How the satan will defeat you

 

The satan is the title reserved for the one who opposes God. By extension, he is also the one who opposes those who follow God. He is sometimes referred to as the devil, the prince of the power of the air, and the enemy of God. Jesus told us his mission in John chapter ten when He said, “the enemy comes to steal, kill, and destroy…” He is the leader of rebellions and the father of lies. And his sights are set on you and me.

Reading the title, you may think that I have a very cynical view of the fight for our spiritual survival. I assure you, it’s very much the opposite. In fact, I think it’s one of the most important struggles in every human’s story. It’s one in which the follower of Christ has every tool to win, yet every opportunity to still lose. I know many believers who are faithfully waging war every day and walking in victory. However, I see people every year fail to see the subtleties of their own crippling. Which, if left untreated, will lead to paralysis.

In any war, the most valuable information would be the enemies strategic plans. Fortunately, in this spiritual war, that’s exactly what we have. This enemy of ours doesn’t even change his strategy through the ages. It’s been the same since the very beginning. We already know that the satan wants to kill, steal, and destroy, but how? It’s simple, and very subtle. He wants to divide and cause doubt. Whenever and wherever you see those two things, you know who is behind it. That’s why Paul says in Romans 16 to stay away from people who cause divisions. And doubt is nothing short of the opposite of faith.

Jesus said in Matthew 12 that a house divided against itself cannot stand. On a personal level, that’s exactly what doubt does for a person’s mind. It tears it into opposing directions. And on a collective level, the illustration is obvious. I’ve seen several instances where certain people will come into a church and start causing rifts and divisions. My family and my wife’s family have fallen prey to the same thing. Friendships have been torn apart, teams collapse, business go under, all because of division. In terms of military strategy, the best way to defeat and enemy is to divide their forces and to cause confusion. In this war, I see the enemy’s fingerprints nearly every day.

It starts, often times, by being too busy. When we’re honest we have to admit that there is no such thing as too busy to spend time with God. We simply choose to use our time for other things. We make work, kid’s activities, and hobbies our priorities. Interject some entertainment in the mix and all of a sudden we are just too tired. Believe me. I get it. I have a full time job, I also own a business, and I have three kids. Life is full and it is hectic. And what the enemy of our souls wants us to believe is that we are just too busy for that bible study time, to get away to pray, to sing worship songs, or to serve others. But, we all know that’s deception at its best. The life that crowds out God is the life divided from God. There’s nothing more that the satan would want then for parents to not spiritually invest in their children because they’re too busy, or go to church because they made other plans, or leave the Bible at home while we race off to work. It’s not about being busy. The apostle Paul and all the other first century church planters were busy. It’s about losing sight of what matters. We’re prospering and are successful in life yet our souls are wasting away from starvation. That is how we lose. That is how the satan will defeat you. He will separate you from your source of life and from those in your life that can help nourish it.

I’ve done a few weeks without going to church and I feel it. Sure, I do my own study, devotionals, and podcasts. But there is no replacement for being in a group. We lose our rear guards, our accountability, and our encouragement. We drift into a life of self-centeredness. When separated from others, we shrink back into ourselves.

The more we get divided from God and His people, the more we begin interpreting the Bible on our own terms. Truth begins to lose its footing in our hearts. Compromise after compromise leads us further down the black hole of spiritual ineptitude. The further down we go the less God and His mission become a priority to us. We are losing. And we are withering away and don’t even know it. Oh, we can feel something is off. But the fall has been a gradual one. And the climb back up seems insurmountable. So why try? Well, because your life depends on it. And so does your family. And your friends. And every other relationship you have.

For the one who relates, and finds themselves in this story, don’t let him win. Reconnect with others and reunite with God. Sing more, pray more, read and study more. Make time to soak in His presence. There is nothing more valuable in life. There is no one too far from God to be restored. There is always hope for the wandering heart. Because our Good Shepherd is always looking for His sheep. If you know someone who has drifted away, stay close to them. Don’t lose hope. Keep praying. The darkness can be lifted any moment and they will see the light. For those in step, undivided, and devoted. Remain strong and vigilant. It only takes one choice to derail the train. Stay strong and stay faithful. Us weaker people need your example.

God bless brothers and sisters and remember the victory has already been won for us. We just have to walk in it day after day.

Wait for the first raindrop

Reincarnation-of-a-Raindrop-Wisdom-Parable

At a hospital near where I live, they’ve been building a large two-story add-on wing. They’ve been working on it for months and they’ve had large crews of trained construction workers, as well as the luxury of all the modern day equipment. It seems like weeks go by and it doesn’t look like much progress is being made. Several months in the project is nowhere near completion. That brings me to another large building project. In Genesis chapter 6, Noah was given an incredible task…to build an ark in preparation for a disastrous event, unlike anything that had ever occurred in human history. This ark was far larger than the hospital wing in my home town. It was even many times the size of a famous landmark that has made headlines recently…the Cathedral of Notre Dame. It’s one of the most famous buildings in all of Europe. Construction of the massive church began in 1163, during the reign of King Louis VII, and was completed in 1345. That’s nearly two hundred years for one building. Noah had a work crew that consisted of his family and no modern building equipment. That’s a monumental task!

Have you ever been asked to do something extremely difficult? How about being prompted by God to do something that would cost you big? Noah’s entire life was dictated by this project. It was his future. It was his calling. As if this wasn’t hard enough, the Bible also tells us that he spent those years preaching about the impending judgment and the path of redemption that God had provided. So now, Noah has to build a giant boat, that would house multiples of every animal on Earth, and in addition, he is tasked with sharing a difficult message to a world that had rejected God. I imagine that there would have been plenty of opportunities for doubt and weariness to set in.

If you find yourself involved in circumstances that don’t exactly make sense, take heart. Keep moving forward. Learn from Noah, who continued on the path God had set him on, regardless of the hostility he faced. Regardless of the length of his efforts, Noah persisted. Keep in mind, Noah worked on the ark longer than any of us have been alive. That’s perseverance. That’s commitment. That’s faith. For Noah, it was all about being faithful while waiting for that first raindrop to fall. The reward, for Noah and for us, is in staying the course regardless of the cost. If you were asked to build a giant boat for an apocalyptic event that had never happened before, you wouldn’t think it made sense. I’m sure Noah had his questions too. It was, after all, human. But he weathered the uncertain because he loved the God who was certain. Don’t lose heart brothers and sisters. That same God is certain in your life too.

Have you not known? Have you not heard?
The Lord is the everlasting God,
    the Creator of the ends of the earth.
He does not faint or grow weary;
    his understanding is unsearchable.
He gives power to the faint,
    and to him who has no might he increases strength.
Even youths shall faint and be weary,
    and young men shall fall exhausted;
but they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength;
    they shall mount up with wings like eagles;
they shall run and not be weary;
    they shall walk and not faint.

Isaiah 40:28-31 ESV