Sunday, 16 October 2016

To be a Pilgrim

I can’t blame satan for tempting me because all he can do is use the things I like to entice me into sin. So it’s not the devil, it’s me and it’s you that choose to sin. It’s our own free will and our own choice to sin.

The sinking of the Titanic is one of the most well-known and widely talked about events in history, but was the tragedy man-made, was it an act of God or indeed was it procured and instigated by the devil? God does not engineer evil and in fact the tragedies and disasters of life are more often the consequence of sin, ignorance and carelessness. Many people believed that the loss of the Titanic in 1912 was an act of God’s judgement due to the proud boastful owners who proclaimed to the World that the Titanic was ‘unsinkable’. I however have a different view as I do not see it in that light at all. The history books tell us that one of the main contributing factors to the ill-fated journey was the reckless manner in which the ship raced through ice fields. The death toll was far greater than it needed to be because on this maiden journey the Titanic only carried lifeboat accommodation for 1,200 people, even though the passengers and crew totalled 2,293. The great ship went down due to a combination of pride and criminal folly by those who prioritised the publicity of a fast journey over the lives of those who were on board.  After the tragedy the route of west bound ships across the Atlantic was shifted further south, away from the dangerous ice-fields and the obsolete board of trade requirements with regard to emergency boat accommodation were stringently revised. This prompted one writer to say ‘many a life has been saved by the titanic’, which is quite ironic given the amount of people who lost their lives on that night. 

It would have been so easy to justify the sinking of the Titanic through the Word of God;  Genesis 50:20 (NKJ) ‘But as for you, you meant evil against me; but God meant it for good, in order to bring it about as it is this day, to save many people alive’ and 2 Corinthians 7:1-6 (NKJ) ‘let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and the Spirit perfecting Holiness in the fear of God’ (The sin nature is the great enemy of the cross of Christ). However, one thing we all have to come to terms with in our Christian lives is that we cannot continually blame all of our sins, faults and inadequacies on satan, which in most cases are our own doing. 

When sin entered the Garden of Eden It was partially the fault of Satan but it was completely the fault of Adam. Yes, the devil will tempt us but he can only tempt us in accordance with our own affections; 2 Corinthians 6:11-12 (NKJ) ‘O Corinthians we have spoken openly to you, our hearts is wide open, you are not restricted by us, but you are restricted by your own affections’.  So if drinking alcohol does not do it for you, satan could give you an endless supply of alcohol and it will not tempt you. If on the other hand you enjoy alcohol then this will be a temptation because satan uses our natural affections. Satan tempts us with the sin we like, not with the sin we don’t like. So in the New Testament when Paul says to the people of Corinth ‘we are not the ones restricting you, it’s your own Christian walk’, he is actually saying; ‘on the contrary, you are restricted by your own affections’.

We need to be honest with ourselves and to admit that the problem within our Christian lives are self-made because as previously stated, satan cannot tempt us with anything that does not appeal to us. If satan was to present to me a variety of illegal drugs it will have no effect on me because drugs don’t tempt me, they never have and never will. If however he put a tray of fresh cream cakes and trifles then I may be tempted and fall into gluttony.  Hopefully you can grasp the significance of this: I can’t blame satan for tempting me because all he can do is use the things I like to entice me into sin. So it’s not the devil, it’s me and it’s you that choose to sin. It’s our own free will and our own choice to sin.

We could also choose to blame the devil for our unholy behaviour; ‘the devil made me do it’, we may say, however it is the root of our sin that is the problem. Matthew 4:8-11(NKJ) ‘again the devil took him up on an exceedingly high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their Glory. And he said to him all these thing I will give you if you will fall down and worship me, then Jesus said ‘away with you satan, for it is written, you shall worship the Lord your God and him only you shall serve’. Then the devil left him and behold angels come and ministered to him’.  It is dangerous and foolish not to realise and acknowledge that we are in a war with the devil. Any Christian or congregation sold out for Jesus will certainly be in the firing line. But God will use his strength and might to protect us and all the power of heaven to strengthen us. Praise God.

A good example of how to deal with and overcome temptation can be found in the popular Christian book ‘Pilgrims Progress’. Throughout his journey Christian (the main character) was tempted continually and although he steered off the path a few times he kept a strong focus and a strong desire for the things of Christ his Lord and Saviour. On his journey Christian’s great desire was to reach the Celestial City. At one point Apollyon (the devil) nearly destroyed him, but God protected him and gave him helpers along the way. Does this sound familiar?  Does this sound like our own journeys? Do we sometimes fall off the path and start to travel down a road we should not be on? Does God provide people throughout our journey to help us back onto the right path? Yes He does!

John Bunyan’s ‘Pilgrims Progress’ was published in 1628 and is still in print today. It is so loved and read all over the world, and the most popular Christian book next to the bible. John Bunyan was put in prison many times for refusing to stop preaching the Gospel of Jesus Christ. It was during his time in prison that he wrote Pilgrim’s Progress. When he was released from prison he would boldly claim ‘to the town I go to preach of my sweet saviour’ and then he would get re-arrested. This went on for many years. The authorities eventually grew weary of constantly putting him in prison and stopped arresting him and left him alone.  While writing this blog I felt so sad because I realised that in these days of political correctness Christians in many parts of the world are in a similar position to John Bunyan. I pray that God will raise up men and women of God to speak boldly of God and our sweet saviour; Matthew 28:19-20 (NKJ) ‘go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptising them in the name of the Father and the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Teaching them to observe all things that is have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age’. Amen.

One of the greatest hymns (by John Bunyan) which is not heard very often in churches today is ‘He who would Valiant be’ also known as ‘to be a pilgrim’. Why not take a some time to listen to the short video of the song below. God bless.

Author: Eileen Greaves

May God bless and enrich your life

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  1. A reminder that our Christian journeys can be fraught with danger on occasions because Satan is looking for ways of diverting us from our true path. As the article says 'we may be in the firing line, but God will use his strength and might to protect us and all the power of heaven to strengthen us. Amen. Thank you for this wonderful article. God bless

  2. Dear sister, thank you so much for taking the time to Bless and challenge the Body of Christ. We are definitely in a war and Satan is out to destroy God's Bride, Satan will use brutal tactics to get us to fall but he who lives in us has already defeated Satan Amen. As one body may we stand on the Word of God, with God's full armour on and set our faces like flint. All the Glory to our awesome God ALWAYS
    Love sister Tina x

  3. Thank you so much for this encouraging article. We do have to be so careful not to edify the enemy by always blaming him for everything that goes wrong in our lives. Quite often it is our own acts of disobedience to God or selfish desires that cause us to fall. We are in a battle and when Satan tempts us we need to be rooted in Christ so that we will always be overcomes. Peace be with you. Be blessed, and be strong in the Lord.

  4. Thanks for these encouraging wordz yes it's so wonderful that when we are tempted God the Father Son and Holy Spirit is ever with us giving us strength to be victorious overcomers. God bless

  5. Thank you for these much needed words. So often sin is passified by blaming the devil when we actually need to examine ourselves and our obidence (or lack of)
    God bless xx

  6. Thanks for this article Eileen, great words and so true. How often do people exempt themselves from responsibility blaming the Devil when it is in fact their own desires that conquer them. Its good to be reminded that it is our responsibility to resist evil and to ask the Holy Spirit for assistance. Timely reminder and encouragement Jan xx