Finding Supernatural Power to Break Free
* Spiritual Warfare
* Pleasure Secrets
* The Unexpected Thrill of Obeying God
Beating Temptation and Satanic Attack
This Page in German, Portuguese
Blinding light flashes from the Throne. Creation quakes. On Heavenís Throne is a shining figure robed in purity. Powerful. Majestic. Holy. Who is this mighty victor, the one deemed worthy to rule forever, the joy of the Fatherís heart? You. Yes, you, the butt of jokes, the focus of Satanís slur campaign.
Christian, through the miracle of spiritual rebirth, you and Christ are one (Scripture). That makes his victory, your victory. Before him, every knee in every universe and dimension must bow. Thatís your victory. Right now, no matter how defeated you may feel, you are enthroned with Christ as head of the universe (Scripture).
A little boy walks tall when his father becomes world champion. Even though the boy contributed nothing to the achievement, his fatherís glory exalts him, flooding him with new confidence. Total strangers give him new respect. Thatís the faintest shadow of what Jesusí triumph has done for us. We walk ever so tall because our supernatural union with Christ far exceeds the deepest bond between father and son, and Christís incomparable victory utterly outclasses any human achievement.
Suppose a billion dollars were deposited in joint names in a special bank account, and one of those two names is yours. All you would then need to live like the billionaire you have just become is learn how to make withdrawals.
With Christ, you have joint claim to the highest honors. His victory was for you. Heaven sees you as the champion of champions. For this eternal fact to be seen on earth, all you need do is learn how to draw on the victory that all of heaven recognizes as being yours. In the rest of this webpage weíll examine how to make that victory obvious. No matter what illusions temporary circumstances might suggest, however, in the eyes of all spiritual powers, whether satanic or divine, you have already made it.
Living a holy life is simply letting Christ, who now lives inside you, express himself through your actions. Itís letting run wild the divine genes (the new nature) you inherited when you were born again into Godís family. Living a Christian life is not about exercising will power, but revelling in Godís love, living the supernatural; doing all manner of things that were previously impossible for you.
Being free from enslaving and degrading habits is a wonderfully fulfilling and liberating way to live, but donít imagine it is the way to gain Godís approval. You won that approval the moment you trusted Jesus for your forgiveness. You canít get any more forgiven, and any more the object of divine favor than the moment you first trusted Jesus to do it all for you Ė when you had nothing but sin to offer your Lord.
Non-Christians suppose that by cutting sin out of their lives they could reach a holy God. It could never work. Lifetime perfection is Godís minimum standard. We cannot even start with a clean sheet, because none of us can remove our past failures. Because of Jesus, however, Christians have already reached God. They can live a holy life because the holy God lives within them.
When Diana Spencer married Prince Charles, she suddenly became rich. Suddenly, she was royalty. Suddenly, she was famous and important. She was one with Charles. His assets and honor became hers, as much as they had ever been his. That is rather like your transformation, the moment you were born again. Your status and assets skyrocketed, although at the time you were only vaguely conscious of the enormity of what happened (More).
After that famous wedding, Princess Diana underwent a second, much slower and uneven transformation. Step by faltering step, a shy, plainly dressed girl gradually became a confident, sophisticated, superbly dressed woman who captured the admiration of millions. That second change was only possible because she firmly believed in the reality of the first transformation Ė that she really was royal, rich, important and famous. Had she kept telling herself that she was insignificant, that she had no right to Charlesí money, that nothing she did was of any consequence, she would still have had much, but that second change would never have occurred. As it was, she would probably have blossomed further, had she felt more secure in Charlesí love and in the acceptance and approval of his family.
This webpage focuses on that second type of transformation that can be yours. The change will be slow and uneven, teetering on how secure you feel in Godís love, and how convinced you are of that change of status that occurred the moment you were united to Christ.
Temptation is spiritual rape
Do you think the holy Son of God was tempted to lust? Was Christ tempted to punch someone, to hold a grudge, to be lazy, to swear, to get drunk? That is surely what Scripture means:
Hebrews 4:15 For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are Ė yet was without sin. (Emphasis mine.)
Temptation occurs when an evil intelligence violates your mind, invading your inner person with its filth. The temptation could be anything that is not in your highest interest. It might be to hate yourself, to over-indulge, to doubt, to smoke, to hold a grudge; the list is endless. It is something that in the short term seems right or desirable but in the long term ends up robbing and hurting you. For brevity, I call the source of temptation Satan, or the devil, although we are more likely to be tempted by one of his underlings than by the Prince of demons himself.
To understand the nature of spiritual rape, we need to consider physical rape. Iíd rather avoid this distasteful subject, but I feel the need to demonstrate just how disgusting temptation is.
Suppose the trusted boyfriend of a virtuous girl one day goes way too far. He forcibly but painlessly immobilizes her and begins to gently and seductively violate her. Her mind is repulsed by what is happening, but her body is designed to respond to certain stimuli by sending pleasure signals to the brain. This physiological fact has nothing to do with her purity or morality. It simply means she is normal. After the ordeal she ends the relationship and yet, for years afterward her sensitive conscience is tormented with false pangs of guilt; wrongly imagining she must have the morality of a harlot to have had her feelings of horror tinged with the slightest feelings of pleasure.
She eventually marries but she cannot forget her involuntary bodily reaction to the rape in which pleasure signals were sent to the brain. She so despises herself for feelings she had no control over that she becomes convinced that her husband must secretly loathe her for her past, even though he actually sees his darling as being utterly pure.
Despite all her husbandís loving assurances and tenderness, this poor woman so focuses on that awful event that she continues to feel immoral, unloved and unwanted. Overwhelmed by this illusion, she starts telling herself that she has so ruined her life that she could not be more immoral if she became a prostitute. Tragically, after years of such thinking, convinced she is doing her husband a favor, she leaves the man she mistakenly thinks can no longer love her. Finding no other means of support and imagining she has no purity to preserve, this highly moral woman ends up the harlot she wrongly saw herself as being.
Sadly, such a route to promiscuity is not uncommon for sexual abuse victims, harassed by false feelings of guilt over the pleasure signals involuntarily sent to the brain when their will was violated.
A similar tragedy could be played out in anyone of us if we condemn ourselves over the fact that temptation, by its very nature, makes sin seem enticingly pleasurable.
Jesus is the purest person ever to walk this planet:
Hebrews 7:26 Such a high priest [Jesus] meets our need Ė one who is holy, blameless, pure, set apart from sinners, exalted above the heavens.
Like us, when the Holy Lord was subjected to the inner urge to sin Ė a craving to do wrong Ė it was spiritual rape. His mind and spirit were repeatedly and shamefully violated. You know he emerged from the horrific experience with his purity intact. And, because of him, so can you.
Moreover, ponder the staggering implications of this Scripture:
Hebrews 2:17-18 For this reason he [Jesus] had to be made like his brothers in every way, in order that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in service to God . . . Because he himself suffered when he was tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted. (Emphasis mine.)
What equipped Jesus for the exalted ministry of being a merciful high priest was not lack of temptation, nor even the mildness of his temptation but that he ďsufferedĒ temptation in, to quote from a previously cited verse, ďevery way, just as we are,Ē (Hebrews 4:15). Likewise, for his followers, it is suffering temptation to the extreme that, after finally overcoming, empowers with Christlike mercy to minister to others.
So it would be ridiculous to despise yourself when evil thoughts come to you, or when you find yourself longing to do wrong. It simply means that, like Godís holy Son, and all his saints, you have been spiritually molested. Like the most despicable child molester, the Evil One tries to make his innocent victim feel guilty for his crime, and for pleasurable feelings he induces. Nevertheless, if you let God have his way, he will turn this ugly assault into something that brings both you and God eternity glory, just as it did for our Lord.
Itís only if you cease trying to resist those evil thoughts and urges, that the harassment could touch your purity. And even if you totally gave in, you would have no rational basis for continuing to imagine you are impure, because the instant you return to your Savior with genuine regret, you are again spotless in the eyes of the Holy One.
Does Satan often appear and speak to you face to face? Heís far too cunning. He speaks in your mind, pretending to be your own thoughts. Disown those thoughts. Refuse to cave in to false guilt.
Imagine how hard it was to tempt Jesus. Satan had to try to persuade the Son of God to act totally out of character. And yet it is exactly the same when the Evil One tempts you. He tries to inflict you with a desire to do something utterly contrary to your nature. The real you is Christlike. From the moment you were born again, Christ took up residence inside you. You gained his goodness, his holy character, his purity of motives, his inexhaustible love. You might have committed a certain sin hundreds of times a year since childhood, and continued for the many years you have been born again. Nevertheless, every time you commit that sin, you are acting out of character. Satan will muster all his brainwashing skills to try fooling you into thinking that sinning is your real nature. You will be like a rape victim plagued by a wrong self image. This is more than just unpleasant; keep believing that false self image, and you will end up acting as if it were true.
We find ourselves back at the same point as when we considered Princess Di: so much hinges on us fully grasping the enormity of the transformation that took place when we were born again and how special that makes us in Godís eyes.
For a little more help in combatting the fallicy that intence temptation is incompatible with holiness, see Highly Tempted but Holy: Strong Temptation is not Sin.
Facing temptation is engaging in spiritual combat in which victory depends on whether we can trust God to love us enough to be our personal bodyguard. It would be highly dangerous to go into spiritual battle, tragically handicapped by imagining you are one of Godís less loved children. Before engaging the enemy you need the assurance that Godís love for you is so intense that he is fiercely devoted to protecting you. You need to know you are one of Godís favorites, and that he has made you so pure that he is proud of you. If you have the slightest doubt about this, or could benefit from the slightest building up in this area, bookmark this page (or note this website address) and go to the following webpages.
Tragically, countless thousands are under the mistaken impression that they have been born again. You can walk down a church aisle, repeat a prayer, spend your life acting like a devoted Christian, even have prayers answered, and still miss this elusive experience. If you have the slightest doubt about whether you have had this spiritual transformation, I beg you to read a fascinating webpage:
James 4:7 brings it together:
1. Let Jesus rule in your life (Lifeís most exciting adventure)
ĎSubmit to God,í is the way James put it. Let God control your life.
At first thought, this seems so oppressively restrictive that itís frightening. And weíre scared weíll be told to go somewhere awful and do something embarrassing. In reality, for you to fear Godís commands is as unnatural as a much loved baby fearing its motherís breast; as a shivering child fearing sunshine; as someone sick fearing health. To obey God is to say good-bye to mistakes and regret and open the door to excitement and achievement.
No one understands you like your Maker. No one knows your future like your God. No one has your best interest at heart like the One who shed his blood for you. No one can bring you happiness like the Inventor of sex and sunsets, sight and sound, touch and taste, life and beauty. He alone offers heaven.
When you really analyze it, nothing could be more exciting, fulfilling and rewarding than Godís desires for you. Fearing Godís will is as irrational as worrying about what the worldís best mechanic might do to your car, and as stupid as insisting on defusing a bomb for fear that experts will not do it properly. The Almighty, your Creator and Savior, is selflessly devoted to maximizing your happiness. Moreover he has infinite knowledge. When God asks you to do something, he is granting you the unique privilege of tapping into the greatest Mind in the universe. You have the opportunity to do something infinitely smart. Explore that thought. It could add a whole new dimension to your life.
Disregard your Makerís right to tell you what to do. He merely gave you life and everything youíve ever touched. He holds your atoms together and gave you the brain cells you think with. Forget that Christ purchased your allegiance by trading his life for yours, becoming the devilís plaything on the cross so that evil couldnít touch you. And overlook the power of God to determine your eternal destiny. Consider merely Godís infinite knowledge, perfect goodness, and self-sacrificing devotion to your highest good. That alone is enough to force the conclusion that disregarding Godís slightest suggestion is the height of stupidity.
Yet another exhilarating thing about Godís will for you is that it is not only perfected by infinite love, it is backed by infinite power. It is not only achievable, it is unstoppable. For as long as you let Jesus rule your life, nothing can thwart it. Do you believe God is all-powerful? Then you believe he could over-ride your every weakness. He could ask nothing of you that he couldnít do through you. And if he has a speck of love, or any respect for his reputation, heís not going to command, and then abandon you to your own resources. Itís exciting when God asks the impossible of you. A miracle is around the corner!
Since God, in his love, longs to see you reach your highest potential, his desires for you will stretch you to the limit. But no matter how Satan tries to distort that thrilling truth into something scary, there is always something more frightening than doing Godís will Ė not doing Godís will. The mere fact that we could fear Godís beautiful will is clear proof that God has a spiritual enemy who carpet bombs our minds with malicious untruths. Nothing could be wiser, or better, than obeying the God who has a sacrificial commitment to giving you the very best.
God telling you to do something is the Almighty Lord expressing his desire for you to enjoy his best. And obedience is simply receiving that love, delighting and rejoicing in the beauty, perfection and security of Godís yearnings for your welfare. We only disobey when we secretly believe we are smarter than God, that his love for us is inferior, or that he is so weak that our inadequacies could nullify his power. Obedience is love made real.
It has rightly been said that Godís will is the greatest good his infinite wisdom can devise. Snuggle into it. Experience the exquisite perfection of his love plans for you. Then luxuriate in the security of knowing that of every possible alternative, you have chosen the very best.
Note that submission to God is letting God be God Ė allowing Jesus to assume his rightful place in your life. The emphasis is not on you trying to obey, but on Jesus ruling. It is letting him do the work. It is avoiding taking upon ourselves responsibilities that donít belong to us. The Evil One would love to distort this into a dreary put down, but it is actually a glorious relief. Weíre free to enjoy life as Godís children and leave all the hard work to Jesus. We donít have to prove ourselves to God, Jesus has already done it. We donít have to defeat sin, Jesus has already done it.
Submitting to God must never be thought of as obeying a set of rules. Thatís dull and cold. And God is neither. Following a list of dos and do nots is not following God the person, but something impersonal. It brings with it the great danger of shutting God out. Submitting to God is loving God the person, getting as close to him as you can, and drawing strength and comfort and direction from him. It is driving with God in the front seat with you, enjoying his companionship. From time to time in your conversation he will say such things as, ĎTurn left. . . . Youíll need to slow down a bit here. . . . Let me show you a short cut. . . . This next part is easy, drive however you choose, I know youíll handle it well. . . . Further on it gets tricky. Better let me do the driving for that stretch.í
Now letís be brutally frank. Godís directions are seldom that clear, although when the situation demands that degree of clarity, he will give it. Mostly, God leads by such things as vague feelings. That can be frustrating, but itís our opportunity to let faith rise, trusting God to guide with whatever degree of clarity divine wisdom knows is best, while we play our part by drawing close and listening intently. God and I seem to have an on-going argument. ĎSpeak louder!í I keep telling God. And I think he keeps replying, ĎListen harder!í
An important aspect of submission involves avoiding battles God has not authorized you to fight. Sam has the commendable self-control to never switch a television on, but if itís on, and a sex scene appears, he rarely musters the will power to switch it off until he has seen it all. Jody finds it very hard to resist sex when subjected to heavy petting, but she can carefully pray as to who she dates and ensure she only goes out with men she can trust to never touch her where they shouldnít. Sam must avoid all television that has a remote chance of a sex scene and Jody must avoid getting into compromising situations with men. In other words, they are winners, provided they are not so foolish as to engage the enemy on a front where they have no right to be.
Some situations God permits no Christian to enter. Some situations he permits only certain Christians to enter. Donít be influenced by what other Christians can get away with. Listen for your Commander-in-chiefís personal orders. We live in a war zone. Various areas are subjected to differing types of attack, and some areas are more heavily protected. The Commander-in-chief knows his troops, and he has equipped them to engage in different types of warfare. All of us are safe, provided we each follow his orders, staying within our designated areas.
Sin has you in its deadly sights. Itís about to pull the trigger. Jesus steps in front of you and takes the bullet, so that you can live and enjoy life. To try fighting sin without your Saviorís constant help is to slap Christ in the face and then walk out of his protection into the devilís hail of bullets. If we face temptation alone (ie without Christ), sin will mow us down. But we need never be so foolish. We need never face temptation alone.
The moment Joe Ordinary becomes a police officer he gains special power over evil. Heís no stronger, nor smarter, yet suddenly law breakers fear him. His extraordinary power rests entirely on him submitting to his superiors. Disregard their orders and he would be suspended from the force. His powers would immediately vanish, and law breakers could walk all over him. Likewise, our power over sin hinges on our submission to God.
Because your power link with God is critical to the defeat of evil, the Enemy will do all he can to drive a wedge between you and your Savior. Heíll do his best to make you feel that God is harsh, thinks lowly of you, and so on. If you have the slightest doubt about Godís feelings for you, I again remind you of the following webpages.
And a helpful series of webpages beginning with:
2. Resist the devil
Stubbornly refuse to give in. How dare that slimy loser act as if he owns you! Dig your heels in.
Imagine your father buys you a sleek second hand car for your eighteenth birthday. Next day, the former owner arrives, demanding your car keys.
ĎNo way!í you exclaim.
ĎItís my car!í he shouts. Heís bigger and older than you.
The carís mine!í you protest, ĎMy father paid for it!í
The veins in his neck bulge. ĎYou know nothing! Hand me the keys!í
ĎGet out of here, or Iíll call my Dad and heíll have you for trespassing and for fraud!í
Thatís resisting. Itís standing up for your rights. Itís refusing to be cheated out of something Father has given you. Itís preventing a con artist from walking off with things that cost your Father greatly.
Rid yourselves of all malice . . . deceit, hypocrisy, etc Ė 1 Peter 2:1
Put on the new self Ė Colossians 3:10
Put aside the deeds of darkness Ė Romans 13:12
Put off your old self Ė Ephesians 4:22
Put to death . . . whatever belongs to your earthly nature Ė Colossians 3:5
Throw off . . . the sin that so easily entangles Ė Hebrew 12:1
And many more.
Notice, itís not all God. We would have to cut our Bible to shreds to produce one that says God does it all. We ourselves are expected to put in an effort. This surprises many people, and others get it wrong, so letís see what is involved.
Sin kidnapped us, and our effort does nothing to pay our ransom. Only Jesus could pay that exorbitant price. Innocence was nailed so that we, the guilty, could go free. All we do is stand up for the rights Christ paid for in blood. Resisting the devil is simply cooperating with God; choosing to enjoy the freedom Christ has won for us. All the hard work has already been done for us, and even then God is with us every step, to ensure we make it.
But thereís a spine tingling reason why God wants you to play a part. Like the proudest father, your God wants you to be like him. The Almighty actually wants to share his throne with you! This is serious, and glorious. You are being readied for a heavenly crown, not a party hat. Thatís why God has entrusted you with a role in resisting Satanís attempt to trespass on your turf. You are being trained to rule.
Youíve probably heard of people being effortlessly freed from sinís grip, such as heroin addicts delivered from addiction without a single withdrawal symptom (see Amazing Examples). Thatís the mighty God we serve! For God to forever do everything for us, however, would be like a teacher never trusting us to sit for a test, but always taking the test for us. Eventually, like the devoted parent he is, our heavenly Father wants us to begin to grow up and start exercising the authority he has proudly entrusted to us. Maturity must never be confused with lack of intimacy with God, however. We exercise spiritual authority only by maintaining our power link with the Almighty, and letting his power flow through us.
If youíre looking for a soft religion, dump Christ right now. Hebrews urges us to look to Jesus for inspiration. He suffered enormously to make us pure. And he chose the agony, knowing it would be totally eclipsed by the joy it would finally produce. Your war with sin, Hebrews continues, hasnít yet reached the point where your blood pours out (Scripture). The Bible never promises that our fight with sin will be painless, just that surrender would end up being significantly more painful.
Iíve heard it said that holiness is reaching the point where you have no more longing to sin than you do to eat horse manure. Not likely. Remember Jesus, nearing starvation after eating nothing for forty days, being tempted to turn stones into bread. Remember Jesus, in the garden sweating and praying Ďwith loud cries and tears to the one who could save himí (Hebrews 5:7) as he stammers, ĎNevertheless not my will . . .í Remember Jesus in agony on the cross, when he could have called legions of angels to his rescue. ĎHe learned obedience by what he suffered,í (Hebrew 5:8). Holiness is not reaching the point where temptation loses its attraction. Holiness is choosing Godís way when it seems every fiber of your being is crying out for the devilís way.
ďIf Almighty God loves me, why doesnít he take from me my craving for sin?Ē Hereís the reason: because God is good.
To be good is to be selfless. It is to live not to feel good but to be good. It is to want what is good so passionately that one is willing to sacrifice every longing, no matter how intense, in order to do what is good. And to be good is to want the best for everyone else, which involves wanting everyone to be good, not because they are forced to be good, or have no cozy alternative to doing what is right, but because they are good, which means wanting more than anything else in the universe to do what is right.
Grasp that and you will understand who God is and why he yearns for you to be like him. Stopping a particular sin just because you no longer desire it, does not make you good. You could do that while being as self-serving as the devil himself. Moreover, to do what is right merely because you have no cravings for anything else, not only does not make you Christlike, it exposes you to the terrifyingly dangerous delusion of smugly presuming that God approves, when your heart could actually be the very opposite of Godís.
We are not to ďhunger and thirstĒ for the smug satisfaction of breaking an addiction that is becoming an inconvenience. Rather, we are to ďhunger and thirst for righteousness,Ē (Matthew 5:6 Ė emphasis mine).
Godís Word alludes to being trained in righteousness (Scriptures). As pushing through the pain barrier trains athletes, so battling cravings trains us in righteousness. Training to be a champion is not meant to be easy. Neither is training in righteousness. In Gethsemane, our Role Modelís sweat dripped like blood as he agonized over surrendering to Godís will. ďAlthough he was a son, he learned obedience from what he suffered,Ē (Hebrews 5:8). We are told not to find some comfy alternative to what it cost the holy Son of God, but to take up our cross and follow him.
Yes, God can, and sometimes does, eliminate a certain craving someone has, but it achieves little. God could likewise grant a couch potato the title of champion by eliminating all the competition, but the result would be meaningless. Christlikeness without facing the pain of sacrifice is just as ridiculous. You are not called to be a fake hero. You are called to be the real thing.
To be Christlike is to be willing to suffer for the sake of God. Strong temptation toughens us. When resisted, temptation acts like your personal training coach, building you up so that you will receive more glory on the Big Day.
(For inspirational material to build courage, click here).
Satan is furious at having lost you. He knows he has no hold over you, but if he fools you into thinking he can still boss you around, youíll make his day. Heíll try every dirty trick he can dream up to bluff you out of all that is rightfully yours, and to cast doubt on the extent of Christís stupendous victory. To stand up to someone as persistent and conniving as Satan, you have to thoroughly know the rights Christ won for you, as spelled out in Godís Word.
Think of it this way. Through a life and death struggle, Jesus disarmed Satan and handed you a loaded weapon. Donít expect Jesus to pull the trigger. Thatís easy. Heíll let you have the fun of scaring off Satan. But if that diabolical cheat can fool you into thinking the weapon Jesus gave you is unloaded, he knows you wonít bother to use it. He then has nothing to fear, and heíll walk all over you.
Because you have given Jesus control of your life, you have the upper hand whenever you meet evil. Resisting is simply realizing that your enemy is beaten, and acting accordingly. It is refusing to let a defeated enemy steal back your precious liberty and dignity that cost Christ everything. The almighty Son of God let the devil nail him, so that you could walk free. Live in that freedom. And no matter what happens, keep seeing yourself as God sees you Ė powerful, holy, victorious. It is this faith that makes you a conqueror (Scripture).
Submit to God, resist the devil . . .
3. And the devil will flee
Weíre winners! By ignoring Satanic lies and letting Christ do all
the hard work, we have the firepower to put the devil on the
defensive. With Jesus in us, we make demons quake. But
it is important not to misunderstand the implications. Temptation
will not vanish after one token resistance. Look at Jesusí battle
in the wilderness. He held out against temptation #1. So what
did Satan do? Hurl temptation #2. And after that, temptation
#3. And that was nothing like the end. Satan skulked away, only
to seek a time when Jesus was more vulnerable (Luke 4:13). We
donít know how many times the devil renewed the attack. We know Jesus
had to tell Peter ĎGet behind me Satan.í We know the enemy entered
into Jesusí dear friend, Judas, to destroy the Son of God. We know Christ
had a bloodcurdling battle in Gethsemane. And we know Jesus won every time.
And through him, you, too, can win every time. Thatís Godís promise.
Itís in black and white (Scriptures). Thereís not the
vaguest hint that you wonít feel like giving up. Nor the slightest suggestion that
you wonít feel as helpless in the teeth of temptation as a mouse trapped in a lionís
cage. But thereís a divine guarantee that no matter how weak you feel, no matter
how horrific your past failures, no matter how impossible it seems, you can beat
every temptation that comes your way. If you ever meet a temptation
too strong for you, the God who raises the sun each day has suddenly
become unreliable, the God who didnít spare his darling Son for you has suddenly
lost interest in you, and the moral integrity of Holy One has collapsed.
3. And the devil will flee
Weíre winners! By ignoring Satanic lies and letting Christ do all the hard work, we have the firepower to put the devil on the defensive. With Jesus in us, we make demons quake. But it is important not to misunderstand the implications. Temptation will not vanish after one token resistance. Look at Jesusí battle in the wilderness. He held out against temptation #1. So what did Satan do? Hurl temptation #2. And after that, temptation #3. And that was nothing like the end. Satan skulked away, only to seek a time when Jesus was more vulnerable (Luke 4:13). We donít know how many times the devil renewed the attack. We know Jesus had to tell Peter ĎGet behind me Satan.í We know the enemy entered into Jesusí dear friend, Judas, to destroy the Son of God. We know Christ had a bloodcurdling battle in Gethsemane. And we know Jesus won every time.
And through him, you, too, can win every time. Thatís Godís promise. Itís in black and white (Scriptures). Thereís not the vaguest hint that you wonít feel like giving up. Nor the slightest suggestion that you wonít feel as helpless in the teeth of temptation as a mouse trapped in a lionís cage. But thereís a divine guarantee that no matter how weak you feel, no matter how horrific your past failures, no matter how impossible it seems, you can beat every temptation that comes your way. If you ever meet a temptation too strong for you, the God who raises the sun each day has suddenly become unreliable, the God who didnít spare his darling Son for you has suddenly lost interest in you, and the moral integrity of Holy One has collapsed.
The Devil is the Deceiver
Satan is a con artist. He wants to rip you off, cheating you out of everything that is rightfully yours. Heís the enemy of everything good, hating you with all his filthy fury. He offers the soft, warm bomb that will explode your life into a million pieces. He generously gives momentary relief and fun that leads to deeper bondage and torment; the short cut to heavenís ecstasy that ends in hell.
With Christ having rendered all of Satanís weapons inoperative against Christians, the Enemy has nothing left but psychological warfare Ė illusions, false accusations, attempted brainwashing.
Suppose you were a soldier at war, and an evil enemy had the opportunity to attempt brainwashing you. The enemy would try to wear you down by repeatedly putting thoughts into your mind that the side you serve:
The enemy would also try to:
Thatís the diabolical enemy you face every day. Heís the master of the half-truth. Yes, sin is delicious Ė like candy laced with poison. Itís true that sin is exhilarating Ė as exciting as skydiving without a parachute. And heís right when he hisses that Godís ways can feel annoyingly restrictive Ė as confining as a parachute harness when you are plummeting to earth.
The author of pain and despair and death maliciously paints God as a killjoy. The Almighty has your highest good in focus, not some short term fizz that ultimately leaves you cold, empty and without a future. Godís way is the way of eternal joy; of love, triumph, self-respect. Heís the sole source of beauty and of everything that lasts. He empowers you to make this world a better place. He offers you protection, security, purity and wisdom. Donít slip out of his divine embrace into the devilís quicksand.
The Seducer makes giving up seem the easy option, but the real cost is enormous. Any area of defeat is an ugly blemish. The Lord wants to beautify your whole life but he dare not bring other things to your attention while this one is such a burden to you. So other shameful blotches, probably obvious to those who see you, remain untouched.
No matter how horrific the pain of resisting, it always ends up the genuinely easy option.
Sin is never the easy way out; the attractive alternative. Take the bait and youíll feel the hook. Swallow the lie and youíll writhe in regret.
The best defense against cunning lies is to fill your mind with truth. Immerse yourself in Godís Word.
Feel defeated? Chances are that you could be weaker than you are, and still have total victory over the temptations that presently defeat you. How? By taking temptations more seriously, and drawing the line against them much earlier.
If we could only grasp the enormity of the dangers, our drive to beat temptation would skyrocket. We would sooner tap-dance on a minefield than toy with sin. And Satan would get such a scare at our new determination that we might not see him for days at a time.
Knowing how critical this is, I believe the Deceiver expends much effort trying to keep us in a fog, only vaguely of what is really at stake. I have prepared a tiny eye-opener. For a new glimpse of the seriousness of sin, click here.
Over and over and over, Scripture insists that, like nothing else, sin has the power to destroy you (Scriptures). Sin is the most fearsome thing on this planet, worse than a ferocious wolf lusting after your blood. Better to lose a limb or an eye or to drown, than let it get you, warned Jesus (Scriptures). When a blood-crazed beast is on the prowl, the only sensible thing is to put as big a distance as possible between it and yourself. Thatís how we should treat sin. Yet instead of seeing sin as a ravenous wolf with deadly fangs, we often treat it like a smelly stray pup Ė rather disgusting, basically harmless, at times almost cute. The thought of dabbling with sin should terrify us. If it doesnít, we are toying with disaster. We need to flee from sin, warns many a verse of Godís Word (Scriptures).
Ways to increase the distance between you and sin
I dare not try to set rules for you. My longing is that you listen intently to the Spirit of God for his direction. He alone has mapped your personal escape route. My hope is merely to offer a few suggestions for you to talk over with your Lord, and to see where he leads from there.
At all costs, avoid the horror of following a set of rules, rather than a living Savior. This double tragedy ends both in arrogance and deserting Christ. Ugly pride, even bigotry, festers when you discover you draw your line further from sin than someone else. And you are in danger of abandoning your Savior when you begin to trust your homemade rules for salvation (your holiness and protection from temptation) rather than seeding your entire faith in your crucified Lord.
Burn your bridges
What would you think if a husband told his wife he wants to be faithful to her, but explained that just in case temptation gets too strong, he will keep his former girlfriendís phone number programmed into his phone? Well what does your Lord think if you deliberately make it easy to access drugs, or some other thing you are trying to give up? Donít you think God sees right through a person who asks for forgiveness for substance abuse, or porn, or whatever, and keeps a tiny supply Ďjust in caseí? Divine forgiveness is not available to the person who is not willing to be finished with sin (Explanation). ĎMake no provision for the flesh,í says Romans 13:14. In other words, store up nothing, make no allowances, for sin.
When Jesus spoke of hacking off a hand or foot, or gouging out an eye, he was not speaking literally, (proof) but he was describing the need for radical, painful and costly sacrifices in order to make it harder to sin. Cancer is so deadly that people are willing to lose parts of their body in order to halt its spread. If people go to such extremes to fight something that can only affect earthly life, what sacrifices should any sane person make to fight something that can afflict someone forever?
Your collection of things that help you sin might have cost you a lot of money. If you donít destroy it, however, youíll find it will cost you a lot more still! (Scriptures)
Here are some ways of attacking sin that you should seriously discuss with God.
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