Breathing Under Water: Victory Series, Part 28 (Temptation)


Poor Knights IslandDiving

After the devil's first defeat when tempting Jesus, he looked at Him with a crooked smile and uttered with despise: "If you are the Son of God," he said, "throw yourself down. For it is written: 'He will command his angels concerning you, and they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.'" (Matt 4:6 NIV) In other words, he wanted Jesus to show proof that God cares for Him!

Isn't that typical of the devil! How many times has he not gone after us with the same tactic: "Does God really love you?" Doubt always pervades his questions. It doesn't matter whether or not we fall into his initial temptations. In fact, if we remain strong, it motivates the devil even more to try to bring us down!

If we are 100% honest with ourselves, we will realize that at one time or another each one of us has doubted this very concept. Sometimes this is precipitated by the fact that we have been waiting for God's intervention for so long. In this situation it isn't hard to fall into the temptation of wondering if God even remember we existent. The devil delights in this, and he throws fuel on the fire of our own doubts. I can hear just him sneer: "He, he, he. He will soon be mine!"

But Jesus' response was matter-of-factly: "It is also written: 'Do not put the Lord your God to the test.'" (Matt 4:7 NIV) Or, in plain English, "I don't need to prove that God cares for Me!"

When will we realize that God's love is not measured by our good fortune! We can't judge God for our own mistakes, and we can't bargain with God to have a better deal. This kind of misconstrued manipulation cannot help us prove to ourselves whether or not He cares. In fact, more often than not, this kind of thinking leads us onto sinking ground!

Jesus is clear: God cares. It's a fact.

In case of doubt, go to the cross. There all doubt is automatically removed: "For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life." (John 3:16 NIV)

When I went scuba diving for the first time at Poor Knights Islands in New Zealand, I was warned that my brain would scream out that breathing under water was impossible. That kind of doubt has kept many onlookers from experiencing the joys of diving.

However, despite what our brains scream, diving opens up another world when, thanks to the heavy apparatus on our backs, we go ahead and breathe under water. For a moment we stand still, trying to take in the beauty of the underwater world, and doubt is completely removed out of our minds. We are experiencing that breathing under water is, indeed, possible.

A few years ago, I suffering jet leg for months on end. Every night I would wake up at 12:30 am and be awake until 3:30 am. I was clearly exhausted, yet I still had to make a living. My mind screamed to me (Or was it the evil one?) that it was impossible to survive my workday, especially with the thirty-five screaming kids in my classroom.

For once I stood up and declared: "What is impossible with men is possible with God." (Luke 18:27 NIV) I was literally hanging on to God's promises, and my eyes opened to an out-of-this-world experience. Not only was I able to teach these kids, but my dependence to God became so close that my teaching improved hundredfold. If we take the time and effort to rely completely on God, there is no way that we can doubt His love and mercy!

The following text became my reality: "Those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint." (Isa 40:31 NIV)

When doubt invades our soul, it is time that we revisit and contemplate the cross. Only then can we reply to the evil one with a big broad smile: "God loves me! Look what He has done for me!"

Rob Chaffart

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