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Saturday, January 9, 2010

Commitments Are Followed by Temptations

It seems that every great commitment to the Lord is followed with a temptation. Should that surprise us? Should we expect that our commitments will go unnoticed? We shouldn't

Jesus is baptized by John the Baptist. Afterwards, the Spirit drives Him into the wilderness where He would fast for forty days. Satan arrives to tempt Him. Satan obviously wants Jesus to reneg on His commitment. It appears that God leaves Jesus all alone during the wilderness and temptations.

Satan hates commitments to the Lord. These commitments mean that God is honored, His kingdom is come to the earth and Satan's influence is lessened. He comes to tempt us to forget, compromise or taint our commitments to the Lord. He wants us to believe that God will neither protect nor help nor strengthen nor gives us guidance through the temptation. 

Surely, God allows us to be tempted. Jesus was driven into the wilderness by the Spirit. He was out there to be tempted. God did not tempt Him but He certainly allowed Jesus to be tempted. He could have protected Him from all temptation.

Temptation, therefore, must have a purpose. It must be the testing ground that solidifies our commitment. It proves whether or not it is real. It makes us stronger to stand up to Satan at a later time. It will allow us to say some day, "Not my will but yours be done!" when our own livelihood is on the line. 

Satan flees when we resist him. Victory over temptation removes his presence until the next temptation. Those who fall into the temptation invite him in to stay. They are more susceptible to more temptation because they are more likely to give into it.

Victory over temptation defines our commitment to the Lord. We know we will stand when we have pressure to remain seated. We know that we will keep our word to the Lord.

You can be assured that any commitment you make will be followed with a temptation. You may be faced with an unexpected bill when you commit a certain amount of money to the Lord. You may be faced with an unexpected danger after you have made a commitment to share the gospel in another country. You may have your friends and family tell you that you are foolish with the time you are spending doing what you believe God has called you to do. You may have them tell you that going into the ministry is a very stupid idea because the country is getting less and less tuned toward spiritual things. They may even tell you that you'll starve to death because of your commitment to the Lord.

Commitments are followed by temptations. Just make sure that your commitment is truly to the Lord in the first place. Then, never turn back. Victory is yours when you trust in the Lord. He who called you will also help you complete it.

Mark 1:12-13 (ESV)

The Spirit immediately drove him out into the wilderness. And he was in the wilderness forty days, being tempted by Satan. And he was with the wild animals, and the angels were ministering to him.

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