Friday, April 27, 2012

The Reality of Evil

We often think of evil in the obvious sense.  Murdering a child is evil.  Stealing is evil.  Rape is evil.  We all know that quite well, but what we miss is the evil in our every day lives.  While those things are evil, that is not the kind of evil I am talking about today.  The kind of evil I am talking about if the kind that is not so obvious.  I am not talking about Satan with a pointy tale and pitchfork.  I am not talking about horrifying demons with horns and sharp teeth.  I am talking about the real Satan, not to glorify him, but to expose the reality of who he truly is. 
But what I do, I will also continue to do, that I may cut off the opportunity from those who desire an opportunity to be regarded just as we are in the things of which they boast. For such [are] false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into apostles of Christ. And no wonder! For Satan himself transforms himself into an angel of light. Therefore [it is] no great thing if his ministers also transform themselves into ministers of righteousness, whose end will be according to their works.  2 Corinthians 11:12-15 NKJV
Many like to talk of Satan as the accuser of the brethren in that he accuses us.  While that may be true in some circumstances, what that Scripture is mostly referring to is Satan accusing us to God.  The examples of this are Job and Peter.  The Satan we usually encounter is not the one who is going to try and make us feel bad about our sin lest that conviction turn us to God.  The Satan we usually encounter is the one who puts his arm around us and encourages us in our sin.  He wants us to believe we are right in our sin and to feel good about it.  He tells us "everyone is doing it."  He tells us "you have a right to be happy."  He tell us "just follow your heart, your heart can't be wrong."  Depending on the sin he will either tell you "it will not hurt anyone" or "that person deserves to be hurt, that person wronged you."  He puts his arm around us as a friend and coaxes us to fall further and further into sin.  We may even try to argue that what we are considering is wrong, Satan (who knows the text of Scripture better than you) will twist the Word of God.  Just as he said to Eve, he will ask "Has God really said..?"  

Many believe that Satan likes to tells us how much God hates us, but is that really the case?  Satan did not say that to Eve or even to Jesus when he was tempting Him.  Satan is more likely to, once again, encourage sin.  He will tell you "don't worry, God will forgive you."  (Technically that is true, but our motivation to sin should never be that God will forgive us.)  After he gets you to take that first step in sin, he will tell you "See, no lightning, God is ok with it."  He will show you others who are doing the same thing and living well and tell you that God has not judged them.  Just as Satan said to Eve, Satan will tell you "surely you will not die" each step further into apostasy that he leads you. Satan is there to ruin you relationship with God, to drive you away from the Lord.  He wants you to sin, to create that wedge in your relationship. 

Finally, once we are caught up in sin, Satan will try to convince us that God made us that way.  The homosexual movement is big on this one.  He tells you that you can not change and that God must have made you that way.  He tells you that you are just being true to who you were created to be.  He tells you that God loves you just the way you are.  Again, God does love us as we are, especially when we come to Jesus.  But God also loves us too much to leave us in the same condition we were in when we met Him.  God will cleanse us, sanctify us, and grow us from babes in Christ to men and women of God. 

We like to think of Satan as a scary snarling beast.  We like to think of him as a hateful dreadful being with blood dripping at his fangs just waiting to destroy us.  More likely, when you meet him, he will be that smooth talking friend putting his arm around your shoulder and gently encouraging you down the path of destruction.  He is not going to be one to intimidate you, but one to deceive you.  He was so bold as to try to deceive Jesus into sinning knowing full well who He was, please do not ever think he would not try to the same to you.  There was a book written some time ago called "The Beautiful Side of Evil" and it is about a woman who was seduced by the false peace and beauty of evil (in her case it was the New Age movement) before God revealing to her the wickedness of what she was involved in and ultimately leading her to Christ.  Evil only sometimes appears evil.  Usually it looks "spiritual", fun, enriching, natural, and even beautiful.  It is when we put our guards down and allow ourselves to be seduced the the false and shallow "beauty" of evil that we fall.  

What I write today is, again, not to glorify Satan.  He deserves no glory.  I am merely sharing the reality of our enemy and that he is out to get you.  What I am writing is a warning.  Stand strong, remain vigilant and steadfast, and always keep your eyes on God.  Never feel you are so strong you can never fall.  Peter thought that, as did countless ministers in recent history who fell to shame when caught in their sins.  It is when you let your guard down that Satan comes in, puts his arm around you, and begins his wicked plan to destroy you, your witness, and your relationship with God. 
Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. 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.  Ephesians 6:10-13 NKJV

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