The hammering goes on like a splitting headache. We take it over and over again. We think this battle is of our own making, an addiction or mental disease we contracted because we were just too stupid to say NO. Now it’s killing us every day.
Each time we try to get away from the temptation, we’re assailed again. It’s in front of us wherever we go, threatening to suck the life away from us each time we give-in… another drink, another glance, another hit, another draw, another bang, another lie, another bite. So we go to therapists who talk circles around our issues and wrap up nice little ‘solutions’ that never work; we open up to friends and family who hug us, tell us it’s no big deal, and try to help us forget (even though we never can); we even take medications, wear patches, or wear religion (make a show of cleaning up) but we can’t save ourselves from ourselves. The problem is wedged in that space between our ears where no one else can fight the battle with us, where we fight the most viral demons… alone…
…until, out of exasperation and hopelessness, we cling to the throne and throw up, begging God to intervene as we spill our insides out on the floor. We wallow in our own vomit, a quivering, pitiful heap, when suddenly, flashes of hope appear all around us in the middle of our pain and fear; the light comes with a soft, still voice we never used to hear before. But now, finally, we’re listening. We look down at ourselves with disgust even as the light sparkles with love. Our issues are ugly; they scream at us under the light as we stretch everything out on the operating table before God. Every gaping gash in our flesh we dug with our own teeth in ignorant cannibalism. The wounds then filled with crawling, hissing parasites that burrow even deeper.
As we lie there, helpless and whimpering at the horrific ugliness, Jesus then slowly and gently sucks the poison and parasites out of each wound and swallows everything. The effects kick-in instantaneously, as He writhes in agony, bleeding, and crying with searing pain for hours. Finally, he dies in front of us, reaching for our hand as he gasps, “It’s finished.” His lifeless body lay before us as we kneel and cradle our heads in our hands begging God to forgive and change us.
Again our fear is ripped down the middle, like the curtain torn in two in Matthew 27:51, as Jesus’ chest expands with the breath of life. In explosions of light, the truest, most beautiful and powerful man in the universe stands, walks up behind us, and steps into us. Our life joins his as our hands and feet and even our wounds now radiate the glow of the light of Love. It’s the most pure and powerful existence we’ve ever known.
Now, it’s time to live like it! If you’ve experienced this transformation, you know the exhilarating, flying feeling of spiritual freedom. After we’ve gone through the process of turning our lives over to Jesus Christ, who designed us and knows us, he tells us how to handle our heads and hearts in this battle we call life. He promises to give us the weapons we need to deal with the ugliness, not just in ourselves but in our environment and in others. Our trust in Him, obedience to His Word, complete honesty, and humility put our heads to rest and our heart in the hands of the healer. If we don’t have these characteristics, we’re still whimpering and helpless, watching the parasites eat us alive.
We’re told to be “Innocent about what is evil and wise about what is good” in Romans 16:19. Innocence is our power and key; we can’t develop much wisdom about what’s good unless we go back to that drama-free childlike faith and the purity of new life. Wisdom about what’s good is our high-powered rifle; it’s for our defense and for the purpose of gaining ground, bringing others into the clean beauty and light of Love. Without it, we’re dead. If we have access to it but don’t know how to use it, we’re still dead. I’ve said many times, if you don’t know how to use God’s Word, Satan will use it as a noose around your neck. Get into your Bible, it’s our source of wisdom. If you don’t, you’re going to get sucker-punched in the face over and over again by your own issues.
In I Corinthians 10:13 we’re promised, “There is no testing overtaken you but what is common to mankind; but God is faithful who will not allow you to be tested above what you’re able to bear but will with the testing also make a way of escape that you will be able to bear it.” In Matthew 4:4, Jesus himself was tempted. His body was weak, he was frustrated with the bull-headedness of people, and he was hungry. Satan used every point of weakness as bait to get him to bite. Jesus set an example for us in dealing with testing like this; He used memorized scripture to get rid of the pest.
It may feel like we’re simply dealing with people when we’re pressured or bullied or just given an another opportunity to do something we know is going to hurt us. It’s so much more than that. Ephesians 4:6 says “We struggle not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.” You, your friends, or even your family can be used as pawns in this battle. Jesus’ heart must have broken when he had to tell one of his best friends, Peter, “Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to me; you do not have in mind the concerns of God, but merely human concerns.” (Matthew 16:23) It’s time for us to look beyond what we see with our physical eyes and understand that there is so much more going on. We’ve got a fight on our hands and it’s time to decide whose team we’re on and start training hard.
I Corinthians 9 puts it this way, “All athletes are disciplined in their training. They do it to win a prize that will fade away, but we do it for an eternal prize. 26 So I run with purpose in every step. I am not just shadowboxing. 27 I discipline my body like an athlete, training it to do what it should. Otherwise, I fear that after preaching to others I myself might be disqualified.”
It is a coincidence that you contributed a blog post on temptations to Fieryhalo because recently, I have experienced a dilemma where I either had to say “No!” to a temptation that I was encountering or simply give in under pressure.
I am sorry to say, but I cannot exactly share what kind of temptation it is since it’s between God and me. However, when I found myself succumbing to that temptation, I was shocked and horrified to realize that I had fallen into Satan’s trap, where he kept enticing me to sin some more. I cannot rightly label only Satan as the scapegoat, because I also had to take most of the blame myself. Satan is not the only tool that lures us into temptation and sin, but rather, it is of our own carnal nature. 1 John 2:16 states, “For all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride in possessions—is not from the Father but is from the world.” This verse is very true, because God cannot tempt people, so when people are being tempted, they cannot say that God is the one forcing them to yield to temptation. However, while God is NOT tempting us, He does allow for temptations to step in our path in order to test our spiritual walk with Him. If we fall into sin and say that we are in right standing with God, then we are deceiving ourselves. Going back to my personal situation, I had become conscious that I was letting Satan use me to accomplish his work instead of God’s work. Sure enough, I started crying (practically weeping my heart out) because I had realized that this big sin served as a barrier that blocked communication between God and me; it was also a stumbling block toward my spiritual growth.
There are two verses that I would like to share with you as I find that constantly reciting them helps me to take proactive steps to overcome temptations solely through the power of God. Here they are:
1 Corinthians 10:13 ~ “No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.”
James 1:13-15 ~ “Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am being tempted by God,” for God cannot be tempted with evil, and he himself tempts no one. But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire. Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death.”
In another year and a half, I will be heading off to college, and I would like to take these verses with me so that whenever I encounter a similar situation as the one aforementioned, then I could quote it, keeping in mind that God will enable me to say “No!” to temptations. At first, I did not think that I was mature enough to attend college since I have learned that there will be a lot of peer pressure and temptations out there. However, I believe that I can handle all of the seduction going on if I depend on Jesus and His power to defeat sin.
It scares me to discover that the temptations coming my way right now are nothing compared to the ones I will be facing once I leave for college. Perhaps in college, my classmates might convince me to take a sip of alcohol (just a teeny weeny sip) or seduce me to go out with them instead of concentrating on my studies, but I cannot let that affect me and my relationship with God. I still want to remain faithful to Him despite these predicaments.
As for your blog post, I thought that you did an outstanding job describing the temptations inherent in our worldly culture and comparing them to the pain and diseases that we experience. These illustrative analogies give me a clear picture of what it’s like to succumb to peer pressure without stopping to think about the harm it will bring us in the long run. That’s why before I even respond to any temptation, I need to sincerely pray and ask God to guide me in the right path, showing me the right thing to do. Tracing back to the root of the problem, I have learned that the real cause of giving in to temptation is the fear of man. We are worried about what people will think of us if we do not go along with them. Perhaps we may think that they will call us a “snob”, “jerk”, or a “geek” because we do not wish to conform to them. However, I believe that clinging to God and tuning out people’s comments about us are keys to deal with temptation in a godly way.
Again, this is a very encouraging post and I hope to get a lot more out of it! Sometimes, I wished that you were my counselor since you are very trustworthy and provide godly advice on how to cope with any issue in this world.
I would’ve enjoyed that too, Hoang-An. And I strongly believe there are no coincidences.
You will do amazing at college next year. If you’re having any trouble, all you have to do is remember that you’ve got a big support cast.
Thanks for the sweet encouragement, Brittany. I will always remember that I have Jesus on my side whenever I encounter adversities that are seemingly impossible to overcome.