Almost daily we are confronted with a variety of challenges and trials. Some are light, others far more demanding and arduous. We can stand in specific trials for long periods, others again are short-lived. There seems to be no pattern and there is no “golden rule” of predicting what the next day has in store for us.
James admonishes the believer to count trials and temptations as joy. Evidently that is not always easy on our emotional level, but in our hearts, in our spirit we can behold these events and incidents as “adventures of faith”, and more and more so as we are matured through these pulls.
We are tempted both upwards and downwards. Those downward pulls are meant to disturb our serenity and infuse condemnation and fear, which simply are the effects of negative believing. Condemnation is generally the result of thinking that we are separate beings doing our own stuff. “How can you be a saint who has thoughts and emotions like that?” is a common accusation which gives us that impression. Our actions are also evidently subject to accusations. All of us have amble experience in that regard. And thus in effect if we believe the liar our foundation of no condemnation in Christ is severely disturbed.
We fear because the lie put forward convincingly persuades us it is our lovingly Father who has turned His back on us and who are very dissatisfied with our behavior, or we fear because the powerful deception makes us think that it is the Devil who are moving against us with all his forces. The enemy is a master in projecting his own wrath onto God in such a way that we think God is the wrathful One. However, it is the cross in God’s heart that forever and ever is our guarantee that He is a safe God and always will be a self-for-others Deity perpetually giving good gifts of love.
However, in the midst of our afflictions we are also tempted upwards which persuades us towards seeing God only working His eternal purposes in mysterious ways in and through us, and not least, as us. Paul wrote that God works all things according to the council of His will (Eph 1:11). This is our escape route given us by the Father Himself. Drawn by the Spirit our return to Oneness by positive believing soon reestablishes us in Romans 8:1. The basis for that there is no condemnation in Christ Jesus is an unwavering and unbreakable Oneness with God where we in faith see Him always at work fulfilling His divine purposes as us who are His agents of manifesting Himself in this visible world.
“All things” in Eph 1:11 connotes that even the evil one is nothing more than God’s “convenient agent” for His redemptive purposes. The most potent example of this is the cross: “He (God) always has the perfect plan by which apparent losses are really gains, just as Satan’s Calvary became God’s resurrection of millions of Satan’s captives and when Pilate said to Jesus, “Don’t You know I have power to crucify or release You?”, Jesus answered, “Thou couldest have no power at all against Me, except it were given thee from above.” From above? We would surely have said, “from beneath!” (John 19:10,11), but ultimately “beneath power” is actually from above.” (Norman Grubb)
My dear friend, Fred Pruitt, cited me in his latest article “Temptation and Desire, Part One”. The quote is taken from a mail where I enthusiastically shared my latest discovery: “Finally I have grasped what temptation is! I has nothing to do with doing wrong (and what is wrong when we partake of the tree of life?) or following our desires. It has everything to do with being pulled into separation in our minds by what we face, whatever that is! Simple as that!” In this sense the aim of temptations is to settle us in Oneness in all areas of our life and we ultimately find our secure basis for living in: The mouth of the righteous is a fountain of life (10:11). The lips of the righteous feed many ( Prov. 10:21). The desire of the righteous ends only in good (11:23). The thoughts of the righteous are just (12:5). And with increasing clarity we recognize that “the way of the LORD is a stronghold to the blameless” (10:29).
As we learn by trial and error we in increasing measure are furnished to expose temptations’ attempt to pull us back into Romans 7 and self-effort, and when burned enough times by the anguish we find there we therefore also learn to move swiftly back to Romans 8 and Gal 2:20 in our inner consciousness, and by that are equipped to help others who stand in the same fight as we are. Through all this we are overcomers and conquerors as we expose Satan’s ploy through which he enticingly tries to pull us back into this illusion of independent self. As conquerors we are settled in who we are, recognizing Christ as us.