Concerning temtation

#1
Concerning temtation

CHAPTER 12
CONCERNING TEMPTATION
Certain very great mistakes are made concerning this matter of temptation,
in the practical working out of this life of faith.
First of all, people seem to expect that, after the soul has entered into its
rest in God, temptations will cease; and to think that the promised
deliverance is not only to be from yielding to temptation, but even also
from being tempted. Consequently, when they find the Canaanite still in
the land, and see the cities great and walled up to Heaven, they are utterly
discouraged, and think they must have gone wrong in some way, and that
this cannot be the true land after all.
Then, next they make the mistake of looking upon temptation as sin, and
of blaming themselves for what in reality is the fault of the enemy only.
This brings them into condemnation and discouragement; and
discouragement, if continued in, always ends at last in actual sin. The
enemy makes an easy prey of a discouraged soul; so that we fall often
from the very fear of having fallen.
To meet the first of these difficulties it is only necessary to refer to the
Scripture declarations, that the christian life is to be throughout a warfare;
and that, especially when seated in heavenly places in Christ Jesus, we are
to wrestle against spiritual enemies there, whose power and skill to tempt
us must doubtless be far superior to any we have ever heretofore
encountered. As a fact, temptations generally increase in strength tenfold
after we have entered into the interior life, rather than decrease; and no
amount or sort of them must ever for a moment lead us to suppose we
have not really found the true abiding place. Strong temptations are
generally a sign of great grace, rather than of little grace. When the children
of Israel had first left Egypt, the Lord did not lead them through the
country of the Philistines, although that was the nearest way; for God
said, "lest peradventure the people repent when they see war, and they
return to Egypt." But afterwards, when they learned better how to tru st
Him, He permitted their enemies to attack them. Then also in their
wilderness journey they met with but few enemies and fought but few
battles, compared to those in the land, where they found seven great
nations and thirty-one kings to be conquered, besides walled cities to be
taken, and giants to be overcome.
They could not have fought with the Canaanites, or the Hittites, and the
Amorites, and the Perizzites, and the Hivites, and the Jebusites, until they
had gone into the land where these enemies were. And the very power of
your temptations, dear christian, therefore, may perhaps be one of the
strongest proofs that you really are in the land you have been seeking to
enter, because they are temptations peculiar to that land. You must never
allow your temptations to cause you to question the fact of your having
entered the promised "heavenly places."
The second mistake is not quite so easy to deal with. It seems hardly
worth while to say that temptation is not sin, and yet most of the distress
about it arises from not understanding this fact. The very suggestion of
wrong seems to bring pollution with it, and the evil agency not being
recognized, the poor tempted soul begins to feel as if it must be very bad
indeed, and very far off from God to have had such thoughts and
suggestions. It is as though a burglar should break into a man’s house to
steal, and, when the master of the house began to resist him and to drive
him out, should turn round and accuse the owner of being himself the thief.
It is the enemy’s grand ruse for entrapping us. He comes and whispers
suggestions of evil to us, doubts, blasphemies, jealousies, envyings, and
pride; and then turns round and says, "Oh, how wicked you must be to
think of such things! It is very plain that you are not trusting the Lord; for
if you were, it would have been impossible for these things to have entered
y our heart." This reasoning sounds so very plausible that the soul often
accepts it as true, and at once comes under condemnation, and is filled with
discouragement; then it is easy for it to be led on into actual sin. One of the
most fatal things in the life of faith is discouragement. One of the most
helpful is cheerfulness. A very wise man once said that in overcoming
temptations, cheerfulness was the first thing, cheerfulness the second, and
cheerfulness the third. We must expect to conquer. That is why the Lord
said so often to Joshua, "Be strong and of a good courage"; "Be not afraid,
neither be thou dismayed"; "Only be thou strong and very courageous."
And it is also the reason He says to us, "Let not your heart he troubled
neither let it be afraid." The power of temptation is in the fainting of our
own hearts. The enemy knows this well, and always begins his assaults by
discouraging us, if it can in any way be accomplished.
Sometimes this discouragement arises from what we think is a righteous
grief and disgust at ourselves that such things could be any temptation to
us; but which is really a mortification arising from the fact that we have
been indulging in a secret self-congratulation that our tastes were too pure,
or our separation from the world was too complete for such things to
tempt us. We have expected something from our selves, and have been
sorely disappointed not to find that something there, and are discouraged
in consequence. This mortification and discouragement are really a far
worse condition than the temptation itself, though they present an
appearance of true humility, for they are nothing but the results of
wounded self-love. True humility can bear to see its own utter weakness
and foolishness revealed, because it never expected anything from itself,
and knows that its only hope and expectation must be in God. Therefore,
instead of discouraging the soul from trusting, it drives it to a deeper and
more utte r trust. But the counterfeit humility which springs from self,
plunges the soul into the depths of a faithless discouragement, and drives it
into the very sin at which it is so distressed.
I remember once hearing an allegory that illustrated this to me wonderfully.
Satan called together a council of his servants to consult how they might
make a good man sin. One evil spirit started up and said, "I will make him
sin." "How will you do it?" asked Satan. "I will set before him the
pleasures of sin," was the reply; "I will tell him of its delights and the rich
rewards it brings." "Ah," said Satan, "that will not do; he has tried, it, and
knows better than that." Then another spirit started up and said, "I will
make him sin." "What will you do?" asked Satan. "I will tell him of the
pains and sorrows of virtue. I will show him that virtue has no delights,
and brings no rewards." "Ah, no!" exclaimed Satan, "that will not do at all;
for he has tried it, and knows that ‘wisdom’s ways are ways of
pleasantness and all her paths are peace.’ " "Well," said another imp,
starting up, "I will undertake to make him sin." "And what will you do?"
asked Satan, again. "I will discourage his soul," was the short reply. "Ah,
that will do," cried Satan, — "that will do! We shall conquer him now."
And they did.
An old writer says, "All discouragement is from the devil"; and I wish
every christian would just take this as a pocket-piece, and never forget it.
We must fly from discouragement as we would from sin.
But this is impossible if we fail to recognize the true agency in temptation.
For if the temptations are our own fault, we cannot help being discouraged.
But they are not. The Bible says, "Blessed is the man that endureth
temptation"; and we are exhorted to "count it all joy when we fall into
divers temptations." Temptation, therefore, cannot be sin; and the truth is,
it is no more a sin to hear these whispers and suggestions of evil in our
souls, than it is for us to hear the swearing or wicked talk of bad men as we
pass along the street. The sin only comes in either case by our stopping
and joining in with them. If, when the wicked suggestions come, we turn
from them at once, as we would from wicked talk, and pay no more
attention to them, we do not sin. But if we carry them on in our minds,
and roll them under our tongues, and dwell on them with a half-consent of
our will to them as true, then we sin. We may be enticed by evil a
thousand times a day without sin, and we cannot help these enticings. But
i f the enemy can succeed in making us think that his enticings are our sin,
he has accomplished half the battle, and can hardly fail to gain a complete
victory.
A dear lady once came to me under great darkness, simply from not
understanding this. She had been living very happily in the life of faith for
some time, and had been so free from temptation as almost to begin to
think she would never be tempted any more. But suddenly a very peculiar
form of temptation had assailed her, which had horrified her. She found
that the moment she began to pray, dreadful thoughts of all kinds would
rush into her mind. She had lived a very sheltered, innocent life, and these
thoughts seemed so awful to her, that she felt she must be one of the most
wicked of sinners to be capable of having them. She began by thinking she
could not possibly have entered into the rest of faith, and ended by
concluding that she had never even been born again. Her soul was in an
agony of distress. I told her that these dreadful thoughts were altogether
the suggestions of the enemy, who came to her the moment she kneeled in
prayer, and poured them into her mind, and that she herself was not to
blame f or them at all; that she could not help them any more than she
could help hearing if a wicked man should pour out his blasphemies in her
presence. And I urged her to recognize and treat them as from the enemy;
not to blame herself or be discouraged, but to turn at once to Jesus and
commit them to Him. I showed her how great an advantage the enemy had
gained by making her think these thoughts were originated by herself, and
plunging her into condemnation and discouragement on account of them.
And I assured her she would find a speedy victory if she would pay no
attention to them; but, ignoring their presence, would simply turn her back
on them and look to the Lord.
She grasped the truth, and the next time these thoughts came she said to
the enemy, "I have found you out now. It is you who are suggesting these
dreadful thoughts to me, and I hate them, and will have nothing to do with
them. The Lord is my Saviour; take them to Him, and settle them in His
presence." Immediately the baffled enemy, finding himself discovered, fled
in confusion, and her soul was perfectly delivered.
Another thing also. The enemy knows that if a christian recognizes a
suggestion of evil as coming from him, he will recoil from it far more
quickly than if it seems to be the suggestion of his own mind. If Satan
prefaced each temptation with the words, "I am Satan, your relentless
enemy; I have come to make you sin," I suppose we would hardly feel any
desire at all to yield to his suggestions. He has to hide himself in order to
make his baits attractive. And our victory will be far more easily gained if
we are not ignorant of his devices, but recognize him at his very first
approach.
We also make another great mistake about temptations in thinking that all
time spent in combating them is lost. Hours pass, and we seem to have
made no progress, because we have been so beset with temptations. But it
often happens that we have been serving God far more truly during these
hours, than in our times of comparative freedom from temptation.
Temptation is really more the devil’s wrath against God, than against us.
He cannot touch our Saviour, but he can wound our Saviour by conquering
us, and our ruin is important to him only as it accomplishes this. We are,
therefore, really fighting our Lord’s battles when we are fighting
temptation, and hours are often worth days to us under these
circumstances. We read, "Blessed is the man that endureth temptation";
and I am sure this means enduring the continuance of it and its frequent
recurrence. Nothing so cultivates the grace of patience as the endurance of
temptation, and nothing so drives the soul to an utter dependence upon the
Lord Jesus as its conti nuance. And finally, nothing brings more praise and
honor and glory to our dearest Lord Himself, than the trial of our faith
which comes through manifold temptations. We are told that it is more
precious than gold, though it be tried with fire, and that we, who patiently
endure the trial, shall receive for our reward "the crown of life which the
Lord hath promised to them that love Him."
We cannot wonder, therefore, any longer at the exhortation with which the
Holy Ghost opens the Book of James: "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."
Temptation is plainly to be the blessed instrument used by God to
complete our perfection, and thus the enemy’s own weapons are turned
against himself, and we see how it is that all things, even temptations, can
work together for good to them that love God.
As to the way of victory over temptations, it seems hardly necessary to
say to those whom I am at this time especially addressing, that it is to be
by faith. For this is, of course, the foundation upon which the whole
interior life rests. Our one great motto is throughout, "We are nothing,
Christ is all." And always and everywhere we have started out to stand,
and walk, and overcome, and live by faith. We have discovered our own
utter helplessness, and know that we cannot do anything for ourselves.
Our only way, therefore, is to hand the temptation over to our Lord, and
trust Him to conquer it for us. But when we put it into His hands we must
leave it there. It must be as real a committing of ourselves to Him for
victory, as it was at first a committing of ourselves to Him for salvation.
He must do all for us in the one case, as completely as in the other. It was
faith only then, and it must be faith only now.
And the victories which the Lord works in conquering the temptations of
those who thus trust Him are nothing short of miracles, as thousands can
testify.
But into this part of the subject I cannot go at present, as my object has
been rather to present temptation in its true light, than to develop the way
of victory over it. I want to deliver conscientious, faithful souls from the
bondage into which they are sure to be brought, if they fail to understand
the true nature and use of temptation, and confound it with sin. I want that
they should not be ignorant of the fact that temptations are, after all, an
invaluable part of our soul’s development; and that, whatever may be their
original source, they are used by God to work out in us many blessed
graces of character which would otherwise be lacking. Wherever
temptation is, there is God also, superintending and controlling its power.
"Where wert thou, Lord I while I was being tempted?" cried the saint of
the desert. "Close beside thee, my son, all the while," was the tender
reply.
Temptations try us; and we are worth nothing if we are not tried. They
develop our spiritual strength and courage and knowledge; and our
development is the one thing God cries for. How shallow would all our
spirituality be if it were not for temptations. "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." This "crown of
life" will be worth all that it has cost of trial and endurance to obtain it; and
without these it could not be attained.
An invalid lady procured once the cocoon of a very beautiful butterfly
with unusually magnificent wings hoping to have the pleasure of seeing it
emerge from its cocoon in her sick-chamber. She watched it eagerly as
spring drew on, and finally was delighted to see the butterfly beginning to
emerge But it seemed to have great difficulty. It pushed, and strained, and
struggled, and seemed to make so little headway, that she concluded it
must need some help, and with a pair of delicate scissors she finally
clipped the tight cord that seemed to bind in the opening of the cocoon.
Immediately the cocoon opened wide, and the butterfly escaped without
any further struggle. She congratulated herself on the success of her
experiment, but found in a moment that something was the matter with the
butterfly. It was all out of the cocoon it is true, but its great wings were
lifeless and colorless, and dragged after it as a useless burden. For a few
days it lived a miserable sickly life, and then died, without having once
lifted its powerless wings. The lady was sorely disappointed and could
not understand it. But when she related the circumstance to a naturalist, he
told her that it had all been her own fault. That it required just that pushing
and struggling to send the life fluid into the veins of the wings, and that her
mistaken kindness in shortening the struggle, had left the wings lifeless and
colorless.
Just so do our spiritual wings need the struggle and effort of our conflict
with temptation and trial; and to grant us an escape from it would be to
weaken the power of our soul to "mount up with wings as eagles," and
would deprive us of the "crown of life" which is promised to those who
endure.
 
#2
The standard of practical holy living has been so low among christians that
any good degree of real devotedness of life and walk is looked upon with
surprise, and even often with disapprobation, by a large portion of the
Church. And, for the most part, the professed followers of the Lord Jesus
Christ are so little like Him in character or in action, that to an outside
observer there would not seem to be much harmony between them.
But we, who have heard the call of our God to a life of entire consecration
and perfect trust, must do differently from all this. We must come out
from the world and be separate, and must not be conformed to it in our
characters nor in our purposes. We must no longer share in its spirit or its
ways. Our conversation must be in Heaven, and we must seek those things
that are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. We must
walk through the world as Christ walked. We must have the mind that was
in Him. As pilgrims and strangers we must abstain from fleshly lusts that
war against the soul. As good soldiers of Jesus Christ, we must disentangle
ourselves from the affairs of this life as far as possible, that we may please
Him who hath chosen us to be soldiers. We must abstain from all
appearance of evil. We must be kind one to another, tenderhearted,
forgiving one another, even as God, for Christ’s sake, hath forgiven us. We
must not resent injuries or unkindness, but must return good for evil, and
turn the other cheek to the hand that smites us. We must take always the
lowest place among our fellowmen; and seek not our own honor, but the
honor of others. We must be gentle, and meek, and yielding; not standing
up for our own rights, but for the rights of others. All that we do must be
done for the glory of God. And, to sum it all up, since He which hath
called us is holy, so we must be holy in a manner of conversation; because
it is written, "Be ye holy, for I am holy."
Now, dear friends, this is all exceedingly practical and means, surely, a life
very different from the lives of most professors around us. It means that
we do really and absolutely turn our backs on self, and on self’s motives
and self’s aims. It means that we are a peculiar people, not only in the
eyes of God, but in the eyes of the world around us; and that, wherever we
go, it will be known from our Christlike lives and conversation that we are
followers of the Lord Jesus Christ; and are not of the world, even as He
was not of the world. We shall no longer feel that our money is our own,
but the Lord’s, to be used in His service. We shall not feel at liberty to use
our energies exclusively in the pursuit of worldly means, but, seeking first
the kingdom of God and His righteousness, shall have all needful things
added unto us. We shall find ourselves forbidden to seek the highest
 
#4
There is no sense fighting temptation, it is best to flee completely from it. Run like Usain Bolt away from the evil around the corner
 
#5
What do you guys think of C.S. Lewis? (Not the childrens novels) I was at a train station today and purchased Mere Christianity and The Screwtape Letters. I heard they were good beforehand, but I wonder, is it dangerous to read a satire on demons? Do I let my guard down by laughing at thier sinister bussiness with human souls? I haven't read it, I just figured I'd get some opinions first. God Bless.
 
#7
THe word of God says to abtsatain from every form of evil.I dont even own a television or radio any more.We need tom vbe so careefull what we place before our eyes and ears.A little bit of sin works through the whole lump right.So why open doors to the filthy enemy of our souls.
 
#8
Hi Least in the Kingdom. They're both good books. Mere Christianity has been very helpful to many who are looking for Christ, as well as for Christians. Screwtape Letters is quite insightful also, it might a satire, but it's a serious book, written to help believers recognise what's behind their struggles. I'd recommend both.
 
#9
Dusty or someone...I need help-don't know if these picters will show up, also wanted to start new thread with it--trying to get this out everywhere. Today my wife and I drove by a church with a memorial of 3560 crosses representing the number of babies killed each day in the United States, we took some pictures of my daughter in the field, It made it seem real. Thank you.



Save those who are being led away to death.
Hold back those who are about to be killed.
Don't say, "But we didn't know anything about this."
The One who knows what you are thinking sees it.
The One who guards your life knows it.
He will pay each person back for what he has done.
Proverbs 24:11-12
"For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any double-edged sword, piercing until it divides soul and spirit, joints and marrow, as it judges the thoughts and purposes of the heart." Hebrews 4:12




This is my little girl. Her name is Lilly.​


I’ve seen her with hurt and grief in her eyes, but if you could tell her the evil that is happening, and she could understand what you are saying, I don’t think she would be able to bear it. It would crush her, because she could not comprehend how something so heinous could be considered ‘socially acceptable,’ ‘convient,’ or ‘common.’ Before you argue your rights to anybody, why don’t you try and tell that to one of them. God is pro-life, are you?​
 
#13
Dusty or someone...I need help-don't know if these picters will show up, also wanted to start new thread with it--trying to get this out everywhere. Today my wife and I drove by a church with a memorial of 3560 crosses representing the number of babies killed each day in the United States, we took some pictures of my daughter in the field, It made it seem real. Thank you.



Save those who are being led away to death.
Hold back those who are about to be killed.
Don't say, "But we didn't know anything about this."
The One who knows what you are thinking sees it.
The One who guards your life knows it.
He will pay each person back for what he has done.
Proverbs 24:11-12
"For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any double-edged sword, piercing until it divides soul and spirit, joints and marrow, as it judges the thoughts and purposes of the heart." Hebrews 4:12




This is my little girl. Her name is Lilly.​


I’ve seen her with hurt and grief in her eyes, but if you could tell her the evil that is happening, and she could understand what you are saying, I don’t think she would be able to bear it. It would crush her, because she could not comprehend how something so heinous could be considered ‘socially acceptable,’ ‘convient,’ or ‘common.’ Before you argue your rights to anybody, why don’t you try and tell that to one of them. God is pro-life, are you?​

Least .... Click on this link for info ...

http://www.christianforumsite.com/c...ts/312-how-insert-picture-into-your-post.html