Garland of Grace – 09.12.16

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Satan’s Short Leash Clutched by the Sovereign Hand of God

“But those who want to get rich fall into temptation and a snare and many foolish and harmful desires which plunge men into ruin and destruction.” – I Timothy 6:9

I am sure we have all seen a movie or a television program where a person falls into a trap, literally.  The image that first comes to mind for me is that of someone walking down a path in the woods as they fall into a pit carved out of the ground by the hands of their enemy. They did not see the hole in the ground because it had been camouflaged by a net covered with leaves.  Thus, the person carelessly fell into the trap, and found themselves in a hole.

As we travel down the path of life, our adversary the devil seeks to entangle and entrap us. He desires to snag us and tie us up with cords of temptation.  That is why we must be alert as we travel down the road of life, looking for any possible traps along the way. We must man the watchtower of our hearts, and be on the lookout for any possible pitfalls. Our enemy knows our weaknesses, and will camouflage the pits of temptation in such a way that each pit has been customized to bring us down.  No wonder the Apostle Paul in our text above chose to use the word “fall” when writing about the subject of temptation to young Timothy. “Falling” paints an accurate picture of what happens to us when we give way to temptation.

We must remember that entering into temptation is not a sin in itself. We all face temptation. Temptation is part of life. As long as we are on this side of eternity, the frustrating battle with temptation will continue to pound away at us.  Therefore we must daily strap on the armor of God and be ready to face the wiles of our adversary the devil. God never promised us a life free of temptation, but He did promise us the power of His presence and the resources to overcome temptation (I Corinthians 10:13).

In the midst of all of these truths is a great comfort made available to the child of God.  Though God is not the tempter (James 1:13), He is the one who divinely permits temptations to come our way. Satan is on a short leash clutched by the sovereign hand of God.  The first example of this truth that comes to mind is found in the story of Job. The Bible tells us that Satan touched Job’s life, but only after he had been granted permission by God (Job 1:12). This principle is found also within the temptation of Christ. When Jesus was tempted by the devil, the Bible tells us that He was led by the Holy Spirit of God (Luke 4:1-2). God permits temptation to strengthen us and make our faith in Him stronger. Quite frankly, it has never been God’s plan for His children to live without temptation.  God even permitted our first parents, Adam and Eve, to face temptation. God did not have to create the serpent to begin with, but He did. We are not to pray for temptation to be completely removed from our lives. Such a prayer would be unscriptural.  Rather, we should pray as our Lord did when He prayed, “lead us not into temptation.” And we must watch and pray lest we enter into yielding (Matthew 26:41).

Oh that we would all pray this way on a daily basis!  It is so easy to convince ourselves that we have graduated beyond certain temptations, and that the enemy no longer can snare us with certain entrapments that we have succumbed to in the past.  But be careful of such prideful thoughts.  It is when think we “have arrived” that we fall the hardest and furthest. Take time out and ponder these truths today. Put on the full armor of God (Ephesians 6:10), and be ready for the daily battle that lies ahead!

 – Pastor Eric

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