Is there a devil?

square_4975537676There are 2 approaches prevalent in today’s society regarding a spiritual enemy

1. Ignore the possibility of an enemy-the devil

2. Blame everything on the devil.

2 Cor 2:11  …so that Satan will not outsmart us. For we are familiar with his evil schemes.

Eph 6:12 We do not struggle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms

Ignore the possibility of the devil:

This results in detrimental self-criticism that was not intended for you to carry

The first approach usually results in a life of self-condemnation and unforgiveness which is expressed in thoughts of self-loathing: I’m not good enough, I’m a terrible person, I can’t do anything right, I’m not strong enough or my personal favorite “I can’t…”. The other result is toward others. It consists of attitudes of easily hurt by others, holding onto hurts and wounds for years and deep bitterness. When we ignore the works of the devil we take on his temptations and thoughts he is responsible for as our own and see no way out. Depression, anxiety, and difficult relationships are then common.

I’ve heard Christians say “I don’t want to give the devil too much power in my life by acknowledging him.” Or the are just scared to admit there is an unseen but very real enemy attacking them.

The other camp blames everything on the devil:

The devil made me do it is not a valid excuse. This approach can result in an attitude of no responsibility for anything which is equally as dangerous. We do have a will and a choice to make right decisions. People who blame someone else and never take responsibility for their own actions are not only exasperating to everyone around them but find themselves in big messes and walk around with a sense of entitlement. This creates a cycle of take, excuse, hurt, and become blinded by their own excuses.

But there is a flip side to this type of approach. People that see a devil behind every tree. This is dangerous because while we must be aware of our enemy we cannot attribute every behavior and action to him. That is giving him too much credit.

There is a biblical happy medium.

Here’s a list of things you need to know about your enemy

  1. He wants to keep you from knowing Jesus and the life, truth and freedom Jesus brings

2 Cor 4:4 In whom the god of this world (devil) hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God should shine unto them.

  1. He wants to keep you from being effective in the Kingdom of God once you accept Jesus

Keeping you too busy, too tired, too broke, too self absorbed, too involved in anything but God’s work. So he can’t take you to hell now, but he sure can keep you from taking anyone to Heaven.

  1. He is relentless

He will keep working on that same sore place. He never stops 1 Peter 5:8 Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking who he may devour.

  1. He is pure evil, there is nothing good about him, he cannot do good in any way; John 8:44 …there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own; for he is a liar and the father of it.
  2. He often disguises the lie with a little truth and when we believe the lies we give him more power in our lives Matthew 4:2-11, Jesus tempted by the devil. The devil tempted him with truth that was tainted with deceit.
  3. He is powerful but is a defeated foe only by Jesus Christ. Col 2:15 And having spoiled principalities and powers, he made a shew of them openly, triumphing over them in it.
  4. He wants to destroy you and your family and will do so by any means necessary
  5. His work can be detected by reading the Bible and praying for God to show you
  6. It’s a gilded cage-looks good on the outside but the results are extreme bondage
  7. Some of his work is disguised as your own thoughts because people don’ t realize thoughts can come from God, the devil, or your flesh.

I’m sure some of you Bible scholars can add a few more.

If you were a general of an army and were about to go to battle against your enemy wouldn’t it be wise to learn as much about the enemy and his schemes and strategy as possible?

That’s what the Bible does. God gave us knowledge to read and study. He also gave us weapons.

2 Corinthians 10:3-4 For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. 4The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds

And read Ephesians chapter 6.

We must not be ignorant of the devils schemes and how he easily entangles us. We must search out the scriptures for God’s truth. You can live a life victorious here on earth. But you must be aware and be in prayer.

 

 

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photo credit: KayVee.INC via photopin cc

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