On Temptation

“You are arrogant in your faith.”  Huh? Come again? “You heard me.”

I think of myself as a humble person. So, to be told that I was arrogant was a surprise, to say the least. And arrogant about my faith? Someone was speaking that truth inside my head! Who else could it be but God?

Because I was considering leaving the Heart To Freedom (HTF) Membership (see June post ‘My Faith is Out’) to further my Daily Grace Bible studies. I had just prayed in my journal asking God for direction, and if he could please make his direction super clear.

Oh ya, that was God’s voice alright. But arrogant, me? Son of a gun!

After exploring this notion awhile, I understood that in “hearing” the whispered message in my mind, God was telling me that I was about to deviate off course, and away from path he had set me on. Was I wrong to wonder if perhaps I had learned all that I needed to from HTF? Apparently so. And he was telling me to think again. To take another look.

Specifically, he guided me to the Thanks Giving Breakthrough course. I had previously ignored this offering because I didn’t think I needed breakthrough; I felt that my faith was strong and stable. Wasn’t breakthrough a thing for those who were struggling with their faith?

In fact, once I logged on to the course, I began learning that ‘breakthrough’ is so much more than a one-time event. Being new to Bible Study and the language of born-again Christians, I had mistakenly relied on my pre-conceived notion of the term. Hence, the arrogance! While I hadn’t realized that I was being arrogant in my thinking, I truly was.

Looking forward, I will have more faith in God’s choices for me. Instead of listening to my own thinking, I will trust that I am in the right place of learning until he directs me otherwise. Last fall he brought me to Rebekah R. Jones as the right spiritual teacher– again, after praying on it. But instead of taking last month’s course, I ignored it. I listened to my own thinking — which as you will see, wasn’t really mine at all.

Having recently returned home from 2 months of dealing with the sale of, and move from, our summer place 14 hours away in New Brunswick, I was physically and mentally exhausted. I had been away from HTF during that time, and I didn’t seem to have the interest nor the drive to pick it up again. I had taken the time to rest and catch my breath. It was now time to pick up where I had left off and dig into another course. Wasn’t it?

Meanwhile, behind the scenes (Isn’t it all so clear in hindsight?) a sinister being saw an opportunity to tempt me away from what God had set up for me. That dastardly sneaky so and so! (Never mind.)

I agreed with myself (or with God? Likely both.) to try one more course before making a decision. Because I would miss Rebekah and the other ladies that I was getting to know, but so be it. I could rejoin after my Bible studies, couldn’t I? (Oh, he is sneaky…)

Maybe I thought I knew better, maybe I was relying a little too much on my own understanding. But how could it be wrong to want to spend more time on my Bible Studies? (“Because, dear daughter, you need both!” Oh. Right. Thank you for the course correction.)

It only took the first lesson of the new course to know, without question, that I needed to stay in this membership. I was learning so much, and from only the first lesson! I still had things to learn from Rebekah and her teaching. I also felt a strong pull to be supporting her beautiful ministry. I did not wish to abandon that, but wanted to be a part of it more than ever.

I was now craving for more. I wanted all of it! God was directly changing my heart, once again. In the span of minutes I had gone from abandoning the membership to signing on for a full year. It suddenly seemed important to engage for a longer term rather than my previous month-to-month plan. I was making a commitment here. To myself. To Rebekah. To God. It became a declaration not only to me but most importantly, to the master of deception and temptation. By taking this concrete action – and putting money behind my words – I was sending Satan a clear message. He was batting zero in this playing field.

The more I thought about the whole situation, the angrier I became. I had nearly succumbed! What a terrible underhanded scheming rascal! To think how close to me he got! Yuk!!

In my typical way of processing big emotion, I journaled it out with words and art. I confessed it to Rebekah. And I shared the experience with a Christian friend who had previously told me about her own experience with his temptation.

God’s Spiritual Armour

Now, he was making me mad!

I went on to research, read and meditate on scripture, especially Ephesians 6:10-20 on ‘The Whole Armour of God’. I listened to online sermons on this topic by Allistair Begg, and I read on it in Bible commentaries and study Bibles. Until I felt at peace.

To my knowledge this was my first experience of him, and of his sly and slithery ways. And I am doing all that I can to ensure it is the last.

  1. I am arming myself with scripture (God’s sacred Word holds greater power than any evil force!)
  2. I am drawing nearer to God by creating space for him and writing to him daily.
  3. I pray before and after reading and studying the Bible, before and after writing in my spiritual journal, before and after doing faith art in my journal and/or art Bible. And I pray throughout the day, casually and thankfully. Because prayer is a conversation with God, and that is powerful.

This experience shook me up, but mainly, it pissed me off. And moved me to action. And that is a good thing.

But don’t worry, I won’t be peeking around every corner to see where that nasty being is lurking, ready to pounce. There is no need for that. Because I am arming myself with God’s complete protection. Because, guess what? The battle between good and evil has already been faught and won. By God. It’s why Jesus came to earth and died on the cross — to redeem us from the darker nature of humans. Thankfully, we will never need to fight that battle again – except with ourselves. And I plan to remind the devil of that fact should he try again to steer my course. I feel better equipped to pickup the necessary armour.

Allow me to end with something positive.

In addition to spiritual growth, what I had hoped to gain from joining HTF last May was a sense of community; after 7 months, the community flavour was starting to happen but only in trickles. I felt disappointment because I had hoped for more.

Following the above temptation and re-commitment, you wouldn’t believe how much more of a sense of community I am experiencing. In the most recent small-group session, I felt a connection with the participants that I had not previously enjoyed. It was exactly what I was yearning for. I was a bit more vocal in our session, and the engagement amazed me. In addition, I connected with two of the ladies individually after the session. That had never happened before.

Once again, I could see God’s touch in action. He knows my heart. And I feel that he arranged things for me, to make me happy. And to show me there is a place for me in the HTF community. What a Father, indeed! How truly blessed I am.

P.S. One of the ladies from our small group contacted me this morning after reading this entry, to share how God had connected with her that day too. We had been talking about choosing a “Word of the Year” for 2022, a theme of sort to help focus our spiritual growth. I shared that my word will be reach – reach out (build community), reach inward (grow into the creature God intended me to be), reach out to (lend a hand), reach for (expansion)… Out of nowhere she explaimed, I know what my word is! Trust. It’s what I need more of; it’s what I need to work on. I want to master my trust in him and what he is doing in my life. Trust. She even remembered the perfect Scripture from That certainly fits with what I am learning as well.

“Trust in the Lord with all of your heart, and lean not on your own understanding.”

Proverbs 3:5, ESV translation

As the conversation continued, another member declared that Trust was going to be her word too. And she explained why it was a perfect fit for her.

What I hadn’t realized is that behind me on the Zoom call, was the word TRUST, which I had taped to the window ledge years ago, in colourful wonder. It had been part of my own healing from depression back in 2010. And on this day, eleven years later, the word had caught my new friend’s attention! Enough that it jolted her into clear awareness. She knew that it was to be her word, and that God had nudged her to it.

God, you never cease to amaze! It’s in how you get right down on our human level, so that we will hear and see you. O how I love you!

God bless you, dear reader.

Love, M.

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