CONTRASTING GOD’S WORKS IN MY OWN HEART
“And Simeon blessed them and said to Mary His mother, Behold, this One is set for … a contradicting sign (35)  … so that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed”, Luke 2:34-35

Many a person falls down on account of never understanding why God’s work has to be contrasted and contradicted by words, works and even ways of malice and deceit – the opposite of what God is.

There is no greater work than the work of grace within. One may be humbled by a disaster, by a humbling situatuion, yet it is grace within which manages to turn people into sobbing, graceful beings. But, because of this, the mistake in church nowadays is to believe and think God does not use some means to consolidate and seal it within man before or afterwards. You cannot unlink temptation from becoming holy; you cannot avoid being tempted by tempest and storms of lies if you wish to be truthful from within, in between you and God. It is during tempests that you learn to become quiet the better. There is no honest, holy man that has never been tempted to be the opposite. This said, this world might be the perfect place to help breed holy people.

Now there is a special way to become holy once tempted and I advise Christians all over the world to take heed unto this.

In the first place, unless a person has fully confessed all sins which he can remember of (unless God really shows some other better way, which I doubt), he might never be able to enter this way towards victory at all, the one which is set there before us by God Himself. That’s the first step: to have all sins, one by one, fully confessed and professed before man and God, whatever it costs us.

Now we come to the second step of really becoming holy from within. And to be able to enter into ways of holiness, temptation becomes and serves as a mighty tool towards the will of God. I always wondered why, in the Lord’s Prayer, we read that God is the one Who leads us into temptation (if He leads, He goes into it with and through us Himself). Jesus was led to the desert to be tempted. In the same way we might just as well be led to be turned as spotless as can be after the same manner. It is amazing, however, that people ask God to turn them into holy people and once it appears that they are being importuned by temptations of all kinds to open their way towards the opposite of sin, they start believing God is not with them in it or that He does not answer prayer at all! And why should an enemy be there so we should learn to love such as do not love us? I think I can now retell my views on this subject without being that far from truth concerning them. God, being good, leads into temptation. It means alone that He is making us as He is and it is, therefore, a good thing that people may be tempted, seeing it is God who leads them into that sort of situations – He does not tempt at all, but leads us into temptation and He goes along with us into it! Why? Why does a believing heart have to go through the temptation of thinking God might never do something like that or be with him at all? Why has a thankful heart have to go through the experience of being put before unthankfulness? Why does faith which is real be challenged by the the lie that God does not exist in such a way that the lie seems to speak out of truth? (I need here to make a point clear again: you need to be clean before God from past sins for this to start working with and within you. Becoming a professing Christian is not enough. It cannot be otherwise – it just won’t work any other way; you should not tempt God).

One day a young convert who used to steal things at her work place in times previous to her conversion, once neared me (after conversion) confessing that she was terribly tempted to steal again and that she couldn’t understand why, nor take it from God that He seemed to have abandoned her for some reason, along with the fact that she had been so terribly tempted to do something she had fully repented from wholeheartedly (she had confessed those sins to God in front of me, previously). Then, after I saw clearly she had not been tempted because of having backslidden herself in some other way, I advised her concerning it and it was the last tear I saw in her concerning that issue. She was, at that point, besides being disappointed on God, only resisting and looking away from temptation seeing it came reminding her of her past sins all over again. And all she did was avoiding being hurt and accused of it all again. This sign spoke against truth, it was a contradicting, accusing sign which brought terrible accusing doubts back unto her. I saw right there just how the door had been opened unto her towards holiness from it. Temptation is to bring the counterpart of it from us, if one is with God. You may judge the way, figure out the direction a person has to go, by having a good perception of what kind of temptations assaults that person as well. Usually, the opposite of what temptation is demanding from us is what God is on the look out for, that being the main point of us being led into temptation all along. God does not speak, for it can be all part of of a serious life and death game.

I told her: “when you are tempted to take something from somebody, you must do something (it is not perfect, but is something to begin with, for God will direct you into the rest of it as well, from there on). If you have some money on you, something which you may give that person whom you felt tempted to steal from, just give it – just do the opposite of temptation, no matter what it takes from you and what that person will think concerning you! If you feel tempted to steal, don’t just merely hide away, turn your face from it or go feel guilty about it in a corner, concealing behind tears, but rather face it and give whatever you have to that person whom you are tempted to steal from and give no reason for your behaviour at all, no excuse in the form of explanation at all”. Then I reminded her of those words God spoke to Cain: "And if you do not do well, sin crouches at the door; and its desire is for you, and you shall rule over it", Gen 4:7. It did not take long, and she was smiling, for truth broke into her right there. She said, “How wonderful, I don’t have to fear it, but face it! It is there so I can learn to do the opposite of it! How wonderful that God has not left me after all!” She was a victorious person from there on and took that as an example to all her other past and present sins which the devil used to molest her with from then on.

This is mainly the reason why people, who have been forgiven, are tempted by the thought of not having been forgiven at all, for guilt enhances the reality of the incoming peace there is for us from within, in case we are glad to take it in by all honesty, it is, if we have really been forgiven at all. Mainly for this reason, God is to be a sign which is spoken against within our hearts as well, so it will show what is there. All atheists bear in them the unique chance to resolve their sin of stubbornness because they are confronted daily with the thought of God  either being alive or dead. Christians may have the chance to heed unto God when temptation is fierce on them. They may come to sing victoriously because they look into the previous owner (sin) without fear to come to fall on them ever again. The idea of a counterforce, a counter-fire which works against the fires of temptation, is a mighty weapon in the hands of an Almighty God. A counter-fire from within is what temptation is to achieve from us all, Life being there to work against the fiery darts of the wicked one - if Life is there at all and that for real.

Face your temptation if you are with God in you, Christian, having in mind that you should never tempt God above with such things as He is not leading you into. If God leads you into temptation, if it is God who is leading out of His own well-measured will and plan towards your own holiness, fear not, for God is with you in there as well. “No man shall be able to stand before you all the days of your life. As I was with Moses, so I will be with you. I will not fail you nor forsake you.  (6) Be strong and of good courage”, Joshua 1:5-6. But, you need to be really forgiven for this to take place, the work within you has to genuine and sealed by the Holy Spirit of God. "For you have need of patience, so that after you have done the will of God you might receive the promise". Heb 10:36."...that you be not slothful, but imitators of those who through faith and patience inherit the promises", Heb 6:12. Is despair assaulting you? You are as close to hope as you happen to be to despair. Are there bad thoughts tempting you to blaspheme God? You as close to it as you are to praise.

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Here are a few thoughts I just lined up concerning this issue of contrasting God’s work within:

  1. God lets me feel alone that I may learn to persevere because I am not left alone; then He comes show how close He is to me, so I may be reminded never to trust myself, for it is by grace that I stand when I feel alone and when I persevere to the end holding lonely fast to an old living word He has shared with me somewhere in the past. "Who is among you that feareth Jehovah, that obeyeth the voice of his servant? he that walketh in darkness, and hath no light, let him trust in the name of Jehovah, and rely upon his God. (11) Behold, all ye that kindle a fire, that gird yourselves about with firebrands; walk ye in the flame of your fire, and among the brands that ye have kindled. This shall ye have of my hand; ye shall lie down in sorrow",Is.50:10-11

  2. When God reprimands me, that’s because He is close by and not far away as my own mind instinctively assumes on account of being chastised. People are the ones who go apart by being truthful – God gets nearer that way. If I am righteously rebuked, I stand a chance to nest up my soul in His warm, consolidating bosom. I will sin no more there, for I have and share in that guarantee that if He has forgotten my sin He has also saved me from it, especially the one He managed to rebuke me for.

  3. It hurts so much to be rebuked by a loving, caring God because all he says is true and His works are proved on fire. It hurts because it is harder to be rebuked by someone who is right and with Whom we would like to share our lives with rather, for being so, instead of being rebuked by someone who might be our enemy. "Faithful are the wounds of a friend; But the kisses of an enemy are profuse", Pro 27:6 "A  friend loveth at all times; And a brother is born for adversity", Pro 17:17

  4. The devil will tell me the truth also, I should have that in mind, just as much as he will lie to me, because his motives are to reach the goal by whatever means he finds at hand. But, if I have the ear that will hear God, soon all accusations will stop making sense; but, because of the devil, I might be carried to believe all the rebukes of God have been in vain as the devil’s might have been – whatever truth he may have used against me.

  5. If the devil uses truth against me, as he has used against Joshua (Zec.3:1-6), it does not mean his accusations are not truthful, or that those are not based upon facts, for they usually are and he will not be a foolish accuser against me. Yet, by doing so, it will bring before my eyes the great contrast of the love of Whom will not excuse my sin, but rather state it out as the One who is able to clothe me anew by having the old one exposed and revealed (rather than hidden away) and charge me with a new life to be obedient unto from then on. God will not listen to the devil as I do if I have sinned on anything – as long as He is near enough to give the order of salvation from my own sinning filth as well. All accusations are there to have me listen and hear about having been forgiven of them.

  6. As white is enhanced and desired after even more by contrasting it to black, so will the devil have a contrary effect in my soul if I desire after God for real and if my words are not empty Scripture knowledge alone. The word states that "And they will not follow a stranger, but will flee from him, for they do not know the voice of strangers", John 10:5. The voice of a stranger will have the sheep flee to God instead. How does this fit with the word which states "And I will attract them to Me" at all?

  7. A bright light will shine more when darkness is the place where it is set to stay. But, if the instrument of light does not get its shine from within, it will be darker in dark places of rest. Light is useful in dark places.

  8. Light cannot depend to shine by being alike to the world, but by being different from it, whatever the cost. If you have a bulb and it gets not its power from within, it will be seen if set on light spots alone, if there is no shine coming from it at all. That bulb has its value on account of the inner power it may translate into light or not. (Then, by using our imagination, think of just how bright will be all the saints to be able to shine on shiny spots of heaven! Yet, because we live in dark places, we should not disdain to be brighter than saints in heaven; people may look at and even praise a weak light on account of being dark all over while God will have it contrasted against the brightness of heaven itself - beware never to be mistaken because you seem to be good according to worldly standards alone).

  9. If and when I am tempted against a man of God, I should take that as a chance to acknowledge and see for myself what a great love he really has towards God. The same principle is to be applied if the person in question is a false prophet when I am tempted to think and believe good of him.

  10. Because people are used to have and care to have idols in their minds to be able to love (for only an idol allows people to love themselves by thinking on them), God puts His servants to look basic having nothing to be desired after as He has always been Himself. That way they are potentially a well of treasures which one might have to dig out for. Care to come to love such as are Godly and basic – the least of them might be God Himself.

  11. Sin has the means to drive me towards holiness if I have and love God for real. I will have the right perspective towards sex if God is with me when being tempted and assaulted by the filth of it in this world. I have the chance to live if I die in front of it, die towards it, if I can be crucified with Christ while the world watches it being done, being with Him.

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José Mateus
zemateus@msn.com