Archive for February 26th, 2008

The Truth about the Devil

Tuesday, February 26th, 2008

“Now is the judgment of this world: now shall the prince of this world be cast out.” John 12:31

Martin Luther had it right when he wrote the words of the hymn, “A Mighty Fortress Is Our God”: “For still our ancient foe doth seek to work us woe–his craft and power are great, and armed with cruel hate, on earth is not his equal.”

If you are a Christian, then you need to know that you have an adversary out there. He wants to trip you up. He wants to drag you down.

We should never underestimate the devil. He is a sly and skillful adversary. He has had many years of experience dealing with humanity. That’s why there are some important things we need to remember about the devil–things that the devil doesn’t want us to know.

We need to understand that satan is nowhere near to being the equal of God. God is omnipotent, which means that He is all-powerful. God is omniscient, which means that He is all-knowing. God is omnipresent, which means that He is present everywhere.

In sharp and direct contrast, we need to know that the devil does not reflect any of these divine attributes. Although he is very powerful, satan is not omnipotent. Nor is satan omniscient. He can’t know everything you are thinking. His knowledge is limited. Finally, he is not omnipresent. While God can be everywhere at the same time, satan only can be in one place at one time.

Most important of all, we need to know that the devil was soundly defeated at the Cross. There he lost his stranglehold on the life of the human race. As a Christian, you have been set free by the power of Jesus Christ.

Satan hates you and has a terrible plan for your life. If he cannot succeed in robbing you of eternal life, he will do everything in his power to deprive you of the joy, influence, and rewards that come from serving God in this life. Since satan cannot be in more than one place at a time, he has delegated much of his work to demons who discourage distract, and deceive through a variety of means. Contrary to what some suggest, there is no magic phrase or mantra we can say that will bind satan. But God has not left us without a divine strategy for dealing with our enemy. When huge pain comes into your life-like divorce, or the loss of a precious family member, or the dream of wholeness shattered-it is good to have a few things settled with God ahead of time.

While death is a decided fact, Death is also a defeated foe. We are able to laugh in the face of Death if we know the Lord Jesus Christ. I want to tell you, friend, Death may buzz around you and frighten you, but our elder brother, the Lord Jesus, bears that sting. Jesus took the sting out of Death, and He has given us a hope that is steadfast and sure.

What Do You Think?

Tuesday, February 26th, 2008

“For as he thinks in his heart, so is he.” (Proverbs 23:7)

When Jesus walked this earth, He blew the cover off the religious elite of the day: the Pharisees who smugly thought that if they did not commit certain sins, they were okay.  But somehow, they had rationalized that they could do these things in their minds and it was not sinful.  Jesus said, “You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’  But I say to you that whoever looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart” (Matthew 5:27-28).  They didn’t like that a whole lot.

What was Jesus pointing out to these men, and to us as well?  He was emphasizing again and again the importance of our minds, our hearts, and our attitudes.  That’s because sin is not merely a matter of actions and deeds.  It is something within the heart and the mind that leads to the action.

Sin deceives you into thinking that because you have not committed the act, you’re okay.  In reality, if you keep thinking about it, it may be only a matter of time until that thought becomes an action.  Even if it doesn’t, that thought is still spiritually destructive.  So you need to go out of your way as a Christian to protect your mind and your thoughts.  Satan recognizes the value of first getting a foothold in the realm of your thoughts and imaginations, because he knows this will prepare the way for that thought to eventually become an action.

As it has been said, “Sow a thought, reap an act.  Sow an act, reap a habit.  Sow a habit, reap a character.  Sow a character, reap a destiny.”  It all starts with a thought.