October 26 / Proverbs 26 / Matthew 26

watch-pray

Proverbs 26:2

Curses will not harm someone who is innocent.  Curses that are undeserved never stick.

A.W. Tozer made a resolution to never defend himself, but rather to fully trust YHWH to defend him.

There is no need to defend yourself when your heart is right and your intentions pure.

Humbly risk being misunderstood for Christ.  Not only will you learn humility, but also to trust in our good King.

Matthew 26:41

Watch and pray so that you don’t get pulled down into the time of testing.  The spirit is eager, but the body is weak.

1) Consider the occasions and advantages your sin has taken to exert and put forth itself, and watch against them all.

Take note of when, where, and in what state you fall into repetitive sins–tired, alone, stressed, in a bar, online at nite–and avoid whatever you need to avoid.

If you sincerely want to kill your sin for good, you will take this step (tho not perfectly of course).  If you’re not actively crucifying your flesh, then you are making allowance, and it could be that you have no real desire to be done with it yet.

2) Rise mightily against the first actings and conceptions of your sin.

Don’t let it get the least ground.

Turn from it as soon as you realize what is happening, or else you’re pretty much screwed.  And over time, we are probably getting better and better at recognizing it early.

Don’t say, “I’ll give it this much allowance, but go no further.”

It is impossible to give bounds to sin.

Be killing sin, or it will be killing you.

-John Owen

3) Stop being surprised by your fundamental moral ambiguity.

That may sound odd at first, but it has been a paradigm-shifter for me this year, so let me explain.

At some point on this earthly journey we simply must accept the fact that we are, on some level, dualistic creatures living with a mixture of the propensity for both good and evil. In our flesh exists that seemingly constant pull to the dark side. Now I will be the first to tell you that as we grow in Christ, it does get better, we do grow stronger, and we recover more and more quickly. But we are fools to think temptation and the ability to do that which is awful ever goes away for good in this life. The world, the flesh, and the devil will always keep coming back for us, even after long periods of victory and freedom. Those are the times it really sucks, because we can’t comprehend how we can still “go there,” and we understandably feel defeat and shame.

So we must be vigilant.

But we must not be surprised.

It is when we are no longer surprised at still being tempted or at having awful thoughts of others, that we can see more clearly and recover more quickly.

I can’t tell you how helpful it has been to me to simply stop being surprised at my likeliness to sin. It’s a fairly easy attitude to adopt once you decide to do so. And it just changes completely the way you look at temptation. It takes the fear away. We always say it’s not wrong to be tempted, only giving in, yet we are bombarded with shame for feeling allured to that which is wrong, destructive, ugly. But what if we rob the enemy of the power of shame?

To simply say, “Yeah, I’d like to do that. So what. It’s tempting. That’s my flesh for ya. I know who I am though. Who I belong to. What I really am. What I really want.” And say this to Christ Himself.

Give your flesh permission to be tempted (not to give in of course) and feel the freedom, baby!

Until we arrive at the point of not being surprised by such moral reversals, we are not going to do much in the way of damage control.

-Michael Casey

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