By Evangelist B. N. Wire
The Why of Temptation (continued)
V. Temptations, trials and troubles often prevent our backsliding because of too much self-reliance and self-sufficiency.
Very few people can enjoy continual prosperity and keep humble and blessed. Many a mighty man of God has lost his power and become a weakling by riding upon the tide of his own popularity. It is easy to forget in the hour of success and victory that "My strength is made perfect in weakness." 11 Corinthians 12:9. If men are continually prosperous and popular they almost always trust too much in self and do not depend wholly upon God. This is manifested also in nations as well as in individuals. Riches, luxury and ease lead to sin and licentiousness. "But Jeshurun waxed fat and kicked - then he forsook God which made him -and lightly esteemed the Rock of his salvation." Deut. 32:15; and again in Psalm 78:34, "They that would be rich fall into temptation and snares. When He slew them, then they sought Him, and they returned and inquired early after God."
No doubt God would allow many of us to have more material wealth and health and everything else if He could trust us with it. Hence we must submit to His Divine love and wisdom and desire to get through to heaven at any cost. Poverty or sickness may be a providence. One man said, "I want God to keep me humble and get me into heaven if He has to spank me in with patches on my trousers." Many a thorn in the flesh such as Paul suffered, is allowed to prick God's saint to keep him from being exalted above measure in his own strength. We must keep weak in ourselves if we are to be strong in the Lord.
Having fallen heir to a small amount of wealth, many good and spiritual people that I have known, have bought a fine automobile and gone speeding over the country, spending money and neglecting the house of God. The result was that they not only lost their own souls but also led their children astray.
VI. Temptations serve to prepare us to help our fellow strugglers.
II Cor. 1:3-4 states, "Blessed Be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort; who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God." "For in that He Himself had suffered being tempted He is able to succor them that are tempted." Heb. 2:12. Our coming to Christ in our troubles is with much more boldness and confidence because we know "We have not an high priest that cannot be touched with the feelings of our infirmities but one who has been tempted in all points like as we are and yet without sin." Heb. 4:15. It was necessary for Jesus to come and go through the storms and temptations of life to make clear to us that He does understand and to set an example for us to follow.
The word sympathize in the Greek means "To have the same feeling," so it remains to the one who has gone through the most battles and temptations to have the greatest sympathy, and hence the greatest ability to encourage and lift his fellow strugglers on life's battle field.
A few years ago I passed through a period of darkness and confusion in my Christian experience for which I could find no earthly reason. I had not neglected my duty, nor had I done any questionable thing. At last I struggled through to the light again, but it was years afterward before I understood the why of that time of confusion.
One day I found a dear brother discouraged unto death. He refused to talk about it and said, "There's no use--no one understands and you cannot help me--there is no way out."
"Well", I said, "If it is that bad you cannot hurt anything by telling me about it." Finally he began describing his trouble and darkness. He had not gone far until I recognized that he was in the same old brush pile of confusion that I had been in some time ago, and my heart leaped for joy as the Spirit said, "This is why I allowed you to experience that battle."
When he had finished telling of his hopeless condition I just smiled and said, "I was in that very place one time myself
Immediately the light of hope sprang up in his face and rather astonished he said, "You were, and you got out?"
"Well there must be a way out for me."
I told him my experience, then we bowed in prayer and the clouds departed - the light of victory came again to his heart. Afterward I went my way with a glad heart, rejoicing and thanking God that I had gone through that awful experience a few years before.
It is the Devil's business to get each of us to feel that our troubles or temptations are harder than and our case different from and more hopeless than that of any others. But no matter what your weakness or battle just "Think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing has happened unto you." I Peter4:12. "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 to bear, but will with the temptation also make a way to escape that ye may be able to bear it. I Corinthians 10:13.
VII. Finally, Temptations give us opportunity to demonstrate to others the reality of God 's grace.
Through temptation we may prove Him and show to others the power of God.
The world is not watching us in the prayer meeting or the testimony meeting, but they are critical to see how we live and what spirit we manifest when under pressure and trial. Hence God allows things to happen to tempt and try us just to show the sinner what His grace can do in the human heart.
The experience of the three Hebrew children clearly illustrates this point. Oh, for more christians with fidelity and faithfulness like these young men! The test was on; if they failed to bow down and worship the image of the king, their lives were at stake for they were to be cast into the fiery furnace. They did not have even a promise of deliverance that they could cling to. But the three Hebrews said, "Our God is able to deliver us, but whether He deliver us or no, we will not bow down." Dan. 3:17. (How many of our modern holiness people would have failed and compromised from lack of feeling and lack of promised deliverance?) They were taken and thrown into the furnace heated seven times hotter than ever before, but, to the astonishment of all, the fire burned off only their bands. When the king came down to see the affair he exclaimed, "There is the form of the fourth and His is like unto the Son of God." Daniel 3:25.
What did that old heathen king know about the Son of God? Nothing! But all know Him when they see Him walking with His children through the fiery trials and deep waters of life. If these Hebrews had not been willing to suffer the fiery furnace these poor heathen would not have witnessed the glorious power of the true God. Remember Christians, that your children and friends, neighbors and enemies are watching you when you are under temptation and trial. Here is your opportunity to witness and shine the brightest for Christ. If you fail here, no amount of noise and shout at church will ever make up for it. God has keeping grace, let's keep in touch with Him continually and be able in our temptations and battles to fill His divine purpose.