Saturday, January 17, 2009
Spiritual Warfare and Temptation
Have you ever prayed the Lord's Prayer and stumbled over the words "And lead us not into temptation." Did you asked yourself, would the Lord lead a believer into temptation? We can ask Peter about that, he was told by the Lord that he would be tempted and he would fail. Peter could not imagine himself denying the Lord. After all he was the guy who thumped his chest and said "Though all men deny you, I will never deny you." He like we should be careful of making such statements, they could be famous last words. We know that Peter did fail the test and the Lord. However the Lord did not fail Peter. Peter repented and went on to preach the sermon at Pentecost in which he said to his audience "The Lord whom you have denied." When the Israelites went into the promised land there were Canaanites in the land. Concerning these Canaanites the Lord said "They were left to test the Israelites to see whether they would obey the Lord's commands, which He had given their forefathers through Moses" Judges 3:4. God's purpose in the test is to strength us. We really don't know if we will cling to the Lord in trust or if we will fail when the test comes. When our Lord wants to develop character in our lives He will often cast us into the midst of a trail. The trail will always reveal our character and when we respond to the trail in a godly way it will strength our faith. The test passed will move truth from our head to our heart. Even when we fail we can fail forward, Peter did, he learned from his trail and failure. King David committed adultery and murder, he certainly failed and fell. However upon his repentance he wrote many Psalms attesting to the faithfulness of the Lord. Martin Luther said it takes three things to make a minister of the Gospel. 1. Prayer. 2. Meditation. 3. Temptation. How is it that James could write "Brothers consider it pure joy when you fall into many temptations." James 1:2. Because the writer got a glimpse of the fruit that was coming from the temptations. Later in the passages he states the temptations would produce patience and maturity. Our Lord never allows us to be tempted beyond that which we can bear. Why? Because He goes through the trial with us. He enters into our suffering and we enter into His. That is why we can agree with the Scripture that states "That I may know Him, and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of his sufferings being made conformable to His death." Philippians 3:10. What about trails and temptations? Do we really see God in the middle of them. Are we like the three men in the fiery finance of old, the Son of God was in the furnace with them. All they lost was the ropes that bound them. The men who threw them into the fire lost their lives. We must get God's perspective on temptation, He is there with us in the middle of the temptation. Temptation calls us to a new level of trust. In faith we cry out to the only One who can deliver us. How are you handling your temptations today.