flammable stuff our hearts are made of? Even when you have become greatly sanctified by the Holy Spirit, expect that the great dog of hell will still bark at you. In the haunts of humanity, we assume we’ll be tempted—but even seclusion will not guard us from the same trial. Jesus Christ was led away from human society, into the wilderness, and was tempted of the devil. Solitude has its delights and its benefits; it may even be useful in checking “the desires of the eyes and pride of life” (1 John 2:16 ESV). But the devil will follow us into the loveliest retreats. Do not suppose that it is only worldly people who have dreadful thoughts and blasphemous temptations—even spiritually minded persons endure the same. We may suffer the darkest temptations in the holiest places. The greatest devotion of spirit will not insure you against satanic temptation. Christ was consecrated through and through—it was his food and drink to do the will of His Father who sent Him (John 4:34), and yet He was tempted! Your heart may glow with a heavenly flame of love toward Jesus, and yet the devil will try to bring you down to the lukewarm level of the Laodiceans (Revelation 3:13–15). If you can tell me when God allows Christians to lay down their armor, I will tell you when Satan stops tempting. Like the old knights in wartime, we must sleep with our helmet and breastplate buckled on—the arch-deceiver will seize our first unguarded hour to make us his prey. May the Lord keep us watchful in all seasons, and give us a final escape from the jaw of the lion and the paw of the bear. - C.H. Spurgeon Morning and Evening. 

One of the worst things perpetrated against mankind by Satan is that it's only us going through what we are going through.  The second is like it.  That it does no good to seek help.  

Read that first sentence by Spurgeon. 

We are lied to from the very moment we are able to begin understanding right and wrong.  By our sin nature, sometimes at the same time as others speak to us.  The earlier Satan is able to influence us the deeper his attempts at influencing us can be. 

We wrestle not against flesh and blood.  Scripture is clear on that.  

As it reads both in Scripture and outside of it, our greatest enemy is ourselves.  We can deceive ourselves quite easily.  We can be very convincing in our lies to ourselves and others.  Only by relying on the truth of God can we have a lifeline to hold onto in order to live.

We are lied to by Satan and ourselves concerning our self worth. 

We are lied to by Satan and ourselves concerning punishment and condemnation.  

We are lied to about a great many things.   

Even the Spiritually empowered Disciples who were able to have authority over sickness, demons and such, were able to be lied to about things concerning themselves.  They became prideful to the point where they weren't able to heal others.  Blackaby writes "Jesus' response to His disciples included some of the harshest words ever to come from His mouth. He called His own disciples “unbelieving” and “perverse” and questioned how much longer He had to endure them! Why? Because they were supposed to be on mission with Him to bring salvation to others, but they had become so disoriented to Him that they were spiritually powerless, lacking the faith to bring physical and spiritual comfort to those God had sent to them."

Dear reader, please know that indeed Jesus has promised never to leave us nor forsake us.  He cannot break His promise. 

But we, at times, make Him wait on us to come back around to His way of thinking. 

Jesus isn't sitting on His Throne with a gavel waiting for our next sin in order to drop a judgment on us.  That too is a lie of Satan.  

Jesus knows our every weakness.  He knows our every thought.  Our every intention before we even know ourselves. 

We indeed must stop the self debasement.  Stop the self condemnation.  We need to start believing what Jesus says we are in Him, not what our sin nature or Satan has to say of us.

Think about how ridiculous it is.  We have asked for forgiveness, meant it, and upon being forgiven, we go out into the public square and put ourselves in stocks to take a punishment we do not face?  We put ourselves in jail for a sentence that doesn't exist?  We who are in Christ keep thinking in terms of punishment at times.  God wouldn't have referred to liberty in Christ if it meant bondage. 

We identify.  Wow.  The worst, shortest, phrase of the last 10 years. Being made to believe in physical identification as what defines us.  What defines us begins in the Spiritual world.  Who we are in Christ begins our definition.  When we understand who we are in Christ, what we see of ourselves physically, means little.  Solomon had written of vanity of vanities all is vanity.  Our looks matter not.  Who we are in Christ is everything.  

Satan says we are losers. Jesus says we are beloved by God. 
Satan says we are failures. Jesus says we are His workmanship. A work in progress. 
Satan says we have gone so far that God wouldn't forgive. Jesus looks at all sin and says "paid in full".
Satan says you can't break that habit, you're mine.  Jesus says that we belong to Him, that with God all things are possible. 
Satan will do and say anything to a believer to make them believe anything to keep them ineffective for Christ. 

Temptations will always follow you.  They will never be labeled as such. But to learn to identify them takes time.  

You're not going to just see things as God does unless you seek God's input on what is before you.  The Disciples had to learn. 
You won't know what idolatry is until you read what Jesus says it is.  We as a world are so deceived in this area.  Being told desire is ok, it doesn't hurt anyone. Idolatry today is disguised as being fans of anything that takes your mind off of God.  
May seem harsh, but consider the lives of the Disciples.  Their time with Jesus was meant to teach them to stay focused on the mission. Satan loves a good couch potato.  Wasting time is his most effective tool.  The more you waste of your time the less you can use for your walk with God. 

Stop and think about where you are going and why.  Are you honoring God or yourself?  Are you seeking self gratification or seeking His Kingdom?
Are you looking at yourself as He sees you or as Satan wants you to see you?

Jesus says we are His Beloved.  We cannot be any different in His eyes. 
He is faithful and just to forgive us and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

Temptation will come but it isn't a sentence.  Jesus cannot love us any more than He does, nor can He ever love us any less than He does.  There is no change. 
That children's thing of he loves me, he loves me not, with a flower can never apply to Christ Jesus. 

Stay in prayer.  Stay in the Bible.  Keep your thoughts where it says they should be. Ephesians 5:19 "Speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody with your heart to the Lord;"

"Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things. Philippians 4:8

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