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As we have seen, we are in a daily struggle against darkness in ourselves, our culture, and the world. The dark places are where the evil one has beachheads and strongholds in our lives. Redemption is not a singular event in time. We come alive in our spirits when the Day Star dawns in our hearts.[1] But the dawn is the breaking of the light into darkness. As the Son rises in Lordship over our souls,[2] His light floods us more and more leaving no darkness for evil to hide. His light liberates us from sin blindness and calcified hearts. Daily growth in daily battles calls for daily grace.

1 Corinthians 10:12-13
12 Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall.
13 There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it. KJV

Have you ever been told that God will never give you more than you can handle? If this were true, what need have we of miracles? We are born into this world morally innocent, but full of iniquity. Walking in the path of wickedness comes naturally and soon.[3] Without the intervention of His saving grace, we would all be lost forever. Life itself is something we can’t handle. Certainly, life events beyond our capacity are sure to come. The promise of God is that He always provides a means of escape from temptation to sin. Our fallen human nature is predisposed to make wrong choices, but that does not mean we don’t have choices. Even Cain had a choice.

Genesis 4:6-7
6 The Lord said to Cain, “Why are you angry, and why has your face fallen?
7 If you do well, will you not be accepted? And if you do not do well, sin is crouching at the door. Its desire is for you, but you must rule over it.” ESV

Cain’s jealousy over Abel’s favor with God made him murderously angry. God provided Cain with an out—a means of mastery over sin. He needed to offer up a blood sacrifice. Without the shedding of blood, there is no remission of sin. Cain turned away from atoning sacrificial blood, choosing instead to shed the blood of his brother. He had an out, but chose not to take it.

God has not changed. When the tempter comes, the Lord always provides a means of escaping the temptation. We need to live in the day with eyes open to the Lord’s grace so we can see the way out when temptation comes.

Mark 13:9-13
9 But take heed to yourselves: for they shall deliver you up to councils; and in the synagogues ye shall be beaten: and ye shall be brought before rulers and kings for my sake, for a testimony against them.
10 And the gospel must first be published among all nations.
11 But when they shall lead you, and deliver you up, take no thought beforehand what ye shall speak, neither do ye premeditate: but whatsoever shall be given you in that hour, that speak ye: for it is not ye that speak, but the Holy Ghost.
12 Now the brother shall betray the brother to death, and the father the son; and children shall rise up against their parents, and shall cause them to be put to death.
13 And ye shall be hated of all men for my name’s sake: but he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved. KJV

Before we are born again, the forces of darkness work to keep us blind to the light.[4] Once we come to saving faith by grace, the tempter’s ultimate goal turns to getting us to deny Christ. Denying Christ is a sin with eternal consequences.[5] The enemy of our souls works relentlessly to steal from us our rightful inheritance by tempting us to sell it cheap like Esau. If this doesn’t work, he’ll up the bid with riches that bring the chocking cares of the world. If this fails, he threatens with bodily harm and death. Jesus says, “Don’t fret. I’ll give you the words to speak in the hour of trial through the Holy Spirit.”

Note the Lord’s instruction in verse 11 above. Rehearsed responses learned before the trial are useless. They come from our flesh, fear, and pride. Birthed from our brain in attempted reason, any response would only qualify as being carnal, which brings death. We don’t know the future, so we cannot possibly know the right answer. We either try to pre-engineer one out of fear of being caught unprepared or in pride that our preparation can save us. Only God can save us. His promise is to graciously fill our mouths with the right word in due season.[6]

Luke 21:14-15
14 Settle it therefore in your hearts, not to meditate before what ye shall answer:
15 For I will give you a mouth and wisdom, which all your adversaries shall not be able to gainsay nor resist. KJV

Like the wall builders in Nehemiah’s day, we are called to work with weapons in hand.[7] We work and watch in the day that the night not bring our labors to a premature end.

John 9:4
I must work the works of him that sent me, while it is day: the night cometh, when no man can work. KJV

Not doing the right thing at the right time is the definition of a missed opportunity. What Jesus is lighting up for us to do, we need to. When we linger and hesitate in timidity or disobedience, the window of opportunity can pass us by and leave us with no light to work with.

James 4:13-17
13 Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go into such and such a town and spend a year there and trade and make a profit”—
14 yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes.
15 Instead you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that.”
16 As it is, you boast in your arrogance. All such boasting is evil.
17 So whoever knows the right thing to do and fails to do it, for him it is sin. ESV

God knows the number of our days, we don’t. Remembering this truth helps to keep us humble.  Any affirmative statement of what we are going to accomplish without acknowledgement of God’s sovereignty is prideful.  The very act removes us from His grace for God resists the proud but gives grace to the humble.  We need to do what we know we must do today that tomorrow does not find us in sin.

[1] 2 Pet. 1:19.
[2] 1 Pet. 3:19 ESV; Heb. 10:39.
[3] Ps. 58:3.
[4] 2 Cor. 4:3-4.
[5] 2 Tim. 2:11-13.
[6] Prov. 15:23
[7] Neh. 4:17-18.