"God is faithful, who will not [permit] you to be tempted above that ye are able [to bear]; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape." (1 Cor. 10:13).
Many people rejoice as a result of this promise taken from the Holy Scriptures. But of those who "praise the Lord" for these powerful words, how many really believe them to the saving of the soul? How many others do not even realize such a promise has been given to mankind by a compassionate Creator and Savior?
"Count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations: knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience. But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing." (James 1:2-4). The temptations that assail the children of God are to be regarded as the outworking of the wrath of Satan against Christ, who gave Himself as a sacrifice for our sins, and redeemed us by His blood. Satan is filled with wrath against the Savior. But he cannot hurt the Master except by conquering those for whom Christ died. He knows that when through his devices souls are ruined, the Savior is wounded.
The heavenly universe is watching with the deepest interest the conflict between Christ in the person of His saints, and the great deceiver. Those who recognize and resist temptation are fighting the Lord's battles. To such are given the commendation, "Blessed is the man that endureth temptation." Endurance of temptation means the cultivation of patience. The tempted, harassed soul cannot trust in his own strength of purpose. Feeling his utter helplessness, he flees to the Stronghold, saying, "My Savior, I cast my helpless soul upon Thee". The fiercer the temptation, the more strongly he clings to the Mighty One-- the weak become strong.
By faith he passes the temptation over to Christ and leaves it there. Faith in the Savior's strength makes him more than a conqueror. It is the miracle-working power of YAHSHUA that arms the Christian with strength to overcome as Christ overcame. Temptation is not sin unless it is cherished. Looking unto YAHSHUA, "the author and finisher of our faith," will fill the soul with peace and abiding trust. "When the enemy shall come in like a flood, the Spirit of the LORD shall lift up a standard against him." (Isa. 59:19).
Let us talk of a soul who had thought that she had blasphemed the Savior because the tempter kept putting into her mind the thought that Christ was only a man, and no more than a good man. She thought that Satan's whisperings were the sentiments of her own heart, and this horrified her. She thought that she was denying Christ, and her soul was in an agony of distress. Yet these were merely suggestions of the enemy and not her own thoughts. Christ understood and accepted her; through brief counseling she came to recognize these suggestions as wholly from Satan, and her courage began to rise with the strength of the temptation. When vain thoughts pursue the soul, we must say, "I am a child of God. I commit myself, body and soul to YAHSHUA. I hate these vain thoughts." Do not for one moment admit that they originate with you. We cannot afford to allow Satan to wound Christ by plunging us into unbelief and discouragement.
To those who are tempted the counsel is given: "Do not for a moment acknowledge Satan's temptations as being in harmony with your own mind. Turn from them as you would from the adversary himself." Satan's work is to discourage the soul. Christ's work is to inspire the heart with faith and hope. Satan seeks to unsettle our confidence. He tells us that our hopes are built upon false promises, rather than upon the sure, immutable word of Him who cannot lie. "YAH is not a man that He [can] lie." (Num. 23:19).
The oldest, most experienced Christians have been assailed by Satan's temptations, but through trust in YAHSHUA they have conquered. So may every soul who looks in faith to Christ. A man cannot put his feet in the path of Holiness without evil men and evil angels uniting against him. Evil angels will conspire with evil men to destroy the servants of God. Those who are rebuked for their evil thoughts will hate the reprover of sin, and will try to wrench him from the service of Christ. The conflict may be long and painful, but we have the pledged word of the Eternal that Satan cannot conquer unless we submit to his control. Hallelu-YAH!
Christ was crucified as a deceiver, yet He was the "light of the world". He "endured the contradiction of sinners against Himself." "For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life." (John 3:16). Can we measure the love of God? Paul declares that "it passeth knowledge." Then shall we who have been made partakers of the heavenly gift be careless and indifferent, neglecting the great salvation wrought out for us? Shall we allow ourselves to be separated from Christ, and thus lose the eternal reward, the great gift of everlasting life? Shall we not accept the hostility which Christ has placed between man and the serpent (Gen. 3:15)? Shall we not eat the flesh and drink the blood of the Son of God? Or shall we become earthly, eating the serpent's meat, which is selfishness, hypocrisy, evil-surmising, envy, and covetousness? We have a right to say, "In the strength of Jesus Christ I will be a conqueror, I will not be overcome by Satan's devices even once!"
We are to form characters after the divine Model, YAHSHUA, and bring every power and capability of our natures into subordination to Him in this life. Those who have a character that will be found worthy of a place in the kingdom of God, will be those who have become acquainted with God, who have obeyed the explicit directions given in His word. They will be entitled to a seat at the marriage supper of the Lamb. The only way in which we can distinguish between the true Christian and the pretender to Christianity is by the fruit of the life. Judas possessed qualities of character that would have made him a blessing to the church had he but submitted to the discipline that the Savior desired him to have. The light of Christ's character which was shed upon Judas brought with it the responsibility of yielding up every natural or acquired trait that was not in harmony with the Christ life. But he never came to the point of surrendering himself fully to Jesus. He felt that he could retain his own individual judgment and opinion. He clung to his objectionable traits of character, and indulged in his own sinful habits, becoming selfish and covetous.
In the circumstance of Mary's anointing Jesus' feet, the plague spot of Judas' character was revealed. The crisis had come in the life of Judas, and the ruling trait of character took its supremacy over every other trait. Covetousness, which is idolatry, had been cultivated, and had strengthened in his heart, and when temptation came upon him, he was held under its control. The temptations of Satan will ever thus meet a response from the elements of depravity that are in the human character that have not been resisted and overcome. May this speak to our hearts in warning.
The disciples could not discern the evil of Judas' heart; only the eye of God could discern the hidden motive, the unholy desire. When an impure thought is welcomed, an unholy desire cherished, a rebellious purpose formed, the purity of the soul is stained and its innocence is ruined, temptations prevail, and hell triumphs. "Every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed. Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin; and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death." (James 1:14,15). A man is tempted to sin when some attractive object or indulgence is presented to him, and he is drawn to overstep principle, and to violate his conscience in doing that which he knows to be wrong. This was what Judas was doing. He had no oil in his vessel with his lamp. He professed to have a deep interest in the welfare of the poor, but all his professions were pretenses, mere hypocrisy. He did not cultivate humility, and die to the world. He did not cultivate hope and love, and manifest pure devotion to God. He permitted the wild, unsanctified elements of character to prevail.
Those who are satisfied in having merely a form of religion, who do not carry out the lessons of Christ in their practical life, make manifest the weakness of their character when trial and temptation come upon them, and they prove that they were not Christians. Through faithfulness in the Christian life the soul is braced to withstand sudden assaults of temptation; for the true Christian learns to depend upon Christ for strength and grace. When the first temptation is met and resisted, the second is more easily met and resisted. We may be able to resist every temptation that assails the heart by calling upon our Mighty Deliverer.
It is not in the power of Satan to force anyone to sin. Sin is the sinner's individual act. Before sin exists in the heart, the consent of the will must be given, and as soon as it is given, sin is triumphant, and hell rejoices. But there is no excuse for sin, either great or little. Christ has been provided as the tempted one's Refuge.
"For verily He took not on Him the nature of angels; but He took on Him the seed of Abraham. Wherefore in all things it behooved Him to be made like unto His brethren, that He might be a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make reconciliation for the sins of the people. For in that He Himself hath suffered being tempted, He is able to succor them that are tempted...For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need." (Heb. 2:16-18; 4:15,16).
Of great importance to remember is that temptation is not sin, and is no indication that God is displeased with us. The Heavenly Father allows us to be tempted, but He measures every temptation, and apportions it according to our power to resist and overcome evil. It is in time of trial and temptation that we are enabled to measure the degree of our faith and trust in God, and to estimate the stability of our Christian character. Let us repeat once again the words of comfort that have been left on record for our instruction:
"There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a WAY TO ESCAPE, that ye may be able to bear it."
God has apportioned the temptation in proportion to the strength He can supply, and He never permits us to be tempted beyond our ability to resist or to endure. "The Lord knoweth how to deliver the godly out of temptation." (2 Peter 2:9). Through meditation on the lovely character of Christ, prayer for deliverance, and implicitly trusting the promises of YAH in Holy Writ, you will discover THE WAY TO ESCAPE and finally be saved.
"Blessed is the man that endureth temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love Him. (James 1:12).
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