Objective: Destruction-Temptation's REAL Purpose! Filling the Void, Part 10: Conclusion

There is a story I once heard about a certain pastor in a country where Christians are persecuted, who was arrested and thrown into prison. Two of his newest converts to Christianity, both young women, were arrested at the same time, and they found themselves imprisoned at the same facility.

One night the pastor was brutally awaken and forced out into the courtyard where a guard pushed a gun into his hand. Then the two women from his church were lugged out as well, and the prison guard made the situation clear: "Shoot these two women and you will be set free. If you don't, all three of you will be executed."

The two women looked at their pastor with compassion and said: "It is all right Reverend. You have shown us the way home. We know our time has come."

The pastor took a shaky step forward and with hesitation, placed the gun behind the head of one of the women. A long moment went by, and then he shot her. It seemed a bit easier for him to discharge the gun the second time, but then the pastor dropped the weapon in disdain. The prison guard then pulled out his own revolver and shot the pastor on the spot.

This story has haunted me ever since I heard it. Why would the pastor have done such a thing? Why would he have given in to temptation so easily to save his own life? And what about the actions of the guard? If he really wanted to be sadistic, wouldn't he have let the pastor wallow in the misery of knowing he had just shot two of his parishioners?

Then one day it hit me: The guard deceived the pastor into believing that this vile action would save his own life, then, when the man yielded to the temptation, the guard shot him, thus robbing him of any possible opportunity to repent!

This story is so much like what happens to each of us when we are tempted. Like the guard, when the devil tempts us, he hopes he can deceive us into thinking that by yielding to that temptation, we will build character or become stronger human beings; but his real purpose isn't that at all! His real purpose is to steal and kill and destroy our souls: "The thief (the devil) comes only to steal and kill and destroy..." (John 10:10a NIV).

Every time we give in to temptation, we allow the evil one to rob us of our lives, our victory, our very souls, and if it goes on long enough, we permit him to keep us from becoming what God wants us to become. He knows that if he can cause us to lead defeated lives, we will never be able to lead others to victory in Christ. In so doing, our lives will become purposeless, and that's exactly what he wants!

We all have moments in our lives when something awful happens, something so unexpected, so out-of-the-ordinary, so terrible, that it takes the magic out of our outlook on life. From that point on, everything becomes harder and colder, and the choices we make are all influenced by our desire to cope with that moment. Living is brought to a standstill, and we begin to merely exist. The devil loves to isolate us in this way, to make sure we feel all alone, without any form of support. It just widens the void in our hearts, and once he as us hooked on something that consumes us, we become easy prey to his lies and controlling ways.

When we arrive at such a point in our lives however, we have a choice to make: Either we allow God to fill the void, to heal our hurts, to help us to move on; or we let the void created by the situation consume us. My suggestion? Move on with God! Don't let the devil take your soul!

There is one universal truth about life: you are either in control of it, or you are under its control. As Christians, we have been given every resource we need to lead victorious lives, to triumphantly resist temptation. No longer do we need to let our inner void control us. Jesus will fill it and lead us to triumph!

Remember what Jesus says: "I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full." (John 10:10b NIV); "He who does what is sinful is of the devil, because the devil has been sinning from the beginning. The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the devil's work. No one who is born of God will continue to sin, because God's seed remains in him; he cannot go on sinning, because he has been born of God." (1 John 3:8-9 NIV); "Since the children have flesh and blood, he too shared in their humanity so that by his death he might destroy him who holds the power of death-that is, the devil- and free those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear of death." (Heb 2:14-15 NIV)

Always remember that the devil's primary weapon is deception. He will do everything in his power to make us believe that we cannot be rescued from our addictions, to make us think that the moment is really consuming us. He wants us to believe that God cannot fill our inner voids.

"You have gone too far!" he says.

But he is lying: "You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father's desire. He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies." (John 8:44 NIV)

He will even deceive us into believing that we can continue to be a Christian while being consumed by our sin.

He is lying again: "No one can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other." (Matt 6:24 NIV)

We can be victorious! Victory is ours if we depend solely on Jesus Christ and not on our own abilities: "This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith. Who is it that overcomes the world? Only he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God." (1 John 5:4-5 NIV); "So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed!" (John 8:36 NIV)

You have a choice: either believe the lies of the evil one and continue leading a defeated life, or believe on the One who promised us victory and let your inner void be filled once and for all!

What will your choice be?

"So, friends, confirm God's invitation to you, his choice of you. Don't put it off; do it now. Do this, and you'll have your life on a firm footing, the streets paved and the way wide open into the eternal kingdom of our Master and Savior, Jesus Christ." (2 Peter 1:10-11 The Message)

If you had been that pastor, would you have believed the lies of the guard? Would you have used that gun to save your own life? No? Then don't believe the lies of the devil, either. Let Jesus fill your inner void. Let Jesus heal your inner wounds and cleanse you of your addictions. Let Jesus make you strong against temptation. In doing so, you render the devil helpless to harm you.

"Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell." (Matt 10:28 NIV)

Rob Chaffart

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