Many of us, at one time or other have been so overwhelmed by our circumstances that we just can’t see the wood for the trees anymore. It’s as though the pressure of what we’re facing just doesn’t let up, as we’re constantly bombarded by opposing thoughts leaving us feeling confused and out of control, to the extent that we wonder if we’re loosing our minds.
Well, that’s exactly what the devil wants you to feel, in fact he is constantly and relentlessly working to get you to that point of distress and discouragement. Why?Because when our minds and emotions are in turmoil and distress, our faith is inoperative and even our physical bodies begin to work against us. A faithless, fretful child of God is no threat to the devil, in fact, in that state, we are easy prey to his wiles and deception.
I understand that there is much controversy today, even in the church, concerning the devil. Some teachings circulating even suggest that neither he, nor hell exists. But the Bible makes it perfectly clear that there is a very real and cunning adversary, called the devil, who is bent on taking us down. Both Jesus and Paul spent much time urging us to constantly be vigilant and on the look out for his undermining schemes. They called him the enemy of our souls, and for good reason.
It’s true the Bible teaches us that through the finished work of the cross, Jesus dealt with the devil’s destructive power to harm us, and if we are living in Christ, we have no reason to ever fear him (the devil). However, we do have to be wide awake and aware of his nature and agenda concerning us, in order to not give him a legal foothold or access into our lives. If we do, we can be sure he will be relentless in his pursuit to make our lives a misery and ultimately destroy us.
Be Aware of His Nature
Let’s take a look at what Jesus told us about the character of our enemy, the devil. In the first part of John 10:10, Jesus describes his nature. He says he is a thief who comes to steal. He doesn’t say he is like a thief, he says he is one. Don’t take it personally, this is his nature and he simply can’t care less about who he steals from, he just does, as long as we allow him to.
Jesus goes on to describe the devil as someone who kills. Now, interestingly enough, this word kill, in John 10:10, doesn’t just mean kill in the terms we would think. When I looked up what Greek scholar Rick Renner had to say on the subject, I was amazed to learn that the Greek translation for this attribute of the devil - means something quite different to what we may think.
It actually a religious term that means to sacrifice. In other words, it speaks of surrendering or giving up something that not only belongs to you, but is also valuable to you. This is something the devil is pretty skilled at persuading people to do, since the time in the Garden of Eden.
You see, if he can’t get it right to outright steal from you, he will twist or manipulate words to make it sound as though your ‘giving up’ what rightfully belongs to you, is a righteous act, or God’s idea. Which compels you give it up quite willingly. Let me give you an example.
We know that Jesus Christ went to the cross and endured so much suffering so that we could receive healing from every disease. Matthew 10:1 says, “And when He had called His twelve disciples to Him, He gave them power over unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal ALL kinds of sickness and ALL kinds of disease.” He said that He is the Lord, our God, our healer and that by His stripes, we are healed. 1 Peter 2: 24 says, “ He personally bore our sins in His [own] body on the tree[as on an altar and offered Himself on it], that we might die (cease to exist) to sin and live to righteousness. By His wounds you have been healed.”
But the devil has managed to convince some Christians that sickness can sometimes be God’s way of teaching us a lesson, or that He is glorified in our suffering. If we truly know the word of God and His nature, as the scriptures reveal it to us, there should be no doubt in our minds concerning this issue. In fact, once we have a revelation of how good God is and the power of the finished work of the cross, we would find such comments or opinions laughable. Yet the devil has still managed to cleverly convince many of God’s children to sacrifice, and willingly give up their fight of faith concerning their healing, convincing them that the sickness they have is God’s will for them.
Once the devil has stolen from you, or cunningly convinced you to willingly give up what is rightfully yours to him, he moves right in to destroy your life. The Greek word used for this means to ruin, unravel or devastate. This is his agenda for every child of God, and if we are not careful to recognise his lies and deceit, we will be caught off guard and fall for his treachery.
Don’t Give Your Adversary Legal Access
Do you remember I’ve mentioned that if we give the devil legal access, he will get inside our personal affairs to torment and destroy us? So, how do we give him legal access to do that?
In 1 Peter 5:8, we are told that he is our adversary. Now the definition of an adversary is a lawyer who argues in a court of law, or a prosecuting attorney who argues vehemently against the accused. He is an accuser who attempts to bring a guilty charge against a person on the basis of information from past actions or deeds, or some legal violation.
The devil is known as the accuser of the brethren. He always takes past actions where we violated a spiritual law and uses it against us, using it to access our personal affairs and cause us trouble. He is relentless in searching for a loop hole in our lives, and like a prosecuting attorney, he will try to use any evidence to prosecute us and take us down.
Common Sense Examples of Practical Violations
I’m going to refer to something I learnt from Rick Renner’s teaching on this subject. He mentioned some common sense examples of practical violations in our lives where we give the enemy legal right to harm us. One is credit card abuse. When we don’t keep control of our spending, we can easily get into financial problems relating to debt.
That isn’t the devil’s fault, it’s ours, but our negligence and irresponsibility opens the door for the enemy to aggravate and accentuate the problem. We open the door and he takes advantage of the situation and leads it to something that spirals out of control.
The same is true for us being careless with our eating habits. Here the end result could be obesity or diabetes, again, we opened the door by our negligence, and he didn’t waste the opportunity to reek havoc.
What about our marriage relationship? If we choose to not spend regular, quality time with our spouse, it’s very easy to create distance between us. Once again, our negligence opens the door for every temptation that would lure us apart from each other.
Heres one we can all relate to - neglecting to obey God’s financial principles. Not bringing our tithe, or neglecting to be generous, or not giving with a cheerful, faith filled attitude will certainly stop the hand of God moving in the area of our finances. We can blame the devil all we want, but we were the ones who invited him to bring lack into our lives by our own disobedience or ignorance.
Here’s one last one I’ll share with you. It concerns our children. When we aren’t consistent in raising our children by the principles in God’s Word, we invite rebellion right into our homes. Children who have no respect for authority usually come from homes where parents were inconsistent in their discipline, or didn’t discipline in love.
I’ve given you more than enough to think about when it comes to ways we give the enemy access into our lives. The good news is, next week, I want to show you how in spite of the devil’s intentions, we have everything we need to flourish and thrive in life! We are going to speak about how we can build a wall of defence against his attacks and continuously keep him out of our personal affairs! Until then, keep your eyes open and don’t give him any legal reason to mess with your life!
All my love,