Opportunity To Disobey

Opportunity To Disobey

Sister Miki Terayama - 9 January 2022

Weekend Devotion: Opportunity To Disobey

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I was doing my bible reading this week on the book of Matthew and one phrase in the commentary really struck me. “A person has not shown true obedience if he or she has never had the opportunity to disobey.” Opportunity to disobey. Have you been given the opportunity to disobey God, brothers and sisters? I can name quite a few at different timelines of my life. And with these opportunities, it can come in two forms. Ways that are very attractive, or ways that are challenging our personal interest. For example, the temptations of the world over our desire for God, or our workload over time for the Lord. And when we place them against our faith living, we can find it a hard test or a negative dilemma. But today, let us look at these “tests” to our faith in a new light. Now one of the more common examples of “opportunities to disobey” is in Deuteronomy 8:2, when God led the people of Israel into the desert to humble and test them. The Lord wanted to see if His people would truly obey Him. In the same way, God will put us through tests as well. So that we can be waken to the true state of our faith, identify areas we are still unable to obey and by His grace, refine ourselves in His truth again. And thankfully, because we know the testing will come, we can be alert and ready for it. How? Back in the Old Testament, God provides through signs and works, but today, God provides through His Word and the Holy Spirit’s leading. Now other than the example of the Israelites in the desert, let us look deeper into another great story of Jesus’ being tempted in the wilderness. I guess this might not be a new story to many of us, but it has many learning points throughout this life of endless temptations we lead.

Knowing the tempter

Now if you read in Matthew 4: 1, “Jesus was led by the Spirit to the wilderness to be tempted by the devil.”

The devil here, Satan, is a fallen angel and he is not symbolic but real. He is constantly fighting against those who follow and obey the Lord. Satan’s temptations are real and is always trying to get us to follow his ways or our own ways, but not God’s. So if Jesus had given in here, his mission on earth to dies for our sins would have been lost. But Jesus was clear of His purpose. Therefore, when temptations seems especially strong to us or when we are beginning to rationalise and compromise, consider the fact that Satan may be trying to distract, confuse or block you off from God’s purpose for your life, or someone else’s. When given the opportunity to disobey, let us first be clear of the source and the consequences of where it may lead us.

The tempter’s 3 strikes

Then it continues in verse 3, after fasting for 40 days and 40 nights, now that is a very long time, “Jesus was hungry. The tempter came to him and said, ‘If you are the son of God, tell these stones to become bread.’” The thing here is, Jesus is not being tempted at some nice place, but in the wilderness, tired, along and hungry. Thus, He is also at His most vulnerable state. The devil similarly tempts us where we are most vulnerable, be it physically, emotionally, or spiritually. Like when we are under some big stressful projects, crucial decision making, uncertainties and such. However, it is important to note that the devil also attacks us through our strengths, in areas where we are most ridden by pride. Therefore, in the next verses from Matthew 4:4-9, we see the devil’s temptations on Jesus in 3 key areas.

1. First, he tempted Jesus to turn stone into bread. Now that is the temptation of physical needs and desires.
2. Next, he tempted Jesus to throw himself down from the highest point of the temple. Here, it is the temptation of pride.
3. Finally, the devil tempted Jesus by offering Him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendour if He bowed down to him. This is the temptation of possessions and power.

Now, these 3 strikes from Satan is nothing new to us. We have probably experienced it in a different scenario of our own lives, less dramatic than Jesus’, but equally tempting. I can say that there has been times where I have fallen into these temptations myself. But it is also hopeful and encouraging as we see Jesus’ response. In Hebrew 4:15 it says, “Jesus has been tempted in every way, just as we are— yet was without sin.” This means that Jesus, in flesh, experienced and knows our struggles. Yet, His mission was fulfilled to help us in all our struggles with sins. So when in times of Satan striking on our faith, let us turn to Jesus for strength. The one that has overcame and will guide us to overcome.

Our Counterattack

But how? How do we actually turn to Jesus for strength? The same way Jesus demonstrated to us. If you noticed, every time Jesus rebutted Satan, it was always with the Word of God, as He began with “It is written, It is written, It is written” by God. And He did not only learn and know the scriptures, He showed obedience as He made His decision to abide by it. Ephesians 6:17 says, “Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.” The word of God is a sword to use in spiritual warfares. Therefore, knowing the Word, meditating on it, is our best counter attack to resist temptations, but most importantly, we have to act on it in obedience. This helps us to truly follow God’s desires rather than our own.
Now a point to note is that the devil also used scriptures to challenge Jesus and try convincing Him to sin. In the same way, there are many people of the world using the word of God out of context or to support their false doctrines. Therefore, we have to study the Word of God carefully, especially the full context of specific verses so that you understand God’s principles of living and what He truly wants for your life. Only when we understand what the whole Bible says will we be able to discern errors in interpretation and false teachings.

Dear brothers and sisters, may this story of Jesus’ win over temptations help you battle your own temptations in your wilderness. When presented with opportunities to disobey God in our lives, let us turn to the Word, challenge our thoughts, justify our emotions only with the Truth and remember Jesus’ last words in these verses, “ Worship the Lord your God, and serve Him only.”
God bless.

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Miki Terayama
miki.terayama@gmail.com

Miki is a full-time ministry staff at The Blessed Run Ministries. She is a sister who shares a natural, God-given affinity with children and youths. She is married to Randy (NET Group Youth Leader) and has two little ones of her own, Liora and Jude. She is involved in the children, youth and social media ministries.

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