Think back to childhood. What did you do when something scary came toward you, whether it be a growling dog or a stranger? Did you take your stand and prepare to fight or did you run into your mother’s arms for safety and bury your head in her shoulder. You didn’t fight; you didn’t even look at what scared you. You let your mom take care of you and deal with whatever you weren’t able to fight.
“I have discovered a great secret in my walk with God. That same attitude is what we need.”
I have discovered a great secret in my walk with God. That same attitude is what we need. The words of Jesus take on an even deeper meaning as we start to understand what being childlike really means.
He called a little child to him, and placed the child among them. And he said: “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore, whoever takes the lowly position of this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.
How opposite our walk with God has to be than what we are trained to do from the cradle to the grave. The world system tells us to “never let them see you sweat, have all the answers, don’t show any fear or weakness.”
Jesus said to be like a little child. We don’t have to be clever. We don’t have to be strong. There is no need to be competitive. Jesus said the last will be first and we should take the lowly position. We are to live unpretentiously, like a child. People who long for spiritual giant status will always be disappointed. First position went to Jesus and He is the only spiritual giant in the history of eternity past, present, and future.
There is ONE reason we are acceptable to God and can approach His throne.
For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin. Therefore let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.
Jesus was tempted in every single way we are, yet He did not sin. He is the only reason we can come boldly into the presence of God. We get so screwed up thinking our sin is what matters if we are coming to God. Running into God’s presence is the unthinkable privilege Christ gave us through His perfect life.
“Running into God’s presence is the unthinkable privilege Christ gave us through His perfect life.”
If we try to fight temptation before running to God for help, we will never go. We lack the ability to get better. Focusing on sin instead of what Jesus did will make us more sinful. I see this all the time. People who try harder to behave (in their own power) are usually full of perversion, bitterness, and condemnation. They hate themselves and feel like God hates them too. Nothing could be further from the truth. God is not disgusted by our sin nature. He came to conquer it, put up His flag of victory, and allow us walk in freedom. However, He can’t fight for us if we don’t come to Him.
Scripture plainly says he suffered when he was tempted. That means to say “no” to what was tempting Him was very difficult. God had never been vulnerable to temptation before He put on human flesh. He was Son of Man (human) and Son of God (divine). He had both natures inside of one body. He did not have a sin nature, but He did have a human nature that was tempted.
Son though he was, he learned obedience from what he suffered and, once made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation for all who obey him.
“Jesus was perfect, but He was not a perfect sacrifice until He went through every single temptation we would go through.”
Jesus was perfect, but He was not a perfect sacrifice until He went through every single temptation we would go through. For you and me, that means the Holy Spirit already knows how to walk us through any and every temptation that threatens to take us down. Also, Jesus can now sympathize with us because He knows by experience how hard it is when temptation comes (let that sink in).
“Why do we give into temptation so often and then hang our heads in shame?”
Why do we give into temptation so often and then hang our heads in shame? Why do we let our wretchedness make us want to flee from God? I think it’s because we expect something from ourselves when Jesus plainly said, “Without Me, you can do nothing” (John 15:5).
“Because we are trained to show no weakness. We think God is repulsed by our wretchedness.”
Because we are trained to show no weakness. We think God is repulsed by our wretchedness. He is not. He intends our wretchedness would make us immediately run to Him; just as a little child runs to its mother.
We are not able to fight anything on our own. When we turn and fight, we turn away from our only help. When we turn inward to the Living God (who resides inside of us – still blows my mind), we are safe and He can fight our battles for us.
He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart.
The actual word for rampart is buckler. In Hebrew it means something surrounding a person. When we turn to His Presence, He surrounds us like a mother wraps herself around her frightened child.
Now we are beginning to see why temptation is a powerful gateway to know the power, mercy, and love of God. When we are tempted (and everyone is) we have three choices.
- Turn from God in shame, feel condemned, and try our best to not do whatever it is (good luck with that).
- You may not do it, but it will dominate your thought life and make you irritable and anxious. No abundant life here, only self-condemnation.
- Turn from God and give in to the temptation.
- This gives relief short term but kills our spiritual life. Condemnation is a by-product here also.
- Turn to God (who is in our soul). Lay ourselves out before Him and admit our complete impotence to fight anything at all.
- At best, we are very weak. This is not a bad thing. It’s wonderful. Only weak people can draw on God’s Almighty’s strength. Only weak people will begin to know the power, mercy, and strength of God when they get up under His mighty wings and take refuge.
“We make a horrible mistake in thinking God wants strong children.”
We make a horrible mistake in thinking God wants strong children. God wants us as we actually are – weak. He sees human strength for what it is – false.
The LORD is like a father to his children, tender and compassionate to those who fear him. For he knows how weak we are; he remembers we are only dust.
Fellow dustball, let us allow temptation to take us deep into God. Let’s run to Him in our weakest and most shameful moments and find out how strong, compassionate, and ready to help us He is.
Also, every single person reading this should have at least one person to which they can confess anything. For me, it is my sister (and a couple of other trusted friends). I have experienced temptations I hated but couldn’t overcome. I found confessing to someone else does two fabulous things.
- Humbles us greatly (very embarrassing to admit our dust status when people want to put us on a spiritual pedestal).
- Heals us powerfully and Invites the exhilarating presence of God to flow through our jar of clay.
But we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us.
2 Corinthians 4:7
“We are no match for our temptations. But our temptations are no match for our God.”
We are no match for our temptations. But our temptations are no match for our God. Just as a mother will turn into a bear when her child is attacked, our God will rise up and obliterate whatever is trying to destroy us. The ONLY thing we have to do is drop everything else and turn to our safety – God Himself. Then Psalm 91 becomes our reality (I highly recommend memorizing the entire Psalm).
A thousand may fall at your side, ten thousand at your right hand, but it will not come near you.
We don’t have to ruin our lives or our families. Through our weaknesses, we can finish this life in the strength of God’s mighty Spirit.
“Because he loves me,” says the LORD, “I will rescue him; I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name. He will call on me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble, I will deliver him and honor him.
Look at all those “I will” statements. All we have to do is love Him. Love runs to the supreme object of its affection. With Him is victory. Our God knows no defeat.