We blame the devil too much…time to look in the mirror

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The Bible is very descriptive of the devil: who he was, who he is, his fate, what he does, and why he does it.  We know through various passages that:

  • He was the chief angel who led the heavenly host in worship (Ezekiel 28:12-18).
  • He was was full of pride and wanted to switch places with God:  instead of being the worshipper, he wanted to be worshipped (Isaiah 14:12).
  • There was a great war in heaven. He lost and was cast out with a third of the angels (Revelation 12).
  • Until his time of punishment comes, he is doing his best to destroy us.  (Revelation 12:7). Plain and simple, he hates God. He hates us because we were created in God’s image.  We are God’s children, the apple of His eye, His beloved, the ones He created.  He has carved us on His Hand. We’re the ones He suffered, died, and rose for; the ones whom He forgives, restores, cleanses, heals, and saves! And the enemy seeks to destroy us because we’ve been completely redeemed and because he wants to break God’s heart.

The devil will do his best to disrupt our lives, derail our hopes, decimate our faith, deceive our hearts, and damage our souls. “For you are the children of your father the Devil, and you love to do the evil things he does. He was a murderer from the beginning and has always hated the truth. There is no truth in him. When he lies, it is consistent with his character; for he is a liar and the father of lies” (John 8:44).

His weapons are very subtle but yet very obvious:

  • Whispers – So many voices go through our heads:  our own, other people’s, God’s, and the enemy’s.  It’s up to us and the Holy Spirit to discern the source.  But in moments of weakness, we get our signals mixed and allow ourselves to be led astray.
  • Deceives – He lies to us in an attempt to get us to disobey God’s Word and deny the Truth.
  • Discourages – While God has great plans for us, the enemy tries to convince us that God has forgotten us, or that we’ve sinned to greatly, etc.
  • Harasses – The devil relentlessly troubles us by repeated attacks regarding troubles or cares…
  • Torments – He reminds us of our past, our failures, our hurts, and gets us to believe preposterous lies. Bitterness, hurt, resentment, hatred…he is well aware of our pressure points.

But this is the problem:  when we do the enemy’s job for him.  From Jesus’ own lips, “you love to do the evil things he does.” Unfortunately, we give into our own feeble plans and selfish desires.  We blame the devil for so many things, but yet, God’s people are more than able to screw up His plans and one another’s lives.

  • “The devil is a liar.”  Yes, that’s true. But do we repeat it? Do we become his mouthpiece and public address system?  The dangers grow with social media.  Do we gossip, slander, tear down, spread dissension?
  • “We’re not going to allow the devil a victory.”  Bold words but we’re the only ones who allow the enemy to win. Are we living for God? Are we committing habitual sin? Do we lie?  Steal?  Give in to lust? We are told not to give him a foothold, an opening…but through our disobedience, we open the back door and still let him sneak attack us.  Often this phrase is uttered because we’ve already yielded ground to the enemy.
  • “Our fight is not against people on earth” (Ephesians 6:11-12, NCV).  I always laugh when I hear people quote this verse because usually it’s too late. We say this as a reminder to ourselves after conflict has already happened.  In the middle of anger, we pull up wisdom that should have been practiced in the first place.  We make people our enemy.

Here’s some obvious pointers for maintaining victory in Christ despite the enemy’s onslaught.  While we are to wage war, I think our focus is diverted to the wrong place.  We forget the Blood Stained Cross which has already declared the winner.  Too often, we fixate on the enemy, rebuking him, talking forcefully to him, even in the middle of our worship.  It’s no longer about Christ.  I believe that the greatest form of spiritual warfare is to simply obey God, again, not giving him an inch of territory to step on.

  • Don’t get distracted and lulled into apathy.  Remain passionate for Christ.  Grown in intimacy and love for Him.  Stay focused in prayer, thanksgiving, reading God’s Word.  Allow other believers to speak into our lives.  Never try to face things alone. “Keep a cool head. Stay alert. The devil is poised to pounce, and would like nothing better than to catch you napping” (1 Peter 5:8, Message).
  • Stop sinning.  Let’s do what we need to do.  Follow God implicitly, explicitly, and immediately.   Don’t just start strong, FINISH strong. “You were taught to leave your old self — to stop living the evil way you lived before. That old self becomes worse, because people are fooled by the evil things they want to do.  But you were taught to be made new in your hearts,  to become a new person. That new person is made to be like God — made to be truly good and holy.  So you must stop telling lies. Tell each other the truth, because we all belong to each other in the same body.  When you are angry, do not sin, and be sure to stop being angry before the end of the day. Do not give the devil a way to defeat you.  Those who are stealing must stop stealing and start working. They should earn an honest living for themselves. Then they will have something to share with those who are poor. When you talk, do not say harmful things, but say what people need — words that will help others become stronger. Then what you say will do good to those who listen to you. And do not make the Holy Spirit sad. The Spirit is God’s proof that you belong to him. God gave you the Spirit to show that God will make you free when the final day comes. Do not be bitter or angry or mad. Never shout angrily or say things to hurt others. Never do anything evil. Be kind and loving to each other, and forgive each other just as God forgave you in Christ” (Ephesians 4:22-32, NCV).
  • Let’s live for Christ, not ourselves.  A life surrendered and submitted to God repels the enemy. “So give yourselves completely to God. Stand against the devil, and the devil will run from you” (James 4:7, NCV).
  • Dress for battle and get ready for war.  Our devotional lives position and prepare us for the constant attacks. It’s a preventive measure! Know God’s promises before we become victims. Memorize and declare His Word. Pray, and keep praying! “Put on the full armor of God so that you can fight against the devil’s evil tricks. Our fight is not against people on earth but against the rulers and authorities and the powers of this world’s darkness, against the spiritual powers of evil in the heavenly world” (Ephesians 6:11-12, NCV).
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