As I was thinking/praying about what to do with our Over Comers group this week a quote from somewhere popped into my head “I can resist anything but temptation.” I don’t know who said it but in my head it sounded like that great philosopher Groucho Marx. When we got to the meeting during our initial time of reconnecting, J. said “You know I realised today that every temptation begins with a thought.” We picked up the conversation and talked for a long time about temptation first coming as a single thought. We all saw how much easier life would be if we stopped that one thought in its tracks before it took on a momentum and a life of its own. We looked at King David who first noticed Bathsheba bathing. He had the thought “She is beautiful.” That thought began a train of lustful and evil thoughts which untamed led the great King to adultery, murder, the death of his child, and unending family strife.
We asked if it was possible to extinguish that thought immediately (this is becoming a favourite word of mine as I study the Gospel of Mark). We remembered Luke 1:37 “For nothing will be impossible with God.” And Paul’s admonition to “… take every thought captive” This all ended up in a study of the Armor of God as a means by which God enables us to take thoughts captive and deal with temptation immediately.
You will note that the six pieces of armor are divided into two groups. The first three pieces are mentioned in a past tense “having put on”. We are not so much called to do something with these as to recall that they are ours by virtue of our relationship with God through our Saviour, Jesus. The truth that we are God’s beloved children, that we are free and forgiven is protection against any lying temptation. One of the guy’s said, “So when temptation comes knocking I should let Jesus answer the door!”
The second division of armour has to do with our active (junior) partnership with God in meeting temptation. By faith we say to the lie “That may have been true once but now I am a child of God, I find my value in Him and one day I will live with Him forever. If I do this immediately the flaming arrows are extinguished quickly and there is no inferno. It sounds simple and it is! This does not mean that it is easy though. It calls us to a level vigilance beyond what we are currently exercising. Like most simple things we simply must rely on God! This is why prayer is so important and prayer for each other so vital.
We realized that we had an advantage because we have a group of people that we can share honestly with and so we have natural prayer support. I am so glad to belong to a group like this that is serious about finding freedom and supporting one another.
On another note I see that our drop in is becoming a more peaceful place and several times a day I have the opportunity to engage in deeper conversations about important and often eternal matters. I was thinking the other day how blessed I am with such conversations. I have lots of friends whose ministry is with traditional churches and they have these invigorating conversations much less than I do. I mentioned this to one of my friends and he said that at least he isn’t faced with the hopelessness that I see daily. I suggested that “the hopelessness I meet is indeed visible but is there really that much less despair in the suburban church he pastors?”
This week I had the chance to engage in a conference call with some other Threshold members. We had a good time of sharing and support, over the miles. I am indeed blessed.