Monday, June 10, 2013

Falling. Falling. Falling.

God is good. God works all things out for good. I have begun to tell myself this more and more often as I've grown older this past year. It seems that in some ways, I'm always crying out to God for help. And when I'm not crying out to Him, I'm falling on my face. It seems that whenever I'm not dealing with the sin of pride, I'm dealing with lust, and when I'm not dealing with lust, it's laziness, when it's not laziness, it's worry, etc. But then I wake up and look back at a year ago. And I see growth. I see that God has given me relief in areas of sin in my life. I'm spending more time with God. I'm studying His Word more. I'm falling into sin less often. I'm depending on myself less and my faith is growing. But that sin is still there. And that's why we need the Lord. We are not perfect. But Christ is. We can look to Him as the propitiation for our sin. What we need is faith. A faith that He will deliver us. A faith that He is enough. We aren't. God is good.

One really encouraging passage I read recently, in regards to temptation, is this quick snippet from Thomas Watson's book "All Things for Good"

"Question. But sometimes Satan foils a child of God. How does this work for good?
Answer. I grant that, through the suspension of divine grace, and the fury of a temptation, a saint may be overcome; yet this foiling by a temptation shall be overruled for good. By this foil God makes way for the augmentation of grace. Peter was tempted to self-confidence, he presumed upon his own strength; and when he would needs stand alone, Christ let him fall. But this wrought for his good, it cost him many a tear. ‘He went out, and wept bitterly’ (Matthew 26:75). And now he grows more modest. He durst not say he loved Christ more than the other apostles. ‘Lovest thou me more than these?’ (John 21:15). He durst not say so, his fall broke the neck of his pride. The foiling by a temptation causes more circumspection and watchfulness in a child of God. Though Satan did before decoy him into sin, yet for the future he will be the more cautious. He will have a care of coming within the lion’s chain any more. He is more shy and fearful of the occasions of sin. He never goes out without his spiritual armour, and he girds on his armour by prayer. He knows he walks on slippery ground, therefore he looks wisely to his steps. He keeps close sentinel in his soul, and when he spies the devil coming, he stands to his arms, and displays the skill of faith (Ephesians 6:16). This is all the hurt the devil does. When he foils a saint by temptation, he cures him of his careless neglect; he makes him watch and pray more. When wild beasts get over the hedge and hurt the corn, a man will make his fence the stronger: so, when the devil gets over the hedge by a temptation, a Christian will be sure to mend his fence; he will become more fearful of sin, and careful of duty. Thus the being worsted by temptation works for good.
Objection. But if being foiled works for good, this may make Christians careless whether they are overcome by temptations or no.
Answer. There is a great deal of difference between falling into a temptation, and running into a temptation. The falling into a temptation shall work for good, not the running into it. He that falls into a river is capable of help and pity, but he that desperately turns into it is guilty of his own death. It is madness running into a lion’s den. He that runs himself into a temptation is like Saul, who fell upon his own sword.
From all that has been said, see how God disappoints the old serpent, making his temptations turn to the good of His people. Surely if the devil knew how much benefit accrues to the saints by temptation, he would forbear to tempt. Luther once said, ‘There are three things make a Christian - prayer, meditation, and temptation.’ The apostle Paul, in his voyage to Rome, met with a contrary wind (Acts 27:4). So the wind of temptation is a contrary wind to that of the Spirit; but God makes use of this cross-wind, to blow the saints to heaven."