This article is part one of a series, of which I honestly do not know how many parts it will contain. I am going to approach a subject that, in my honest opinion, is not discussed enough. Yet, it is one of which the Lord warns consistently...We are in spiritual warfare.
Saved or lost, we are battling spiritually. If you are saved, thankfully, you are on the winning side. Yet, that does not mean that we are to live our lives non-chalantly.
I know many professed believers, who are content to view Lucifer as a benign creature. They view him as essentially powerless. The most power they might attribute to him, is that of enticing you to eat one too many bonbons.
Yet, the Lord does not describe him as such. The Lord Jesus Christ makes it very clear that Satan is the god of this world: "But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost: In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.-- 2 Corinthians 4:3-4
The "god of this world" is a very intelligent, brazen, and beautiful creature. He is not, as many would like to portray him, a powerless, ugly, nearly stupid being. How does God Almighty depict him?
"Moreover the word of the LORD came unto me, saying, Son of man, take up a lamentation upon the king of Tyrus, and say unto him, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Thou sealest up the sum, full of wisdom, and perfect in beauty. Thou hast been in Eden the garden of God; every precious stone was thy covering, the sardius, topaz, and the diamond, the beryl, the onyx, and the jasper, the sapphire, the emerald, and the carbuncle, and gold: the workmanship of thy tabrets and of thy pipes was prepared in thee in the day that thou wast created. Thou art the anointed cherub that covereth; and I have set thee so: thou wast upon the holy mountain of God; thou hast walked up and down in the midst of the stones of fire. Thou wast perfect in thy ways from the day that thou wast created, till iniquity was found in thee. By the multitude of thy merchandise they have filled the midst of thee with violence, and thou hast sinned: therefore I will cast thee as profane out of the mountain of God: and I will destroy thee, O covering cherub, from the midst of the stones of fire. Thine heart was lifted up because of thy beauty, thou hast corrupted thy wisdom by reason of thy brightness: I will cast thee to the ground, I will lay thee before kings, that they may behold thee. Thou hast defiled thy sanctuaries by the multitude of thine iniquities, by the iniquity of thy traffick; therefore will I bring forth a fire from the midst of thee, it shall devour thee, and I will bring thee to ashes upon the earth in the sight of all them that behold thee. All they that know thee among the people shall be astonished at thee: thou shalt be a terror, and never shalt thou be any more."
He does not sound anything like the way he is normally depicted, does he?
As for being bold and arrogant, how about the fact that he sought to subjugate God Almighty, manifest in the flesh?
"Then was Jesus led up of the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil. And when he had fasted forty days and forty nights, he was afterward an hungred. And when the tempter came to him, he said, If thou be the Son of God, command that these stones be made bread. But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God. Then the devil taketh him up into the holy city, and setteth him on a pinnacle of the temple, And saith unto him, If thou be the Son of God, cast thyself down: for it is written, He shall give his angels charge concerning thee: and in their hands they shall bear thee up, lest at any time thou dash thy foot against a stone. Jesus said unto him, It is written again, Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God. Again, the devil taketh him up into an exceeding high mountain, and sheweth him all the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them; And saith unto him, All these things will I give thee, if thou wilt fall down and worship me. Then saith Jesus unto him, Get thee hence, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve. Then the devil leaveth him, and, behold, angels came and ministered unto him."
Did you notice that these were not benign temptations? Christ Jesus had been fasting, for forty days. The devil decided to tempt Him with food. The Lord's very authority and Person was challenged. And, the very world for which He came to redeem, was dangled before Him.
If Lucifer is unafraid to tempt God, face-to-face, what makes you think that he would leave you alone? What makes you think that he just occasionally throws Twinkies in your path, to encourage you to gluttony; but, that he would not be more active than that?
Do you not realize that he wants to deface God? Do you not realize that part of his warfare, is to destroy the testimony of God in the lives of His children? The moment you left Satan's parentage, and were born again into the family of God, you became a prime enemy to him.
He will go after your marriage. Already, I have witnessed many a marriage, amongst professing believers, destroyed by the influence of the devil. What better a tactic, than to mar the image of Christ and His Church, than seeing Christians divorced? That way, no one gets to see the glorious redemption that the Bridegroom bestowed upon His Bride, nor the amazing love between the two.
He will go after your family. Endless selfishness, endless hypocrisies, endless bickering. Instead of folks seeing redeemed sinners seeking to serve, in Christ's love, one another, they see a constant barrage of self-serving individuals. They do not see what is supposed to be true charity. If that image is what is portrayed, who do they see?
He will go after your testimony. Playing loosey-goosey with the world is dangerous; trust me, I know. I have many friends, foes, and family members, ready to point out my sins from the times of my wandering from the ways of God. Gleefully, they point out how I "said" I was a Christian; yet, I did "this, that, and another thing;" or, I neglected some duty; or, I said "this, that, or another thing;" or, I neglected to say some thing. What better opportunity to besmudge God's power in a true believer's life, than to entice them to be lazy, carnal, licentious Christians?
It is but for the grace of God, that I am where I am today. It is but for His grace, that I am even accounted worthy of being able to minister, once again, for His good pleasure. I can claim no goodness of myself.
We should not look lightly upon our enemy. God warns us, and gives instructions on how to withstand Lucifer. Christ gives a prime example, when He was tempted in the wilderness. Again, if Satan would not stop at tempting God Almighty, what makes you think he will leave you alone?
We are being foolish, if we think that he is not a subtle, wise, intelligent, deceptive, seductive creature. If he cannot entertain you out of a productive Christian life, he will tempt you another way. He might even scare you away from even attempting to do anything worthwhile for Jesus Christ. Any thought of spiritual warfare frightens you. Why? It is out of your control. There is a world, unseen, that is more powerful than your wildest imaginations.
We cannot take on the devil, on our own. The Lord Himself makes that clear. Just read the book of Revelation. Satan is pretty powerful. Yet, only one name is able to make him powerless: the blessed name of the Lord Jesus Christ.
Remember when the archangel Michael disputed over the body of Moses, with Satan? He raised no railing accusation, but rebuked him in the name of the Lord: "Yet Michael the archangel, when contending with the devil he disputed about the body of Moses, durst not bring against him a railing accusation, but said, The Lord rebuke thee."--Jude 9
We should not be afraid, though. If you are born again, we rest in the mighty name of the Lord Jesus Christ! We stand in His strength. He is our advocate.
And, He has given us instructions, while He is away. He has not left us without hope, or without comfort. We have His Spirit within us. We have His word beside us. We have Him ever with us. If He has warned us, and instructed us, would it not behoove us to listen and apply what He says?
"Be ye therefore followers of God, as dear children; And walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweetsmelling savour. But fornication, and all uncleanness, or covetousness, let it not be once named among you, as becometh saints; Neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor jesting, which are not convenient: but rather giving of thanks. For this ye know, that no whoremonger, nor unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, hath any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God. Let no man deceive you with vain words: for because of these things cometh the wrath of God upon the children of disobedience. Be not ye therefore partakers with them. For ye were sometimes darkness, but now are ye light in the Lord: walk as children of light: (For the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness and righteousness and truth;) Proving what is acceptable unto the Lord. And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them. For it is a shame even to speak of those things which are done of them in secret. But all things that are reproved are made manifest by the light: for whatsoever doth make manifest is light. Wherefore he saith, Awake thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light. See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise, Redeeming the time, because the days are evil. Wherefore be ye not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is."
"Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness; And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God: Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints;"
"Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you."
"Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour: Whom resist stedfast in the faith, knowing that the same afflictions are accomplished in your brethren that are in the world."
1 Peter 5:8-9
With this knowledge in mind, what shall we do with it? Shall we run, in fear? Shall we dig our heads in the sand? Shall we seek to block it all out? Nay, we shall live circumspectly. We shall stand steadfast in Christ!
The choice, ultimately, is up to you. You can choose to continue living as though the devil is some benign being, that occasionally tempts you. You can pretend that he is not the god of this world, and is not in charge of a massive spiritual kingdom, whose sole purpose is to dethrone God. You can go about your merry way, entertaining yourself into a spiritual stupor. Or, you can wisely follow the Lord, as He directs our steps through this wicked, tempestuous world.