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19 April, 2013

Beware of the Least Likely Temptation

Yesterday there were a few emails between a kindred sister in Christ that I met on LinkedIN website a few months ago. Through our emails we shared how our lives both suck yet God does not light up at all. We are both surrendered to Him, we both have been through very hard times with Him and we both have intimacy with Him. Yet, through our emails we were amazed to see how God keeps testing us for the same reasons.  So we encouraged each other and I went to bed. To my surprise I read Oswald Chambers devotional today and it is exactly what we talked about in our emails. I give you my word that I did not read the devotional yesterday nor I knew what the subject was about. It is just one more way God uses to strengthen those who are committed to Him (2 Chronicles 16:9)

I already shared in different posts how my life with God seems to suck. Even though I am out of the wilderness, God does not seem to be in a hurry to do anything that I have come to expect from all the testimonies I read and heard from friends after they left their wilderness time behind. It got so bad that for a few minutes a doubted that I was in His will for my life. To me, it was either that or God had chosen to pick on me. At one point I was pleading my case with Him to share with me what was going on because if indeed I was out of His will for my life I needed to correct the situation. But He never answered me, yet He seems to come at me at all angles. In fact, I did not label what was happening to me “spiritual warfare” nor that I saw Satan in it. I knew very well it was God’s doing. I got a bit annoyed because I could not see the use of it.  I kept asking why when I just finished spending seven years in the wilderness with you, why is it the testing is not going away? What is going on? I got to the point where I really got stressed out. The answer came recently when I insisted on one question “am I doing something wrong in the way I follow you?  Then He basically said to me “bingo”

It turns out by getting all riled up about how my life sucks it was exactly the lesson I missed. He wanted to show me because I have gone through a surrender process with Him for about nine years now (I surrendered all almost two years before He took me to the wilderness) I am to constantly be very aware of thinking that I cannot stumble into that area. To prove His point, He shared with me, while in the wilderness I would have surrendered in a flash all those things that have been happening to me and caused my life to suck, and He was right. When I realized how I failed Him miserably, I surrendered all the mess my life has become since my so called “coming out of the wilderness.” Even though in some of those things, I needed Him to act now, but I learned to say “may your will be done regardless what I expect or desire.

But even after this sharing time with Him, instead of getting a break He sets out to test me once again. This past Sunday I worshipped Him for about two hours without anything big happening. In the third hour He came and divulged to me two things that He wants for me because He is going to use me to reach other people. These things He told me, I do not want them anymore in my life. In fact I was praying for one of them to go away, and when I realized the answer to my prayer was no, my heart ached but I could feel the Holy Spirit in me praying where my strength was lacking and all of the sudden I sang with all the strength I could muster “I stand with arms high and heart abandoned to the one who gave it all. I stand my soul Lord to you surrendered, all I am is yours. (This is a Hillsong song)

Just one I thought the testing was over, I got a phone call last night about my little brother who has been hospitalized and apparently it is so bad that everyone has gone over to see him and said goodbye. After they shared the complications he was facing along with his last word of love for me, my heart sank down like it contained bricks. I also realized I cannot hop on a train right away to see him because of all the complications in my life now that God decided not to remove or work out soon. So, I realized I had two pains to deal with: one my brother over the years has become an atheist, so he is on his deathbed  unsaved. The second thing is that I have not seen him for years and I might not see him before he died. As I was crying I said God when is enough is enough? At that time, I could feel the Holy Spirit strengthening me and reminded me, that it is one opportunity to give it all to Him and let Him deal with the consequences of it all. What my pain might be like tomorrow is irrelevant tonight, right this moment. I realized in that moment all that God cares is that I surrender all once again, and through His grace, I did. In exchange He gave me His peace. I am now praying and hoping for a miracle that my brother would live.

God tends to test us over and over again like He did with the Israelites in the wilderness. It is hard to remain strong unless we make it a point to walk in the Spirit because our flesh will fail us every time. If we are not walking in the Spirit through surrender, often times, we miss the point altogether because we cannot hear the Spirit or feel His nudges. The Israelites not only did not pass one test out of all those tests God set for them in the wilderness, and they also got tired of them. Oswald Chambers is right in his assessment because many of God's strong man stumbled over their strong points. When I look at my trials now, in this light, I realize God is not picking on me He is actually strengthening me to avoid more pain later in my walk with Him. As I got hold of what is truly happening with me, my heart was filled with tenderness toward Him and I felt bad to the need of repentance for being so upset, blind, resistant and ignorant these past few months. 

Beware of the Least Likely Temptation

Joab withstood the greatest test of his life, remaining absolutely loyal to David by not turning to follow after the fascinating and ambitious Absalom. Yet toward the end of his life he turned to follow after the weak and cowardly Adonijah. Always remain alert to the fact that where one person has turned back is exactly where anyone may be tempted to turn back (see 1 Corinthians 10:11-13). You may have just victoriously gone through a great crisis, but now be alert about the things that may appear to be the least likely to tempt you. Beware of thinking that the areas of your life where you have experienced victory in the past are now the least likely to cause you to stumble and fall.
We are apt to say, “It is not at all likely that having been through the greatest crisis of my life I would now turn back to the things of the world.” Do not try to predict where the temptation will come; it is the least likely thing that is the real danger. It is in the aftermath of a great spiritual event that the least likely things begin to have an effect. They may not be forceful and dominant, but they are there. And if you are not careful to be forewarned, they will trip you. You have remained true to God under great and intense trials— now beware of the undercurrent. Do not be abnormally examining your inner self, looking forward with dread, but stay alert; keep your memory sharp before God. Unguarded strength is actually a double weakness, because that is where the least likely temptations will be effective in sapping strength. The Bible characters stumbled over their strong points, never their weak ones.
“. . . kept by the power of God . . .”— that is the only safety. (1 Peter 1:5).

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