We’re going to spend the next several weeks looking at the spiritual battlefields we face every day of our lives. We’re going to look at the battles of temptation, for our mind, over our faith, over our self, over money, and the ultimate battle for our souls. To face these tribulations, we have to be prepared, but it can be difficult to continually stand against the conflicts surrounding these things. As we look at these battlefields, ask yourself:
- Am I actively engaged when these battles arise?
- Am I backing down when they happen?
- Am I going through the motions because I’ve been so often defeated?
Tempted and Tried
Mark 1:12 and Matthew 4:1 describe how Satan begins tempting Christ. After 40 days, Matthew describes Jesus as hungry, and that’s the first thing the devil goes after. Is there anything more basic than hunger? Is there anything wrong with feeding ourselves? Is there anything inherently wrong with the object of this temptation: simple bread? The temptation was more than to eat; the temptation was to take the easy way out.
That’s how we so often cave to temptation. It’s the easy way out. Jesus went to God for support, and James 1:2 – 18 tells us we have the same refuge. As we go through the trials of life, there are three ways we should be viewing them:
1. They are a path to maturity.
We grow through our successes as well as our failures. We learn from the times we stumble and fall. Instead of trying to project a façade that we are perfect Christians, we should embrace our failings as opportunities to grow closer to God and take ownership of our faith.
2. Our trials help us see our need for God.
James calls on us to ask of God without doubt. We see how doubt can be overcome in Mark 9:20 – 24 when a father asks Jesus to help his son and cries out, “I believe. Help my unbelief!” When James encourages us to ask with belief, this is part of it — that we acknowledge our own lack of belief in the process.
3. In our trials, we can see that everything good comes from our Father.
We fall when what we want gets tied up with wanting to get it the wrong way, and we choose to sin. We choose to take the easy way. But focusing on our true blessings helps us see God’s hand in our lives and the hope He gives to each of us.
Looking Up from Trials and Temptations
It’s time to change our script. Instead of focusing on our own troubles and wondering why God is allowing the trials we have, we should instead be looking for opportunities to help others through their own. We should be looking for God in the details of this life. Yes, things can be tough. Yes, the urge to do wrong can be strong. But we can always look to God to see us through.
When we do this, we can loosen our grip on the things of this world and hold tighter to Him. Trust that God is ready to catch you when you fall. Be ready and willing to help lift up your brothers and sisters when they stumble. Let’s trust each other and trust God as we face the trials and temptations of this life.
lesson by Donn Koonce