The intense aroma of the Jack fruit was permeating not just the small room but was making its way through my sharp nose too! It went on to kick start the battle between the flesh and the spirit! Yes, it’s been on my table for at least 4 hours and it’s probably my favourite fruit. The same aunt who blessed me with this also then sent a nice plate of Chicken biriyani (rice cooked with spices and herbs in a special way). It served no competition to the Jack fruit which refused to be shadowed let alone forgotten – persistently making its presence known.
Yes it had to be on a day that I chose to fast and pray..The fragrance was trying its level best to step on the accelerator of the senses and tempt the flesh to take over. I thank God that I hadn’t caved into the temptation to break the fast earlier than usual and that by His grace I had passed my ‘test’ pretty well!
Temptations in life are to be expected. The more closer our walk in God is, the more we can expect the enemy to tempt us, to lure us away from the perfect plan of God for our lives. When I speak of ‘temptations’ I’m not referring to ‘bad’ stuff only.. I’m referring to good things too just like this jack fruit was to me the other day.
Whatever takes us away from our intimacy with God, whatever takes us away from His PERFECT plan for our lives – whether it’s ‘bad’ stuff or ‘good’, whatever distracts us from FIRST seeking the Kingdom of God becomes a ‘temptation’. When whatever distracts becomes our focus, then that becomes an ‘idol’.
The enemy’s goal is to separate us from God so he operates in two ways.. He tries to either ‘brainwash’ us that God doesn’t love us and thus try his level best to make us pull away from God or he tries to pull God away from us. Obviously the second will never happen as God loves us FULL STOP no matter what! It is us whom reject Him, never the other way around…
If you are by any chance feeling ‘guilt’ over back sliding or for falling down, I just want to remind you that God is waiting for you to run into His embrace.. and feel His love.. He knew you would do this even before you did as He knows each word you will speak even before you do speak… He knows your thoughts that go on in your mind, even when not vocalised… He knows your comings and goings.. Meditate on Psalm 139. Yes He knows. A broken and contrite heart He will not despise.. He just waits for us to repent and lean on Him for His strength and guidance to make that U-turn in life.. which just isn’t possible in our own strength.
And for the enemy’s ploy of trying to pull us away from God..remember that Satan even tried to tempt Jesus in the wilderness where He had been fasting and praying..Satan quoted scripture out of context – he used God’s Word out of context to ‘entice’ Jesus to depend on Himself or show-off so to speak. I find it fascinating that Satan who tried to be God and was hurled out of heaven along with his angels would try to use that same ‘grounds’ to try to get ‘citizens of heaven’ to lose that citizenship! Obviously Jesus was one with the Father and was able to discern and rebuke accordingly and thus never faltered. In fact Matthew 4:1 tells us that “Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tested by the devil” – and that went on for 40 days. When Satan finished all this. he didn’t stop there – but rather ‘left Jesus until an opportune time’.
It was God who had ‘suggested’ to Satan ‘to consider Job’ who was righteous!
Temptations are not necessarily just the ‘bad’ stuff – just like the aroma of the jack fruit fighting with my spirit to pull me away from my time with God! The fruit in itself is not a bad thing! Likewise, money is required in life… yet wanting to be rich, striving to ‘earn’ money can be crossing this fine line!
But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation, into a snare, into many senseless and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction.– 1 Timothy 6:9
We are warned that demonic angels masquerade as angels of light. They put forward ‘silver’ to distract from the ‘gold’.
“Woe to the world for temptations to sin! For it is necessary that temptations come, but woe to the one by whom the temptation comes! – Matthew 18:7
These people who do try to tempt believers away from God’s perfect will, will not be left alone, God will deal with them accordingly. What or whom is of God will not pull us away from the narrow path but rather would encourage to stay put. It is important to continuously seek God for discernment.. to weigh out whatever it is we hear and to know what is of God.. All things are indeed permissible but not all things are beneficial.
God understands our struggles, the tug of war between our spirit and our flesh.. and He is not of condemnation. Jesus was without sin but He too was tempted.
Because he himself suffered when he was tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted – Hebrews 2:18
Having said that, this doesn’t give us the license to sin but the grace to desire to repent and make a U-turn.. Changes don’t happen over night and temptations happen to every one of us:
No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it – 1 Corinthians 10:13
Often people look the other way even when they see the way of escape as the ‘temptation’ becomes appealing and people often end up playing with fire. Yet when people are pulled away by the desires of the flesh. it is a choice that each one makes!
Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am being tempted by God,” for God cannot be tempted with evil, and he himself tempts no one. But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire – James 1:13,14
Yes every day is full of choices… good choices, bad choices and the choices that are according to God’s perfect and pleasing plan. We can either be tempted by these things and also the ‘Christians’ who are demonic angels masquerading as angels of light – or we can choose to seek discernment and be led by the Holy Spirit to walk in His perfect plan for His glory… The latter isn’t often easy, takes us away from our comfort zones yet is full of joy and contentment. It would be defined by ‘rest’ and ‘surrender’ not by schemes and underhand work and competition. Angels of light would say the right thing but it is by their fruit that they will be known.
May God shower us with His gift of discernment!