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Wednesday, January 11, 2012

What Position Do You Play?

One of the most misunderstood facts about becoming a Christian is how a person's status with satan undergoes a huge change.  I have, and I'm sure that most of you have as well, at one time or another heard people voice the thought that when a person accepts Christ as their Lord and Savior, that from that point forward He 'protects' them from satan.  It's like some kind of magical umbrella is spread out to shield them from the devils attention.  Nothing could be farther from the Scriptural truth, and it's always a very rude awakening when that myth is shattered.  Why should this surprise us, after all the devil knows Scripture frontwards and backwards, inside and out.  Keep in mind that he is the father of deceit, and he won't hesitate to try and twist God's own Word(s) around to suite his own purposes.

'Then he brought Him to Jerusalem, set Him on the pinnacle of the temple, and said to Him, “If You are the Son of God, throw Yourself down from here.  For it is written:  'He shall give His angels charge over you,  to keep you,’ and,  'In their hands they shall bear you up, lest you dash your foot against a stone.’”  (Luke 4:9-11    NKJV)

Being subjected to trials and temptations, especially as a new Christian, isn't an exception to the rule, it is the rule.  Never forget something about the promises God has made us in His Holy Word, and that something is that sometimes some of His promises don't seem like such a good deal.  But that is exactly the purpose He has in mind.

No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it.  (I Corinthians 10:13    NKJV)

The fact is that when everything is going good, the bills are paid, the kids and grand kids are doing well in school, everybody is healthy, it's easy to praise God.  When there is nothing negative going on in our lives, it's easy to let our guard slip.  Here is something to think about though, why do you suppose that there are some people that never seem to have any trials and tribulations in their lives?  Just think about that for a bit while we look at another bit of God's Word.

My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. (James 1:2-3 NKJV)

In the Book of James, which was written as an epistle, or letter, to those of the Twelve Tribes of Israel scattered throughout the Roman Empire, James addresses an issue that we all need to stay focused on in our lives today, which is everyday Christian living in a world gone bad.  I would imagine that a good many of those reading, or being read to, this letter thought that James was completely out of his mind, talking about seeing bad things in their lives as things of joy.  Let's go back to what I told you to think about for a minute, how that some people never seem to have any of these bad things going on in their lives.  Here's what it boils down to, I don't care if you're the best player on your team, maybe in the whole league, so long as you're sitting on the bench it doesnt' matter.  The coaches on your opponents team are not going to rearrange their team to try to contain you, or to keep the ball away from you, as long as you're on that bench.  But, just wait until you're back in the game, then everything will change, in a heartbeat.  The fact is that many Christians have benched themselves, or never put themselves into the game to start with.  Satan loves it when more and more people are playing the position of bench-warmer.   If we're not in the game, we're no threat to the enemy, that is the ruler of this world satan, and don't think for a split second that he is not your enemy, whether you treat him that way or not.  Why do you suppose that so many New Testament Believers keep themselves benched, and never change their position from being bench-warmers?  Satan likes us when we play that position, we're doing a major part of his work for him because we're not actively participating against him.  Take another look at our Scripture out of I Corinthians.  We have three promises in that Scripture.  First, any kind of trial or temptation that we find ourselves facing has been seen before, by someone else.  Second, that while God will allow us to be tempted, He'll not allow the temptation to be more than we can have victory over.  Third, He'll give us the means to be victorious.  Now I'm going to sort of go in a circle here, but just stay with me.  If we don't experience trials, tribulations, and temptations in our daily lives as Christians, it is probably because we're no threat to satan, we're the the bench-warmer position on the bench.  While this may be easier on you, it isn't pleasing to God.

In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while, if need be, you have been grieved by various trials,  (I Peter 1:6    NKJV)

The more trouble we have from the ruler of this world we have in our everyday lives is indicative of just how effective we are at keeping satan on the defensive.  This is part of  what Peter was getting at in his letters to those Jewish Christians scattered in five different areas of the Roman Empire (Pontus, Galatia, CappadociaBithynia).  He was writing to encourage these scattered Believers, and letting them know that their trials and tribulations were proof that satan recognized them as followers of Christ. 

So, what are you?  What position do you play?  Are you ready to get off the bench if that's where you've been keeping yourself?  Or are you only a part-time bench-warmer?  That could be a problem, because there is no such thing as a part-time Christian. 

Come on, let's play!

God Bless you all, Terry

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