Saturday, May 25, 2013

"The Next Time"  

  How do we view areas of life wherein we have particular difficulty in doing the will of God?  Should we resign ourselves to sin and failure, believing that our past failuresmake likely or even ensure future unfaithfulness?  Or do we maintain hope for overcoming the temptations that seem to be tailor made to our personality and inclinations? (which they are).    

The Biblical answer of both Old and New Testament is obvious.   

"My expectation is from Him" (Psalm 62:5).   

"For this cause we also, since the day we heard it, do not cease to pray for you, and to desire that ye might be filled with the knowledge of His will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding; that ye might walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God; strengthened with all might, according to His glorious power" (Colossians 1:9-11).    

God means our human weakness to serve not as the gateway to sin, but rather as the springboard of faith and submission whereby we find ourselves "strengthened with all might, according to His glorious power."  In matters wherein we have often distrusted and disobeyed, however, we tend to embrace the expectation that today and tomorrow will be just like yesterday.  This false anticipation (and no matter what our experience, it is false)sets us up for such ongoing experience of failure.  Indeed, which is greater, our human weakness, or the power of God that dwells in us by the Holy Spirit?  Again, the Biblical answer is obvious.  No matter how many times we may have committed a particular sin, the greater reality of the matter has been, is, and always will be the overcoming presence and enabling of Christ.  Our false expectation of unbelief - "Well, I just can't overcome this, and I will always be this way" - actually sets us up for ongoing failure, fueling the fire that the Holy Spirit is more than able to douse within us.  "God is able to make all grace abound toward you; that ye, always having all sufficiency in all things, may abound to every good work" (IICorinthians 9:8).     
Whatever the attitudinal, verbal, or behavioral sin may be that challenges us, we may have to first deal with the anticipatory sin, as it were, that establishes the crumbling foundation of unbelief that leads to our failures. No matter how many times we have fallen in a particular matter, God calls us to expect His overcoming grace and enabling the next time we face the temptation.  He will be there with power, as He has been on every occasion in the past.  Joining David - "My expectation is from Him" - as opposed to basing our anticipation on yesterday's failures, will make our obedience far more likely and realized through Christ.  Yes, the God who spoke a vast universe into existence, and who sustains it by His word, can empower us to overcome temptation, including the ones that have too often felled us in the past.  This we must believe, because it is true, and because the anticipation of faith leads to the actualization of faithfulness.

"There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it."(I Corinthians 10:13)

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