How to Overcome Temptation in Spiritual Warfare
Jingxing, South Korea
Brothers and sisters,
I wish you peace in the Lord! Not infrequently, all sorts of spiritual warfare will occur throughout our time of faith in and following God. There are temptations regarding money, status and name, and temptations between men and women, as well as slander by unbelievers, obstruction and suppression from loved ones, as well as being hunted down and persecuted by a satanic regime. Sometimes completely unexpected calamities befall us. The Bible says: “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walks about, seeking whom he may devour” (1 Peter 5:8). God’s words say: “On earth, all manner of evil spirits are forever on the prowl for a place to rest, and are endlessly searching for human corpses that can be consumed” (“Chapter 10” of God’s Words to the Entire Universe in The Word Appears in the Flesh). There isn’t a single moment that Satan is not by our side, racking its brains to use any person, event, or thing to tempt, test, and persecute us, trying to get us to sink into evil, into disaster and to distance ourselves from God, to betray Him so that in the end we may be swallowed whole by it. If we lack the truth, we also lack discernment; if we cannot clearly see spiritual warfare, if we cannot remain firm in God’s words, we will be likely to go after fleshly benefits and preferences, falling into Satan’s web and losing our testimony. As Christians, learning how to recognize Satan’s trickery is critical. So what can we do to enable ourselves to see through Satan’s trickery in the midst of spiritual warfare and stand witness for God? I’d like to share some fellowship with you on three paths of practice for triumphing over Satan’s temptations.
First, when faced with Satan’s temptation, you must pray to God and seek the truth more to understand God’s will and not fall prey to Satan’s tricks.
Satan is evil and savage to the greatest degree. All its temptations of people exploit their delicate points, their critical weaknesses. It starts wherever someone is most fragile, just like tempting Eve to eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. It’s always at a time like that that people are most likely to reveal what is natural, to follow personal interests and preferences in their actions—they are very prone to being hit by Satan’s tricks. This is why, when we encounter spiritual warfare, we must first quiet ourselves before God, pray, seek His will and requirements, what we must do to bear witness and satisfy God, and what damage and consequences will be brought about if we satisfy the flesh. Once we have understood the truth, we will naturally be able to break through Satan’s trickery and overcome the temptation. Just as the Lord Jesus said: “And all things, whatever you shall ask in prayer, believing, you shall receive” (Matthew 21:22). God’s words also say: “After God created mankind and granted them spirits, He enjoined them that if they did not call out to Him, then they would not be able to connect with His Spirit and, thus, the ‘satellite television’ from heaven would be impossible to receive on earth. When God is no longer in people’s spirits, there is an empty seat left for other things, and Satan thus seizes the opportunity to get in. When people contact God with their hearts, Satan immediately panics and rushes to escape. Through mankind’s cries, God gives them what they need, but He does not at first ‘reside’ within them. He simply gives them constant aid because of their cries, and from that internal strength people gain hardiness, so that Satan dares not come in to ‘play’ at its will. So, if people continuously connect with God’s Spirit, Satan does not dare to come and cause disruptions” (“Chapter 17” of Interpretations of the Mysteries of God’s Words to the Entire Universe in The Word Appears in the Flesh).
It is written in the Bible that Job lost both his wealth and children through Satan’s tests but did not say a thing, nor did he organize people to fight the robbers to get his possessions back. Instead, he came before God to pray and seek and through that came to understand that all he had gained was not through his own capabilities but had all been bestowed by God. The losses he suffered at that time were permitted by God, and because all events and all things are within God’s hands, mankind ought to show obedience. This is why Job said: “Jehovah gave, and Jehovah has taken away; blessed be the name of Jehovah” (Job 1:21). Job stood witness for God and brought shame to Satan. We can see in our actual lives that some who have believed in God and done the work of the church have had family and friends who coax them with words of the pleasures of the flesh, of making a fortune, and as a result they have abandoned God to go make money. They attend gatherings and read God’s words less and less, and in the end they are fully captured by evil trends. When genuine believers encounter these things, they also face an internal battle, but they are able to come before God and pray, to seek His will and requirements, and to understand through God’s words that the pleasures of the flesh—what they eat, what they wear—are all temporary. No matter how great the enjoyments, they are devoid of meaning and are just emptiness and suffering, and when people become too comfortable it is easy to descend into evil ways. They also realize that God has brought us into the world with a mission, with a commission that we should carry out. We should focus on pursuing the truth, putting God’s words into practice, and fulfilling our duty. Just as it is written in the Bible, we are visitors, we are guests in the world, so as Christians we should be content with having clothing on our backs and food on our tables. Once someone has understood God’s will they will no longer be bound by concerns of wealth and will be able to have proper faith and fulfill their duty as one of creation. It is evident from this that if we want to triumph over Satan in spiritual warfare, we must pray to and lean on God more. Only if we genuinely understand the truth will we be able to break through Satan’s tricks and stand witness for God.
Second, when faced with temptation from Satan you must be able to see the truth that spiritual warfare is Satan attacking God’s chosen people and making a bet with God. Only by standing firmly on God’s side can you be victorious.
Satan is God’s bitter enemy and it hates God, mankind created by God, and it particularly hates those who believe in God, who fear God and shun evil. This is why when someone gains faith and turns toward God it does everything in its power to tempt, hinder, and disrupt them. It uses all people, events, and things, to carry out its trickery so that people become negative and weak, deny God and distance themselves from Him, and even go back to Satan’s camp. Just like when Job was tested, people could see with their eyes that it was robbers who ran off with Job’s possessions and that his house collapsed and took his children’s lives with it, but in fact, behind all of that was the spiritual warfare. It was Satan making a wager with God. If we cannot clearly see the truth behind spiritual warfare but analyze it and look into it from a human perspective, weighing rights and wrongs, we will fall prey to Satan’s tricks, growing distant from and betraying God. What is revealed in God’s words is this: “God does His work, God cares for a person, looks upon this person, and all the while Satan dogs His every step. Whomever God favors, Satan also watches, trailing along behind. If God wants this person, Satan would do everything in its power to obstruct God, using various evil ploys to tempt, disrupt and wreck the work God does, all in order to achieve its hidden objective. What is this objective? It does not want God to gain anyone; all those that God wants it wants for itself, it wants to occupy them, control them, to take charge of them so they worship it, so they join it in committing evil acts. Is this not Satan’s sinister motive? You often say that Satan is so evil, so bad, but have you seen it? You can only see how bad man is. You have not seen in reality how bad Satan actually is. … In warring with God, and trailing along behind Him, Satan’s objective is to demolish all the work God wants to do, to occupy and control those whom God wants to gain, to completely extinguish those whom God wants to gain. If they are not extinguished, then they come to Satan’s possession, to be used by it—this is its objective” (“God Himself, the Unique IV” in The Word Appears in the Flesh).
Now in the last days, God has done a step of work of judgment beginning with the house of God. After accepting Almighty God’s work of the last days, quite a few people have encountered some difficult things. For example, right after gaining faith some brothers and sisters have encountered obstruction and suppression from their families; some have even been threatened with divorce by their spouses in order to coerce them to abandon the true way. Some brothers and sisters have suddenly fallen ill, suffered unforeseen calamities, or unfortunate things have befallen their families. Many people have developed notions when faced with these things. “I believed in the Lord Jesus before and everything was peaceful and smooth, but now that’s not the case. Is my faith in error now? If I believed in the true God things should be going well!” As a result, some people become negative and weak, some people develop doubts about God’s work, and some people even abandon their faith. The reality is that these states arise in people because they have not seen into the truth of spiritual warfare and they lack discernment on Satan’s tricks. In fact, encountering these issues is precisely Satan’s obstruction and disruption—Satan knows that we believe in the true God and it particularly knows that God has come to save mankind. It is afraid that all people will believe in and follow God and then no one would follow it anymore. This is why it goes to great lengths to use all sorts of people, events, and things to manufacture calamities to disrupt and confuse people so that they cannot distinguish between what is true and false, and they give up the true way. This is Satan’s sinister intention and it is the truth behind spiritual warfare. This is the time to see what kinds of choices people make. If we only look at the surface of things and maintain our fleshly interests, we will be taken in by Satan’s tricks and will betray God. If we are able to see the truth of spiritual warfare, have a powerful desire for God and remain firmly on His side, if we can be resolute in our faith, follow God, and meet His requirements even if we lose everything we possess in the flesh, then Satan’s hands will be tied—it will be humiliated and defeated while we will stand witness through this spiritual warfare. Just as God said: “In every step of work that God does within people, externally it appears to be interactions between people, as if born of human arrangements or from human interference. But behind the scenes, every step of work, and everything that happens, is a wager made by Satan before God, and requires people to stand firm in their testimony to God. Take when Job was tried, for example: Behind the scenes, Satan was making a bet with God, and what happened to Job was the deeds of men and the interference of men. Behind every step of work that God does in you is Satan’s wager with God—behind it all is a battle. … When God and Satan do battle in the spiritual realm, how should you satisfy God, and how should you stand firm in your testimony to Him? You should know that everything that happens to you is a great trial and the time when God needs you to bear testimony” (“Only Loving God Is Truly Believing in God” in The Word Appears in the Flesh).
Third, when faced with temptation from Satan you must adhere to God’s words, persist in obeying the truth and being faithful to God in order to strike back against Satan’s tricks, fully humiliating and defeating it.
God’s words say: “The truth that man needs to possess is found in the word of God, and it is a truth that is the most beneficial and helpful to mankind. It is the tonic and sustenance that your body needs, something that helps man restore his normal humanity. It is a truth that man should be equipped with. The more you practice God’s word, the more quickly your life will blossom, and the clearer the truth will become. As you grow in stature, you will see things of the spiritual world more clearly, and the more strength you will have to triumph over Satan” (“Once You Understand the Truth, You Should Put It Into Practice” in The Word Appears in the Flesh). “My people! You must remain within My care and protection. Never be dissolute! Never behave recklessly! You should offer up your loyalty in My house, and only with loyalty can you mount a countercharge against the devil’s trickery” (“Chapter 10” of Interpretations of the Mysteries of God’s Words to the Entire Universe in The Word Appears in the Flesh). We all know that only God’s words are the truth, that they represent God’s disposition and what He has and is, that the truth is the reality of all positive things, that outside of God’s words all theories are fallacies, are satanic philosophies, and do not hold water. As long as we rely on God’s words in our views on things we can know what is positive and what is negative. Only then can we have discernment over all of Satan’s fallacies and lies, strike back against its trickery, and not lose our way in difficulties or be taken in by Satan. Satan’s three temptations of the Lord Jesus are recorded in the Bible. It used words from the Scriptures to attack Him, even using the riches of the world to tempt Him. But every single time the Lord Jesus used God’s words to strike back against Satan’s tricks. It turned tail and ran in humiliation and defeat. From this we can see that God’s words are the truth, the way, and the life, and they are the best weapon against Satan’s trickery.
In the last days, God has now incarnated once again, and has uttered words to complete a step of the work of judgment. Many brothers and sisters have heard God’s voice and have seen that all words expressed by Almighty God are the truth, thus determining that Almighty God is the returned Lord Jesus. One by one, they have accepted God’s work of the last days. During this time some brothers and sisters have also seen the CCP government’s online lies, slander, and defamation of The Church of Almighty God and that the CCP has condemned the church as heresy, as a cult. And some brothers and sisters have suffered the obstruction and disruption of pastors and elders in religious circles, who have condemned this faith in Almighty God as just believing in an individual person, saying that His words are outside the bounds of the Bible, and so forth. These pastors and elders have also instigated brothers’ and sisters’ family members to prevent and obstruct them from turning toward God. In the midst of the grave spiritual warfare some brothers and sisters have been able to adhere to Almighty God’s words, maintain their devotion to God, and stand firm by God’s side because they have seen that all the words expressed by Almighty God are the truth, and that they unveil all the mysteries of the Bible. These words can cleanse mankind’s corruption, save man from Satan’s influence, and they are exactly what the Spirit says to the churches. They have thus determined that what Almighty God is doing is God’s work of saving mankind in the last days, and that Almighty God is God incarnate. The fact is that if people are able to confirm that the words uttered by Almighty God are the truth and are God’s voice, no matter how many lies are spread by the CCP government and the religious world, they will not become confused. The truth is the truth and fallacies are fallacies. A lie told a thousand times is still a lie and it can never become the truth. Just as when the Lord Jesus appeared and worked, the leaders in the Jewish faith created all sorts of lies about Him, denying that He was conceived by the Holy Spirit, condemning the Lord Jesus as speaking blasphemy, and claiming that it was through Beelzebub that He cast out demons. But no matter how they judged and condemned Him, the Lord Jesus was Christ, the Savior, and no one could successfully deny that. At the time, those who genuinely believed in the Lord could just uphold His words and not be taken in by misleading lies and fallacies, and persist in following the Lord Jesus. Just as Peter said: “Lord, to whom shall we go? you have the words of eternal life. And we believe and are sure that you are that Christ, the Son of the living God” (John 6:68–69). But if we develop doubts regarding God’s words, if we are unable to hold fast to God’s words and maintain our loyalty to God, we will lack discernment over Satan’s tricks and will certainly fall into its temptations. We will not be able to welcome the return of the Lord. It is evident from this that through any sort of spiritual warfare, only if we resolutely adhere to God’s words and remain absolutely loyal to God will we be able to thoroughly forsake Satan, throw off its influence, and be saved by God.
In real life spiritual warfare can be staged at any time. If we don’t frequently come before God and pray to Him, we won’t clearly see the truth of spiritual warfare. If we don’t rely on God’s words and the truth in our discernment, we will more easily fall prey to Satan’s temptations and lose our testimony. God’s wisdom is put into play based on Satan’s tricks—God helps us understand the truth and gain discernment through intense spiritual warfare so that we may grow in our lives. Throughout all sorts of spiritual warfare, as long as we practice in accordance with the three principles above, we will surely be able to triumph over Satan’s temptations and stand witness!
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