Text: "Now when the devil had ended every temptation, he departed from Him until an opportune time." (Lk.413).
"Opportune time" refers to a well-chosen or particularly favorable occasion for an act. It is a time suitable or convenient for a particular occurrence . It is an event well-timed to meet the exact demands of the occasion. It could be an appropriate time to do something. It is always a time to strike or hit someone or something. In some cases, such an occasion is used to carry out a dastardly act. The Greek word for " opportune" time is KAIROS.
("Opportune time" has two faces: positive and negative) . An example of the positive face is waiting for a good time to invest in the stock market, make purchases when prices are low, then sell the shares back as soon as the price picks up, so as to make profit on the long run . While the negative side entails people taking advantage of others to manipulate them for exploits or destruction . Essentially , the crux of this submission is to give an insight into the impact of the negative use of "opportune time" as it affects believers from the biblical stand point , and our contemporary world, and steps we can take to not fall victims of unfavorable "opportune time."
Skills & Strategies @ "Opportune Time " :
A comprehensive "opportune time" requires some strategic positioning , extreme watchfulness, and well taken vantage positions, so as not to miss the (unwary) target or potential victim. It may require some mental scheming, flatteries or persuasions (the devil used this majorly for Jesus), to lure the potential victim to the hidden danger. There may be the need to rehearse for the "opportune time" , or be familiar with the terrain, so as to cover all possible loopholes. Assailants take zero tolerance for chances or mistarget. All things being equal, assailants want to get the job done on the first attempt. They are a near perfectionists. These skills and schemes are strong strategies and weapons in the arsenal of assailants. In some cases , a close ally of the intending victim might be used to carry out the dastardly act , should the victim prove too smart or stubborn.
These strategies and weapons work effectively most of the time especially if the weakness or mindset of he to be lured, is known and cashed in on, by the actors. For example, knowing that Julius Caesar had an inordinate ambition for power, the conspirators tipped his (Caesar's) closest friend, Decious Brutus, (for he knew his other weakness to be flattery), to persuade him to come to the Capitol. Deciuos Brutus said of the victim, in one of the conspirators' meetings, " being the most flattered." With this, Caesar was carefully talked into death. The speech he used to arrest his mind says "inter alia" , "the Senate had decided to present Caesar a crown and if he did not go, then they might change their minds." ( William Shakespeare , Julius Caesar). True to their prediction, Julius Caesar fell for the trap. He, Julius Caesar, so much trusted in his invincibility, such that all pleas from the wife, Calpurnia, fell on deaf ears. The rest is history.
SIDEBAR: If there are human flaws believers have to avoid like plague, FLATTERY is one of such.
Jesus Christ & The 'devil' :
The interaction between Jesus Christ and the devil, as recorded in the gospel of Matthew 4: 1-13, will be the springboard to launch into this discourse. It is ironic that the devil saw the period of Jesus' fasting as the very "opportune time", even while Jesus Christ was filled with the Holy Spirit , to put Him to temptation. This is an indication that the devil is bold and daring. He's cunny and thickish, too . However, it does not matter how much power is ascribed to the devil , fact remains he has no AUTHORITY . He's just roaring about, strategizing and looking for whom to devour, given a favorable "opportune time."
Having failed in all the three temptations he threw at Jesus Christ, and the supposedly attached benefits of each , he left Jesus Christ alone . The devil withdrew really, but he was not giving up! He was waiting for another "opportune time" - a good time in his scheme to strike. This time around, he probably might come more determined and deadlier. The devil is not giving up. He is resilient and stubborn. He is waiting, patiently too, and would wait for as long as he sees another chance to hit. His mindset was that a time would come when Jesus Christ would let down His guard so he can sneak in to do the unthinkable. To the best of his ability , the devil had explored all possible avenues to hack the LORD down, but could not succeed. Deep down within him, he's still convinced that there should be a loophole he should be able to cash in on, to carry out his nefarious activity. Hence, he just retreated temporarily waiting to grab another of such opportunity.
SIDEBAR: At times, deep insights and revelations to things of the Spirit are revealed during the period of abstinence from food, as Jesus Christ encountered here. At such times, victories are at hand . The outcomes of such victories are a redirection from the LORD, to prepare us for the next assignment . I can, to an extent relate with this. Precisely nine years ago, while waiting on the LORD in a corporate fast of 100 days, I had a revelation of job termination. I did not take it seriously. To me it was one of those things...only to get to my job same morning to be terminated ! The entire scenario of termination played out exactly the way it came in the revelation I had overnight ! Extempore termination, you might call it, and you are right . That was an event that changed my orientation to divine revelations.
Friends and beloved, this is a word for us. Believers especially ! What are those weak points and loopholes in our lives that the devil is watching closely to cash in on? Or how are we resting on our oars having overcome the devil in previous temptations? Is the victory going to be short-lived or would it stand the test of time?
As believers, there is no gainsaying the fact that we live in a depraved and perverted world where the devil is holding sway, within the limit we permit him. It's a world that he is painting with series of alluring and distracting temptations , that even the saints are being swept away . The devil is banking on series of "opportune times" and occasions to deceive even the elect. He is using several subtle means to creep into places of worship to arrest the minds of the saints. He's in a hurry to deploy all arsenals in his armory to get his infamous assignment done. He knows time is not on his side. He is deploying anger, displaying series of indecent songs, indecent modes of dressing, reeling out worldly songs, carousing, orgies, and unholy pleasures. We have all these inglorious acts thrown at our faces on a daily basis. He's using series of avenues, especially the social media to be sure we have a brush, in the least, with the corruption in the world. The signs are palpable and the handwriting is visible on the wall for whoever cares to read and take heed.
Nevertheless, in all these, there is hope for us. Hence the need to be more watchful and prayerful and make the word of God our best friend. The level and depth of the word of God in us determines how we resist the temptations and overcome all "opportune time" he has tied to each of these ungodly acts and conducts . 1Jhn. 2:15-17, implores us, "do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world- the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life- is not of the Father but is of the world. And the world is passing away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever."
Hence, we need to be prepared and respond to, and overcome the devil each time he comes with his pranks. Let us remember he is not unfamiliar with the word of God . He used that a great deal to cow the LORD to do his bidding. He said, "For it is written : He shall give his angels charge over you, to keep you, and in their hands they shall bear you up, lest you dash your foot against a stone." (Lk.4:10-11). Jesus overcame and defeated him by the more in-depth knowledge of the WORD. The devil is always on the move looking for opportunity to unleash the most painful shot, regardless of the victim's status. His practical "modus operandi" is simply to creep in to a mind that is vulnerable , take root , and manifest from there.
The architect of Jesus' betrayal, Judas, was caught in this loop also. Together with his cohorts, he sought an "opportune time" to effect his unholy act. The moment he agreed to betray the Master, he negotiated the deal and swung into action, seeking the best occasion to 'deliver' on their terms of agreement. The scriptures record it that, "from that time he sought opportunity to betray Him." (Mt.26:16). The team of conspirators cashed in under the cover of night to execute the ungodly act. They figured out that doing that during the day will be counterproductive to their aim. As far as they were concerned , the night time was the ideal "opportune time" to wrap up their nefarious deed. Jesus Christ knowing of their evil hearts retorted, "when I was with you 'daily' in the temple, you did not try to seize Me. But this is your hour, and the power of darkness." (Lk.22: 53). The hour in this context is the much sought and carefully selected "opportune time" to arrest Jesus Christ .
Prayer: I pray you will escape all "opportune' time in the calendar of the enemy to bring you down . Amen!
Believers & The 'devil' In Our World : To sow the seed of affliction in our generation, the devil is, as always, seeking an "opportune time ." In his usual characteristic cunny manner, more often than not, he does not do it while men are at alert. He waits patiently till man lets down his guard . The most prime time he waits for to strike is our "sleep time." Sleep time in this context is two-fold : spiritual and physical. This was succinctly captured in Mt.13:25 thus, "but while men slept, his enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat and went his way."
Sleep time either way, and in a general sense is a time or state of unconsciousness . A time we are not aware of the happenings around us. The devil always sees such time as an "opportune time" to execute his infamous deed(s). He strikes, and goes his own way. His going his own way is not fun. He's expecting a result anytime soon. The world is sitting on a time bomb. The days of living a care-free life are over , for believers who intend to remain overcomers . The need to be watchful and intentional at times like this cannot be overemphasized either . Jesus Christ saw this ahead "...for the ruler of this world is coming, and has nothing in Me." (Jhn.14:30) . He had overcome all the pranks and antics of the devil. We need to follow suit and live above board.
"Opportune Time " In & Our World:
The subject under discussion could well be driven home viewed from the lens of happenings in our contemporary times. Events in recent decades happening in this direction show that several lives had been terminated or cut short by unknown marksmen who sought such occasions as "opportune time" to carry out the dastardly acts. Consequently, lives are cut short in their prime, relationships are severed , blood baths all over the place, and consequently, tears flow ceaselessly . Families that had hitherto enjoyed a life of bliss suddenly are thrown into mourning. All because somebody somewhere is taking vengeance probably for betrayal in business deals, aggressive drive for inordinate political ambitions, insurance money, lust of the flesh and desire for opposite sex , or simply because of personal aggrandizement . These are just a few of the arrays of selfish motives that the devil threw out there for his followers to hold on to, to break the morale of the nations , at will. No nation is exempted. Is the end at hand? Probably so... for it is written "but the end of all things is at hand; therefore be serious and watchful in your prayers." (1 Pet.4:7). No better way to exhort us believers of the dangers pervading the air in our world.
Prayer: May we escape all ungodly "opportune time" schemed against us. Amen !
The devil is on a destruction and killing spree , sneaking into some heartless folks, leaning on every "opportune time" available , to hack down unwary victims . It continues unabated in a vicious cycle until something drastic is done to stem the tide. No one knows who is next ! Danger looms large and the entire human race is practically at the mercy of this active, destructive and intelligent enemy.
Beloved, an "opportune time" , as enumerated in this context, is our moment of vulnerability - a time we are more likely to yield to and fall into temptation. It's a real time the devil is always looking forward to, to unleash deadly attacks. Given the least opportunity , he hits the hardest knowing us enough and our moments of weakness. Not only does he seek an "opportune time" , he tailors his temptations and wiles to simply align with with our natural inclinations , desires, and lusts. He so well crafts these 'weaknesses' in a manner that makes it almost impossible to resist . The major step to overcoming him is to not let down our guard by resisting him , "Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil , and he will flee from you." (Jam.4:7) . Jesus Christ was a model for us in this wise. On the long run, we have to be intentional not to be caught off-guard. Our main anchor passage from the scriptures to effectively do this is found in one of the latter counsels of the LORD Himself, in the Garden Of Gethsemane, "watch and pray , lest you enter into temptation." (Mt.26:41). The battle against ungodly "opportune time" is not a day's fight. As long as the earth remains, it's a battle that continues ad infinitum. At any rate, we are victorious in the name of the LORD !
May the LORD help us ! Amen.
DEDICATION: I dedicate this particular piece to my beloved mother, Mama Margaret I. Emosu, a.k. a Mama Nurse. She would have been 85 years old today, ( August 1st 1938- January 25th, 2021).
© August 2023
Being A Monthly Scripture Nugget
From The Desk Of
Olusegun A Emosu
The Redeemed Christian Church Of God, Rehoboth Parish.
1789, S Stonemountain Lithonia Rd,
Lithonia GA 30058 (404 644 4127)
August 1st, 2023
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