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#5.5 THE ATTITUDE REQUIRED TO OVERCOME TEMPTATION

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#5.5 THE ATTITUDE REQUIRED TO OVERCOME TEMPTATION

Introduction 5.5

This bible study explains the attitude that a Christian requires to overcome sin. It deals basically with the reason why many of us who try to live a Christian life are still walking in bondage to sin. It is simply because of a "lack of commitment". Some of us have been born again, even been baptised in the Holy Spirit, but have never sat down and made certain basic decisions which we really need to make if we are to become overcomers. Therefore when we undergo a trial or temptation, there are times when we are prepared to obey God, but other times when we are prepared to go the way of the world. None of us can ever be completely free from sin with this attitude, because whenever the trial becomes difficult, we will almost invariably take the easy route, which is failure. If we are in any doubt about where our loyalty is, then the Devil will always be able to defeat us, because one of the conditions to receive from God is not to doubt (Matthew 21:21; Mark 11:23; James 1:6). Therefore it is essential when attempting to forsake sin, that we get certain basic questions settled in our hearts, so that we do not keep stopping to reconsider our position, which will defeat us, or quit before we have the total victory and kill the sin.

#5.502 DETERMINE TO SERVE THE LORD

JOSHUA 24:14-15 (Joshua)
14 Now therefore fear Yahweh, and serve him in sincerity and in truth: and put away the gods which your fathers served on the other side of the river, and in Egypt; and you serve Yahweh.
15 And if it seems evil to you to serve Yahweh, you choose this day whom you will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served who were on the other side of the river, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve Yahweh.

1 KINGS 18:21
21 And Elijah came to all the people, and said, How long do you limp between two opinions? If Yahweh is God, follow him: but if Baal, then follow him. And the people answered him not a word.

DANIEL 1:8
8 But Daniel purposed in his heart that he would not defile himself with the portion of the king's meat, nor with the wine which he drank: therefore he requested of the prince of the eunuchs that he might not defile himself.

ACTS 11:22-23
22 Then tidings of these things came to the ears of the church which was at Jerusalem: and they sent forth Barnabas, that he should go as far as Antioch.
23 Who, when he came, and had seen the grace of God, was glad, and exhorted them all, that with purpose of heart they would cling to the Lord.

2 CORINTHIANS 9:7 (Paul)
7 Every man according as he purposes in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loves a cheerful giver.

Note: This is something that we all need to do before we enter into spiritual warfare like forsaking sin, purpose in our heart whom we are going to serve, God or sin:

(John 8:34) "Whoever commits sin is the servant of sin."
(Matthew 6:24) "No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one and despise the other."

Without a definite commitment to serve God, we will find forsaking sin far more difficult, if not impossible, because the Devil will always have a weapon to defeat us with, which is our own lack of purpose of heart. Forsaking sin is not something that we succeed at when we just try it. It is something that we succeed at when we set our heart to do it (Daniel 1:8; Acts 11:23;  2 Corinthians 9:7; Colossians 3:2), when we determine not to look back (below), and determine to kill the sin stone dead.

#5.504 DETERMINE NOT TO LOOK BACK

GENESIS 19:17,26 (Lot's escape from Sodom)
17 And it came to pass when they had brought them forth abroad, that he said, Escape for your life; do not look behind you, neither stay in all the plain; escape to the mountain, lest you are consumed.
26 But his wife looked back from behind him, and she became a pillar of salt.

PSALMS 18:37-38 (David)
37 I have pursued my enemies, and overtaken them: neither did I turn again until they were consumed.
38 I have wounded them that they were not able to rise: they are fallen under my feet.

PROVERBS 4:25-27 (Solomon)
25 Let your eyes look right on, and let your eyelids look straight before you.
26 Ponder the path of your feet, and let all your ways be established.
27 Do not turn to the right hand nor to the left: remove your foot from evil.

LUKE 9:61-62
61 And another also said, Lord, I will follow you; but let me first go bid them farewell, who are at home at my house.
62 And Jesus said to him, No man, having put his hand to the plough, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.

Note: There is a principle here, revealed by the word of God, that whatever we determine to do, if we know it to be right, that we should not look back, "Let your eyes look right on, and let your eyelids look straight before you. ... Do not turn to the right hand nor to the left:" (Proverbs 4:25-27). This then should be our attitude when forsaking any sin. The consequences of looking back were disastrous for Lot's wife (Genesis 19:26), and Jesus said that if we looked back, we were not fit for the kingdom of God (Luke 9:62). If we keep on stopping to reconsider our position after we have decided to forsake our sin, then we are double minded, unstable in all of our ways (James 1:8), and we will receive nothing (James 1:6-7). So when we start, we need to be determined not to look back (Luke 9:62), and not to turn again until the sin is totally destroyed (Psalm 18:37), then it will not rise again (Psalm 18:38).

#5.506 DETERMINE TO CRUCIFY "OUR OLD MAN" OR "THE FLESH"

ROMANS 6:6-7 (Paul)
6 Knowing that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that from now on we should not serve sin.
7 For he who is dead is justified from sin.

GALATIANS 5:24 (Paul)
24 And those who are Christ's have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts.

1 PETER 4:1-2
1 Forasmuch then as Christ has suffered for us in the flesh, arm yourselves likewise with the same mind: for he who has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin;
2 That he should no longer live the rest of his time in the flesh to the lusts of men, but to the will of God.

Note 1: We have already seen that we have all been called to take up our crosses and follow Christ (Matthew 16:24; Mark 8:24; Luke 9:23), the purpose of which is to crucify "our old man" or "the flesh" by denying ourselves. "Our old man" is the spirit which lives within us, which causes us to sin. It is likened to having a body, called "the body of sin" (Romans 6:6), "the body of this death" (Romans 7:24), and "the body of the sins of the flesh" (Colossians 2:11). This spiritual body is figuratively made up of spiritual flesh, and is often referred to simply as "the flesh" (Galatians 5:24; etc.). To crucify "the flesh" may be an easy thing to say it, but it is another thing altogether to do it. There is no way that we will accomplish this without suffering, because just as literal crucifixion was a process of suffering, so is the process of forsaking sin, "he who has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin;" (1 Peter 4:1). Jesus was our example to follow:

(Matthew 27:50-51) "Jesus, when he had cried again with a loud voice, yielded up the spirit.
And, behold, the veil of the temple was torn in two from the top to the bottom; and the earth quaked, and the rocks split;"
(Mark 15:37-38) "And Jesus cried with a loud voice, and gave up the spirit.
And the veil of the temple was rent in two from the top to the bottom."

At his death, the veil of the temple, a large thick curtain that prevented entrance into the Holy of Holies, was torn in two, making entrance possible.

(Hebrews 10:12) "Neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by his own blood he entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us."
(Hebrews 6:19-20) "Which hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and steadfast, and which enters into that within the veil;
Where the forerunner is for us entered, even Jesus,
made a high priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec."

The Holy of Holies is symbolic of the presence of God. It was where the high priest entered once a year to make atonement for the people, with the blood of animals (Hebrews 10:7). The veil, which prevented entrance by others, was symbolic of the flesh of Jesus:

(Hebrews 10:19-20) "Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus,
By a new and living way, which he has consecrated for us, through the veil, that is to say, his flesh;"

This is why when the physical flesh of Jesus was killed, the veil of the temple was also destroyed. How does this apply to us today?

(Romans 8:3) "For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh:"

The physical flesh of Jesus was a likeness of our "sinful flesh", the spirit man that lives in us and causes us to sin. When Jesus died on the cross, he not only paid for our sin to be forgiven, but he was also showing us how to receive it, by crucifying the sin in our own life in order to be free! As Jesus' physical flesh was crucified, so we are meant to crucify our spiritual flesh (Galatians 5:24). Therefore, we have to take up our crosses and follow Jesus (Matthew 16:24; Mark 8:24; Luke 9:23), and if we don't do it, we are not worthy of him (Matthew 10:38). As Jesus hung on the cross, his blood drained out of his body, and he became weaker and weaker, because the life is in the blood (Leviticus 17:10-14). So it is when we put our spiritual "old man" on the cross to crucify him by denying ourselves. The life drains out of him, and he becomes weaker and weaker. When he dies we will have no more desire to commit sin, and we will also be able to enter into the presence of God, just as Jesus did. He was our forerunner (Hebrews 6:20), someone who goes before and leads the way. Paul described himself as having reached this place:

(Galatians 2:20) "I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ lives in me: and the life which I now live in the (physical) flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me."

Therefore, before we start, we need to accept the fact that we will have to suffer in order to be delivered; we will have to overcome any kind of craving or desire for as long as it takes for our total deliverance to be manifested. If we do not accept this at the outset, then it is likely that our defeat will come as soon as the Devil puts any pressure on us.

Note 2: This was one of my problems, and it may well be with others also; I did not wish to go through a prolonged period of suffering, and the very thought of it often defeated me. I was not casting down imaginations as I should (See #5.613), neither was I obeying the command "take no thought for tomorrow" (See #5.620), and I also had my attention focused on the problem I faced, which is not faith (2 Corinthians 4:18). When I eventually did get delivered, I was concentrating more on the joy that was set before me (Hebrews 12:2), and ignoring the circumstances. I wasn't concerned about tomorrow either, because I was busy taking the opportunities to help others, which God had placed before me (See #5.512 Note 2).

#5.508 DETERMINE TO KILL THE SIN STONE DEAD

NUMBERS 21:33-35
33 And they turned and went up by the way of Bashan: Og the king of Bashan went out against them, he, and all his people, to the battle at Edrei.
34 And Yahweh said to Moses, Do not fear him: for I have delivered him into your hand, and all his people, and his land; and you shall do to him as you did to Sihon king of the Amorites, which dwelt at Heshbon.
35 So they smote him, and his sons, and all his people, until there was none left him alive: and they possessed the land.

DEUTERONOMY 2:31-34 (Moses)
31 And Yahweh said to me, Behold, I have begun to give Sihon and his land before you: begin to possess, that you may inherit the land.
32 Then Sihon came out against us, he and all his people, to fight at Jahaz.
33 And Yahweh our God delivered him before us; and we smote him, and his sons, and all his people.
34 And we took all his cities at that time, and utterly destroyed the men, and the women, and the little ones, of every city, we left none to remain:

1 SAMUEL 15:2-3
2 Thus says Yahweh of hosts, I remembered that which Amelek did to Israel, how he laid wait for him in the way, when he came up from Egypt.
3 Now go and smite Amalek, and utterly destroy all that they have, and do not spare them; but slay both man and woman, infant and suckling, ox and sheep, camel and ass.

2 KINGS 13:14-19
14 Now Elisha was fallen sick of his sickness of which he died. And Joash the king of Israel came down to him, and wept over his face, and said, O my father, my father, the chariot of Israel, and its horsemen.
15 And Elisha said to him, Take bow and arrows. And he took to him bow and arrows.
16 And he said to the king of Israel, Put your hand upon the bow. And he put his hand upon it: and Elisha put his hands upon the king's hands.
17 And he said, Open the window eastward. And he opened it. Then Elisha said, Shoot. And he shot. And he said, The arrow of Yahweh'S deliverance, and the arrow of deliverance from Syria: for you shall smite the Syrians in Aphek, till you have consumed them.
18 And he said, Take the arrows. And he took them. And he said to the king of Israel, Smite upon the ground. And he smote thrice and stayed.
19 And the man of God was angry with him, and said, You should have smitten five or six times; then you would have smitten Syria till you had consumed it: whereas now you shall smite Syria but thrice.

PSALMS 18:37-38 (David)
37 I have pursued my enemies, and overtaken them: neither did I turn again until they were consumed.
38 I have wounded them that they are not able to rise: they are fallen under my feet.

Note 1: When Saul went to fight against Amalek, God instructed him, "utterly destroy all that they have, and do not spare them; but slay both man and woman, infant and suckling, ox and sheep, camel and ass." (1 Samuel 15:3). When the Israelites went to take the promised land they often destroyed their enemies completely (Joshua 6:21; 10:28-37), Rahab and her family being an exception (Joshua 6:25). When they fought against Og the king of Bashan, "they smote him, and his sons, and all his people, until there was none left him alive:" (Numbers 21:25). When Moses recalled how they fought against Sihon king of the Amorites, he said, "we smote him, and his sons, and all his people ... and utterly destroyed the men, and the women, and the little ones, of every city, we left none to remain:" (Deuteronomy 2:33-34). Why did they have to employ this tactic of utter ruthlessness and destruction against their enemies?

(Numbers 33:55-56) "But if you will not drive out the inhabitants of the land from before you; then it shall come to pass, that those which you let remain of them shall be pricks in your eyes, and thorns in your sides, and shall vex you in the land in which you dwell.
Furthermore it shall come to pass, that I shall do to you, as I thought to do to them."
(Joshua 23:12-13) "Else if you do in any way go back, and cling to the remnant of these nations, even these that remain among you, and shall make marriages with them, and go in to them, and they to you;
Know for a certainty that Yahweh your God will no more drive out any of these nations from before you; but they shall be snares and traps to you, and scourges in your sides, and thorns in your eyes, until you perish from off this good land which Yahweh your God has given you."
(Judges 2:2-3) "And you shall make no covenant with the inhabitants of this land; you shall throw down their altars: but you have not obeyed my voice: why have you done this?
Therefore I also said, I will not drive them out from before you; but they shall be as thorns in your sides, and their Gods shall be a snare to you."

These scriptures make it clear, that if they did not destroy these enemies, they would become;

(Numbers 33:55) "pricks in your eyes, and thorns in your sides, and shall vex you."
(Joshua 23:13) "snares and traps to you, and scourges in your sides, and thorns in your eyes,"
(Judges 2:3)"as thorns in your sides,"

Therefore Israel should have utterly destroyed them, but they didn't do it:

(Psalm 106:34-36) "They did not destroy the nations, concerning whom Yahweh commanded them:
But were mingled among the heathen, and learned their works.
And they served their idols: which were a snare to them."

The result was that they were given over into the hand of their enemies, who ruled over them, and oppressed them (Psalm 106:41-42).

Note 2: In one sense, the promised land for us today is the kingdom of God, which is within us (Luke 17:21). It is our clean heart where God wishes us to sow his seed (Luke 8:15), which is the word of God (Luke 8:11). Some of the inhabitants which we are to drive out are "the sin which does so easily beset us," (Hebrews 12:1), and these sins need to be utterly and totally destroyed when God leads us to deal with them. If we do not do it, then various things can result:

(1) God will drive us out of the land (Numbers 33:56), which means that we will backslide.
(2) This sin will continue to be pricks in our eyes, thorns in our sides, and vex us (Numbers 33:55).
(3) God will drive out no more inhabitants (Joshua 12:13; Judges 2:3), which means that we will be unable to forsake other sins, or even obtain healing for some sicknesses.

From personal experience, this will lead us into total and utter bondage and misery. The love of any kind of sin is one of the Devil's strongholds in our heart, and it needs to be completely and utterly destroyed as soon as possible if we are to walk free from bondage in this Christian life.

Note 3: Early in my Christian walk, when I became aware of this problem in my life, I tried to control my eating by will power and self effort, not knowing much about faith. I knew that it needed to be dealt with and totally destroyed, but the spiritual warfare that broke out in my mind when I tried to do it was so severe that I decided to leave it until later. That was a great mistake in itself (See #5.510), because when God shows us these things, he expects us to deal with them. Nevertheless, it did not seem such a very great problem at the time, but then I was not engaged in soul winning or any other activity that would cause the Devil any great problem. When I did start to work actively for God, about twelve months later, the Devil attacked this weakness of mine with almost unbelievable vigour, to defeat me time after time, and keep me spiritually impotent. I found difficulty in all areas of my Christian life, soul winning was almost ineffective, and trying to believe God for the healing of various ailments, which I had had for many years, caused me endless pain, discomfort, suffering, and frustration, over a period of four and a half years. Many times I felt like God was just point blank refusing to help me, and not until I dealt with the sin problem did God have mercy on me enough for me to receive the manifestations that I so desired.

#5.510 DETERMINE NOT TO DELAY TO FORSAKE THE SIN

LEVITICUS 19:13 (God)
13 You shall not defraud your neighbour, neither rob him: the wages of him who is hired shall not abide with you all night until the morning.

DEUTERONOMY 24:15 (God)
15 At his day you shall give him his hire, neither shall the sun go down upon it; for he is poor, and sets his heart upon it: lest he cry against you to Yahweh, and it is sin to you.

PSALMS 119:59-60
59 I thought on my ways, and turned my feet to your testimonies.
60 I made haste, and delayed not to keep your commandments.

PROVERBS 3:27-28 (Solomon)
27 Withhold not good from those to whom it is due, when it is in the power of your hand to do it.
28 Do not say to your neighbour, Go, and come again, and tomorrow I will give when you have it by you.

ROMANS 13:7-8 (Paul)
7 Render therefore to all their dues: tribute to whom tribute is due; custom to whom custom; fear to whom fear; honour to whom honour.
8 Owe no man anything, but to love one another: for he who loves another has fulfilled the law.

GALATIANS 6:10 (Paul)
10 As we therefore have opportunity, let us do good to all men, especially to those who are of the household of faith.

Note: If God has said to us, "at his day you shall give him his hire," (Deuteronomy 24:15), "Withhold not good from those to whom it is due, when it is in the power of your hand to do it." (Proverbs 3:27), "Render therefore to all their dues ... Owe no man anything," (Romans 13:7-8), "As we therefore have opportunity, let us do good to all men," (Galatians 6:10), then he has established a godly principle that we should not delay to do good when we have the opportunity. This would include also that we do not delay to forsake sin, "I made haste, and delayed not to keep your commandments." (Psalm 119:60). From personal experience, one of the Devil's tactics to keep us in sin, is to get us to delay forsaking our sin, with a remark something like, "Why not have a good time today and give it up tomorrow?" or "Leave it until next week, it will be easier then". This is very subtle. He knows that if we fall for it today, he can come back with the same approach tomorrow, and we will fall for it again. God is not mocked by man (Galatians 6:7), and if we think that we can sin when we like, and give it up when we like, then we are deceiving ourselves. As soon as we make the decision to continue to sin, God refashions our heart accordingly (Psalm 33:13-15), and if we cannot resist today, then there is no way we will be able to resist tomorrow with our heart in a worse condition. God will not allow any of his children to mock him in this way and get away with it. We cannot dictate to God when we will sin and when we will give it up, so if we wish to forsake the sin, then the choice is, do it now, or fail.

#5.512 LET LOVE BE OUR MOTIVATOR

MATTHEW 22:37-40
37 Jesus said to him, You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.
38 This is the first and great commandment.
39 And the second is like it, You shall love your neighbour as yourself.
40 On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.

JOHN 13:34-35 (Jesus)
34 A new commandment I give to you, That you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another.
35 By this shall all men know that you are my disciples, if you have love one to another.

JOHN 15:12-13 (Jesus)
12 This is my commandment, That you love one another, as I have loved you.
13 Greater love has no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.

ROMANS 13:8-10 (Paul)
8 Owe no man anything, but to love one another: for he who loves another has fulfilled the law.
9 For this, You shall not commit adultery, You shall not kill, You shall not steal, You shall not bear false witness, You shall not covet; and if there is any other commandment, it is briefly comprehended in this saying, namely, You shall love your neighbour as yourself.
10 Love works no ill to his neighbour: therefore love is the fulfilling of the law.

1 CORINTHIANS 13:1-2 (Paul)
1 Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and do not have charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal.
2 And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and do not have charity, I am nothing.

GALATIANS 5:6 (Paul)
6 For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision avails anything, nor uncircumcision; but faith which works by love.

GALATIANS 5:13-14 (Paul)
13 For, brethren, you have been called to liberty; only do not use liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another.
14 For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this; You shall love your neighbour as yourself.

1 JOHN 3:11
11 For this is the message that you heard from the beginning, that we should love one another.

1 JOHN 4:7-12
7 Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loves is born of God, and knows God.
8 He who does not love does not know God; for God is love.
9 In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him.
10 In this is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be a propitiation for our sins.
11 Beloved, if God so loved us, we aught also to love one another.
12 No man has seen God at any time. If we love one another, God dwells in us, and his love is perfected in us.

1 JOHN 5:1-3
1 Whoever believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God: and every one that loves him who begat loves him also who is begotten of him.
2 By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God, and keep his commandments.
3 For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous.

2 JOHN 5-6
5 And now I beseech you, lady, not as though I wrote a new commandment to you, but that which we had from the beginning, that we love one another.
6 And this is love, that we walk after his commandments. This is the commandment, That, as you have heard from the beginning, you should walk in it.

Note 1: "God is love." (1 John 4:8,  4:16), and if we wish to be like him then we ought to act in love toward God and toward others. We are often exhorted to do this by the word of God:

(Deuteronomy 6:5; 10:12; Matthew 22:37) "you shall love Yahweh your God, with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your might."
(John 13:34-35; Romans 13:8;  1 John 4:7; 4:11; 2 John 5) "love one another."
(Leviticus 19:18; Matthew 19:19; Romans 13:9; Galatians 5:14) "love your neighbour as yourself."

Why should love be our motivation for forsaking sin? Simply because our faith needs to operate by love (Galatians 5:6;  1 Thessalonians 1:3;  1 Timothy 6:11), and if it doesn't, then we are nothing (1 Corinthians 13:2), and it will profit us nothing (1 Corinthians 13:3). Love is the most powerful motivating force in the world, it "suffers long," (1 Corinthians 13:4), "Bears all things, ... endures all things." (1 Corinthians 13:7), it casts out our fears (1 John 4:18), and it never fails (1 Corinthians 13:8). In its ultimate expression it would cause us to lay down our lives for others (John 15:13), and with such a powerful force as our motivation, forsaking any sin would be a certainty. While we are in sin, our prayers for others are hindered, because, "If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me." (Psalm 66:18). So if we are praying for the healing or salvation of loved ones, then we need to let our love for them be our motivation for forsaking the sin; this will ensure not only that we forsake it, but that we also stay out of it.

Note 2: I believe that not always letting love be my motivation for doing things was one of the main things that God was trying to call to my attention. Some people may have considered that I was a loving person already, because many of the things that I did were in line with the word of God, but just like Job (Job 3:25) I sometimes did things out of fear of the consequences of not doing them. Also in small things, like contacting people, visiting them, or doing things that would benefit them, I would sometimes not do them if it were inconvenient. Also in the studies that I was doing, I tended to concentrate on those studies that interested me, rather than the ones which I knew would benefit others, and so really I was not letting God lead me as far as study was concerned. This particular study on overcoming sin was one that I was neglecting. I ought to have studied what God knew was best for his purpose, rather than my own interest, but I wasn't doing it. Only when I realised these things, and changed my reason for doing things did I get delivered. I had no great spiritual experience like some have described, but I made a definite decision to act in love towards others where possible, and from then on I began to seek God's help to do it. Sometimes after that, when I came to make decisions, I would ask myself, "What would love do in this situation?" I have no worries now about forsaking sin, for I know that as long as I submit myself to do what God expects of me (See #5.604), he will keep me out of it.

#5.514 COUNT IT ALL JOY

HABAKKUK 3:17-18
17 Although the fig tree shall not blossom, neither shall fruit be in the vines; the labour of the olive shall fail, and the fields shall yield no meat; the flock shall be cut off from the fold, and there shall be no herd in the stalls:
18 Yet I will rejoice in Yahweh, I will joy in the God of my salvation.

1 THESSALONIANS 5:16-18 (Paul)
16 Rejoice evermore.
17 Pray without ceasing.
18 In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.

JAMES 1:2-4
2 My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials;
3 Knowing this, that the trying of your faith works patience.
4 But let patience have her perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.

1 PETER 1:5-9
5 Who are kept by the power of God through faith for salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.
6 In which you greatly rejoice, though now for a season, if need be, you are in heaviness through various trials:
7 That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perishes, though it is tried with fire, might be found to praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ:
8 Whom having not seen, you love; in whom, though now you see him not, yet believing, you rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory:
9 Receiving at the end of your faith, even the salvation of your souls.

Note: There is probably only one way that we can "count it all joy" during a trial, and that is when we have the assurance in our heart of the victory, because joy comes with believing (1 Peter 1:6-8), and it comes "of faith." (Philippians 1:25). If we have prayed for our deliverance, and we believed that we received when we prayed (Mark 11:24), then joy ought to be a natural reaction as we rejoice in the victory (1 Samuel 1:18). There should be no need to force it, it ought to flow from us like rivers of living water (John 7:38). However, if we are not standing in faith, and we are suffering this problem as a chastisement, then there is no way we can count it all joy; for "no chastening for the present seems to be joyous, but grievous:" (Hebrews 12:11). Joy is one of the spiritual sacrifices that God wants us to offer to him (Psalm 27:6), and it is an outward expression of the faith in our heart, without which it is impossible to please him (Hebrews 11:6).

#5.516 BE CONFIDENT OF THE VICTORY

PSALMS 50:14-15
14 Offer to God thanksgiving; and pay your vows to the most High:
15 And call upon me in the day of trouble: I will deliver you and you shall glorify me.

MATTHEW 7:7-8 (Jesus) (RPT)
7 Keep on asking, and it will be given to you; keep on seeking, and you will find; keep on knocking, and it will be opened to you:
8 For every man who keeps on asking receives; and the man who keeps on seeking finds; and to the man who keeps on knocking it will be opened.

MATTHEW 17:19-21
19 Then the disciples came to Jesus apart, and said, Why could not we cast him out?
20 And Jesus said to them, Because of your unbelief; for amen I say to you, If you have faith as a grain of mustard seed, you shall say to this mountain, Remove from here to yonder place; and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible to you.
21 However this kind goes not out but by prayer and fasting.

MATTHEW 21:21-22 (Jesus to disciples) (RPT)
21 And answering Jesus said to them, Amen, I say to you, If you have faith, and do not doubt, you will not only do the miracle of the fig tree, but also if you shall say to this mountain, Be taken up, and be thrown into the sea; it shall be done.
22 And all things whatever you ask in prayer, believing, you will receive.

MARK 9:23 (Jesus to a father) (RPT)
23 Jesus said to him, If you are able to believe, all things are possible to him who believes.

MARK 11:22-24 (RPT)
22 And answering Jesus says to them, Have the faith of God.
23 For amen I say to you, Whoever says to this mountain, Be taken up, and be thrown into the sea, and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that those things which he says are coming to pass; whatever he says will be his.
24 Therefore, I say to you, All things whatever you ask, praying, believe that you are receiving them, and they will be yours.

LUKE 17:5-6 (RPT)
5 And the apostles said to the Lord, Increase our faith.
6 And the Lord said, If you have faith as a mustard seed, you could say to this sycamine tree, Be pulled up by the roots and be planted in the sea, and it would obey you.

JOHN 14:13-14 (Jesus) (RPT)
13 And anything whatever you ask in my name, this I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son.
14 If you shall ask anything in my name, I will do it.

ROMANS 8:37-39 (Paul)
37 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.
38 For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come,
39 Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

1 CORINTHIANS 10:13 (Paul)
13 There has no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted above that you are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that you may be able to bear it.

1 CORINTHIANS 15:57 (Paul)
57 But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

2 CORINTHIANS 1:20 (Paul) (RPT)
20 For all promises of God, in him are yes, and in him Amen, for glory to God through us.

2 CORINTHIANS 2:14 (Paul)
14 Now thanks be to God, who always causes us to triumph in Christ, and makes manifest the savour of his knowledge by us in every place.

PHILIPPIANS 4:13 (Paul)
13 I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.

2 PETER 2:9
9 For the Lord knows how to deliver the godly out of temptations, and to reserve the unjust to the day of judgement to be punished:

1 JOHN 5:4-5
4 For whatever is born of God overcomes the world: and this is the victory that overcomes the world, even our faith.
5 Who is he who overcomes the world, but he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?

Note: During any trial of our faith, the one thing that the Devil always tries to do is to sow doubt in our heart about what God has said. Notice how he did it with Eve in the garden of Eden, saying "Yes, has God said, You shall not eat of every tree of the garden?" (Genesis 3:1), suggesting that she could, of course. When he realised that she knew what God had said, then he tried to get her to doubt the truth of it, saying, "You shall surely not die:" (Genesis 3:4). These scriptures make it clear what God has said about our deliverance. So providing that we are repentant before God, and sincerely looking to put right that which we have done wrong to cause our problem with sin, then there are more than enough scriptures here to sustain us through any trial. God knows how to deliver us (2 Peter 2:9), he has said that he will if we ask in faith (Psalm 50:15; Matthew 21:22), and he cannot lie (Numbers 23:19; Titus 1:2). All that remains for us to do is to meditate these scriptures into our heart, until we have the assurance of the victory, then act on our faith by giving up the sin, and let the praise and thanksgiving flow from us.

#5.518 BE PREPARED TO JUDGE OURSELVES AND TURN FROM ERROR

PROVERBS 23:13-14 (Solomon)
13 Withhold not correction from the child: for if you beat him with the rod, he shall not die.
14 You shall beat him with the rod, and deliver his soul from hell.

LAMENTATIONS 3:39-40 (Jeremiah)
39 Why does a living man complain, a man for the punishment of his sins?
40 Let us search and try our ways, and turn again to Yahweh.

1 CORINTHIANS 11:31-32 (Paul)
31 For if we would judge ourselves, we should not be judged.
32 But when we are judged, we are chastened of the Lord, that we should not be condemned with the world.

Note 1: Sometimes an oppression of one sin can be a chastening for another sin, and this being so we need to understand the reasons why God chastens us, and the way to avoid it. He chastens us when we are in sin (Leviticus 26:27-28; Psalm 89:31-32; 107:17; Jeremiah 2:19; 30:14), because he is displeased with us (Psalm 6:1; 38:1), because he loves us (Proverbs 3:12-13; 13:24;  Hebrews 12:6-8;  Revelation 3:19), and because he is a faithful Father (Psalm 119:75). The purposes of God's chastening are:

(1) To get us to learn his word (Psalm 94:12; 119:71),
(2) So that he can give us rest (Psalm 94:12-13),
(3) To get us to acknowledge our sins and turn from them (Job 34:31; 36:7-10; Proverbs 29:19),
(4) To get us to cleanse our hearts (Job 41:24-25; Psalm 73:13-14; James 4:8; 1 John 3:3),
(5) To make us holy (Hebrews 12:10),
(6) To make us righteous (Hebrews 12:11),
(7) To get us to pray more (Isaiah 26:16),
(8) To get us to seek him (Hosea 5:15), and
(9) So that we are not condemned with the world (Job 33:14-22, 33:29-30; Psalm 73:12-19; Proverbs 23:13-14;  1 Corinthians 11:31-32).

This latter point could bring us to believe that while we are being chastened, then we are under condemnation; in which case it is an urgent need to turn away from our sin and repent (See #5.418; #5.640). As long as we refuse to do this, then God has to keep chastening us as long as he considers us to be sons, otherwise how would he get us to turn back to him? If we continue to refuse when we are chastened, and forsake him, then he will forsake us (2 Chronicles 15:2), his power and his wrath will be against us (Ezra 8:22), and he will cast us off for ever (1 Chronicles 28:9). Is it possible that we are being chastened without being in sin? Some of us may like to think so, but the answer from scripture is definitely no:

(Psalm 91:9-10) "Because you have made Yahweh, who is my refuge, even the most High, your habitation; There shall no evil befall you,"
(Proverbs 19:23) "The fear of Yahweh tends to life; and he who has it shall abide satisfied; he shall not be visited with evil."
(Proverbs 26:2) "the curse causeless shall not come."
(Ecclesiastes 8:5) "Whoever keeps the commandment shall feel no evil thing:"
(1 John 5:18) "We know that whoever is born of God does not sin; but he who is begotten of God keeps himself, and that wicked one does not touch him."

Note 2: I once had an occasion to dig a big rock out of a garden. When I first uncovered it, it looked small and easy to remove, but I soon found that it was not only much larger than I had thought, but it was also buried much deeper than I had expected. In order to get it out, I had to dig round it and first remove all the smaller stones, rubble, and earth, which were holding it in place. Many times I attempted to move it, but had to go back and remove more from around it before it eventually came out. So it is sometimes with sin. We may not realise how large, or deep-rooted the problem is until we try to remove it. The solution may be, as with the rock in the garden, that we may need to put right some smaller things in our life before God will allow us to remove the big one. Correcting smaller problems first will not only make us spiritually stronger, and give us practice with the spiritual warfare involved, but will also remove any support to the Devil's stronghold in our heart, that we are looking to destroy. Scripturally we need to show our faithfulness in small things first, before God will trust us with anything big:

(Luke 16:10) "He who is faithful in that which is least is faithful also in much: and he who is unjust in the least is unjust also in much."

#5.520 I CAN DO NOTHING OF MYSELF

JOHN 5:19
19 Then Jesus answered and said to them, Amen, amen, I say to you, The Son can do nothing of himself, but what he sees the Father do: for whatever things he does, these also the Son does likewise.

JOHN 5:30 (Jesus)
30 I can of my own self do nothing: as I hear, I judge: and my judgement is just; because I do not seek my own will, but the will of the Father who has sent me.

JOHN 8:28
28 Then Jesus said to them, When you have lifted up the Son of man, then shall you know that I am he, and that I do nothing of myself; but as my Father has taught me, I speak these things.

Note 1: Jesus made it very clear in these three scriptures that he could do nothing by himself, and yet to us it appears that Jesus could do all things. The reason was that he did everything by faith, trusting in the Father's leading, and therefore he could do all things, because "all things are possible to him who believes." (Mark 9:23). Jesus also said, "If you have faith as a grain of mustard seed ... nothing shall be impossible to you." (Matthew 17:20), and this shows the attitude that we need to adopt. We need to trust in God, and not in ourselves, otherwise we will fail.

Note 2: This was one of my big mistakes as I sought deliverance. I thought that if I memorised the right scriptures, said the right things, and did the right things, then God would certainly deliver me. It was as if my faith was to some extent in my own ability to put the word of God into practise, and this didn't work for long. As soon as I overate slightly, or ate too early (See #5.632), then because my faith was at least partly in my performance, it would almost always fail after that. It was as if I could never sin just a little bit and stop; but almost every time that I failed, it would be a complete disaster. We do have to memorise the right scriptures, say the right things, and act on our faith, but if our faith is in God, and not in ourselves or what we do, then we would not fail, and slight errors would not condemn us (See #5.6402).

#5.522 I CAN DO ALL THINGS THROUGH CHRIST

JOHN 15:5 (Jesus)
5 I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in me, and I in him, the same brings forth much fruit; for without me you can do nothing.

ROMANS 7:24-25 (Paul)
24 O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death?
25 I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord. So then with the mind I myself serve the law of God; but with the flesh the law of sin.

1 CORINTHIANS 15:57 (Paul)
57 But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

2 CORINTHIANS 2:14 (Paul)
14 Now thanks be to God, who always causes us to triumph in Christ, and makes manifest the savour of his knowledge by us in every place.

PHILIPPIANS 4:13 (Paul)
13 I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.

Note 1: When Paul described his total bondage to sin (Romans 7:14-24), his deliverance came only "through Jesus Christ our Lord." (Romans 7:25), he said our victory comes "through our Lord Jesus Christ." (1 Corinthians 15:57), and that he could do all things "through Christ" (Philippians 4:13). So what does it mean, "through Christ"? The answer is, through the spirit of Christ, which indwells every one of us when we are born again (Romans 8:9;  2 Corinthians 13:5; Galatians 4:19; 1 John 5:12), or more accurately, through the faith which the indwelling spirit of Christ gives us (Romans 3:22; Galatians 2:16; 2:20; 3:22; Ephesians 3:12; Philippians 3:9; Hebrews 12:2). Having already established that we can do nothing by ourselves (See #5.520), when we yield ourselves to be obedient to God, through the indwelling spirit of Christ, that is when we obey the word of God in our hearts, then our faith will work, and he will deliver us. Jesus came to deliver us from sin (Matthew 1:21; Acts 3:26); he is the word of God (John 1:1 with 1:14; Revelation 19:13), and his presence in our heart sets us free from sin:

(Psalm 119:11) "Your word have I hid in my heart, that I might not sin against you."

Jesus is the truth (John 14:6), which is also the word of God (John 17:17), and knowing him sets us free from sin:

(John 8:32) "And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free."

Jesus is also the Son of God (Luke 1:35; John 9:35-37), and God sends the spirit of his Son into our heart (Romans 8:15; Galatians 4:6) to deliver us from sin:

(John 8:36) "If the Son therefore shall make you free, you shall be free indeed."
(Acts 3:26) "To you first, God, having raised up his Son Jesus, sent him to bless you, in turning away every one of you from his iniquities."

Note 2: I suffered a lot through not understanding this. I thought that in order to be free from this habit, I had to fight through a prolonged period of spiritual warfare until I got the victory. If I had understood then that in one sense, "through Jesus Christ" not only means "through faith", but also "through obedience to God", "through his word in me", "through the spirit of his Son Jesus in me", I would have been set free much sooner. When my deliverance finally came it was because I set my heart to put right the things which were wrong in my life, and sought God to do it, after which I was set free. I did have temptations after that, but nowhere near as fierce as they had been before, and I soon realised that God was fighting my battles for me, as he has promised that he would for obedient children (Exodus 14:14; Deuteronomy 1:30; 3:22; 20:4; Joshua 23:10).

#5.524 LOOK TO GOD FOR MERCY, NOT REWARD

LUKE 18:9-14 (Jesus)
9 And he spoke this parable to some who trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and despised others:
10 Two men went up into the temple to pray; the one a Pharisee, and the other a publican.
11 The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, God, I thank you, that I am not as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican.
12 I fast twice in the week, I give tithes of all that I possess.
13 And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes to heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner.
14 I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other: for every one who exalts himself shall be abased; and he who humbles himself shall be exalted.

Note 1: This scripture shows the different approaches of two men to God. One went listing out his own good deeds, and another went admitting his failure and looking for mercy. The latter received the favour of God, because he is a merciful God (See #5.17). Look how people approached God in the Old Testament:

(Deuteronomy 21:8) "Be merciful, O Yahweh, to your people Israel,"
(Psalm 30:10) "Hear, O Yahweh, and have mercy upon me:"
(Psalm 56:1; 57:1) "Be merciful to me, O God,"
(Psalm 67:1) "God be merciful to us, and bless us;"
(Psalm 119:41) "Let your mercies come also to me, O Yahweh,"

Consistently it seems that they all knew to look to God for mercy in order to get an answer. Even in the New Testament, look how people approached Jesus for healing:

(Matthew 9:27) "Son of David, have mercy on us."
(Matthew 15:22) "Have mercy on me, O Yahweh,"
(Matthew 17:15) "Lord, have mercy on my son;"
(Matthew 20:30) "Have mercy on us, O Yahweh,"

These and many others knew to come to Jesus looking for mercy, and every one received it! If God has shown us that this way of approaching him is the one that he will answer, then this is the way we should do it too.

Note 2: Why are our own good deeds of no avail when we go to God? Simply because God is not interested in self righteousness, only the good that is done through the indwelling spirit of Christ, by faith. If by faith, then there is no reason to boast (Romans 3:27), because God has given us the ability to do them. Look at the attitude of people with great faith, who approached God and got an answer:

(1) Jacob seeking deliverance from his brother Esau; "I am not worthy of the least of all the mercies, and of all the truth, which you have shown to your servant;" (Genesis 32:10). He got delivered.
(2) The centurion, who had a greater faith than any in Israel (Matthew 8:10; Luke 7:9), seeking healing for his servant; "I am not worthy that you should enter under my roof: Therefore neither did I think myself worthy to come to you:" (Luke 7:6-7). His servant got healed.
(3) The woman of Canaan seeking healing for her daughter, when Jesus referred to her as "a dog"; "Truth, Lord:" (Matthew 15:27). Her daughter was healed.

These examples show that it is not our worthiness that God is looking for, but rather our knowledge of our own unworthiness, and the great mercy that he is willing to show to us. This then is the attitude that we ought to adopt when seeking our deliverance.

#5.526 BE PATIENT TO INHERIT THE PROMISE

EXODUS 23:27-30 (God)
27 I will send my fear before you, and will destroy all the people to whom you shall come, and I will make all your enemies turn their backs to you.
28 And I will send hornets before you, which shall drive out the Hivite, the Canaanite, and the Hittite, from before you.
29 I will not drive them out from before you in one year; lest the land becomes desolate, and the beast of the field multiply against you.
30 Little by little I will drive them out from before you, until you are increased, and inherit the land.

DEUTERONOMY 7:22-24 (Moses)
22 And Yahweh your God will put out those nations before you little by little: you may not consume them at once, lest the beasts of the field increase upon you.
23 But Yahweh your God shall deliver them to you, and shall destroy them with a mighty destruction, until they are destroyed.
24 And he shall deliver their kings into your hand, and you shall destroy their name from under heaven: there shall no man be able to stand before you, until you have destroyed them.

HEBREWS 6:11-15
11 And we desire that every one of you do show the same diligence to the full assurance of hope to the end:
12 That you do not be slothful, but followers of those who through faith and patience inherit the promises.
13 For when God made promises to Abraham, because he could swear by no greater, he swore by himself,
14 Saying, Surely blessing I will bless you, and multiplying I will multiply you.
15 And so, after he had patiently endured, he obtained the promise.

HEBREWS 10:36
36 For you have need of patience, that, after you have done the will of God, you might receive the promise.

Note 1: There are many of the promises in the word of God which require patient waiting for the complete manifestation of. A few examples are; the promised land to Israel (Exodus 23:29; Deuteronomy 7:22); Abraham becoming a father of many nations (Hebrews 6:15); the manifestation of our salvation at Christ's second coming (Hebrews 9:28;10:36); wisdom and understanding (Deuteronomy 32:2; Proverbs 2:1-9; Isaiah 28:9-10); and the kingdom of God within us (Mark 4:26-32; Luke 13:18-21; 17:20-21). It may not always be the case, but with some sins, patience and endurance will certainly be required to overcome. The sin of gluttony is an example. In my experience, the most weight that I lost over a long period of time was about a stone (14lb.) a month and that was with a severe food restriction. Someone with a lot of weight to lose would not be able to lose it all within a short period. Apart from this, it is unlikely that anyone, who has a gluttony problem, has sufficient faith to endure the spiritual warfare involved anyway. The weapons of spiritual warfare need to be learned, and diligently practised with before we become proficient with them, and if the user is a new Christian, or a novice, this may take time. To take on too much at the outset may well be begging defeat: "If you have run with the footmen, and they have wearied you, then how canst you contend with the horses?" (Jeremiah 12:5). My advice, to anyone setting out to destroy a lust such as gluttony, would be to eliminate problem foods first, avoid dainty foods (See #5.420), and begin to stick to regular meal times (See #5.632). Study and practice using your spiritual weapons here first, and then gradually reduce your regular food to whatever level you believe that God would wish, but don't use this gradual approach as an excuse to do nothing. That will not fool God.

Note 2: My problem was really highlighted when I began to seek God for souls at the place where I worked. While doing a heavy manual job in a factory, I reduced my food to one meal a day, which I ate after work. After working about a week in a state of exhaustion, I suffered an attack of what I can only describe as acute despondency, and overate considerably. I thought that God would do something because I was fasting; but I wasn't praying enough, or witnessing enough, and as I was the only Christian in the place, he would have had to use me to speak to them, which I wasn't doing. In the months and years which followed I suffered attacks of exhaustion, fainting, despondency, condemnation, and when I overate, sometimes vomiting and diarrhoea. One time while riding a bicycle along a busy main road, I became so faint that I began to wobble uncontrollably. Everywhere seemed to be swirling round, and thanks be to God I was able to get off and sit on the pavement until it stopped. I don't recommend anybody to follow my example, even though it has turned out right in the end; it would be better to learn from my mistakes and avoid them.

#5.528 I WON'T TAKE NO FOR AN ANSWER

2 CORINTHIANS 1:20 (Paul) (RPT)
20 For all promises of God, in him are yes, and in him Amen, for glory to God through us.

Note 1: As far as his promises are concerned, God has promised to answer "yes" to every single one of them, when we ask in faith. Therefore, if we know that God has promised deliverance from sin, we should not accept "no" for an answer. If we do, then we have effectively called God a liar, because "he who believes not God has made him a liar;" (1 John 5:10). Look at some examples of the attitude of people who received from God by faith:

(1) Jacob wrestled all night with "a man", whom he perceived to be God (Genesis 32:24-30), in order to obtain a blessing. During the struggle "the hollow of Jacob's thigh was out of Joint" (v25), but he still would not let go. He insisted, "I will not let you go, except you bless me." (v26). Jacob would not take no for an answer, and he received his blessing.

(2) A Greek Syrophoenecian woman from Canaan sought Jesus to heal her daughter, who was vexed by a devil (Matthew 15:21-28; Mark 7:24-30). At her first attempt Jesus ignored her, so she cried after the disciples (Matthew 15:23). Jesus" disciples besought him to send her away (Matthew 16:23), and Jesus refused to help her, saying, "I am not sent but to the lost sheep of the house of Israel." (Matthew 15:24). She did not give up, but fell at his feet (Mark 7:25), worshipped him (Matthew 15:25), and besought him again (Mark 7:26). Jesus refused again, this time referring to her as a dog (Matthew 15:26; Mark 7:27). She still did not give up, but admitted, "Truth, Lord: yet the dogs eat of the crumbs which fall from their masters table." (Matthew 15:27; Mark 7:28). Jesus said she had great faith, and granted her request (Matthew 15:28; Mark 7:29). She would not take "no" for an answer, and her daughter was healed (Matthew 15:28; Mark 7:30).

(3) The story of the man who was sick of the palsy is told in three scriptures (Matthew 9:1-8; Mark 2:1-12; Luke 5:17-26). Four men brought him on a bed to find Jesus (Matthew 9:2; Mark 2:3; Luke 5:18), but could not get near him for the multitude (Mark 2:4; Luke 5:19). They did not give up, but uncovered the roof of the house and let him down before Jesus (Mark 2:4; Luke 5:19). Jesus saw their faith which would not take no for an answer (Matthew 9:2; Mark 2:5; Luke 5:20), and the man got healed (Matthew 9:7; Mark 2:12; Luke 5:25).

(4) When Elijah was praying for rain (1 Kings 18:41-46), he already knew that God would send it, because God had told him so (1 Kings 18:1). Nevertheless, when he got down to pray, he sent his servant to see if there were any clouds (v43). When his servant came back, having seen nothing, Elijah did not stop praying. He eventually sent him seven times before he saw the clouds forming over the sea (v44), and he knew that it was about to rain. Elijah would not take "no" for an answer, and got what he prayed for.

(5) When Daniel sought God for the understanding of a vision that he had seen (Daniel 10:1-21), he fasted for three weeks while he was praying (vv2-3). God had answered his prayer on the first day (v12), but because the angel who had been sent with the answer was hindered by a wicked spirit in the heavens (v13), Daniel had to continue to seek the face of God. He could have quit without having received his answer at any time, because he had no visible evidence that God had answered his prayer, but instead he continued steadfastly, refusing to take "no" for an answer, and he got his understanding (v14).

If this is the way that people of faith have received from God in the past, by refusing to take "no" for an answer, then it will surely work for us also.

Note 2: Not only does the scripture show that not taking "no" for an answer is profitable when we seek from God, but it also indicates that it works for worldly people too:

(1) A man in need of three loaves was refused when he first asked his friend (Luke 11:5-7), but he refused to take "no" for an answer and got as many as he needed (Luke 11:8). Jesus was teaching us here how to pray and receive from God.

(2) In the parable of the widow and the unjust judge (Luke 18:1-8), Jesus was teaching us how to pray always, and not to faint (v1). The widow was refused her request for vengeance at first (vv 4-5), but because she kept on coming, and troubled him, the judge decided to avenge her (v5). She would not take "no" for an answer, and got her vengeance. This was a comparison of how we should seek God to obtain things from him by faith (v8).

(3) King Saul was a disobedient king who was rejected by God for his disobedience (1 Samuel 15:1-35). After he admitted his sin (v24), he sought honour from Samuel before his people, by requesting him to turn with him when he worshipped the Lord (v25), but Samuel refused (v26). Saul did not give up, but grabbed hold of Samuel's mantle, and tore it as he turned to leave (v27). Even after Samuel had told Saul that his kingdom would be taken from him, and that God would not repent (vv28-29), he still did not give up, but requested again that Samuel would turn with him (v30). This time Samuel did turn (v31). Saul would not take "no" for an answer, and got that which he desired.

These are all examples of how worldly people received the things which they were after by refusing to take "no" for an answer, and if it works for them, seeking from imperfect people, how much more will it work for us, seeking from a perfect God?

#5.530 I FORGIVE ALL

MATTHEW 18:21-35
21 Then Peter came to him, and said, Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? till seven times?
22 Jesus says to him, I do not say to you, Until seven times: but, Until seventy times seven.
23 Therefore is the kingdom of heaven likened to a certain king, which would take account of his servants.
24 And when he had begun to reckon, one was brought to him, which owed him ten thousand talents.
25 But forasmuch as he had not to pay, his lord commanded him to be sold, and his wife and children, and all that he had, and payment to be made.
26 The servant therefore fell down, and worshipped him, saying, Lord, have patience with me, and I will pay you all.
27 Then the lord of that servant was moved with compassion, and loosed him, and forgave him the debt.
28 But the same servant went out, and found one of his fellow-servants, who owed him an hundred pence: and he laid hands on him, and took him by the throat, saying, Pay me what you owe.
29 And his fellow-servant fell down at his feet, and besought him, saying, Have patience with me, and I will pay you all.
30 And he would not: but went and cast him into prison, till he should pay the debt.
31 So when his fellow-servants saw what was done, they were very sorry, and came and told their lord all that was done.
32 And his lord, after that he had called him, said to him, O you wicked servant, I forgave you all that debt, because you desired me:
33 Should you not also have had compassion on your fellow-servant, even as I had pity on you?
34 And his lord was angry, and delivered him to the tormentors, until he should pay all that was due to him.
35 So likewise shall my heavenly Father do also to you, if you from your hearts forgive not every one his brother their trespasses.

MATTHEW 6:14-15 (Jesus)
14 For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you;
15 But if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.

MARK 11:25-26 (Jesus)
25 And when you stand praying, forgive, if you have anything against any: that your Father also who is in heaven may forgive your trespasses.
26 But if you do not forgive, neither will your Father who is in heaven forgive your trespasses.

Note: These scriptures make one point very clear, that if we do not forgive others their trespasses against us, then God will not forgive us our trespasses. Can you imagine how many people are bound with some kind of sin, or sickness, that they cannot get rid of, simply because they cannot receive God's forgiveness while they are not forgiving offences committed against them? If this refers to you friend, forgive. Just as the servant in the parable was turned over to the tormentors for his unforgiveness (Matthew 18:34), perhaps you have been turned over to spiritual torment in sin, or physical torment in sickness for your unforgiveness. Forgive, and if you find that difficult, then pray according to the previous section (See #5.528), and ask God to help you.

Attitude Required to Overcome Temptation bible quiz  Green tick

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