By Evangelist B. N. Wire
Other Temptations Peculiar To The Sanctified (Continued)
VII. The Temptation to Indulge the Physical Appetites provides another possibility of falling for the sanctified.
Paul said "I keep my body under and bring it into subjection, least happily after having preached to others I myself become a castaway." I Cor. 9:27.
The human element in temptation has been quite thoroughly dealt with in a proceeding chapter, however, a few things need to be re-emphasized here. Paul's language in the above quotation speaks of the suppression of the physical appetites. There is no more sin in the body of man, than in the wood of a tree. All normal physical appetites and passions are God-given and innocent, but they may become a source of temptation to the sanctified. Since our soul life and spirit nature expresses itself through the functions and faculties of the body; therefore the body may become the, occasion and instrument for the sinning of the soul. All, no doubt, are tempted to indulge their most pleasing and proper appetites to excess, and satisfy others unlawfully.
Paul in I Cor. 9:25 says, "Be temperate in all things." It seems ridiculously inconsistent for ministers to preach so vehemently against intemperance in drink and many other realms and then practice gluttony by overloading their bodies with rich foods and heavy meats. I have never read of or known a great man of prayer that was a heavy eater or who indulged his appetite to excess on any table comfort. "What? Know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God's." I Cor. 6:19-20.
VIII. The Temptation to Fanaticism and Misguided Zeal is another stumbling stone to many spiritual people.
Zeal, not according to knowledge leads to fanaticism. Satan does not care whether you are a formalist or a fanatic. If he cannot hold one back from the highway of holiness, he will try to shove them overboard. Many of the most honest (though ignorant) people, who desire all that God has for them are the ones to be confused over false doctrines that emphasize the wrong thing. We must not only emphasize things that are Bible truths, but we must keep the emphasis where God places it. Gifts of tongues, healing, demonstrations and manifestations of power are all truths, but to put the emphasis upon them as evidences of holiness and essential to every man, is a distortion of the truth. It is like calling the tail the head. God's emphasis everlastingly is Divine love shed abroad in the heart by the Holy Ghost manifested not by gifts and demonstrations but by the fruits of the spirit - love, joy, peace, longsuffering, etc. No man has any God given right to profess the Baptism of the Holy Ghost unless he manifests the fruits under all circumstances.
Some say that the extremists and fanatics are on the safe side. But there is no safe side. The only safe place is in the middle of the road (God's emphasis). On either side is the ditch and to turn aside means sad regrets and probable ruin.
IX. Finally, I hear many saying, "But What About the Temptation to Doubt?"
Well, dear heart, if it is only a temptation to doubt, rejoice and resist it as you would any other temptation. We often hear people make the statement, "I want an experience beyond the shadow of a doubt." But such is an impossibility. No man ever had an experience beyond the temptation to doubt and such temptation is indeed a shadow of doubt. But why be alarmed at the shadows of Satan's buzzards of doubt floating over our heads? Temptations and shadows of doubts like all other temptations come from without the will and soul nature of the sanctified. But the sin of doubt itself like all other sin must come from the yielding will of the individual. Again we must not be deceived into believing that doubts are infirmities or human weaknesses. In Romans 14:23 we read "Whatsoever is not of faith is sin." In Hebrews we also read that doubts and unbelief are devilish denoting an evil heart. "Take heed, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief in departing from the living God." Heb. 3 12.
We may be tempted to doubt but we must no more consent to doubt than to swear or steal or lie. Doubts and holiness can never live together in the same heart. Furthermore, there is "No seed of doubt in the soil of the sanctified soul."
But some say, "I do not doubt God, I only doubt my experience." Well then, the question hinges here. Have you met God's terms and consecrated and abandoned all to Him? If so, you must now abandon your doubts by choice as you have every other carnal trait. If you do not abandon doubt and have faith in God you are insulting Diety by doubting His faithfulness to fulfill His promises. Remember, "Without faith it is impossible to please God", and "According to your faith so be it unto you." Heb. 11 6 and Matt. 9:29.