When we trust in the Lord, we know that He will provide. We may not know how He will provide, but we can be confidence that He has our eternal welfare at heart. But in a state of temptation, we have doubt. We want to feel certain about what is going to happen.
‘By what shall I know that I shall inherit it?’ means temptation directed against the Lord’s love which wished to be made quite certain of the outcome. This becomes clear from the feeling of doubt which the words express. Anyone who is undergoing temptation experiences doubt as regards the end in view. That end is the love against which evil spirits and evil genii fight and in so doing place the end in doubt. And the greater his love is, the more they place it in doubt. Unless the end in view which a person loves is placed in doubt, and even in despair, there would be no temptation. A feeling of certainty about the outcome precedes, and is part of, victory. (AC 1820; Elliot)
All of us have a need for certainty in our lives. None of us are comfortable when chaos reigns. We don’t all, however, need the same kind of certainty in our lives. Some of us really like fixed routines in our lives, others don’t mind living moment to moment. Some of us need fixed and definite answers to our religious questions and issues, while some of us our comfortable not knowing for sure what the right answer or action is.
Sometimes our need for certainty prompts us to create more certainty than actually exists. Instead of believing that there is value in both “looking before you leap” and “not crossing the bridge before you get to it”; we hold fast to just one approach.
In states of spiritual temptation, evils spirits cast a darkness over our confidence in the Lord’s providing. We are not content with a trust that the Lord will provide what is best for out eternal welfare. We want certainty. We want to know what He will provide and how he will do. And we want His provision to be what we want and like.
Unfortunately what we often want is not what is best for our eternal welfare. Trust in the Lord means that we have to endure some uncertainty.
April 23, 2017 § Leave a comment
I appreciate this and would add that one of the major causes of disappointment with God is the thinking that he didn’t write the story the way we expected him to. We were so certain we were right!
Your post also reminded me of Greg Boyd’s thought on the Idolatry of Certainty – http://www.theworkofthepeople.com/the-idolatry-of-certainty.
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