Advent Study – DAY 11
Kingdoms of Pleasure
the “World of Pleasure”!
Christian Believers, those true followers of Christ and His Word, live in two worlds. Until Christ’s second coming, where all will be either resurrected to be with the Father, or judged to face eternal separation, Satan has taken charge of the physical world. On the Advent Card, the two trees reflect the warfare between these two worlds – God’s Kingdom and Satan’s rebellion. Jesus taught about the conflicts between these worlds, “No one can serve two masters. For you will hate one and love the other; you will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and be enslaved to money.” (Luke 16:13 NLT). Those who choose to rebel with Satan, through either choice or indifference, and seek their own way live in only one world, actually serve Satan as their master. Those who repent and accept the Gifts of Forgiveness, Freedom, and Fulfillment also live in a second world – the Kingdom of God – and actually serve the Father as their Master. These two worlds are at war for each soul – YOUR SOUL included! Jesus focused on preparing his followers to live successfully in both worlds, while remaining in God’s Kingdom. In his Lord’s Prayer, Jesus teaches his followers the “disciplines of obedience” for navigating the temptations of pleasure, power, and pride. The first challenge is understanding temptations of the kingdom of pleasure.
Jesus’ Message of HOPE in “Pleasure”:
- “Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted there by the devil. For forty days and forty nights he fasted and became very hungry. During that time the devil came and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become loaves of bread.” But Jesus told him, ‘No! The Scriptures say, ‘People do not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.’” (Matthew 4:1-4 NLT).
Conquering PLEASURE TEMPTATIONS -
Winning in “Guerrilla” Warfare:
Attacking when Vulnerable: Satan attacked Jesus when it seemed he was most vulnerable. He was physically weak from fasting – there was pleasure in eating and instant gratification - both essentially good things. Satan attacked Jesus’ SELF-IMAGE, assuming Jesus’ time alone would leave him uncertain about his value, purpose, and calling. This is Guerrilla Warfare – attack by surprise when you think you have the advantage over your opponent. What Satan did not account for was that Jesus could discern between human pleasure and God’s priorities. He had not been alone for the 40 days, but rather with his Father, preparing for victory. His fasting did not leave him spiritually weak, but rather well disciplined to obey the will of his Father. He was not out-advantaged, for he had the TRUTHS of God’s Word to defend him. Satan tried to catch him “off guard” by stating a truth - Jesus certainly had the power and authority to do it “his way”. In a stunning victory over the temptations of pleasure, Jesus referred to a greater TRUTH, God’s Word – “The Scriptures say, ‘People do not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.” The surprise attack failed to get Jesus to misuse pleasure for gain. Pleasure was not “down-graded”, but rather pleasing the Father was “up-graded”.
Jesus’ Secret to Temptations of Pleasure: God created us with drives, desires, and appetites. He designed us to experience thrills, challenges, accomplishments, and a host of mental, physical, and spiritual pleasures. These are often healthy needs and wants. Because of the power of pleasure, however, this is an area where Satan will often attack to defeat, or at least misdirect believers. In Matthew 6:33 (NLT), Jesus tells us his secret to conquering the misuse of pleasure: “Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need.” Pleasure must always please the Creator, too. Because he was disciplined, Jesus knew that he could “wait” for His Father to meet his pleasure needs. Trust, faith, and clarity of purpose helped him be prepared for this sudden attack. We can find these for our HOPE in God’s Word. Many temptations of harmful pleasure come upon us unexpectedly. There are few warnings in guerrilla warfare. God’s Word and relationship had prepared Jesus to know “who he was” and “how to use his gifts” to God’s glory. The very attack meant to defeat him, gave him a pleasure Satan could not destroy – he had obeyed the Father. He reflected “disciplined obedience” and won this battle. More was to come.
Get prepared. Take 5 minutes to read Other Pleasure Warfare & Discipline Messages of HOPE. Find the verse that says you are “stupid” if not disciplined.
Other “Pleasure Warfare” &
“Discipline” Messages of HOPE
1) We must live in 2 Worlds if we “Hook-Up” to God’s Kingdom and “Obey”:
- James 2:5 (NLT) “Listen to me, dear brothers and sisters. Hasn’t God chosen the poor in this world to be rich in faith? Aren’t they the ones who will inherit the Kingdom he promised to those who love him?”
- Peter 1:4 (NKJV) “… by which have been given to us exceedingly great and precious promises, that through these you may be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.”
- 1 John 2:17 (NKJV)”And the world is passing away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever.”
- 2 Corinthians 10:5 (NKJV) “… casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ, …”
2) Disciplined Obedience brings HOPE and LOVE and LIFE:
- Revelation 3:19 NLT “Those whom I love I rebuke and discipline. So be earnest and repent.”
- Ephesians 6:4 NLT “Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord.”
- Proverbs 10:17 NLT “Whoever heeds discipline shows the way to life, but whoever ignores correction leads others astray.”
- Proverbs 12:1 NLT “Whoever loves discipline loves knowledge, but whoever hates correction is stupid.”
- Proverbs 13:1 NLT “A wise son heeds his father’s instruction, but a mocker does not respond to rebukes.”
- Proverbs 13:24 NLT “Whoever spares the rod hates their children, but the one who loves their children is careful to discipline them.”
- Proverbs 22:6 NLT “Start children off on the way they should go, and even when they are old they will not turn from it.”
- Proverbs 22:15 NLT “Folly is bound up in the heart of a child, but the rod of discipline will drive it far away.”
- Proverbs 29:15 NLT “A rod and a reprimand impart wisdom, but a child left undisciplined disgraces its mother.”
- Proverbs 29:17 NLT “Discipline your children, and they will give you peace; they will bring you the delights you desire.”
- Titus 1:8 NLT “Rather, he must be hospitable, one who loves what is good, who is self-controlled, upright, holy and disciplined.”
- Proverbs 23:13-14 NLT “Do not withhold discipline from a child; if you punish them with the rod, they will not die. Punish them with the rod and save them from death.”
- Hebrews 12:10-11 NLT “They disciplined us for a little while as they thought best; but God disciplines us for our good, in order that we may share in his holiness. No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.”
- Job 5:17-18 NLT “Blessed is the one whom God corrects; so do not despise the discipline of the Almighty. For he wounds, but he also binds up; he injures, but his hands also heal.”
- Proverbs 3:11-12 NLT “My son, do not despise the LORD’s discipline, and do not resent his rebuke, because the LORD disciplines those he loves, as a father the son he delights in.”
- Deuteronomy 8:5-6 NLT “Know then in your heart that as a man disciplines his son, so the LORD your God disciplines you. Observe the commands of the LORD your God, walking in obedience to him and revering him.”
- 1 Corinthians 9:25-27 NLT “Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last, but we do it to get a crown that will last forever. Therefore I do not run like someone running aimlessly; I do not fight like a boxer beating the air. No, I strike a blow to my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize.”
- 2 Corinthians 7:9-11 NLT “… yet now I am happy, not because you were made sorry, but because your sorrow led you to repentance. For you became sorrowful as God intended and so were not harmed in any way by us. Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret, but worldly sorrow brings death. See what this godly sorrow has produced in you: what earnestness, what eagerness to clear yourselves, what indignation, what alarm, what longing, what concern, what readiness to see justice done. At every point you have proved yourselves to be innocent in this matter.”
- Psalm 94:12-14 NLT “Blessed is the one you discipline, LORD, the one you teach from your law; you grant them relief from days of trouble, till a pit is dug for the wicked. For the LORD will not reject his people; he will never forsake his inheritance.”
- Hebrews 12:5-9 NLT “And have you completely forgotten this word of encouragement that addresses you as a father addresses his son? It says, “My son, do not make light of the Lord’s discipline, and do not lose heart when he rebukes you, because the Lord disciplines the one he loves, and he chastens everyone he accepts as his son.” Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as his children. For what children are not disciplined by their father? If you are not disciplined—and everyone undergoes discipline—then you are not legitimate, not true sons and daughters at all. Moreover, we have all had human fathers who disciplined us and we respected them for it. How much more should we submit to the Father of spirits and live!”
(Trust In The Lord)
The Truth Satisfies
Jesus is All The World to Me
Day 11 Study Challenge: Never give up! Jesus' "grace" is all you need! Just connect again - He wants you to enjoy pleasure His way. Choose 2 Choose - "Live your life in the 'NOW'"!
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