Stress and Evil Forces
A vital teaching commentary by Ruth Greene
Luke 4:3 – Exodus 16:2 – Psalm 62:3-6 – Matthew 18:17-22 – James 2:8-26
Satan often attacks you at key moments of stress from failing to trust in Elohim [‘God’, YHWH]. Satan may tempt you as you begin to doubt and falter in unbelief. Even the most “devout” Christian that comes under continual attack and stress may begin to question the significance of the Messiah’s true identity if he doesn’t keep himself filled with the Word of Elohim. A disciple in a time of weakness may begin to question YHWH’s provision altogether as appreciation for YHWH and His sacrifice is diminished and the heat of trial increases. In these tough times, people are prone to listen to worldly satanic influence. These times can be especially troublesome in the face of temptation. Prayer always works. As you search for answers and strength, you protect yourself in advance by meditating on the unshakable Truth of Elohim’s Word. Even in moments of weakness, YHWH’s Truth is available and the Holy Spirit [Sanctified, Set Apart Spirit] is available to you at anyplace or anytime through the divine power of prayer.
As a disciple, you may discover that you are tempted not by your weaknesses, but through your strengths. The devil tempted Yahshua [Jesus] when he was hungry and had been fasting in the desert for forty days. Yahshua [Jesus] had power over stones, kingdoms of the world and angels. Satan wanted Yahshua [Jesus] to use that power without regard to His mission. When a disciple gives in to worldly influence by wrongly using strengths, the disciple becomes self-reliant and begins to trust in his own power. This is exactly what Satan wants. Self-reliance is the tool that demonic forces use most often to derail the faith of Christ-following disciples. Every strength you have is a gift from your Heavenly Father that is designed to be used in His service. A loyal disciple must dedicate every human strength to the Father’s service and then act on that committed service.
Stress Creates Doubt and Unbelief
Abraham’s wife, Sarah had not bore any children. Sarah began to reason that she needed to take matters into her own hands, despite the promise of YHWH. She had an attractive young maidservant and worldly customs of the day allowed for creativity in family procreation. Sarah began to reason that Hagar was the answer to her personal shame of barrenness. Sarah made the suggestion to Abraham and he quickly accepted the offer. At that moment, Abraham decided to act in line with human tradition of the time by showing a lack of faith in the promise that YHWH had given to him personally. Perhaps Sarah caught Abraham in a moment of weakness or perhaps Sarah made Abraham feel that he could not refuse. Human beings often let customs and tradition fill human need. Sarah took matters into her own hands by giving Hagar to Abraham. Abraham took Hagar into his hands and proved that both husband and wife were having problems with trusting in YHWH. Out of this lack of faith was borne a succession of human troubles, even a new nation that would rise to compete with modern-day Jews. When a disciple takes over Elohim’s promises to fulfill by himself, those efforts are not in His direction. Abraham and Sarah failed the test of their willingness to allow YHWH to work in their lives. They refused to wait on YHWH to provide what He promised. Many times, faithful disciples must simply wait on YHWH in order to maintain Christ-like faithfulness. To respond to temptation is to take matters into your own hands and interfere with the plans of YHWH. Can your Father still use you? Perhaps. However, humans often create many problems for themselves and others in the process of doing for themselves.
Although Sarah arranged for Hagar to have a child, she later blamed Abram for the results. Striking out in frustration is always easier than admitting an error in judgment. Adam and Eve did the same thing in Genesis 3:12-13. The jealousy and strife within the family was strong enough to chase Hagar away and to split the family into two opposing nations. Anger and strife that rise from shortcomings in Christian conduct are especially dangerous.
The Power of Praise and Worship
David made a vow to praise YHWH each day. He continually praised YHWH through good and difficult times of his life. As he found things to praise YHWH for, he was able to elevate himself above many daily distractions in life. Through his praise, David was able to express his feelings and reaffirm his faith. Prayer releases human tensions in times of emotional stress. Prayer releases trust to YHWH. Trusting Him to be your rock and foundation allows YHWH to work through you, changing your entire outlook on life. Being held captive by resentment toward others is no longer necessary as a disciple is able to rest his trust in Elohim’s strength. Trust cannot be diminished when you reside in YHWH’s strength. Knowing that YHWH is in control of your life allows you to wait patiently. He does rescue and provide true relief when relief would come no other way. When a problem is resolved by man, more problems are on the way! True relief comes from an enduring hope and faith in YHWH’s salvation. YHWH resolves the trials of His people.
Elohim Provides the Power
Binding and loosing or using YHWH’s power refers to the decisions of Elohim’s earthly body in conflicts among believers. YHWH did not design a human court of appeals beyond the realm of His people. Decision within the body of Messiah must be guided in YHWH’s righteousness and based on discernment of His Word. Believers are fully answerable to bring their issues to the body of Messiah to be girded and encouraged. The body of believers has the responsibility to use divine guidance in seeking to resolve conflicts and problems. Using the Father’s Way has an impact now and for eternity. The earthly ministry of Yahshua [Jesus] looked ahead to a new time when the Holy Spirit would rest upon the body of faithful disciples as counselor and divine strength. Sincere agreement of two people on Biblically-held principles is more powerful than the superficial agreement of thousands because YHWH’s Holy Spirit supports the prayers of His people. Two or more disciples filled with the Holy Spirit will pray according to YHWH’s Will and receive through His Will. It is not through the will of YHWH’s servants, but YHWH’s Will that the requests of believers are granted.
Love is Faith and Deeds
Our Great High Priest Yahshua [Jesus] told His disciples to love each other as He loved them. (John 15:12) This law sprang from Leviticus 19:18 as the basis for all law. The law of love reinforces how YHWH’s people are to relate to one another. (Matthew 22:37-48) The apostle Paul also provided emphasis in Romans 13:8 and Galatians 5:14. The goal of genuine disciples is to treat all people as they would want to be treated. Disciples cannot ignore others or YHWH’s love is withheld. However, disciples cannot favor other people for what those people can do in return. Does a Christian dare say: “I can’t keep every demand of my Father, why should I try?” The book of James reminds the dedicated that every man and woman is a lawbreaker since a human cannot follow the law perfectly. You can’t keep one part and throw away another part. Every human being needs the Messiah to cover their sins and must learn to measure by YHWH’s standards alone. YHWH’s standards also require that disciples must learn to ask for forgiveness and be willing to forgive. Through forgiveness, you are able to renew your faith. You are saved by YHWH’s free gift of grace through faith. You are also required to obey Christ. The apostle Paul reminded the faithful that all must appear before the judgment seat of Christ. (2 Corinthians 5:10) Divine grace does not cancel out the necessity of obedience. The law is no longer an external set of rules. Instead, YHWH’s Word is written on hearts, on what the Bible refers to as the seat of motivation. Elohim’s Word creates a joyful heart. Disciples have joy by willingly carrying out the power of His Holy Spirit. The Spirit works in and through each believer, purifying the influence of flesh and removing the carnal mind.
YHWH has the power to forgive. You can’t earn forgiveness by forgiving others. Forgiveness is still required. The failure to forgive shows that a disciple does not understand YHWH’s mercy or fully appreciate it. In this way, the disciple rejects the provision of YHWH. (Matthew 6:14, 15; 18:21; Ephesians 4:31-32)
“But someone will say, You have faith, and I have deeds. Show me your faith apart from your deeds, and I will show you my faith by my deeds. You believe that Elohim is One. You do well; even the demons believe and shudder. But are you willing to know, O vain man, that faith apart from deeds is dead? Was not our father Abraham justified by his deeds, offering up his son Isaac on the altar? – Romans 2:18-21
True faith always results in deeds, but the deeds do not justify or bring salvation. Faith brings salvation. Active obedience demonstrates that your faith is genuine. Faith changes lives. Rahab the prostitute became a woman of faith and righteous for what she did by giving lodging to Israelite spies and protecting them.