Friday, September 12, 2008

Chapter 8 - Battle Secrets

Winning the War Against Compromise

"[Spiritual growth] is a question of obedience...turn away for one second from obedience, and instantly darkness and death are at work." - Oswald Chambers

The Sudden Death Technique

Sin doesn't just jump on us in a sudden rush of energy. It sneaks up, makes us comfortable with it, then strikes. We allow it into our lives each time we choose not to flee from temptation. "Temptation, like a potted plant, cannot grow without our help." The moment we allow temptation to take root in our hearts and feed it with our weak choices, it flourishes. And before we know it, this little root has grown into a thriving, ugly plant of sin, controlling all space in our inner sanctuary. Only when we flatly refuse temptation will the sin suffocate. "This is the sudden-death technique: never even giving temptation a chance to live inside us." As soon as temptation seeps into our brain we have the crucial moment of decision to let it grow or throw it out. "That first moment of decision is the time to flee - not to wait or hesitate but to turn and run in the opposite direction."

John Stam, a missionary who gave his life for Christ in China, once wrote about the two roads we choose from when faced with temptation: "Seven Awful Steps Downward" and "Seven glorious Steps Upward".

The following is a paraphrase of the "Seven Awful Steps Downward":

Step One: Adopting a careless attitude to sin.
Step Two: Giving in to sin.
Step Three: Habitually giving in to sin.
Step Four: Surrendering to si.
Step Five: Abandoning God for a life of sin.
Step Six: Becoming a tool of Satan to tempt others to sin.
Step Seven: Hell. And you do not have to die to go to Hell. Hell is a character as well as a location. The person who hates everything that God loves is in hell now, and hell is in him.

"Seven Glorious Steps Upward" (paraphrase):
Step One: Develping a resistant attitude toward sin - determining that sin will not gain control over you.
Step Two: Overcoming sin by faith in Christ. Successfully fleeing from temptation - saying no to the desire or opportunity to sin.
Step Three: A lifestyle of victory over sin. Habitually saying no to the desire to sin. The strength that comes from one victory helps in overcoming the next temptation.
Step Four: Discovering the "abiding life", the "victorious life," the "exchanged life."
Step Five: Entrance into even deeper fellowship with Christ. It started with you trusting God - now God entrusts His kingdom treasures to you.
Step Six: Becoming one whom God calls on to do great and mighty things for His kingdom. A set-apart existence that values Christ over life itself and is willing even to suffer and die to carry out the King's bidding.
Step Seven: Heaven!

Practical Steps for Resisting Temptation

Many times, fleeing from temptation entails a physical act: an alchoholic not going into the bar, a young man looking away from the perverse bilboards, etc. Its important to be ready to flee form these physical temptations, but many temptations are mental and a little harder to run away from.

"You can't stop the birds from flying over your head, but you can keep them from building a nest in your hair." - Martin Luther.

We may not be able to keep the sinful or tempting thoughts from entering our mind, but we can certainly keep them from staying in our minds. Often, when we kick-out a sinful thought it turns right around and tries to get right back in our mind. Its then that we have to pull out the big guns.

Big Gun #1: Truth Serum. If we fill our mind so full of God's truth, His holy Word, there won't be any more room for the temptation to fit. "Lies are destroyed by truth."

Big Gun #2: Hitting Below the Belt. When Satan tempts you about something, turn around and start praying for someone. "When our enemy is attacking us, one of the very best ways to hit him below the belt is to pray specifically for unsaved people in our lives to discover Jesus Christ." I tried this once, and it really works. I was trying to get my mind off of a guy, so every time the thought of him entered my mind, I started to pray for Him - that he would grow closer to Christ, that God would do great things through him etc.. Who knows how many of those prayers went up! lol.

A pure white Lily for her Savior

"A lily does not try to resemble or imitate the thorns around her. She is focused on being who she was created to be - completly set apart for her heroic Lover."

1 comment:

Dena said...

Thanks for posting this! I have been encouraged by this book, and I was trying to remember what the "seven steps" were. God bless you on your journey with Him!