I’m continuing the series on: How God Sees Us, which commenced here.
“And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus.” Ephesians 2:6-7
Seating arrangements at weddings or funerals or other major events can cause quite a bit of friction. So when we read we are seated with Christ in the heavenly realm, we realize it is an amazing honour and privilege. Sometimes Christians feel they are caught between two equal but opposite forces. That God is pulling them one way and Satan the other. But that’s not true. Satan is defeated and we are seated in the heavenly realm.
Being seated with Christ means we share his authority. We have authority over the kingdom of darkness. But it’s not an independent authority. We are like the Roman centurion who said to Jesus: “For I myself am a man under authority, with soldiers under me. I tell this one, ‘Go,’ and he goes; and that one, ‘Come,’ and he comes. I say to my servant, ‘Do this,’ and he does it.” Matthew 8:9
The centurion can give orders to his soldiers and exercise authority because he himself is under a higher authority. Likewise we are under Christ’s authority. We don’t have to be intimidated or fearful and we don’t have to succumb to temptation. We are going to look at an example of the way that temptation work. The example is in the form of a cartoon strip, which I actually don’t have, so you will have to use your imagination.
This particular person is struggling with sticking to their diet. However, it doesn’t really matter what we are struggling with, as all temptation works the same way:
Frame 1: the girl says: I will take a drive, but I won’t go near the grocery store.
Frame 2: I will drive by the grocery store, but will not go in.
Frame 3: I will go in the grocery store, but will not walk down the aisle where the chocolate is on sale.
Frame 4: I will look at the chocolate, but not pick it up
Frame 5: I will pick it up, but not buy it
Frame 6: I will buy it, but not open it
Frame 7: Open it, but not smell it
Frame 8: Smell it, but not taste it
Frame 9: Taste it, but not eat it
Frame 10: Eat, eat, eat, eat, eat!
God tells us he will provides a way of escape from temptation. And the way of escape is in the very first frame. We decide not to take the drive, not to continue with the thought. We decide not to begin down the path. We tend to think our will power is strong enough, that we can turn it around whenever we want. That we can get to frame 5 and still turn it around. But we can’t. The devil knows our weaknesses. However, we take authority over him, when we refuse his suggestions at the very beginning.
Joseph is a good example of avoiding temptation. We read about the advances of Potiphar’s wife: “And though she spoke to Joseph day after day, he refused to go to bed with her or even be with her…” Joseph chose not even to be alone with her. But then: She caught him by his cloak and said, “Come to bed with me!” But he left his cloak in her hand and ran out of the house.” Genesis 39:10-12
Joseph ran, he didn’t stop to discuss or debate, he ran.
We overcome temptation, at the very beginning, the first time a wrong thought or a wrong action occurs to us, before it has time to take hold.