Thursday, August 5, 2010

Could it be Satan?

A favorite excuse among Christians for just about anything wrong in their lives is Satan. Some Christians take this to a major extreme and draw maps where demons live and base their entire theology around being some sort of demon-slayer.  Some Christians just use him as a convenient excuse when things do not go our way or if we feel down about something.  I am here to say that we need to stop glorifying Satan and start seeking and glorifying God.

First of all, Satan can not do anything to us as Children of the Living God or even our stuff without God's explicit permission and with God's limitations.  Satan, even though he is rebellious, is still under the sovereign authority of God.  If God is all-powerful, it can be no other way.  Satan can not affect God's will.  Let's look at Job. 
So Satan answered the LORD and said, "Does Job fear God for nothing? "Have You not made a hedge around him, around his household, and around all that he has on every side? You have blessed the work of his hands, and his possessions have increased in the land. Job 1:9-10 NKJV
There is a hedge of protection around us and even our stuff.  Satan can not touch us or that which we own without God's explicit permission.  So when our cars break down or we get sick, or we feel under some kind of attack by Satan the reaction should not be to complain about the devil but to seek after God.  God is allowing it to happen for a reason with the ultimate goal of a deeper and closer relationship with us. 

Satan can also tempt us but even then his reach is shortened by the Will of God.  Satan will come at us with everything.  He knows our weaknesses.  He know our failures.  He wants us to fail.  But he does not have the power to make us fail.  God allows him to tempt us to strengthen and test us and if we fail and if we fall its not because Satan overpowered us, it is because we rebelled.
And the Lord said, "Simon, Simon! Indeed, Satan has asked for you, that he may sift you as wheat. But I have prayed for you, that your faith should not fail; and when you have returned to Me, strengthen your brethren." Luke 22:31-32 NKJV
This is amazing and shows the sovereignty of God.  Satan needed permission to tempt Peter, and apparently wanted a lot of leeway.  He wanted to put Peter through the ringer.  God allowed it knowing Peter would fall, but look at the end.  Jesus knew that ultimately Peter would return to the Lord stronger then he was at that point in time.  This is not a story of Satan tempting Peter, its a story of the triumph of God. 

I am not saying God wanted Peter to sin and that is not what we should take from this.  Peter went away a broken man after denying Jesus.  May we never go so far as to be broken by God.  Satan can tempt us but it always our choice to sin.  He is limited in that he can tempt but never to the point where it is too much.  Here is an amazing promise of God.
No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it.  - 1 Corinthians 10:13 NKJV
So how to handle those attacks that God does allow?  The Bible again as the answer. 
Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.  For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God;  -- Ephesians 6:11-28 NKJV
Note the only offensive weapon is the Word of God.  That is our weapon because that is where our hope lies.  Satan is the father of lies and God's Word is the ultimate Truth.  His lies can not stand up to God's Word.  The whole armor of God is predicated on His Word.  The Bible is Truth and therefore we gird our waist with Truth.  His Word reveals our righteousness in Him and therefore the breastplate of righteousness.  We shod our feet with the gospel of piece, that same Gospel the whole Word is centered on.  We have the shield of faith, a faith built on the foundation of the Word of God.  And finally the helmet of salvation, that promise and hope we all look to, a promise made by His Word. 

And finally, its bad enough we give any credit to Satan at all but let's not give him credit for things that we are at fault for.  Sometimes your car breaks down because you failed to maintain it or because things wear down over time.  Sometimes you are stuck in traffic because you left too late.  Sometimes you get sick because you don't wash your hands enough or just being close to someone who is contagious.  Not everything that happens is an attack my Satan.

If you want to resist his temptations then get into the Word.  If you want to be closer to God, get into His Word.  And please, don't whine about Satan oppressing or attacking you but give God the glory for taking you through it.  Rejoice in your trials. Rejoice in your testings. Even rejoice in your chastisements because those things are allowed because God loves you.  Remember that always - God loves YOU and nothing Satan or anything else in this world and beyond can change that.
And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose. For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren. Moreover whom He predestined, these He also called; whom He called, these He also justified; and whom He justified, these He also glorified. What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things? Who shall bring a charge against God's elect? It is God who justifies. Who is he who condemns? It is Christ who died, and furthermore is also risen, who is even at the right hand of God, who also makes intercession for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? As it is written: "For Your sake we are killed all day long; We are accounted as sheep for the slaughter." Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.  -- Romans 8:28-39.

2 comments:

  1. I love James 4:7 that says "Submit yourselves therefore to God (we leave that part out often!), resist the devil and he will flee from you."
    Simple as that, submit and resist!!

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  2. Love this part:

    "If you want to resist his temptations then get into the Word. If you want to be closer to God, get into His Word. And please, don't whine about Satan oppressing or attacking you but give God the glory for taking you through it. Rejoice in your trials. Rejoice in your testings. Even rejoice in your chastisements because those things are allowed because God loves you. Remember that always - God loves YOU and nothing Satan or anything else in this world and beyond can change that."

    ReplyDelete