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Paul J. Bucknell
The evil one apparently loves to disturb the rest of ministers as they ready themselves to serve on Sundays. One week later, another temptation came my way. This one was not so easily dismissed. The reason for this was I could not quite understand the problem behind it. When I did, the evil spirit left.
The issue was small and of no real consequence. Someone shared something about my family that I considered as private. (In this world, there is nothing really private anymore, is there?) So I was caught in a continued cycle of analysis, condemnation, and denial (of its importance).
After circling through this same cycle again–perhaps happening over a 90 minute period all through my quiet time (which was not very ‘quiet’)–I finally discovered the nature of this temptation’s harassment and attempted to push it off. It took a while to break the cycle, but it came back because I had not really dealt with the issue. It was again because I could not recognize it.
Yes, someone had done something wrong, but it was minor. The person didn’t even know it was wrong. I should be able to overlook it, but I couldn’t overlook it this time for some reason. “It was so wrong,” so I felt. So I could again go through the reasoning process, but it was like putting pillars in the sand that would soon wash away with the next tide.
I typically discern the evil by asking what the temptation urged my to do or respond and then do the opposite. I had difficulty this time because I could not identify what the problem was. But then, by God’s grace, I recognized that this was an accusing spirit, one born of the devil.
He was getting me to accuse that person. This observation led to the breaking of the cycle for now that I had the chief sin tempting me, I could then take the opposite position of accusation by defending, encouraging, and helping. This does not mean I then condoned the wrong but realized that I had nothing to do with the wrong. My job as a brother was to strengthen God’s people and defend others from the evil one.
So instead of accusing the person, I started to praise God for this person, seeking ways to encourage, help, and defend from this accusing spirit. Once I did this, the whole cycle stopped and my mind ceased being invaded by this foul accusing spirit. Even if a person does me wrong, I can still love and help them in their need. This wrong was now a past event, but I still control how I will kindly relate to that brother or sister in the faith even as Jesus’ command instructs us, “Love one another.”
Other BFF articles on Temptation!
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