By James Holland
“Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil” (Matthew 4:1, NKJV).
The question that must be answered is “Who is the lord of my life?” In James 1:13, we are told that God does not tempt us to lure us to evil, but He does test us to give us an opportunity to show how much we love Him. It’s all about our loyalty to God. If we don’t understand this, Satan will use temptations to lead us to our ruin, to a wasted life, and to bondage to sin. God’s intentions are always to refine, strengthen, and make us better. Satan’s, on the other hand, are always to destroy.
What does Satan want from us? In short, he wants us to sin so that our souls will be separated from God. He is angry with God and is particularly annoyed that at least some of the human race will be redeemed. What he would really like to do is to prove that he can meet our deepest needs more successfully than God. He wants us to believe that if we follow him, we will have more potential, fulfillment, and happiness. Fat chance! Just look at his life and his future.
He wants us to believe that there is no need for confession of sin, no need for submission to God. All we need is to be self-absorbed, self-motivated, and self-driven.
The Approaching Storm
How does Satan start his approach to pull us away? First, he lies about who God is. Satan is especially interested in selling another gospel with a sweeter message and, I might add, a bogus guarantee. Sometimes, Satan uses blatant lies; at other times, he mixes truth and error. If we are blind to a part of the truth, we are open to deception. We must know what God says!
We all know what devastation natural storms can bring to our planet. Yet make no mistake about it, this spiritual storm of betrayal has the potential to destroy more good people in their spiritual walk than we can imagine. Regardless of how much you love God or how committed to His kingdom you are, you must know that the storm of betrayal will blow into your life.
What is this? It’s the time in your spiritual walk when everything you know and believe, when everything you are committed to, will be challenged and the opportunity to betray truth and all that God is and has been to you will be pressing heavily upon you. At this time, even though God is with you, it seems He will be silent, even as Jesus was before His accusers. It is at this time we must have a fixed mind on whom we serve and what we believe.
We need only to look at the temptation of Jesus to see what strategies Satan will use to try to convince us to betray our God. While navigating through the treacherous waters of the storm of betrayal, you will feel just about everything except what you want to feel. The winds of discouragement will beat against your will to go forward. The waves of disappointment will begin to break upon your life one after another until they become one giant tidal wave.
The unending, pounding rain will come at such a forceful rate that it will surely seem you will not survive. With the ever rising waters of the storm of betrayal, every dream, every hope, every inch of forward progress you have ever enjoyed will seem to be in jeopardy of being lost. The sunshine is gone. The soft south winds are not blowing. The ports of safety at which you have in the past been able to land to get renewal and strength are nowhere in sight.
You, my wayfaring traveler, are in a storm. No doubt, the storm of your life. All blessings have disappeared. No reassurance of any angelic host of ministering spirits to assist you. Everything you are is being questioned! Your salvation! Your faith! Your confidence in God! All of these are being challenged.
Then, all at once, in the midst of this hellish midnight, when everything you trusted in and depended upon seems to have vanished, there is another vessel sailing in this storm. Yet something is very strange about this ship. It is going the opposite direction. You notice immediately that the waters around this ship are calm. The name of this ship is not the ship of Zion or the ship of Hope. Oh no! The name of this ship is My Way! You notice the captain of this ship strangely distant, even though he seems to be kind and very concerned about your dilemma. He even offers you a ride out of the storm!
Before you are so quick to board the ship My Way, you need to take note of what is being said. The master of this ship is offering you some advice that he says will secure your deliverance from the storm of betrayal. What is this advice? Please take note; it is the same strategy that was used against Christ Himself. The setting is just different. There, it was a wilderness.
This friendly yet strange captain begins his dialogue with you. “If you are a Christian, speak faith to this storm, and it will cease.” What did he say to Jesus? “If You are the Son of God, command that these stones become bread” (Matthew 4:3, NKJV). Make no mistake about it; this disillusioned captain is very aware of how faith works. He also realizes that, because of the severity of the storm you are in, the possibility of your being tempted to turn back is greater than ever. He wants you to turn from the will of God. After all, it is a legitimate request to calm the storm. Right?
Yet his true motive is to get us to cater to our flesh more than to our trust in God’s sovereign hand to direct us and to keep us. If we bite at this, then he will proceed to try to get us to question the Word that has been at work in our lives. After all, did not God say He would always be with us? Yet where is He? You see, Satan wants you to choose to turn from the plan and purpose of God in your life. Surely all you are going through now cannot be the will of God! You have been faithful. You have given too much! You have always been committed. You simply do not deserve this.
The captain of the ship My Way will take you out of the storm, or so he says. He offers justification for your potential rebellion. The question you must answer is, “Will you believe this voice shouting out to you from the ship My Way? Or, regardless of the raging storm of betrayal that you are in, will you hold on to what you know is right?” If there is any consolation, maybe it is this: you are not the first to be caught in the storm of betrayal.
Samson was in the storm and, unfortunately, gave in to My Way and lost it all. Jonah, the prophet who preached one message and saw an entire city turn to God, was in the storm of betrayal before his great revival. Saul, the first king of Israel, had everything going his way until he encountered the storm of betrayal. He did not survive it. Job faced it, yet he survived it. Peter, the future apostle, was caught up in this storm’s tormenting fury and almost didn’t survive. Judas, one of the twelve who was handpicked by the Master, faced this storm and didn’t survive. On and on the record goes of the men and women who have encountered the storm of betrayal. Many survived. Unfortunately, many didn’t.
What is the determining factor to surviving or losing all? Choice! That’s it! It’s all about the choice you make. God never allows the storms of life to come to destroy us, only to test our will of commitment, to see if we will obey the voice of God that has been spoken into our lives.
What did God say to Abraham after his storm of betrayal? Because Abraham was willing to kill the very miracle that he had prayed for, waited for, and that his entire future was dependent upon, God said to him, “Because thou hast done this thing, and hast not withheld thy son, thine only son: that in blessing I will bless thee, and in multiplying I will multiply thy seed as the stars of the heaven, and as the sand which is upon the sea shore; . . . and in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed; because thou hast obeyed my voice” (Genesis 22:16-18).
I challenge you to weather the storms. Abraham knew his victory had already been given, so he obeyed. We too must know that our victory has been given and that our God is faithful. He will finish what He has started in our lives. Never forget the storm will end; just be sure that when it does, you are still going in the right direction, serving the same God.
You will then experience even greater anointing and greater authority as you pray and speak. You have obeyed God’s voice, even when given the opportunity to betray Him. Satan will now have a much more difficult time tempting you to betray God. God, on the other hand, will manifest Himself even more in your life. You have joined the ranks of the highly anointed of the highly favored. You have survived the storm of betrayal! So prepare to walk even closer to your God. That’s victory!
This article “The Dark Storm of Betrayal” by James Holland Sr. was excerpted from the book: Chosen for Victory. It may be used for study & research purposes only.