trusted online casino malaysia
Realizing the presence, promise, and power of the Kingdom of God.

What's at Stake?

Kingdom progress.

Sentinel of the Soul (2)

“But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.” Matthew 6.33

Temporal situations, eternal issues
Faced with a powerful temptation, the prophet Asaph “nearly slipped” and stumbled into sin (Ps. 73.2). He observed the rich and was envious of their leisurely lifestyle. He heard them mocking God and plowing ahead with their agendas, rebellious and proud. He observed this parade of vanity and God-mockery, and, for a moment, he wanted to sign up.

But Asaph was a man devoted to God. He had been appointed by David as leader of the choirs and worship in the temple that was to be built. Now, under David’s son Solomon, he had begun his service, leading the people into the presence of God and encouraging them in the work of His Kingdom. Would he now throw all that away for a season of sensual delight and self-indulgence?

Happily, Asaph was a man of a good conscience and a strong soul. He recognized the temptation that was about to engulf him and turned away, seeking the Lord’s ways of escape from temptation, that he might grow through into greater love for God.

When we are faced with temptation, large, eternal issues are at stake. We might say to ourselves, “It’s just a little transgression. No one will get hurt, and nobody will ever know.” And that may be true. Except that God will know, and we will as well, that we are relinquishing the time God has given us for the way of folly and rebellion, rather than wisdom and the fear of the Lord.

And what we’ll know is that, when, in the face of temptation, we give in to our lusts, we fall through temptation into sin. Then, ensnared in folly, we abandon the progress of the Kingdom of God on earth as it is in heaven. Thus, the time granted us for Kingdom progress becomes instead time for Kingdom regress, when the sentinel of our soul is asleep, or we choose not to heed the warnings of our conscience.

Begin here
When confronted with temptation, we need to remember who we are: God has called us to enter His Kingdom and know His glory. We are citizens and ambassadors of a Kingdom not of this world. We have been called to seek that Kingdom and to work for its progress in and through every aspect of our lives. Every day, in all that we do, if we are seeking the Kingdom of God and His righteousness, we are contributing to the progress of light, truth, grace, goodness, righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit.

But the moment we give in to temptation, all those glorious truths and possibilities get set aside, while we tread the path of the kingdom of self-indulgence and breaking free from God. Recognizing temptation is the first step; resisting temptation follows.

Ken Boa once explained that growing in the life of faith is like walking up a down escalator. It’s hard work, to be sure, but we can make progress if we stay at it every moment. Forces are arrayed against us, to be sure, and it’s a lot easier just to go with the flow. But as soon as we stop to take a rest, we don’t just stand still; we decline. And when we give in to temptation, we don’t just decline, we fall down the escalator to whatever depths of disobedience and degradation may capture our hearts and minds and run roughshod over our conscience.

When you come to the realization that you are being tempted to break free from the Lord and sin, face up to the situation for what it is. Name it. Refuse it. And get ready to stand firm against it.

Called to serve the King
Asaph understood that he was called to serve the King – and not just King Solomon. He was God’s man, sent to serve God’speople, and devoted to the progress of God’s Kingdom within Israel, every moment of every day of his life. Temptation would not cause him to lose sight of who he was or how he was expected to live.

Faced with temptation, therefore, it was important that Asaph recognize temptation as a blatant invitation to break free from God and turn from His rule. From this perspective, Asaph could see the situation for what it was; he could understand the strong allure of temptation; and he could see through that allure to the sin, guilt, shame, and setback which lay along the path he was contemplating.

Asaph’s conscience, in other words, was at its post and working.

We are children of our heavenly Father, citizens and ambassadors of the Kingdom of God, followers of and witnesses to Jesus Christ, heirs of eternal glory, dwelling-places of the Holy Spirit, and ambassadors of our God and King. Nothing that happens on the path that follows from failing to heed the sentinel of our soul will contribute to realizing our true being and purpose. Indeed, everything we encounter along the path of sin distracts and detours us from Kingdom progress and joy. We must never forget who we are!

The apostle Paul promised that, whenever we are faced with temptation, God will provide a way of escape, so that we can bear up and grow through temptation into greater maturity in the Lord (1 Cor. 10.13). We are practicing self-control when we search for that way of escape and direct our steps toward it. Once we have recognized temptation for what it is and remembered who we are as citizens in the Kingdom of God, then we can begin to practice self-control toward God’s way of escape through temptation into greater growth in the Lord.

For reflection
1.  Explain Ken Boa’s illustration of the life of faith. Do you experience this?

2.  What do we need to remember when we are confronted by temptation? How can we do that?

3.  What does Paul mean by a “way of escape” to combat temptation? How can you find that?

Next steps – Conversation: Talk with the Lord about temptation and sin – where you struggle, need to grow, or have to be especially on guard. Commit your day and all its temptations to Him.

T. M. Moore

All the installments in this “Strong Souls” series are available in PDF by clicking here.

Thanks for your prayers and support
If you find ReVision helpful in your walk with the Lord, please seek the Lord, asking Him whether you should contribute to the support of this ministry with your financial gifts. As the Lord leads, you can use the Contribute button at the website to give with a credit card, or you can send your gift to The Fellowship of Ailbe, 360 Zephyr Road, Williston, VT 05495.

Except as indicated, Scripture taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

T.M. Moore

T. M. Moore is principal of The Fellowship of Ailbe, a spiritual fellowship in the Celtic Christian tradition. He and his wife, Susie, make their home in the Champlain Valley of Vermont.
Books by T. M. Moore

Subscribe to Ailbe Newsletters

Sign up to receive our email newsletters and read columns about revival, renewal, and awakening built upon prayer, sharing, and mutual edification.