Wednesday, November 18, 2015

PRAYERS OF THE BIBLE SERIES - THE BOOK OF JAMES, #2

THE METHODOLOGY OF ANTI-TEMPTATION PRAYER
12 Blessed is the man who endures temptation; for when he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him. 13 Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am tempted by God”; for God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does He Himself tempt anyone. 14 But each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed. 15 Then, when desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, brings forth death. (James 1:12-15)
The second important prayer of the Book of James follows immediately after the directive to pray for Wisdom. If any more evidence is needed of James’ concern for the sanctification of the believer, look no further than his Prayer Directives. First, the Lord’s half-brother exhorts us to “ask our generous God” if we are in need of Wisdom.  This need will cover 100% of all Christians. However, immediately following that, James moves from the foundation of Wisdom to the Perseverance of the Saints.

His teaching on patiently enduring “testing and temptation”  illumines us on the sources of both while driving us to our knees. Indirectly, James shows us God’s plan for us to be able to successfully maneuver through these treacherous times in the Christian life. We can grasp this truth easily.  It is based on the knowledge that everything James, the head of the Christian church in ground zero of Judeo-Christianity – Jerusalem- taught, pointed us to a closer relationship with God. He accomplished that in what the English translators put as five chapters of the Book of James.

There is no doubt that testing is from the Lord and temptation from the devil. Please do not confuse both by thinking they have the same sources, when Biblical Truth says otherwise. If it were not for the testing and discipline of the Lord, none of His Elect – true Christians – would grow in maturity and sanctification to be more like Christ.  How we respond to this testing leads to either more and intense radical testing of our faith and commitment to Christ, or a higher level of knowledge of the Holy. Either scenario depends, in full measure, on our positional relationship to prayer.

Testing leads to perseverance which leads to spiritual maturity and the reward of the Christian life well lived. Temptation had better lead us to prayer or we will fall, as too many Godly people have, in human history. Temptation should lead us to pray Scripture immediately while RUNNING AWAY from it.

Jesus Himself gave 
the order in Matthew 26:41 ~~Keep watch and pray, so that you will not give in to temptation. For the spirit is willing, but the body is weak!"

Sometimes we cannot see the tempter or the temptress and are blindsided. As far as humanly possible, flee and depart from it, her or him – IMMEDIATELY. Reject it as from the devil and pray the situation at once into the Hands of the Lord, knowing that we are mortal flesh under demonic attack. The Lord will honor that and deliver from all evil.

Knowing Scripture is a powerful weapon against temptation as Jesus Himself demonstrated three times when the devil tempted the hungry and thirsty Messiah in the desert. Three statements dismissed the evil one as Jesus responded “IT IS WRITTEN” to every single temptation. The great Martin Luther wrote in “A Mighty Fortress is Our God” that “one little word shall fell him (the devil”). That Word is the Name of JESUS. Sometimes our prayers are simply the confident recitation of God’s Word back at the tempting situation or person and the command to “be gone, in the Name of Jesus”. When possible, speak it out loud! That will not only preach, but will pray!

Psalm 119:11 says “Thy Word have I hidden in my heart that I may not sin against thee”.  A follower of Christ who is read up, prayed up and stayed up on Jehovah is absolutely less likely to fall if the Word of God richly dwells and abides in such a one! 2 Peter 2:9 (
the Lord knows how to deliver the godly out of temptations and to reserve the unjust under punishment for the day of judgment)is therefore what we stand on as our promise and the REASON we have to pray or say the Word for victory over Temptation. It says:”

This is unorthodox in method, but it is a level of prayer which the man or woman of God has to mature into, if we wish to live in the victory which is promised the believer. What an exciting thing James has led us to, as we blow open the Word, from his inspired words, to expand our universe of how indeed, we grow deeper in relationship with our Lord!
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