Faith to overcome temptation, or, asking God to take it away. Which is “better”?

I’ve heard many people over the last few years talk about their struggles, temptations, vices, etc and their various attempts, approaches and pursuits to overcome them.

I’ve heard a pastor, time and time again share his testimony and talk about how he asked God to make him “addicted” to God instead of the substance he was abusing and God made him “addicted” to God instead.

I’ve heard other variations of this where people have asked God to just “take away” the temptation.

I’ve heard different “steps” people have taken to deal with one issue or another.

I myself have done variations of the things above at different points in my life a few years ago, so I can understand it, to a degree.

I have also asked, no, begged God to take away my issue with Meniere’s Disease (I am currently working more on a post about this and with healing – funny enough, I still do believe in God healing people).  I hate Meniere’s Disease, it scares the shit out of me when I have an episode (they’re usually pretty “violent”) and I am usually out of commission for a few days after one 45min episode.  Thanks be to God that I haven’t had an episode in over a year and a half.

Any who…I was wondering what you guys think.

Here is the question:

What builds more faith in God, in His Love and His concern for you, his child, and what builds more faith in yourself?

Which one enables growth?

We are told many times in Scripture that we will be given strength in our weaknesses, that He will be with us and never leave us, and that by and through Him we can overcome obstacles, temptations, trials.

I don’t recall one instance where it ever says in Scripture that we won’t go through them or that God will magically take it all away.

Not once.

I do recall something about no weapon formed against us shall prosper and in my understanding a weapon formed means that it is able to be employed against you, but even though it is employed against you it shall not prosper.  I don’t recall it saying nothing shall ever happen to you.

Now, I’m not trying to build a theology here.  As always, I am posing questions.  And as always, they are meant for discussion and taking them to the One who can truly answer them.

In order to overcome adversity, temptation, vices, etc, I do believe that a believer needs to have a degree of resolve, to have the balls to say:  the line must be drawn here, this far, no farther!  (Kudos to those who get that reference)  Even in that, I believe God helps you come to that point.  After all, His Goodness is what draws us and brings us to repentance.  But then, when you come to this resolution, back it up with some sort of effort on your part – steps made in faith but also steps made in the natural.

I also believe that you need His Grace and Strength so that when you are weak, His Strength comes in and you can keep moving forward.  Even if you fail, and fall square on your face you get up and keep moving forward.

Don’t misunderstand me, I’m not talking faith vs works, or salvation by faith vs salvation by obedience.  I am talking about temptations, struggles and other obstacles as a believer.

I don’t necessarily buy into God just “taking” things away.  That doesn’t seem like a good Father who wishes to help train up their children if he just “takes” those things away.  After all, we made a free-will choice to engage in said activity that turned into an addiction or vice, or temptation.  He has given you a brain to learn from your experiences, after all.

Don’t read too much into that and make a leap to what I think regarding healing – I also don’t think God sends or gives sickness and disease as a means of teaching…that’s just…well, I’ll save that for my post on healing and we can discuss that part then.

And let’s say God does, for the sake of conversation, make you “addicted” to Him.  Do you really think that is what He wants?  You addicted to Him?  What Father wants their child unable to function if they perceive He isn’t with them?  If you are now, by the definition of addiction, addicted to God, then you are just trading one substance for another, are you not?

From my viewpoint:  How do you grow in faith when you are “addicted” to God?

Being “addicted” to God sounds good…  (Anybody remember Carmen’s “Addicted to Jesus/A2J” song?)

Now, if God just “takes it away” instead of making you “addicted” to him then I would whole-heartedly say that for those that He would do this for, that it is Grace upon Grace.  A beautiful act, totally undeserved, unmerited, mercy and grace.  I’ve heard of this, but never experienced it myself.  But just because I don’t experience something doesn’t necessarily make it false or true.

But still I wonder what is the fruit of something like that happening?

Obviously if it is God in His truly Amazing Grace and Love that does it, He knows what He is doing.  Thankfully, until corrected, I believe He is still big enough for me, his child, to ask what He, my Father, is doing.  And just like a Father, if he so chooses I’d settle for a “child” level answer for now and an “adult” level answer as I grow.

Anywho.  More questions up for discussion.

Thoughts?

Did this make sense?

Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaand, Go!

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2 thoughts on “Faith to overcome temptation, or, asking God to take it away. Which is “better”?

  1. “What builds more faith in God, in His Love and His concern for you, his child, and what builds more faith in yourself?”

    Personal conviction combined with discipline (God’s discipline and subsequently developed self-discipline).

    Job 13:15 (KJV) Though he slay me, yet will I will trust in him; but I will maintain my own ways before him.

    1Cr 13:11 (KJV) When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things.

    I believe people sometimes mistake having the “faith of a child” with acting as a ‘Child of God’ always needing nuturing from a Supreme ‘Child Care Giver’. I believe God desires us to become adults in our relationship with Him and leave the emotionally charged and driven ‘sensation’ of being called “God’s child” to enter the intellectually reasoned assuredness of knowledge of His sovereignty and His gift to mankind of His Son’s sacrifice. Once we do that, our ability to reason as Christian adults to realize the lesser gifts He gave us, such as Life, Liberty, and Property, are no longer impeded, and we can do whatever is necessary to conserve those gifts because of the resolve that comes from our personal conviction that God is sovereign.

    “Which one enables growth?”

    One cannot, by definition, have “faith” as defined in Scripture, in himmself (Heb 11:1). One can have confidence or a lack thereof, in himself, based upon demonstrated behaviors. One can also discipline himself to no longer act, think, or believe in ways unacceptable or damaging to himself or others if one so chooses. That is the thermometer of growth: The ability to change. The second indicator is the ability to extend Grace (forgiveness that is not warranted (even if in our own small, selfish minds)) to those who have wronged us. God extends us His grace; forgives us when it is unwarranted; we can do no less for others in our lives. From that forgiveness comes restoration, which is what Jesus’ sacrifice did for humanity. It follows that we must restore those in our lives to their former place as well, if we’re going to ‘walk the walk’.

    Otherwise, it’s all just so much posing.

    My .02

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