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Temptaion
The Philosophy of Submission


Chapter Three 
                                                               Temptation


None of us are immune to temptation
Given the right situation, you and I are capable of any sin. God knows this, so He has assigned us as individuals the responsibility of keeping each other on track
Satan loves detached believers, unplugged from the God’s party because he knows they are defenseless and powerless against his tactics. In God’s party (Hezb Allah) you are connected to every other believer. You were created for a specific role, but you will miss one of the purposes of your life if you are not attached to God’s party. You test your role in life and your spirituality through your relationships with others. This is why the first symptom of spiritual decline is usually inconsistent attendance at worship services and other gatherings of believers
17:62 “He (Satan) said, “Since you have honored him (Adam) over me, if You respite me till the Day of Resurrection, I will possess all his descendants, except for a few.”
4:118-120 “…..he (Satan) said: “I will surely recruit a definite share of Your worshipers. I will mislead them, I will entice them, I will command them to marking the ears of livestock, I will command them to distort the creation of God.” Anyone who accepts the devil as lord, instead of God, has incurred a profound loss. He promises them and entices them, what the devil promises is no more than illusion.”

Every temptation is an opportunity to do good. On the path to spiritual maturity, even temptation becomes a stepping-stone rather than a stumbling block when you realize that it is just as much an occasion to do the right thing as it is to do the wrong thing
Temptation simply provides the choice. While temptation is Satan’s prima;rsquo;s primary weapon to destroy you, God wants to use it to develop you. Every time you choose to do good instead of sin, you are growing in the character of true believers
To understand this, you must first identify the character qualities of a true believer
Does God create these qualities in you instantly? Will you wake up one day and be suddenly filled with these characteristics fully developed? No. God develops these qualities in your life by allowing you to experience circumstances in which you are tempted to express the exact opposite quality. Character development always involves choice, and temptation provides that opportunity

Satan is entirely predictable. He has used the same strategy and old tactics since Creation. All temptation follows the same pattern. From the Qur’an we learn that temptation follows a four-step process, which Satan used both on Adam and his wife
Step one, Satan identifies a desire inside of you. It may be a sinful desire or it may be a legitimate, normal desire. Temptation starts when Satan suggests (with a thought) that you give in to an evil desire, or that you fulfill a legitimate desire in a wrong way or at the wrong time. Always be aware of shortcuts. They are often temptations!
Satan whispers, “You deserve it! You should have it now! It will be exciting…comforting or make you feel better.” We think temptation lies around us. It begins within us. If you don’t have the internal desire, the temptation could not attract you. Temptation always starts in your mind, not in circumstances
Step two is doubt. Satan tries to get you to doubt what God has said about the sin: Is it really wrong? Did God really say not to do it? Didn’t God mean this prohibition for someone else or some other time? Doesn’t God want me to be happy? Watch out, don’t let evil thoughts or doubts make any of you turn from the word of God
Step three is deception. Satan is incapable of telling the truth. Anything he tells you will be untrue or just half-true. Satan offers his lies to replace what God has already said in His words. Satan says; “You will be wiser. You can get away with it. No one will ever know. It will solve your problem. Besides everyone else is doing it. It is only a little sin.” But a little sin is like being a little pregnant: It will eventually show itself
Step four is disobedience. You finally act on the thought you have been toying with in your mind. What began as an idea gets birthed into behavior. You give in what ever got your attention. You believe Satan lies and fall into the trap
7:200 “When the devil whispers to you any whisper, seek refuge in God, He is Hearer, Omniscient.”

Satan does not have to tempt those who are already doing his evil will, they are already his. Temptation is a sign that Satan hates you, not a sign of weakness or worldliness. And it is also a part of being human and living in a fallen world. Don’t be surprised or chocked or discouraged by it. Be realistic about the inevitability of temptation, you will never be able to avoid it completely. It is not a sin to be tempted. Temptation only becomes a sin when you give in to it. You can’t keep the devil from suggesting thoughts, but you can choose not to dwell or act on them. Actually, the closer you grow to God, the more Satan will try to tempt you. The moment you become Godly, Satan, like a mobster hit man, put out a “contract” on you. You are his enemy, and he is plotting your downfall
Sometimes while you are praying, Satan will suggest a bizarre or evil thoughts just to distract you and shame you. Don’t be alarmed or ashamed by this, but realize that Satan fears your prayers and will try anything to stop them. Instead of condemning yourself with “How could I think such a thought?” treat it as a distraction from Satan and immediately refocus on God

Your pattern of temptation
There are certain situations that make you more vulnerable to temptation than others. Some circumstances will cause you to stumble almost immediately, while others don’t bother you much. These situations are unique to your weakness, and you need to identify them because Satan surely knows them. He knows exactly what trips you up, and he is constantly working to get you into those circumstances
Ask yourself, “When am I most tempted? Where am I most tempted? At work? At home? At a neighbor’s house? In an airport or hotel out of town? Who is with me when I most tempted? Friends, coworkers, strangers? When I am alone?
Also ask, “How do I feel when I am most tempted?” It may be when you are tired or lonely or bored or depressed or under stress. It may be when you have been hurt or angry or worried, or after a big success or spiritual high. You should identify your typical pattern of temptation and then prepare to avoid situations as much ass possible
Spiritual advices:
Don’t give the Devil a chance
Wise planning reduces temptation
Plan carefully what you do
Avoid evil and walk straight ahead
Don’t go one step off the right way
God’s people avoid evil ways, and they protect themselves by watching where they go
Always ask God for help
2:186 “When My servants ask you (Muhammad) about Me, I am always close. I answer the prayers of any of them when they pray to Me. They shall respond to Me, and believe in Me..”
40:60 “Your Lord says, “Implore Me, I will respond to you….”

If God is waiting to help us defeat temptation, why don’t we turn to Him more often? Honestly, sometimes we don’t want to be helped! We want to give in to temptation even though we know it is wrong. At that moment we think we know what is best for us more than God does
Temptations keep us dependent upon God. So every time you stand up to a temptation you become more closer to the Creator. Instead of giving in or giving up, look up to God, expect Him to help you, and remember the reward that is waiting for you. Ask Him for the power to do the right thing and then expect Him to provide it

Defeating Temptation
There is always a way out. You may sometimes feel that a temptation is too overpowering for you to bear, but that is a lie from Satan. God has promised never to allow more on you than He put within you to handle it. He will not permit any temptation that you could not overcome
2:286 “God never burdens any soul beyond its means: to its credit is whatever it earns, and against it is whatever it commits…….”
It may surprise you that nowhere in the Qur’an are we told to “resist temptation”. We are told to “resist the devil”, but that is very different. Resisting a thought doesn’t work. It only intensifies our focus on the wrong thing and strengthens its allure. Every time you try to block a thought out of your mind, you drive it deeper into your memory. By resisting it, you actually reinforce it. This is especially true with temptation. You don’t defeat temptation by fighting the feeling of it. The more you fight a feeling, the more it consumes and controls you. You strengthen it every time you think it

Since temptation begins with thought, the quickest way to neutralize its allure is to turn your attention to something else. Don’t fight the thought, just change the channel of your mind and get interested in another idea. This is the first step in defeating temptation. The battle for sin is won or lost in your mind. Whatever gets your attention will get you

Temptation begins by capturing your attention. What gets your attention arouses your emotions. Then your emotions activate your behavior, and you act on what you felt. The more you focus on “I don’t want to do this,” the stronger it draws you into its web. Ignoring a temptation is far more effective than fighting it. Once your mind on is on something else, the temptation loses its power. So when temptation calls you on the phone, don’t argue with it, just hang up. Sometimes this means physically leaving a tempting situation. This is one time it is okay to run away. Get up and turn off the television set. Walk away from a group that is gossiping. To avoid being stung, stay away from the bees

Spiritually, your mind is your most vulnerable organ. To reduce temptation, keep your mind occupied with God’s word and other good thoughts. Satan wants you to think that your sin and temptation are unique so you must keep them a secret
6:43 “If only they implored when our test came to them! Instead, their hearts were hardened, and the Devil adorned their works in their eyes.”

The truth is, we are all in the same boat. We will fight the same temptations, and all of us have sinned. The reason we hide our faults is pride. We want others to think we have everything under control. The truth is, whatever you can’t talk about is already out of control in your life: problems with your finances, marriage, kids, thoughts, sexuality, secrets, habits, or anything else. If you can handle it on your own, you would have already done so. But you can’t. Willpower and personal resolution aren’t enough. All of us need help. Ask God for help, this is the only way out
After we humbled ourselves and submitted to God, we are told to defy the Devil
35:6 “The Devil is your enemy, so treat him as an enemy. He only invites his party to be the dwellers of Hell.”

Resist the Devil
The first step is to accept God and submit totally to Him. You won’t be able to say no to the Devil unless you have said yes to God. If you are a believer, Satan cannot force you to do anything. He can only suggest
16:99 “He (The devil) has no power over those who believe and trust in their Lord.”
The second, you must use the word of God as your weapon against Satan. Every time Satan suggested a temptation, you countered by quoting Scripture. There is power in God’s word, and Satan fears it
7:200 “When the Devil whispers to you any whisper, seek refuge in God; He is Hearer, Omniscient.”
Don’t ever try to argue with the Devil. He is better at arguing than you are, having had thousands of years to practice. You can’t bluff Satan with logic or your opinion, but you can use the weapon that makes him tremble – the truth of God. This is why memorizing scripture is absolutely essential to defeating temptation. Satan will try to steal the joy of service from you in a couple of ways: by tempting you to compare your attitude with others, and by tempting you to conform your spirituality to the expectations of others. Both are deadly traps that will distract you from serving in the ways God intended

Realize your Vulnerability and it takes time for spiritual development
God warns us never get cocky and overconfident; that is the recipe for disaster. That means we are good at fooling ourselves. Given the right circumstances, any of us are capable of any sin. We must not let down our guard and think we are beyond temptation. Don’t carelessly place yourself in tempting situations. Avoid them. Remember that it is easier to stay out of temptation than to get out of it

It takes years for us to grow to adulthood, and it takes a full season for fruit to mature and ripen. Spiritual growth, like physical growth, takes time. The moment you open yourself to God, He gets a beachhead in your life. You may think that you surrendered all your life to Him, but the truth is, there is a lot to your life that you are not aware of. You can only give God as much of you as you understand at that moment. That is okay. There will be struggles and battles, but the outcome will never be in doubt. God could instantly transform us, He has chosen to develop us slowly

Today we are obsessed with speed, but God is more interested in strength and stability than swiftness. We want the quick fix, shortcut, the on the spot solution. We want fast solution to resolve all problems, remove all temptation, and release us from all growing pains. But real maturity is never the result of a single experience, no matter how powerful or moving. Growth is gradual. In general, we are slow learners. We often have to relearn a lesson forty or fifty times to really get it

Many people go to counselors with a personal or relational problem that took years to develop and say, “I need you to fix me. I have got an hour.” They naively expect a quick solution to a long standing, deep rooted difficulty. Since most of our problems-and all of our bad habits- didn’t develop overnight, it is unrealistic to expect them to go away immediately. There is no pill, prayer, or principle that will instantly undo the damage of many years. It requires the hard work of removal and replacement

We are afraid to humbly face the truth about ourselves. The truth will set us free but it often makes us miserable first. The fear of what we might discover if we honestly faced our character defects keeps us living in the prison of denial. Only God is allowed to shine the light of His truth on our faults, failures, and hang-ups can we begin to work on them. This is why you cannot grow without a humble, teachable attitude. There is no growth without change, there is no change without fear or loss, and there is no loss without pain. Every change involves a loss of some kind; you must let go of old ways in order to experience the new.

Remember that your character is the sum total of your habits. You can’t claim to be kind unless you are habitually kind. You can’t claim to have integrity unless it is your habit to always be honest. The reason we must relearn lessons is that we forget them. One of life’s frustrations is that God’s timetable is rarely the same as ours. We are often in a hurry when God isn’t
Remember that God is never in a hurry, but he is always on time

We are simply God’s servants
In our self-serving culture with its me-first mentality, acting like a servant is not a popular concept. God determines your greatness by how many people you serve, not how many people serve you. This is contrary to the world’s idea of greatness that we have a hard time understanding it, much less practicing it. The early Muslims at the time of the prophet Muhammad argued about who deserved the most prominent position, and 1700 years later, the Muslim leaders still jockey for position and prominence in the community and religious institutions. Thousands of books have been written on leadership, but few on servant hood. Everyone wants to lead; no one wants to be a servant of God

The word servant is mentioned in the Qur’an 127 times in very powerful statements through the entire Qur’an. To be God’s servant, requires a mental shift and a change in your attitude. Servants focus on others not themselves. This is true humility: not thinking less of ourselves but thinking of ourselves less. You can’t be a servant if you are full of yourself. It is only when we forget ourselves that we do things that deserve God’s pleasure

Unfortunately, a lot of our service is often self-serving. We serve to get others to like us, to be admired, or to achieve our own goals. That is manipulation, not true submission. The whole time we are really thinking about ourselves and how wonderful we are!
The quality of self-forgetfulness, like faithfulness, is extremely rare. Thinking like a servant is difficult because it challenges the basic problem of my life: I am, by nature, selfish. I think most about me. That is why humility is a daily struggle, a lesson I must relearn over and over. Servants remember that God owns it all

To become a real God’s servant, you are going to have to settle the issue of money in your life. No servant can serve two masters …. You cannot serve both God and money. Living for God and living for money are mutually exclusive goals. Which one you will choose? If you are a servant of God, you can’t moonlight for yourself. All your time belongs to God. He doesn’t like part-time faithfulness. Money has the greatest potential to replace God in your life. More people are sidetracked from serving by materialism than by anything else. They say, “After I achieve my financial goals, I am going to serve God”. This is a foolish decision they will regret for eternity. God uses money to test your faithfulness

If you are going to be a servant of God, you must settle your identity with God. Only real submitters can serve. Part-time submitters, are always worrying about how they appear to others. They fear exposure of their weaknesses and hide beneath layers of protective pride. When you base your worth and identity on your relationship with God, you are freed from the expectations of others, and that allows you to really serve God best

God’s power in your weaknesses
Everyone has weaknesses. In fact, you have a bundle of flaws and imperfections: physical, emotional, intellectual, and spiritual. You may also have uncontrollable circumstances that weaken you, such as financial or relational limitations. The most important issue is what you do with these. Usually we deny our weaknesses, defend them, excuse them, hide them, and resent them. Your weaknesses are not an accident. God deliberately allowed them in your life for the purpose of demonstrating His power through you

A weakness, or “thorn” is not a sin or vice or a character defect that you can change, such as overeating or impatience. A weakness is any limitation that you inherited or have no power to change. It may be a physical limitation, like a handicap, a chronic illness, naturally low energy, or a disability. It may be an emotional limitation, such as a trauma scar, a hurtful memory, a personality quirk, or a hereditary disposition. Or it may be a talent or intellectual limitation. We are not all super bright or talented. God will use us if we allow Him to work through our weaknesses. For that to happen, we must follow the models of the messengers and the prophets especially the prophet Muhammad. Instead of living in denial or making excuses, take the time to identify your personal weaknesses. You might make a list of them
If you want God to use you, you must know who God is, and know who you are

There are several reasons to be content with our weaknesses. First, they cause us to depend on God. Our weaknesses also prevent arrogance. They keep us humble. Our weaknesses also encourage fellowship between believers. While strength breeds an independent spirit (I don’t need anyone else), our limitations show how much we need each other. When we weave the weak strands of our lives together, a rope of great strength is created
3:1013 “You shall hold fast to the rope of God, all of you, and do not be divided. Recall God’s blessings upon you…….”

Most of all, our weaknesses increase our capacity for sympathy. We are far more likely to be compassionate and considerate of the weaknesses of others. God wants you to have a characteristic of true believers on earth. That means other people are going to find healing in your wounds
4:28 “God wishes to lighten your burden, for the human being is created weak.”

All God’s giants were weak. Moses’ weakness was his temper. It caused him to murder an Egyptian, and break the tablets of the Ten Commandments. Yet God transformed him into one of the humblest men. The list could go on and on. God is turning weaknesses into strength
We have already seen that God gives grace to the humble, but many misunderstand humility. Humility is not putting yourself down or denying your strengths, rather, it is being honest about your weaknesses. The more honest you are the more of God’s grace you get

At some point of your life you must decide whether you want to impress people or influence people. You can impress people from a distance, but you must get close to influence them, and when you do that, they will be able to see your flaws. That’s okay. The most essential quality for leadership is not perfection, but credibility. People must be able to trust you, or they won’t follow you. How do you build credibility? Not by pretending to be perfect, but by being honest


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