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Entered By: Mark
Entry Date: 2011-03-30 08:54:03
Subject: Plant Your Feet and Aim for the Heart

     There is rare occasion when I feel qualified to counsel someone based on what I've walked through, my victories, my failures. Wrapped up in our busy lives, it's even more rare when I recognize that something might be wrong, when a brother is hurting or walking through something difficult. Thankfully the Holy Spirit convicts and eventually, if we are obedient to His Voice, we recognize our faults, confess our sins and seek help from brothers and sisters in Christ when necessary.

Galatians 6:2
Share each other’s burdens, and in this way obey the law of Christ.

    There are times when we allow temptationto bring us down to the pit, times when we should have fought but the pleasure of the moment enticed us away from our true love.

James 4:7

So humble yourselves before God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.

     I once studied Taekwondo for about a year; long enough to change colors a few times and get kicked many times. One lasting lesson I took from this martial art is that when someone punches at you, you don't stop the punch, you just knock the striking hand/arm into a different direction so that it misses its target.

    I also played football just long enough to realize that not only do I not like playing the sport, but also that I also really dislike competitive sports in general. The main reason being that there are winners and losers. Yes, the "real world" has winners and losers but I'm hopeful we won't be preoccupied with determining who is better or worse in the Kingdom of Heaven. Regardless, in football, we are taught to block a defender such that he cannot reach the player with the ball. We do not always block the defender in the opposite direction of the ball, but similar to Taekwondo, we might work with the momentum of the defender but change his direction just a bit. Rather than letting him run straight at the quarterback, we might let him run forward, but push him to the left a little so that he misses.

      A politician, when confronted with issues, weaknesses or scandals will often drive the conversation to another subject.

       A foot soldier is smart enough to know you can't stop bullets, but you can give the enemy a smaller target in the way you position your body on the ground or behind walls etc.

     Suffice it to say, that in the "real world", we realize we are not omnipotent and don't often face problems head on.

      God's way is to face our fears and temptations directly. He doesn't call us to be elusive, camouflaged, or hidden in a building.

Luke 8:16
“No one lights a lamp and then covers it with a bowl or hides it under a bed. A lamp is placed on a stand, where its light can be seen by all who enter the house.

      When we are faced with temptations such as gossiping, materialism, adulterous thoughts, you name it,  we have a lot of choices. We have not only many temptations to choose from, but many ways to react. As Christians I think our reactions are all too often worldly, hedonistic. And even on the occasion when we try to resist, we resist in the wrong way, not God's way.

       We might even pray that the Lord take the temptation away. Remember that Satan has power and can tempt us, but He can do nothing without God's permission. If we are being tempted, it is because our Father is allowing it so that we can learn to stand and fight. Jesus spent 40 days wearying himself in the desert without food. At the end of that time, he was tested by Satan. (Matthew Chapter Four). At that time, he did not ask his Father to take Satan away. He did not mince words with the devil. He completely refuted him with the truth and at the same time the Word of God echoed in his heart, nourishing his own spirit:

Matthew 4:4
But Jesus told him, “No! The Scriptures say,‘People do not live by bread alone,but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.’ ”

       So what do we do when temptation comes our way? I believe that we go beyond resisting the temptation itself, but counter punch Satan himself by praying for our enemies.

      If a person is speaking evil and spreading lies about you, don't waste your time trying to tell others the truth or refuting her lies. Pray for the person that is gossiping. Pray that he or she will find the Lord and stop feeling so poorly about himself that he will stop trying to drag others into his pit.

      If, men, you see an image or woman that you find yourself struggling with, pray for that woman. Pray that she will walk with the Lord all the days of her life. Pray that, if she wants to be a wife, that the Lord will send her the right man and that the two will be commited to one another all the days of their lives. Pray that they will live their lives serving the Lord. Pray for her until the evil flees from you. If it returns, pray again.

     If you feel low or less than your peers, competitors, celebrities because they are more popular, have better clothes, better cars, whatever, don't ask the Lord to take those thoughts away. Pray for the people that you feel inferior to, because it is very possible they are living shallow, empty lives. Pray, once again, that they use their talents, resources and time to help others. Pray that they use their lives to glorify our Father in Heaven.

    Based on personal experience, I can guarantee you that these temptations will not often return if you practice this counter-attack kind of prayer. After a few rounds of this the enemy will indeed flee. It's one thing for your punches to be knocked out of the way, the enemy will persist until he lands a few blows and knocks you to the floor. It's quite another when the enemy throws a punch, you break off his arm and knock him in the head with it. He'll find an easier fight somewhere else. He might come back eventually, so be on your guard and be ready for a fight. You don't have to speak a word to the enemy and often shouldn't. Don't give him that much glory. It is sufficient to obey the words of Christ:

Matthew 5:43-44

“You have heard the law that says, ‘Love your neighbor’ and hate your enemy. But I say, love your enemies! Pray for those who persecute you!"

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