Thursday, December 18, 2008

Greater Is He Who Is in You

When asked what he did upon meeting temptation, one man replied--bitterly, not with humor--"I yield!"

Sometimes temptation does seem near impossible to resist. It can range from the more-or-less insignificant--"I know I decided not to waste my time with computer games, but what else is there to do while sitting in front of the monitor waiting for a poky connection to be established?"--to the coward's way out--"I don't want them thinking I'm a fire-and-brimstone type; I'll be a more effective witness, anyway, if they get to know me as a person before seeing me as a Christian stereotype"--to the plunge into outright sin--"I realize sex is wrong outside marriage, but she's so beautiful, and we're alone; surely it can't hurt anyone just this once." Some people even blame God for their own actions: "If He doesn't want me to do this, why did He let me get into a situation where it seems the only logical recourse?"

At such times, the Scriptural truth, "The one who is in you [that is, God the Holy Spirit] is greater than the one who is in the world [that is, the 'god of this world,' the devil]" (1 John 4:4, NIV), can be tough to remember and even tougher to believe. But it's never true that a person "had no choice" but to do the wrong thing. Many affluent Christians, especially, are major wimps when weighed on the "scale of suffering"--from ridicule to ostracism to physical abuse to death. Never seriously considering the possibility of having to go all the way to the end, they are afraid even to see out the first stage. How unlike the early Christians, who were not only willing to suffer for Christ but considered it a privilege (Acts 5:40-41).

Those first disciples were strong because they kept constantly aware of Christ's nearness and because pleasing Him meant more to them than did anything else. If we appreciate Christ's power in us, we needn't yield to the temptations of the world around us.

Though temptations from all sides assail us,
Though the world mocks our faith and heaps scorn,
Though all things that we trusted may fail us,
Though we be left distraught and forlorn,
Let us not cower in fear from the hater,
Let us not turn away, lost to doubt:
For the God Who is in us is greater
Than all powers of the world round about.

Though our flesh may be prone to temptation,
Though our selfishness pull us away,
Though our courage have strong reservation,
Though our hearts tend to lead us astray,
Let us not leave the battle for "later,"
Let us not doubt our power to withstand:
For the God Who is in us is greater
Than all strength of the flesh and its brand.

Though the demons of hell rise against us,
Though all evil seem bent on our doom,
Though the devil himself work amidst us,
And assault with dissension and gloom,
Let him find us unwilling to cater
In the least to deceptions and lies:
For the God Who is in us is greater
Than all powers that from hell can arise!

No comments: