Excitement that Lasts Forever!
Living in the Sonshine of Godís smile
This page in French (FranÁais)
When, through Jesus, almighty God dwells inside of us, the power of enslaving habits is shattered. Amazingly, however, many of us continue to act as slaves to habits that no longer have any power over us! We are so mesmerized by the way things once were that we fail to grasp that everything is now utterly different.
Circus trainers typically drive a huge stake into the ground and chain a baby elephant to it. The baby pulls and strains in every direction day after day. The stake never budges. When the elephant grows and finally reaches full strength, the trainers chain the powerful beast to a tiny tent peg. The elephantís past has fooled it into thinking that whenever it is in this situation it cannot break free. So year after year it remains bound, when at any moment it could rip up the peg, trample the man who orders it around, and run free.
You can act like that dumb animal and let evil make a fool of you, or you could take God at his word and win that tug-of-war with wrongdoing. Like pulling a tent peg, breaking a habit still takes effort, but God has promised: he has made you stronger than the habit. If we are now servants of Jesus, sin is powerless to enforce the hold it once had over us. The chain feels the same, but things are different.
Up a pole
By surrendering to Almighty God, Christians have the invincible power of God within them. That means the only temptation Christians ever give in to is one they could have conquered. They see no other type of temptation. Usually, for no rational reason, just a fraction before victory, they give up.
Itís as though you are climbing a slippery 30 foot pole blindfolded. You almost reach the top and then start thinking, This is hopeless! I could only last a few more feet and this pole must go on forever! So, with victory just inches from your grasp, you give up and slide all the way down. You hit bottom and immediately regret it. Soon you decide to climb all the way up again. So up you go, almost make it, then the Whisperer starts suggesting that you are no where near the top. You foolishly believe him, get so discouraged that you stop trying, and, instead of taking the victory you had fought hard for, you slide down again. Up and down you go, month after month, though each time it gets still harder because you feel more and more defeated. Some people laugh at you. Some despise you. But the fact is, your courage is amazing. Even those who needed only one attempt might not have had the perseverance to keep trying the way you do. You end up climbing hundreds of feet, instead of the mere 30 feet that was required. And the ridiculous thing is that each time you gave up, you did so because you imagined giving up was the easy option!
The Enemy gives up, too, you know. When he fought Jesus in the wilderness, after three exhausting attempts he scurried back to his hole for a while. Everyone knows it takes just days, or at most a few weeks, to break the back of habits and addictions. Itís a battle of wits: who will give up first, you or your enemy? The God on whose dependability every law of physics depends, guarantees that you can outlast your opponent.
Temptation is an attempt to swindle you
To say, ĎOne little sin wonít hurt,í is like trying to convince someone that a little step off the edge of a skyscraper wonít hurt. When the Evil One whispers that something God asks you to do is too frightening or painful, he is trying to con you into imagining that the all-knowing God, who on the cross gave everything for you, doesnít have your best interest at heart. Who would have thought anyone could be duped into believing such foolishness? To disobey our wonderful Lord is to foolishly believe a lie. In any circumstance, obeying God is the one thing you can do that youíll be forever thankful for.
To sin is to fall for a dirty trick.
Know your enemy
Imagine you had been kidnapped as a baby and brought up by an evil man who constantly forced you to do criminal acts for him. After many years, your real father tracks you down, rescues you, and secures your captorís conviction. The man is jailed, never to be released. As he fumes in prison, his consuming passion is to execute revenge by tormenting you. Yet there is no way he can touch you. Prisoners can write letters. All other contact with the outside world is impossible. Finally, he hatches his scheme. He will write threatening letters to you, demanding you continue doing the evil things you used to do for him. He will also use false names to deceitfully become your pen friend and write things to discourage or corrupt you, or make you think poorly of your father, if you could be foolish enough to believe such lies.
Thatís very close to the devilís dealings with you. Now that Jesus has rescued you, the worst Satan can do to you is tell lies. Nothing more.
Thatís why at every stage of a Christianís life, faith is the bottom line. What will you believe; the truth of God, or the Evil Oneís concoctions? Who will you regard as trustworthy; the Faker, or the One who gave his all for you?
A cruel lie. Thatís what temptation is. We counter-attack by finding the appropriate truth and clinging to it, choosing to believe Godís truth and rejoicing in it, no matter how convincing Satanís bluff seems. Thatís exactly what Jesus did when he was tempted in the wilderness. The lies were most persuasive. Satan even quoted Scripture, but Jesus beat him by latching on to the appropriate word of God, refusing to accept anything contrary to it.
Godís promise to give us power over temptation, is often the truth to grab. In other situations, other truths may be required. If you have difficulty finding the specific truth appropriate to your trial, ask Christian friends, your pastor, or you are most welcome to e-mail me.
It was this method of attack that empowered me to beat depression. My testimony.
In a nutshell
(1) God has promised you victory (Scriptural proof)
We might think we deserve to be abandoned by God and left a prisoner to sin. The Judge, however, treats us not on the basis of our self-evaluation, but on the basis of his declaration. The Upholder of the universe cannot break a promise. Our almighty Savior has invested everything to ensure we win. The Almighty will not give up on you. Donít give up on yourself.
(2) Faith is essential
Our faith should reach the point where we are so certain of the promised victory that we rejoice in it before we even experience it. (Scripture) So forget your failures and instead focus on Christís success. Amazingly, your supernatural union with him makes Christís achievements your achievements. Celebrate!
And focus not on temptation, but on Godís love and beauty. Take your eyes off your own shortcomings and keep thinking about how wonderful God is, and how much he loves you. As you keep this up, faith and spiritual life will mushroom. Loving, trusting, and enjoying God will follow almost effortlessly. Itís easy to trust someone that you know loves you so deeply and wants your very best, and who is so strong and wise. As you begin to fall in love with this amazing Person, you will long to stay close to him, and in that closeness you will find divine protection.
Enjoy God and youíll enjoy success. Donít struggle, enjoy! Thatís what faith is all about.
(3) The need for patience proves you might well feel like giving up, even though everything is on track
Hold on. Almighty God has vowed that you can do it. Donít miss out by giving up that bit too soon. Your breakthrough is on its way.
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