Monday 21 September 2009

What about temptation by Brian Coatney, Just Don't Move by Chris Welch

What About Temptation? By Brian Coatney as posted again by Nancy Gilmore on Facebook
Today at 02:46
We live tempted, and God means us to, so it helps to understand what temptation is and how to get through it. Lack of clarity here brings unnecessary, nagging guilt or even torment and anguish. James tells us that God cannot be tempted with evil and does not tempt anyone (1:13). God does, however, have a convenient agent to do the tempting, and if God did not mean for the devil to do his job in this present age, he could not do it. God pointed out Job’s righteousness to the devil; some might say God even incited him, and God certainly turned the devil loose on Job, with specific decrees of limitation. We see the same with Jesus: Mark’s Gospel says, “And immediately the Spirit driveth him into the wilderness” (1:12) where Satan tempted him for forty days. The writer of Hebrews, stressing Jesus’ likeness to us in all things excepting sin, stresses that Jesus experienced all the temptations that we do (4:15). So we have plenty of company when it comes to temptation, even the Son of God.Sometimes God even knows that we will fail at first if we are still living out of our own supposed strength and not settled in the Galatians 2:20 life. Jesus turned to Peter at the Last Supper and said, “Simon, Simon, behold, Satan has demanded permission to sift you as wheat; but I have prayed for you that your faith may not fail; and you, when once you have turned again, strengthen your brothers” (Luke 22:31-32 NASB). God exposes us to opposites because He knows that true faith is a tested faith; love must undergo the test. In this case, Jesus knew Peter would fail in his initial temptation, but then repent and use his experience to help others. Sometimes a little wisdom goes a long way in dealing with temptation, but that wisdom may take a while to learn. Paul says, “I say to every man among you not to think more highly of himself than he ought to think; but to think so as to have sound judgment, as God has allotted to each a measure of faith” (Rom. 12:3). I remember taking swimming lessons in grade school. For several days the instructor led us through different stokes to practice in the shallow end of the pool. One day he said, “Everyone ready to dive off the board on the deep end, go on down and line up.” Almost everyone scurried off to the deep end. I felt sick because I knew I still could not swim or even tread water, but I also felt embarrassed by what I thought others would think, so I got in line behind the board on the deep end. When I jumped in, I immediately floundered, trying to keep bobbing high enough to gasp for air. Mercifully, the instructor pulled me out and had a word for my foolishness. Sometimes we torture ourselves with desire longer than we need to, even though we don’t sin. I remember a temptation once that went on for months. I wanted something I could not lawfully have, but, figuratively speaking, kept my nose pressed to the glass of the store window looking and looking, all the while thinking, “Gee, I wish there were some way to have that.” One day I accepted the verdict I already knew. By faith I quit torturing myself and walked away from the store window.But even when we do go too far, we throw off the devil’s condemnation. If the Holy Spirit convicts us of sin, we confess and move on with 1 John 1:9. Beware, though, of just confessing negative thoughts and feelings, hoping they will go away, because often they don’t, and it’s not our fault any more than coughing in smog is our fault if we can’t help being in a smog zone. We live with more ease, also, when we stop condemning ourselves for our God-made, strong appetites. The tempter certainly will solicit us through the same avenues that God means to use for His purposes. James tells us not to dread this, but to “Consider it all joy” (1:2) Every kind of temptation is common to man (1 Cor. 10:13)—common like the cold we might say. Nothing in the way of temptation should shock us or lead us to condemnation. God made us with strong appetites for His right use, and those appetites are just as alive when the tempter seeks them for wrong use.Trying to get rid of human desires proves ineffective: in fact it will finally make you feel rebellious and likely think, “God, why did you make me this way?” “Why am I human?” Here again, God means for us to go through temptations. My friend Dan Stone likes to say, “Do you know when you won’t experience temptation? When they look over at you and say, ‘Don’t he look natural?’” Lust that pulls is not sin; lust that conceives by the will—“I will do it”—that is sin.The answer to temptation is not a strong self-will and new resolution. That takes us back to self-keeping. Faith is as simple as Paul’s word that we consider ourselves dead to various passions and lusts since we died to them in Christ. Faith, therefore, says, “I am dead to that.” Often I start laughing when I realize, “Oh, it’s only lust,” or “It’s only the devil trying to make me think I want my own way.”Sometimes our thoughts and feelings shock us. “How could that cross my mind?” or “How could I feel that strong of a lust?” Fear not; we might experience any imaginable thought or feeling, and we walk through easily in faith unless we tangle ourselves in condemnation. But the real secret, James tells us, is, “Every man is tempted when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed,” (1:14) The emphasis is not on bodily appetites, but lust that demands its own way. The real temptation is not the soul or body avenue of the temptation, but the temptation to self-will that conceives by saying, “I will take that for myself, regardless.”Temptation is also a matter of “Will I wear down or will I eventually give in?” Temptation is about endurance as much as anything else. That’s why the only thing that works is the moment-by-moment faith that we no longer live, but Christ lives in us and is keeping us. God’s greatest purpose with us in temptation is not about the temptation, but His keeping of us.Acceptance of temptation goes a long way toward serenity. We live tempted. Not to recognize this means that we still long for a “La-La life” not offered in the Scriptures. Faith considers temptations and trials all joy and as everyday occurrences, understanding that God encourages us on to endurance as He provides an escape hatch, custom made for every situation. The ultimate escape hatch I’ve discovered is the one that says, “Lord, I will commit any sin unless You keep me, and thank You that You are keeping me!”


Just don't move, by Chris Welch
There are times when temptation is so strong you feel you are like in one of those suspense movies where someone whispers "Don't move", and you know that providing you don't move an inch, eventually the danger will pass. But I am sure you know the overwhelming screaming desire within to do anything but not move.
And it's hard. Real hard. Mother Basilea Schlink used to remind us of the scripture in Hebrews 12 verse 4In your struggle against sin, you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood. 5And you have forgotten that word of encouragement that addresses you as sons: "My son, do not make light of the Lord's discipline, and do not lose heart when he rebukes you, 6because the Lord disciplines those he loves, and he punishes everyone he accepts as a son."[a]
7Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as sons. For what son is not disciplined by his father? 8If you are not disciplined (and everyone undergoes discipline), then you are illegitimate children and not true sons
In such times, if Christ ain't moving, then we'd best not move. Anything else is to step back into the lying spirit of a false independence. The first step seems to be to die to reaction. If someone says something nasty, the first impulse is to lash out in return. One of the first things the Holy Spirit gets us to do is exercise self-control....and not move...Not do anything that Christ ain't doing through us. It feels odd at first.

Gradually we become more aware in the space we have made for ourselves of what Christ is actually urging us to do. It might still be to remain silent. Or it may be to respond with grace filled words. Or it may be to respond with anger....but this time we are certain where the anger is coming from. Not the twisted hurt, spoilt anger from a Devil who permanently feels anger since he is forever under a cloud of wrath. No this time it is righteousness directed, purposeful anger that wants to expose falseness and lead people and situations through to the clarity and truth of the Kingdom.
Not for nothing does Paul write in Hebrews 5: But solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil.

There is some sort of linkup here in Paul's thoughts between "food" and learning day to day how to live "Christ in your form". It's not a fluke. This is how it is in the Spirit. Here it is again in the KJV version: But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.

This is the same territory as the Facebook Group " A Good and Noble Heart". Their main thrust is that now we are born again we can learn to trust our regenerated senses. This verse in the KJV clearly brings that out. If we know that at our new birth an amazing exchange took place, and that it truly is not I who live....and it was never just I, even as now it is not just is Christ who lives His life through me....

If we know that then we can learn what it means to exercise our senses. People say "How can I know?" And we say "How do you know when you are in love?". "How do you know when you are baptised in the Spirit?"...... well in both cases, believe me you know! In the former case you might suddenly not want to think about anything else including the latter it may be extremely similar except you find yourself unable to stand and crawling towards the door!!!

In other words ...You will know. Which is the sort of infuriating thing a mother says to her teenage daughter. "Yes, but will I know?" " Sandra, dear, YOU WILL KNOW!!!"

More on temptation and food. As subjects not as a question of diet!Mother Basilea Schlink made it clear that it was not a battle of wills. A grit your teeth and knuckles job. It's not willpower.

It's a battle of faith. Your senses scream at you:
"Look what you are doing to me!
You are not letting me have what I want!
Aaaaaaah! I hate you! You are not being human!
You are not being nice to me! Just this once!
Come on! Give in! Just this once.
I don't ask for much! You know you have earned it!
Think how those people have treated you.
This will make it all better again!
Come know you want it!"

But you know Christ hasn't moved. So therefore you cannot move.
This is what is meant by Jesus' expression, "I can only do what I see My Father doing."
This is as true of moving in the supernatural, as it is of NOT DOING what you don't see God doing.

Now there is a sister who blogs regularly who has not understood this next bit. She says it's all grace and we can never say we earn blessing. Which, by the way is 100% accurate. We don't earn blessing. Of ourselves. But there is One who has blessings continually heaped upon His head. He can't help it. His Name is Jesus. He is the Eternally Blessed One.

Now our fusion with Christ means this. If we don't yield to temptation, don't move.....The life that continually has blessings heaped on it!!!!Cannot help it...Jesus is kind of permanently stuck that way!!! This Life of Christ is Living through us as we believe Him, as we don't move, if He's not moving....
Do you know what that means? And at this point the sister really freaks out.....We inherit blessings. But it's not a works thing. It's a fusion thing. It's Jesus living His permanently blessed Life through us kind of thing. And as we live His righteousness, doors are unlocked in the heavens and on earth. The Lord commands a blessing.

This eating heavenly food thing is what was going on in John 4:31Meanwhile his disciples urged him, "Rabbi, eat something."
32But he said to them, "I have food to eat that you know nothing about."
33Then his disciples said to each other, "Could someone have brought him food?"
34"My food," said Jesus, "is to do the will of him who sent me and to finish his work.

This is a stage further than just a grace understanding. This is an understanding about how we walk in Him. And just as every step He took on earth unlocked things in heaven and on earth, this is the new life we have been called to as a Body.

This is pretty new stuff. Saints like Mother Basilea, Richard Wurmbrandt and Oswald Chambers and Dietrich Bonhoeffer were starting to see glimpses and teach this new way, but I guess because it wasn't the time....most people did not have a clue what they were going on about.
But these are new days. We have had the Pentecostal/ charismatic wave in between. People now have a feeling for moving in the Spirit. Now they just need to learn how to take that believing out of meetings into 24/7 life. And boy.....can you see the power of a multinational Body of Christ learning this stuff? And walking it. Wow!

I have been reading John Crowder's "Miracle workers,Reformers and New Mystics" and something he said triggered this set of awesome thoughts.

If the first covenant was attended by mountains shaking, glowing faces, Red Seas standing up on end and much much more freaky stuff....
If the arrival of the New Covenant came with even more bizarre interludes like walking on water, walking through walls,people disappearing and turning up miles away....

what on earth are going to be the attending signs of a generation who actually get the New Covenant and walk it out after the pattern of the faith walk example of Jesus "only doing what he saw His Father doing?

Anyone up for a walk on Mars, anybody?

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