Overcoming the tempter
I asked God to teach me spiritual warfare, and walk in his power, in victory over sin. That same day I was composing a song on my guitar and every time I tried to find the next note, I would forget the first note. As I played I got angrier and angrier. I was trying to figure out the melody to the line, You poured out your love on me, so I’ll pour out my love on You. My anger was so hypocritical in light of these words, that I stopped composing and started praying about my anger. It was becoming obvious that I was in spiritual warfare. When the enemy started using the people around me to add to my frustration, I went and locked myself in my room. But Satan followed me in, I was so frustrated that I was physically weary, so I tried to just go to sleep, but my body started muscle spasming. I started rebuking the demons out loud and laying my hands on my leg, but the spasms only grew worse. Then the enemy put a thought in my head that tempted me to get mad at God. The enemy told me, he’s not going to listen to you, and he hasn’t given you the weapons to overcome this temptation. I sinned and started to yell in my mind to God, “Don’t tell me to do spiritual warfare, if you don’t give me any weapons!” I didn’t even emphasize the end of my sentence, because God opened my eyes to see how sinful my words were. I was failing His test. It’s so clear to me now, that God had been letting Satan tempt me. I had been thinking the temptation was the problem, but the temptation was the best thing for me.¹ Victory over great temptation is gained the same way Jesus gained it. “He learned obedience through what he suffered,” until “He was obedient onto death, even death on a cross.”² As we learn to trust in God, lean on his promises and loosen our grasp on whatever Satan is stealing, God will reward us, and we will learn to trust him more and more. Hours later I was hesitant to pick up my guitar again, because I didn’t want to be tempted with anger. But I really felt like singing, so I asked God to bless me with a melody for a different song. God blessed me so much, that I’ve never figured out a song with such a complex picking and strumming pattern so quick in my life. God made it crystal clear, that my guitar was not the source of temptation, it had purely been a demonic attack. Interestingly, I believe the Holy Spirit had led me into that demonic temptation.³ I honestly don’t know anything I should have done different other than try harder to resist the enemy, by fighting to remember and stand on God’s promises. Just like Jesus’ temptations increased over his lifetime, I have noticed that as God increases my victory over sin, He increases the intensity of the temptations that come my way. God also increases the rewards to make the temptations worthwhile. The scripture says Jesus endured the cross because of the Joy set before him.⁴ Faith is the ability to trust God for what we cannot see.⁵ As he increases the temptations in our life, to the point that God’s past grace wouldn’t be enough to make our current pain worthwhile, it takes faith to believe that God’s future reward will make our current pain worthwhile. It is apparent to me that the only way to prepare for such temptation is to become assured of God’s promises. Only our faith in his greater rewards is enough to overcome greater temptations.⁶ “They overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and the word of their testimony.”⁷ It’s the testimony of what God has done in the past that gives us the ability to trust him through greater temptations in the future. In a sense, overcoming temptation isn’t trying harder, it’s trusting God more. One of the ways to trust God more/increase our faith, is to read the Bible, which is why it says, “we are transformed by the renewing of our minds.”⁸ And again, “I have hidden your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you.”⁹ Ultimately it’s God who builds our faith, He’s the one who gives us his promises and opens our eyes to believe them.¹⁰ But we have to obey the prerequisites to God’s promises, (such as lean all your anxiety on him) if we want to increase our faith, be changed, and have victory over sin.¹¹
① James 1:2-4 ② Hebrews 5:8 / Philippians 2:8 ③ Matthew 4:1 ④ Hebrews 12:2 ⑤ Hebrews 11:1 ⑥ Romans 8:28 / Hebrews 11:6 / Jeremiah 29:11 ⑦ Revelation 12:11 ⑧ Romans 12:2 ⑨ Psalm 119:11 ⑩ 2 Peter 1:4 ⑪ Philippians 4:6-7
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