BY WHAT MEANS CAN A CHRISTIAN BE DECEIVED?
“No temptation has taken you but what is common to man” - MKJV
“No temptation has overtaken you that is unusual for human beings” – ISV,
“No temptation has overtaken you that is unusual for human beings” – ISV,
There is a general idea that the devil is responsible for every kind of evil which man is able to do. In fact, I believe the devil can’t do more than entice, bless and uphold as man is able to do or believe from himself.
Man sins because he loves sin, and temptation is generally fierce because man has or still holds a misconception, desire, or a misunderstanding towards what sin is or it should be to him, or towards what sin might not be or what it can do for him. There is no way one will ever be able to get to know the millions of ways sin comes either in disguise or openly unto us. Nevertheless, I believe, also, that one does not have to know what is there in the shady spots of our way home, but rather where the sun shines. If I am busy with the Lord, I cannot be busy with the devil – there is no way any human being can serve two masters at once, with and through the same mind or heart.
If discouragement takes place, is it not due to unfulfilled desires or things we thought best for us and either sin or God hinders us to get there? Can it be that discouragement takes place if our delight is solely the presence of God in such a way that (as Andrew Murray put it) our hearts burn strangely within us? The greatest enterprises this world has ever seen are to be ascribed to the fact that men walked with God for God’s sake and not that they worked hard towards it, even if they did. None being expectant on God gets tired, for strength is renewed on a daily, hourly basis and there is none who is on the verge of giving up if and when our desires and ways are melted up with God’s for good (even though one works harder after having learned to stay abiding in God all along). One is able to loose his own life if he loves it to the extend of wishing it saved – there is no way one may loose one’s life but through a love towards it either way, which is, the Love God has for it.
The fact is that, if the devil is able to blind, tempt or even simply mislead one’s heart and walk, it is due to the fact there is something he is still able to find in the heart of man to mislead by, or to get hold of in a way he can come to use and manipulate it man's way. The good news is that the devil can only use me to have me stumble. I cannot be tempted by angelic temptations, but only by such things which are common to me, those I can know about and may even exist in me. I am not saying one should get out of this world not to be tempted to do, but rather that one’s heart and eyes should be changed into the very likeness of God so sin may cease. Then, sin may come to tempt and it finds nothing in me to get hold of, at all. (But each one is tempted by his own lusts, being drawn out and being seduced by them. (15) Then having conceived lust brings forth sin”, Jam.1:14-15).
If one is changed, there is no way sin will become a temptation – it may be a temptation, but it is surely a useless one. I can come to cut my hand or pull my eye off if and when it is to have me stumble - it honors God to rather have it that way. But, if my eye is good and made sound, wherein shall sin be able to use it in any way? Should I tear it off because there is sin in the world still? If men’s hearts are changed, the devil may come and multiply his demons and his works and all these will never be able to take man to sin. If you change men from within, the world will change. But, the problem is that Christians try always to change others alone. If they got but exposed themselves that would be set as an example to follow and people would easily learn to do it that way as well. Hence these words: “Keep your heart with all diligence, for out of it are the issues of life”, Prov.4:23.
The last months these words of Jesus often came to my mind and heart with such life that I can hardly express to anyone: “the ruler of this world is coming, and he has nothing in Me”, John 14:30, meaning Jesus is not ducking away from the ruler of this world, because there is nothing the devil will be able to find in Him to use against Him or against anyone else whatsoever. He would be able to find fear, however, if Jesus loved His life, if He would be found outside the will of the Father, or if He doubted whether He should go on with what He had in mind. There was nothing the devil would find in Him to use against the will of the Father at all. Christian, can you take the power of the devil from him as Jesus took it, in a similar way, caring and living in Jesus alone as He would Himself? Have you ever thought on how to get rid of temptation for real? Isn’t it by getting down on your knees and to be transformed wholly from inside in desire, motive and thinking, rather than to change the world outside so as to never be conformed to this world again INNERLY? If you are tempted, do you become glad due to the chance it brought about to expose your heart to the annihilating Light of God? No sound mind should hide sin when tempted, but rather take it in as a sure chance to reveal the thoughts that are there, and be glad to the first opportunity to have it fully exposed before God Himself (as well as before all people, just as Paul whished all to know how he had persecuted the church. None blames Paul today because he persecuted the church, for he gave glory to God by exposing it himself, to all; in fact, people everywhere praise Paul even if he has done it all; how can Christians believe they will be blamed for wrongdoing still when they confess it?)
Learn how not to fight discouragement and expose its roots rather. Do the same to all kinds of sin, some of which your heart still clings to in any way, some of which it does not cling to and you give it its power by thinking it does. When John states that someone born of God cannot sin, he expresses himself rather well, for the Word does not say one stays away from sinning by fighting it somehow, but rather by being unable to sin due to a secure change in nature. This is mercy, I mean, that it is active and real in connection with the extinguishing of sins’ leftovers hidden in dark places of the heart of men. Mercy comes to extinguish it – Mercy is an active power from God’s word and light. “Whoever comes to Me, I will in no way throw (cast) out”. Come to Him with every situation sin exposes your heart to, Christian, and it won’t take long you will not have to come to where you are already. Just learn to walk in a new way from then on, just as a blind man would have to readapt all he learned in case he regained his sight at some point of his life.
All temptations are good and welcome if that will be able to expose our hearts to the light of God. One may not state one has no sin before God has fully dealt with it as He alone knows how. Yet, we find that many an honest Christian fears to be exposed, seeing such may still believe they must rather be extreme examples to behold, that they will be more tempted by looking at sin in the light of God, the way God does it Himself, rather than the opposite of it. But, in my short experience with the ways and works of God in men’s hearts, I find that people who dare to be exposed, are able to die to sin on the spot. Some of them even say “Oh death, where is your sting”, where did the feared temptation run to now? I can’t say how it works, but, I know it works so: light kills darkness – exposure does so, and not the understanding of darkness’ ways. We read from Abraham that God did not tell him to be perfect before telling him “Walk before Me” Gen.17:1. Elijah lived as he did because he could say “God, in Whose presence I stand”. Fight for the attention of God and leave sin to talk alone, if it talks still. Fight God in a sober way and not sin as if you are left alone to do so. If sin is able to get your attention, for or even the attention against it, it will soon get your attention away from the One Whom should consume your whole heart day and night so sin should not find place in it. How can one delight in God's Law night and day if our attention is caught up with things we believe we must fight off us at all, Ps.1:1,2? Sin exists, yes, but outside the factual, real presence of God – there is no sin in God. Let Him be your Emanuel then. There, expose all and all will be changed into His likeness once again. Don’t fear your own sin near a changing God – you don’t have to. Fear God near a dying sin, love God, be close to Him – He is the way. Sin dies away that way, and if not, you will die away along with it. Amen.