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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Idol of Self

Spennyelf absorbed reads the Bible from a purely individualistic view forgetting the eternal, global view. It forgets the higher purpose.

I recently realized that I tend to read the Bible from a certain perspective. Even though I am a teacher at heart I read the Bible from the perspective ‘how can I teach this’ or ‘who needs this’.

 

That sounds very unselfish doesn’t it? Sounds like my motives are for the greater good.

But are my motives really unselfish?

 

Maybe it’s not an argument of selfish or unselfish but of glory of self versus glory of God. I love the Bible. No kidding. I get all giddy and joyful when I read it or listen to it on MP3. Yes, I am a nerd. I love to study it. I love to get fresh revelation. The Bible is living and active. So a verse read 10 years ago can have new meaning today. It’s so cool.

I have to watch my motives because they could be driven by the idol of self. It’s that part of  all of us that enjoys the accolades, the glory, the ‘wow, you know a lot’.

If I never heard another compliment or shared a revelation or scripture would I still study it with such conviction?

That goes for anything in our lives. Many people have a calling or a gift or talent that brings them much fame and admiration among believers. But would they still do it if they never got another “atta boy/atta girl”?

The apostle Paul was so thrilled when he was put under house arrest. When he asked everyone to pray for him he asked for boldness and that the Good News would be spread to the Romans.

What if fear of failure was the other side of the idol of self coin?

That is the other thing that keep people from being effective. The ones that don’t do anything because ‘what if I fail’, ‘what if someone says something bad to me’?

The focus is still on self and not God. Idol of Self. It keeps all those gifts, talents, teaching, preaching, love, testimony, etc. from being used because we might fail.

Ask God to show you your inner motives.

What motivates me to serve the kingdom of God?

If I never received any glory from it would I still do it?

Am I willing to try and face the possibility of it not going the way I want but still see God glorified in it?

Prayer:

Heavenly Father, reveal my motives behind my actions for your Kingdom. If there is anything not pleasing to you I repent of those behaviors. Show me your truth and love for me. Show me your way. Thank you for loving me and using me. Amen. 

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