Short history: for the past year and a half, God has been teaching me a few things, getting my priorities and perspectives in better order. It’s been a period of what R. T. Kendall calls “enforced learning.” Enforced, because the first times He tried to teach me, I was too busy, too arrogant, too proud, or too whatever, to take what He was saying as necessarily applying to me.

At first, I struggled with why I was going through the desert. Later on, it was opened to me. And I’ve been dealing with the attitudes and actions that haven’t been in line with His will. It’s never pleasent when God disciplines or corrects us, but it’s always worthwhile. But when you’re in the middle of it, you get mad, angry, frustrated, depressed, and desperate…sometimes all in the same day!

Some of what God has been purging in my life is unresolved sin. Struggling against temptation is never easy, but always required. I’d love for God to wave His magic wand and make it disappear, but let’s face it, that doesn’t build character does it? And then the other day I was sitting in Panera reading R. T. Kendall’s book, When God Shows Up, and this section jumped out at me:

Satan has scope to work only to the degree given him by God. Every time he attacks or tempts, he has been given permission from God to do so…When you know the devil is attacking you, just remember, God OK’d it before it happened” (Kendall, 2008, p. 98).

When I read this, I realized when Satan is tempting me, it’s “God approved” character building time. Sort of like when my father made me finish my homework before watching television when I was growing up. Understanding it this way makes it a little easier to resist that temptation, doesn’t it? For me, it’s a little easier to say NO when you know God is standing there rooting for you to grow a little more mature each time.

This whole thing reminds me of 1 Corinthians 10:13:

13 No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it” (1 Corinthians 10:13).

— Kendall, R. T. (2008). When God Shows Up. Lake Mary, FL: Charisma House.

— The New King James Version. 1982. Nashville: Thomas Nelson.