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How we conclude
- Jacob Ninan
Not all temptations can be dealt with immediately. If we are tempted to do something we know to be wrong, we can decide against it immediately. But then there are other situations where we are not so clear, and it may take some time to decide, with seeking the Lord for guidance, spending time in prayer, searching the Bible, and seeking counsel from others. There are still other situations where the temptation itself can be a long drawn affair, such as unbelief, doubt, anxiety, discouragement, etc., where it can be like a war with many small battles. In such cases, the most important goal is to win the war, even if we lose one or two battles.
You know how anxiety can be, for example. You are anxious about something that is going to come up in the future. You pray and also remember the promises of God in the Bible. As you try to take hold of the promises you seem to get on the top of the situation. But then soon enough you are back in your anxiety as some new thoughts come up in your mind about what could happen to you. The battles go on. Sometimes you are up, and sometimes you are down. You finally get the victory when you get hold of faith, and what you were anxious about does not shake you anymore. On the other hand, if you go into the dumps and give up hope you have lost the war too.
Abraham, the father of faith, had his battles too. We read about him that he did not waver in unbelief, but grew strong in faith, giving glory to God (Ro.4:20). But just how exactly did he grow strong in faith? Not without battling with doubts. In fact his faith grew stronger as he battled and overcame his doubts. Every time he had a doubt he told God about it, and received encouragement from Him. The time he lost the battle was in the matter of Hagar when he went on without reference to God.
The point about Abraham's faith was that he did not give up in unbelief, but endured till the end. That was how he received the promise (He.6:12). For us too, the important thing is that we must not give in or give up even if there are ups and downs in between. Then we can end triumphantly in faith.