Our Ongoing “Relationship” With Temptation

A POSSIBLE YOU
FINDING GOD’S DESTINY FOR YOUR LIFE
PART 6
OUR ONGOING “RELATIONSHIP” WITH TEMPTATION

It has been said that everyone must choose one of two pains: The pain of discipline or the pain of regret. As we live our day by day routines and develop our habits whether good or bad, every so often we find ourselves at special places called “crossroads”. These are “life-points” or places of decision where we stand in the middle of an intersection and meditate on the choice of direction we will take for the course of our life. We can freely choose through our God given free-will to remain the same or make a change. There are many reactions to these milestone places as some try to avoid them; some are overwhelmed and others do not even recognize them. Nevertheless, a few are aware of the stirring within the soul and understand that a successful life requires a constant evaluation that includes development, progression, and transformation. God never created a vessel to drift on the sea without a specific direction because He personally has drawn a map for each individual that includes a purpose. Only when we embrace the revelation of this divine truth, will we be able to see God’s wonderful plan for our life. If we remain stubborn and determined to live independently with our carnal rebellion in control of our mind – we will die a miserable failure. The ONLY eternal life of reward and joy will be for those who followed and obeyed the voice of the Father.

You know, speaking of God making a detailed plan of our life, I just want to say that I believe He is actually “excited” about you and I. He obviously has put a lot of time and faith into our destiny and that explains why He keeps such a close eye on us. Do you not watch over your children and are you not proud when they accomplish certain things and are we not sad and disappointed when they make bad choices and suffer failure? There is no doubt that just like you and I are willing to help our children in any way we can, God is even more ready to reach out with whatever we need to complete our mission. He is very aware that we live in a body of flesh that demands total control of our mind and emotions. He also realizes that Satan and his demons are focusing on those who are dedicated to living for God. In this light, He is compassionate and sympathetic to our struggles and trials that we face each day and this is exactly why He is trying to relay the message to us that He will help us if we are serious about change! If we really want to be transformed from being carnal to being spiritual, He is ready to intervene. He can do miracles that we have never dreamed of like taking away desires and reminding us of our promises. For example if we ask Him to please speak to our heart and remind us when we come face to face with temptation that He will empower us with wisdom and discipline to conquer our flesh – He will do it! He also realizes that we are only “blowing smoke” if we come to the point of sin and ignore His attempt to get our attention. He is longing for His children to set their face as flint and become totally committed to “overcoming” their weaknesses for the love for God and His glory. It is with these holy vessels of honor that He can fill and overflow with the power of His anointing to touch others as a witness and testimony of His love.

Allow me to be practical with you for a moment. Let’s say that you have a problem with overeating and this indulgence has caused you to health issues. You are sad about what this has done to your appearance and you realize it is a problem but it has not worried you enough to do something about it. This is simply because you love to eat and you are not ready to change the way you are. But let’s suppose that one day you become so frustrated and depressed that you fall across your bed and pour out your heart to God in a flood of emotions and you cry out to Him in desperation to please help you. As you lie there in the quiet, you hear His still small voice say, if you really mean it – I will take away your dysfunctional desire for food. You arise from your bed and go sit on the couch trying to figure out what just happened. You go through your day and realize that you have not been hungry. It is close to bedtime and you still are not really hungry but instead of being happy, you begin to worry that something is wrong. Instead of just drinking a glass of water and going to sleep, you force yourself to eat a sandwich, chips and coke. The next day, you rationalize your thoughts and proceed to eat again at the times when normal people eat. (We must remember that our old nature will be super-sensitive to food and the enemy will realize this). Your mind will notice all the commercials and pictures of the foods you love. Friends at work will offer you food or your company will bring out free donuts as you automatically eat it – then regret it. You will begin to feel the tug of war within your mind as you try to stand strong against the temptation to compromise, then you decide that you deserve a “reward” for not eating the whole bag of cookies. After a few days your appetite is stimulated again and you are right back to the same old addictive habits. Allow me to ask, did this person really want Jesus to help them or was their “experience” with Him just an emotional pity-party of frustration? Can you see how fierce and aggressive our body “demands” pleasure and how powerful and controlling it has become through the years? I want to encourage you today by saying that God will move heaven and earth to help you because He loves you so much – but you must listen closely and follow His instructions perfectly or it WILL NOT WORK! Trust Him – trust Him! Even when you are struggling and suffering – He promises that He will be there for you to comfort you and fill you with HIS strength and peace. Test Him and try Him! He never fails! If you are faithful to Him – He will be faithful to you! Selah.

Let us pray a simple and practical prayer right now. If you are not ready to commit – do not turn away but at least read with me through this prayer. You can continue to ask God for more courage and urgency so that when you do come to your crossroad, you will have the faith to make your request known. “Father, I come to you right now knowing that You are ALL powerful and that I am very weak in my flesh. You know my heart, my thoughts, desires, cravings and all of my past struggles and failures, yet you are still excited about my “possibility” to change. I have thought about it, waged war over it and finally have come to this life-point where I am serious about having a new attitude about food. Open the eyes of my mind to see food differently. Allow me to perceive food as something I need to live – not something that I live for. Please remove my extreme cravings and when I do eat, remind me that I only need what is sufficient. Take away my lust for the rich delicacies and the indulgences that are harmful to my body. Take away the desire to over-eat into gluttony and all the sins that are associated with it. As I resist this desire may my discernment become more sensitive and may I grow stronger until I have defeated this weakness and solidified this change as a permanent transformation victory. Come be my Lord, In Jesus Name, amen.”

Now, for those of you that were serious about this prayer, you can expect to experience some strange things happening to you. Do not become upset or worried if you go for a while without being hungry. We are so used to eating on a regular basis and we love to snack all through the day and night, that we hardly give our stomach the chance to be empty. Just relax and enjoy this journey because the process is just beginning and it will take a while before you see results. Do not become discouraged and do not allow the devil or your old nature to argue with your new agreement with God. Hold tightly to your faith and rest in His promises to help you with whatever you need. The only one that can disrupt the change process is you! It will not be God’s fault if you give up and quit. Selah.

I had not originally intended to continue with this particular subject of over-eating and the consequences of being over-weight and out of shape but I sense this is a problem that affects many in the body of Christ and is an important issue when dealing with the transformation of our BODY, MIND and SPIRIT. How can we expect to be filled and led of the Holy Spirit if we have our flesh dominating us? Would you agree that until we allow Christ to be our Lord “completely” we will not enjoy the success of walking under His control? There is only room for one King upon the throne of our conscience and the old nature is fighting as hard as he can to sit there. Casting down our flesh is the only way we can keep our old nature in the graveyard where he belongs. This is not going to happen automatically which is the reason for us to learn these practical truths together. In this light, I will continue with the leading of the Holy Spirit as I rely on His wisdom and anointing.

I admit that in my life I have never really thought about holding back with what I desired to eat. I was very thin and a picky eater as a youth but when I became an adult for some reason I thought more was better. I developed a strong habit of eating until there was nothing left and if I wanted 4 pieces of cake I would not hesitate to satisfy my craving. Now that I am older and my metabolism is changing I realize that with many years of “abuse” I am now seriously addicted to food. When I was young I had no guilt and when I took my shirt off I still had a youthful body and more importantly I felt good. Now as I think more about food than I ever have, I see flabby muscles and a pot belly along with less energy and of course all of this contributes to low self-esteem and confidence. Have you ever experienced a vicious cycle of strong passion, consumption, satisfaction and then condemnation after you are satisfied? There is something wrong when we are not only dreaming about what to eat but when we have nightmares of guilt after we eat. Maybe we are bored and eat because it is something to do – or maybe our temptation to eat is increased because food is so accessible. If this is contributing to the problem, we must embrace what we are trying to avoid; self – discipline. I want to pause for a moment and let us meditate on a very beautiful and powerful scripture that will edify and uplift our heart and spirit. More than just discussing the areas that God desires to change us, it is just as important that we PRAY for one another as we work through our struggles. One of the most powerful ministries of the body of Christ is prayer and our love and concern for each other should be the result of our love for God. It is my prayer that God will strengthen you and inspire you to continue growing in your intimacy with the Father. Likewise, many of you are praying for me that God will minister this Word into my heart so that I will continue in the journey that He has called me to do. In Colossians, 1: 9-11 we find a prayer of encouragement for those who have set their focus on becoming all they can be in Christ. As Paul, under the anointing of God’s Spirit inspires this group of people, we can use this edification as a “confession” for ourselves and for each other in the same spirit of love and faith. Put your name in the places where “you” is mentioned and be inspired as this Word refreshes and stimulates your heart. “For this reason we also, from the day we heard it (your passion for God), have not ceased to pray and make special request for YOU, (asking) that YOU be filled with the (deep and clear) knowledge of His will in ALL spiritual wisdom (in comprehensive insight into the ways and purposes of God) and in understanding and discernment of spiritual things. That YOU may walk (live and conduct yourselves) in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to Him and desiring to please Him in all things, bearing fruit in every good work and steadily growing and increasing in and by the knowledge of God (with fuller, deeper, and clearer insight, acquaintance, and recognition.) We pray that YOU may be invigorated and strengthened with all power according to the might of His glory, (to exercise) every kind of endurance and patience (perseverance and forbearance) with joy. Why does Paul mention joy? Because joy enables us to enjoy our journey and have strength that keeps us going even when our trials becomes difficult. We will never experience the joy that Jesus intended for us to have if we wait until every circumstance is perfect. Joy is not just a “feeling” it is KNOWING in our heart that God is with us in the calm and in the storm. Selah.

The reason why we have such a difficult time resisting temptation is because we refuse to let go of its hand. We want to take a pill and wake up 40 pounds lighter, or depend on some theory that will change us into a holier person but in the end it will come down to our determination. I know a sister that has recently asked the Lord to awaken her at 5:30 each morning so she can pray and confess scriptures. Without an alarm clock, her eyes pop open miraculously at 5:30 each morning. No doubt He will always do His part – but we must accept the reality of self-discipline.

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