Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Daily Digest #289

War broke out in heaven . . . . [And Satan] was cast to the earth. —Revelation 12:7-9

Allow me to share excerpts from the reading "What In The World Is Satan Doing?", pp. 29-32:

The Only Answer To Satan's Lie

Just as Satan successfully tempted Adam and Eve to sin, he still tempts each of us today. His lies don't change. Satan still tells us, "You can't trust God. He isn't concerned about your happiness. There is no danger in disobeying His laws. He knows that you can be equal to Him. You know what is best for you."

Satan's lie that God cannot be fully trusted can be countered only by the gospel with its doctrine of incarnation. Man cannot answer the devil's lie with an appeal to nature or human experience. These can present mixed messages, sometimes giving the impression that God is good and other times implying just the opposite. The natural world is merciless, offering horrible spectacles of terror and suffering. Catastrophes such as storms, floods, and earthquakes claim thousands of innocent lives, and scores of terrible diseases spread death and despair. The natural man is easily convinced that any evidences of God's love, goodness and mercy are only a cruel joke in light of the real world -- the world ruled by the law of fang and claw.

Each of us has had his own experience of ruthless realities of a fallen world. Disease and accidents have unexpectedly crippled and killed family members or friends. Many of us have been hardened and disillusioned by betrayal at the hands of people we trusted. To harden the pain of further disappointed and betrayal, we have become like actors in an old-fashioned melodrama.

We conceal our true faces behind masks, driven by fear to play a role rather than to allow others to see us as we really are.

God understood the effects of our fears on our darkened minds. He knew that we were not capable of resisting Satan's lies -- that our personal experiences of life in a fallen worlds would cause us to have insurmountable doubts about His goodness and love. Only a supreme act of grace could overcome the deep impression made by natural evil and satanic lies. This is one of the reasons God became a man.

By entering our dimension of time and space, God allowed us to see a reality far above that our fallen world. In the person of Jesus Christ, the holy light of God's love shone brightly in the midst of our world's darkness, dispelling Satan's power to deceive us (Jn 1:9-10; Heb. 2-14-15).

God knows the earthly sorrows of His creatures. He embraced us in our sin and weakness -- personally sharing our experience of fear, alienation and death. The apostle Paul wrote:

God demonstrates His own love towards us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us (Rom. 5:8).

When we believe what God says in His Word about Christ, we will be delivered from doubt about His goodness. We will also be freed from the fear that He in His holiness will condemn us. Instead of trying to flee from Him into philosophies that deny His existence, we can approach Him. We can be realistic about our sinfulness and yet be confident in His forgiving grace.

How Can We Defeat Satan?

On the basis of the salvation God has provided for us, the Scriptures lay out practical guidelines by which we can defeat Satan.

  • Have Confidence In God. The first decision we must make to be freed from Satan's power is to choose to trust God. We must acknowledge our helplessness, sinfulness, and lost condition. Then we must accept the free gift of salvation He has offered us in Christ and stand before God clothed in His Son's righteousness (Phil. 3:1-9; Ti. 3:5).
  • Submit To God and Resist Satan. Although Christ has given us authority over Satan (1 Jn. 4:4), we can exercise it only as we submit ourselves to God and resist the enemy (Eph. 6:11; Jan. 4:7; 1 Pet. 5:8-9).
  • Be Aware Of Satan's Strategies. Satan can take advantage of us if we are "ignorant of his devices" (2 Cor. 2:11). For example, by harboring anger, we "give place to the devil" (Eph. 4:27); by depriving our marriage partner of sexual intimacy, we give Satan an opportunity to tempt us (1 Cor. 7:5); by placing an unqualified man in a position of leadership in church, we take the chance of making him vulnerable to pride and to "fall into the same condemnation as the devil" and "the snare of the devil" (1 Tim. 3:6-7).
  • Put On The Armor Of God. Using the metaphor of a well-equipped Roman soldier, Paul told how we can be prepared for spiritual welfare (Eph. 6:11-18).
    • The belt of truth. Since Satan depends on deceit to maintain his power, our first line of defense is to be truthful. We must never distort or misinterpret the truth, regardless of any advantage we might gain in doing so.
    • The breastplate of righteousness. Any sin in our life leaves us open to Satan's attack. Even though we are given the righteousness of Christ (2 Cor. 5:21), we must still continually put on the protection of holy living.
    • The shoes of the gospel of peace. With our feet firmly planted on the truth that we are at peace with God and that He is on our side, we can stand firmly against Satan's attacks.
    • The shield of faith. In order to quench the "fiery darts" of Satan's temptations, we must trust and believe what God has said about every area of our life.
    • The helmet of salvation. This is the confidence that there is coming in the future a great victory celebration. It's also referred to as the "hope and salvation" (1 Th. 5:8). This helmet protects us against Satan's two-edged sword of discouragement and doubt.
    • The sword of the Spirit. Since the Word of God is the basis of our faith, we need to learn how to wield it with authority. Scripture is our best offensive weapon against the devil (Mt. 4:1-11).

After he described the armor, Paul said that we are to be in constant prayer. Prayer expresses our dependence on God. We can fight against Satan only "in the [strength of the] Lord and in the power of His might" (Eph. 6:10). In the power of Christ with the armor of the Spirit we will be victors. End.

I wouldn't type all these if I didn't think it's worth reading. I pray that we make time to assess ourselves, our values, our priorities, our choices. May we admit our weaknesses and lift them all to God, together with our fears. May we trust that He is with us, battling evil, keeping us strong in faith, hope and love. Pray always.

Labels: ,