Satan is working in one of two ways in your life:

1.  To try to keep you from being saved.

Or

2.  To try to keep you from sharing with others how they can be saved, too.

Which way is he working in your life?

The great dragon was hurled down–that ancient serpent called the devil, or Satan, who leads the whole world astray. He was hurled to the earth, and his angels with him. (Revelation 12:9, NIV)

Advertisements
Published in: on September 14, 2013 at 10:21 pm  Leave a Comment  
Tags:

Thoughts on the Christian’s wanderings

From Ben’s penning,

So much of our lives are wasted running back to our old father, Satan, like a dog returning to its vomit (as Proverbs says).  There is no good there, and yet how do we not see that in the moment?

As a dog returns to its vomit, so a fool repeats his foolishness. (Proverbs 26:11, NLT)

The Fight

We must realize that Satan is

fighting

for our souls.

He is stronger than us, and he knows it.  He will always take our souls away from us, no matter what battle we would wage against him.  We can

fight

any way we like in our own power and we will never resist him.

–But–

Satan is weaker than Jesus, and he knows it.  Satan will never take souls away from Jesus, no matter what battle Satan would wage against Him.  Satan cannot

fight

hard enough to conquer God.

Satan has killed the Son of God, the only Person of the Godhood who can be killed (because Jesus chose to wear mortality over His immortality that He might die for us).

Satan can do no more to Jesus, except that he can strike at His followers, and this is not to win the war, but a lash out of vengeance.  But even if Satan fells a follower of Christ on the battlefield, he cannot claim the body.  Jesus was once dead, paid totally for sin, and holds the keys to Hades and Death on a keyring.

Jesus has been raised by His Father to the highest of glory and honor.  He sits on the throne of God and rules all kingdoms under His feet.  If He claims someone, He has them forever.  And if He walks on enemy ground, the enemy falls on their knees before Him.  The very breath of His mouth will one day kill Satan.  That’s how mighty He is.

We can

fight

And Satan can

fight

But God can

fight.

I do not trust in my bow,

my sword does not bring me victory;

but you give us victory over our enemies,

you put our adversaries to shame.

In God we make our boast all day long,

and we will praise your name forever.       Selah

(Psalm 44:6-8, NIV)

‘Not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit,’ says the LORD Almighty. (Zechariah 4:6b, NIV)

But the fight

I have come to accept that the closer I get to God, the more hellish Satan is and the harder he tries to clutch at me.

But the fight . . is already won.

Jesus said, “It is completed.” Bowing his head, he gave up his life. (John 19:30b, CEB)

I’m convinced that God, who began this good work in you, will carry it through to completion on the day of Christ Jesus. (Philippians 1:6, GW)

_______________________________________

See Copyright Page for Bible translation information.

Published in: on June 5, 2012 at 9:17 pm  Leave a Comment  
Tags: , ,

Disguise

What comes to mind when I think about the Devil?  A pitchfork, red suit, horns?

Even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. (2 Corinthians 11:4b, NLT)

It’s easy to think of Satan inciting people to become axe murderers.

It’s harder to think of him in the “little white lie” I told.

It’s even harder to think of him in the pastel, foil-wrapped chocolate eggs that try to turn the message of the resurrection into a day about bunnies and scavenger hunts.

I don’t have a hard time seeing Satan’s handiwork in the woman who slaps her child in the face . . or the man who terrorizes his family . . or drug addict who sells her child’s food stamps for another fix . . or the boss who demeans and abuses his employees.

But is Satan any less at work in my self-serving hatred for or despondency of them?

I can see Satan in a mob . . but can I see him in my gossip?

I can see Satan in the crazy prejudice that leads one man to kill another . . but can I see him in the subtle sleight I give to someone I’m sure I’m superior to?

I can see Satan in a robbery . . but can I see him when I take credit for something that isn’t mine?

I can see Satan in a terrorist . . but can I see him in my underhanded bullying of someone I don’t really think belongs in the same space as me?

I can see Satan in a drunk driver . . but can I see him when I speed or text when I’m driving?

I can see Satan in a concentration camp . . but can I see him when I fail to do anything for those who are trapped or helpless who I know?

I can see Satan in a murder . . but can I see him in my grudge?

Most of the time, I think Satan’s favorite way to work

is in disguise.

But he is waiting, waiting.  Biding his time for when he can reveal himself to everyone he

owns.

If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. (1 John 1:8, NIV)

“He [Satan] was a murderer from the beginning. He has always hated the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, it is consistent with his character; for he is a liar and the father of lies.” (Jesus, quoted in John 8:44b)

On all fronts

It seems to me like I’m under enemy fire on all fronts, wherever I go, and just about whatever I do.  Feelings like rage, discouragement, frustration, helplessness, spite, and a slough of other highly-skilled terrorists work 24/7 to knock me down, keep me from serving God, drag me into sin.

Satan knows what he is doing.  He has thousands of years experience convincing people to sin.  And if one sin doesn’t work, well, he’ll just try another.  And another.  And another.  With every temptation I resist, a sneakier or harder-to-resist one sometimes crops up in its place.

I hate dragging myself off the battlefield at night, wounded from enemy fire and sometimes even realizing I was duped into fighting most of the day for the wrong side.  I hate knowing that I’ve lost more ground than I’ve gained, that my warfare strategies have been crumpled in a ball and thrown in the trashcan.

It makes me think I’m not doing spiritual warfare very well.  I belong in God’s army now, but do I know how to fight?  Do I know how to defend myself?  Do I know how to attack?  Or am I just wandering around aimlessly waiting until a surprise attack blows me to smithereens?  Am I so clueless on the weapons of God that I can’t even engage in battle against darkness?  Am I so hopelessly cowardly that I’m hiding behind any bush I can find, thinking someone else will surely step up to battle for me?

My favorite character in Pilgrim’s Progress other than the main character, Christian, is a man named Fearless.  When everyone else shirks in fear at the thought of following God by fighting their way through Satan’s demons, Fearless steps up to take his turn.  He raises his sword and does not lower it until he has sent the last demon standing in his way to the ground.

Christian learns from what he sees in Fearless.  When he has to fight his own nightmare, Apolyon, he knows the danger.  He could be slain in a heartbeat, but he’s afraid of much worse.  He fears his soul is in jeopardy, and the odds are impossible: a mortal man facing a monstrous, winged demon?  Apolyon invites him to give up, to simply go back to living like someone destined for Hell.  Apolyon promises he’ll be satisfied at that, that there will be no war, no bloodshed, no terror.

But Christian has seen Fearless fight, and Christian raises his sword for a fight worth more than his life.

.  . . that’s one thing for a character in a made up story, but it’s a whole ‘nother thing for me–right?

Who says the story is made up?

God has been making it very clear lately that I’m not ready for war.

My faith is in Jesus Christ.  My heart is after His will for my life.  I see God changing me in ways I could never change myself.  God has taken burdens away from me that I could never have dreamed could have been lifted.

But, at no one’s fault but my own, I still have some rutted habits that aren’t dying.  I still have some patterns of behavior that aren’t changing.  And I still have a whole lot of situations where I’m unsure what to do, half-hearted, overwhelmed, confused, or just wasteful of the opportunities God has given to me.

God, in His incredible grace, has adopted me as His child.  He has enlisted me in His army.  He has held out His war plan to me.

But what I’m seeing in my life is that, if God doesn’t blatantly reveal or give something to me, I’m nowhere and nothing close to ready for battle.  I seem to forget that I even have armor, and I’m unsure how to wield the sword I’ve been given.  My shield seems to be expecting direct intervention from God all the time, and He has been so good to give that to me so many times . . . but I feel Him calling me to responsibility.  I have never even liked that word, but I feel myself longing to be equipped, to be ready, to do more than cry “Help!” every time an enemy arrow flies my way.

I’m tired of losing.  I’m tired of giving up.  I’m tired of getting messed up and fighting for the wrong side.  I want to be like Fearless.  I am a Christian, and I have to fight Apolyon too.

I don’t want to keep asking God to get me out of traps and forgive me for firing at the wrong side and fight my battles without me.  I am ready to ask God to fight through me.  I am ready to charge for the enemy.  I am ready to receive victory by Jesus Christ through my most difficult battles.

I’m ready to live an Ephesians 6:10-17 life.

The war is on.

Finally, let the mighty strength of the Lord make you strong. Put on all the armor that God gives, so you can defend yourself against the devil’s tricks. We are not fighting against humans. We are fighting against forces and authorities and against rulers of darkness and powers in the spiritual world. So put on all the armor that God gives. Then when that evil day comes, you will be able to defend yourself. And when the battle is over, you will still be standing firm. Be ready! Let the truth be like a belt around your waist, and let God’s justice protect you like armor. Your desire to tell the good news about peace should be like shoes on your feet. Let your faith be like a shield, and you will be able to stop all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Let God’s saving power be like a helmet, and for a sword use God’s message that comes from the Spirit.  Never stop praying, especially for others. Always pray by the power of the Spirit. Stay alert and keep praying for God’s people. (Ephesians 6:10-18, CEV)

Scripture taken from the Contemporary English Version © 1991, 1992, 1995 by American Bible Society, Used by Permission.

See Copyright Page for Bible translation information.

The Snake

Satan is not a snake.  Yet, of all the animals he could have chosen in his plot to destroy humanity and hurt God, Satan delivered his message through a snake. Why? Listening to a talk by Rick Teepen on snakes, I realized God has given us clues about the character of Satan through snakes.

  • Snakes constrict.

Satan cinches his hold over us through sin.  We are in bondage to sin.  (See Romans 6:1-11, Hebrews 2:14-15)

  • Snakes poison.

Satan uses sin to poison our thoughts, words, and actions.  (See Romans 3:13, James 3:7-8)

  • Snakes swallow their prey whole.

Satan desires as many souls as possible to be swallowed up in Hell with him. (John 10:10)

  • Snakes grow throughout their lives.

Satan can introduce sin as the smallest possible evil, but, over time, sin overtakes our lives with its monstrosity (see Galatians 5:9, James 3:5-6).

.          .          .          .          .          .          .          .          .          .          .          .          .          .          .          .          .          .          .          .          .          .          .          .          .

The good news is, Satan is no match for God.

The man said, “The woman whom you gave to be with me, she gave me fruit of the tree, and I ate.” Then the Lord God said to the woman, “What is this that you have done?” The woman said, “The serpent deceived me, and I ate.”

The Lord God said to the serpent,

“Because you have done this,
cursed are you above all livestock
and above all beasts of the field;
on your belly you shall go,
and dust you shall eat
all the days of your life.
I will put enmity between you and the woman,
and between your offspring and her offspring;
he shall bruise your head,
and you shall bruise his heel.” (Genesis 3:12-15, ESV)

And this promise for all who believe in Jesus and follow Him:

The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you. (Romans 16:20, ESV)

___________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Photograph by benet2006, profile on http://www.flickr.com/people/benetd/

Photograph is under Creative Commons License.

See Copyright Page for Bible translation information.

Published in: on October 5, 2011 at 10:17 pm  Leave a Comment  
Tags: , , ,