God Blog

Approaching God One Thought At A Time

We gain the strength of the temptation we resist.
- Ralph Waldo Emerson

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We and those we love face unprecedented and ubiquitous temptations 24/7. From excessive worldliness and greed, to immorality and entitlement. This onslaught comes just as serious Bible study and prayer are in sharp decline. Causation and causality leaving us ill prepared to protect our own souls, much less rescue others.

Interestingly, in the Apostle Paul's description of the
armor of God, the only piece he elaborates on is the shield of faith. Perhaps he was especially thinking of enduring the onslaught of burning temptation when he instructed, "above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one."

But each person is tempted when they are dragged away by their own evil desire and enticed. Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death.

- James 1:14-15 NIV

Temptation has devastated the human race. From the Garden of Eden to this very day too few give the Devil his due or recognize the reality of the battle for our souls raging all around. Even while we daily face temptation on three fronts, from above about and within, temptation is so devilish most hardly notice. Most forms are insidious, slowly enticing us in one step at a time, a trait spotlighted by many Scriptures:

  • "When tempted, no one should say, 'God is tempting me.' For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone; but each one is tempted when, by his own evil desire, he is dragged away and enticed. Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death." James 1:13-15

  • “Why are you so angry?” the Lord asked Cain. “Why do you look so dejected? You will be accepted if you do what is right. But if you refuse to do what is right, then watch out! Sin is crouching at the door, eager to control you. But you must subdue it and be its master.” Genesis 4:6-7
The Bible has over four hundred passages directly and indirectly dealing with the fallen Archangel once called Lucifer. Giving the Devil his due, Christ Himself reserves the end of the Lord's Prayer to emphasizes the power of his temptations:

  • "Pray like this: Our Father in heaven, may your name be kept holy. May your Kingdom come soon. May your will be done on earth, as it is in heaven. Give us today the food we need, and forgive us our sins, as we have forgiven those who sin against us. And don’t let us yield to temptation, but rescue us from the evil one." Matthew 6:9-13

Temptations Must Come

This is not to say the
Devil always makes us do it. Still, Christians would be amazed to know just how involved Satan is in Heaven and Earth's rebellions. Nevertheless the old bumper sticker is also true: "Lead me not into temptation I can find it myself." And find it we do. All the more so today. Everywhere we look we find ourselves drowning in temptation while the Lord continues to be invisible and inaudible. So much so that even secular rock groups are left crying out for God Who seems much harder to find.

Needless to say all Christians who choose the road less traveled and diligently
seek God will face an onslaught of temptations. They run the gauntlet from those naturally occurring in a fallen society to ones that seem to be special designed for us as individuals. They come from strangers and those we know and love. Such temptations can quickly turn to trials, even when we refuse to succumb. As one proverb goes, "Don't make it worse. Others will do enough of that for you."

Those who've been assaulted by the choices of others can testify how devastating the
sins of others close to us can be. Untold numbers of marriages and homes, ministries and careers have been lost because of someone else's infidelity in the arenas of morality and responsibility. So much so that we warned to expect such disappointments as par for the course when it comes to seeking and serving God:

  • "Consider it a sheer gift, friends, when tests and challenges come at you from all sides. You know that under pressure, your faith-life is forced into the open and shows its true colors. So don't try to get out of anything prematurely. Let it do its work so you become mature and well-developed, not deficient in any way." James 1:2-4 The Message

  • "So be truly glad. There is wonderful joy ahead, even though you have to endure many trials for a little while. These trials will show that your faith is genuine. It is being tested as fire tests and purifies gold—though your faith is far more precious than mere gold. So when your faith remains strong through many trials, it will bring you much praise and glory and honor You love him even though you have never seen him. Though you do not see him now, you trust him; and you rejoice with a glorious, inexpressible joy. The reward for trusting him will be the salvation of your souls." 1 Peter 1:6-9

  • "Dear friends, do not be surprised at the painful trial you are suffering, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice that you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed." 1 Peter 4:12-13
It's been said, "you can't keep birds from flying overhead but you can stop them from nesting in your hair." While this is important to remember when it comes to facing personal temptations, sadly it's of little comfort when suffering trails heaped upon us by others. Nevertheless we must arm ourselves to "not be overcome by evil but overcome evil with good." We must purpose "fight the good fight of faith" and encourage others to do the same.

Our untenable situation is made all the more so in regards to forward thinking and
praying parents and grandparents, siblings and expended family, pastors and teachers, intercessors and prophetic Christians. QC would refer all those concerned to our article, "Lost Family" in hopes of motivating an appropriate response in light of the truism, "Its one thing to fight and fail, and quite another to fail to fight."

Let us remember Christ's advice to be "as wise as serpents and harmless as doves." Let us embrace the promise in the Hippocratic oath to "do no harm." Let us brace ourselves for battle and cry with Winston Churchill who said, "Never give in, never give in, never; never; never; never - in nothing, great or small, large or petty - never give in except to convictions of honor and good sense."

In the movie "First Knight" Sean Connery who plays King Arthur prays the same prayer whenever the Knights of the Round Table assemble.
"God grant us the wisdom to know the right, the will to choose it and the strength to make it endure."


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