Overcoming

In the work of sanctification, we must overcome as Christ overcame, as the Bible puts it. He overcame in three areas: Appetite (commanding stones to be bread when he was wearied with hunger), Presumption (presuming upon God to save Him if He threw Himself down), and Worship (worshipping Satan to gain back the kingdoms of the world).

Appetite is the hardest to overcome, but we can be of good cheer–Christ has overcome the world.

Here is what Sister White has to say about appetite:
“Know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? for ye are bought with a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s.” When men take any course which needlessly expends their vitality or beclouds their intellect, they sin against God; they do not glorify Him in their body and spirit, which are His. – {CD 118.2}

Yet despite the insult which man has offered Him, God’s love is still extended to the race; and He permits light to shine, enabling man to see that in order to live a perfect life he must obey the natural laws which govern his being. How important, then, that man should walk in this light, exercising all his powers, both of body and mind, to the glory of God! – {CD 118.3}

We are in a world that is opposed to righteousness, or purity of character, and especially to growth in grace. Wherever we look, we see defilement and corruption, deformity and sin. How opposed is all this to the work that must be accomplished in us just previous to receiving the gift of immortality! God’s elect must stand untainted amid the corruptions teeming around them in these last days. Their bodies must be made holy, their spirits pure. If this work is to be accomplished, it must be undertaken at once, earnestly and understandingly. The Spirit of God should have perfect control, influencing every action…. – {CD 118.4}

Men have polluted the soul temple, and God calls upon them to awake, and to strive with all their might to win back their God-given manhood. Nothing but the grace of God can convict and convert the heart; from Him alone can the slaves of custom obtain power to break the shackles that bind them. It is impossible for a man to present his body a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, while continuing to indulge habits that are depriving him of physical, mental, and moral vigor. Again the apostle says, “Be not conformed to this world; but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect will of God.”—[Christian Temperance and Bible Hygiene, 7-11] Counsels on Health, 19-23, 1890 – {CD 119.1}

Next is the area of presumption. People don’t often list this as one of the areas that they are struggling in, by perhaps that is because they are being presumptuous.

Here is Mrs. White again:
The sin of presumption lies close beside the virtue of perfect faith and confidence in God. Satan flattered himself that he could take advantage of the humanity of Christ to urge Him over the line of trust to presumption. Upon this point many souls are wrecked. Satan tried to deceive Christ through flattery. He admitted that He was right in the wilderness in His faith and confidence that God was His Father under the most trying circumstances. He then urged Christ to give him one more proof of His entire dependence upon God, one more evidence of His faith that He was the Son of God, by casting Himself from the Temple. He told Christ that if He was indeed the Son of God He had nothing to fear, for angels were at hand to uphold Him. Satan gave evidence that he understood the Scriptures by the use he made of them. – {Con 48.2}

The Redeemer of the world wavered not from His integrity, and showed that He had perfect faith in His Father’s promised care. He would not put the faithfulness and love of His Father to a needless trial, although He was in the hands of an enemy and placed in a position of extreme difficulty and peril. He would not at Satan’s suggestion tempt God by presumptuously experimenting on His providence. Satan had brought in Scripture which seemed appropriate for the occasion, hoping to accomplish his designs by making the application to our Saviour at this special time. – {Con 48.3}

Christ knew that God could indeed bear Him up if He had required Him to throw Himself from the Temple. But to do this unbidden, and to experiment upon His Father’s protecting care and love because dared by Satan to do so would not show His strength of faith. Satan was well aware that if Christ could be prevailed upon, unbidden by His Father, to fling Himself from the Temple to prove His claim to His heavenly Father’s protecting care, He would in the very act show the weakness of His human nature. – {Con 49.1}

Christ came off victor in the second temptation. He manifested perfect confidence and trust in His Father during His severe conflict with the powerful foe. Our Redeemer, in the victory here gained, has left man a perfect pattern, showing him that his only safety is in firm trust and unwavering confidence in God in all trials and perils. He refused to presume upon the mercy of His Father by placing Himself in peril that would make it necessary for His heavenly Father to display His power to save Him from danger. This would be forcing providence on His own account, and He would not then leave for His people a perfect example of faith and firm trust in God. – {Con 49.2}

Satan’s object in tempting Christ was to lead Him to daring presumption, and to show human weakness that would not make Him a perfect pattern for His people. He thought that should Christ fail to bear the test of his temptations there could be no redemption for the race, and his power over them would be complete. – {Con 49.3}

And lastly there is Worship, which Revelation says will be the final test of time.

This is what Ellen White had to say:
The time is upon us when the miracle-working power of the arch deceiver will be more decidedly revealed. And his deceptions will increase in their delusive attraction, so that they will perplex, and if possible, deceive, the very elect. The prince of darkness with his evil angels is working upon the Christian world, inducing those who profess the name of Christ to stand under the banner of darkness, to make war with those who keep the commandments of God, and have the faith of Jesus. An apostate church will unite with the powers of earth and hell to place upon the forehead or in the hand, the mark of the beast, and prevail upon the children of God to worship the beast and his image. They will seek to compel them to renounce their allegiance to God’s law, and yield homage to the papacy. Then will come the times which will try men’s souls; for the confederacy of apostasy will demand that the loyal subjects of God shall renounce the law of Jehovah, and repudiate the truth of his word. Then will the gold be separated from the dross, and it will be made apparent who are the godly, who are loyal and true, and who are the disloyal, the dross and the tinsel. What clouds of chaff will then be borne away by the fan of God! Where now our eyes can discover only rich floors of wheat, will be chaff blown away with the fan of God. Every one who is not centered in Christ will fail to stand the test and ordeal of that day. While those who are clothed with Christ’s righteousness will stand firm to truth and duty, those who have trusted in their own righteousness will be ranged under the black banner of the prince of darkness. Then it will be seen whether the choice is for Christ or Belial. Those who have been self-distrustful, who have been so circumstanced that they have not dared to face stigma and reproach, will at last openly declare themselves for Christ and his law; while many who have appeared to be flourishing trees, but who have borne no fruit, will go with the multitude to do evil, and will receive the mark of apostasy in the forehead or in the hand. – {RH November 8, 1892 Par. 7}

These are the final and biggest tests that we must overcome, but are we preparing in the little areas of life? Are we denying fleshly perverted appetites and habits? Are we following the counsels given in regards to health and dress reform? Have we surrendered all areas of our lives to God, or are we presuming that He’ll surely save us even if we’re still cherishing sin? Have we made God the only object of our worship and praise? Have we kept His Sabbath day holy? Our actions speak louder than our words.

In conclusion:
I speak these words to all who love and fear God. People who stand prepared to do the works of righteousness will not be deceived by the allurements of the enemy. The angels of God are by their side restraining them if they will be restrained. Their actions will be guided by an exalted sense of right. They will be enabled to distinguish between right and wrong, between truth—exalted truth—and error. Those who enter the kingdom of heaven will be those who have reached the highest standard of moral obligation, those who have not sought to hide the truth or to deceive, those by whom God has been exalted and His Word defended, those by whom principle has not been misapplied to vindicate the wiles of Satan.—Letter 188, 1905. – {CTr 198.5}

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