Saturday, August 05, 2006

Satan's Arsenal...

We are in a battle….I’m not talking about Iran or Iraq or Israel or Lebanon… but right here...right now… in your own home… your own church… your own heart. The enemy of our souls is out to destroy every human being on the face of the earth. The Bible tells us that the thief…(Satan) has come to kill, steal and destroy. He is out to take away the life that God gives the believer. How does he do this? He uses his arsenal. An arsenal is a establishment for the construction, repair, receipt, storage and issue of weapons and ammunition. Satan’s arsenal is filled with weapons of spiritual warfare. There’s nothing new here…. Just the same old weapons he has used for the last 2000 years. You would think that after all this time we would recognize his attacks when they come our way… but we need to be continually reminded. Satan wants to discredit God, His worth, His Word, His works and His ways. He will do all he can to destroy what God is doing.
He began the use of this tactic in the garden of Eden… “Hath God said”… or in other words… “Did God really say????” Satan wants us to doubt the character of God, to question His integrity, and to be skeptical. Today, Satan comes to the believers and causes us to doubt our salvation, question whether heaven and hell are real, all in an attempt to dissuade us from what we really believe and what the Bible teaches us. When Christians face difficulties, get sick, and even sometimes die, we let those doubts creep in and sometimes we let them take root. There they grow into bitterness and resentment…. against the church, other Christians and even against God. We need to recognize the source of the doubts that come our way...and when we do, we can deal with them. Satan is the source! He loves to use the “IF” against us. “IF you really are a Christian... ” “IF your conversion was real... ” “IF God answers prayer... ” “IF Jesus were coming again... ” Satan is the master of the “IF”.
How do we combat doubt? Build up our faith…”Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God.” Read the Word… go to church and listen to a Godly pastor preach the Word of God. Fill your mind with God. Choose to put your mind on Godly and good things. “Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus…” “Put on the Mind of Christ.” How did Jesus deal with doubt? He went to the Word… “it is written…” and He rebuked the devil.
The Bible tells us that Satan is a liar and the father of lies (John 8:44). I sometimes wonder why we tend to believe him when we know his character! He plays on that one string over and over again, whispering into our ears… “God doesn’t love you… Nobody does… You’re not worthy… You’ve committed the unpardonable sin… You’ll never be healed… God is punishing you...Nobody else is struggling with ____!” His wagging tongue is filled with lies that are out to destroy us. I have learned to use the reverse on him… If he tells me one thing…. I turn it around...and then I know what the truth is...what God thinks about me. When Satan tells me I can’t do it… I know I can do it and Satan is trying to keep me from what God is leading me to do for Him. Satan loves to minimize the consequences of our choices.
It’s the sin that brought Satan down. He decided he would like to be like God. Now he faces an eternity away from God, and he wants as many of us as possible to join him. Pride is a subtle thing. We can see it in others but we often cannot see it in ourselves. Pride is spiritual arrogance that makes us the final authority. Pride tells the mind that there are no absolutes, that sin has no real consequences. Pride lifts us up to think that we don’t need God, that we can think for ourselves, that we can make our own choices. It gets us in trouble every time. He makes us think we deserve to be seen, heard, win, have our rights, and have recognition . There is only one cure for pride and that is repentance. Satan does not have that choice, but we do. The Word teaches us that we must humble ourselves. We are not to wait for others to do it for us. We must recognize the authority of God. When a person exalts himself, God’s only alternative is to humble him. Satan wants us to believe that there are no absolutes —-that we can let a few things slide by. He wants us to let our guard down, just for a moment while he inserts his own ideas into our minds. In his mind, there are no absolutes because if there are, then he is absolutely finished. He does not want us to experience Christ’s absolute forgiveness. And that leads me to the next one...
It is one of Satan’s most diabolical weapons. We get hurt….by a Christian… or by an abuser….or by a Pastor… or by a family member. We nurse our wound...picking at it causing it to fester and become infected. Oh how he loves it when we do that. We lie to ourselves and tell ourselves that we are not unforgiving...just resentful and perhaps angry. Satan knows that if he can deceive us into harboring anger, bitterness, or grudges toward others, he can actually cause us to sin and loose our salvation. The scripture says, "looking diligently lest anyone fall short of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up cause trouble, and by this many become defiled" (Heb. 12:15). There is a high price to pay for that root of bitterness—that unforgiveness. God can’t forgive us if we don’t forgive others. Forgiveness means that we must put the entire matter in His capable hands and let Him deal with it. Forgiveness means putting it behind us as if it never happened. That can be difficult. But if we love and trust the Lord as we often say we do, then we must! When we forgive others who have hurt us, we are the ones who get healed. We are the ones who benefit. So often those who hurt us don’t even know we are in torment. The torment we endure is because we refuse to submit to God. We refuse to trust. We refuse to let Him be justice in the matter. We are not letting Him be the Lord of our lives. Somehow we think if we just stay angry towards that person….they will change….they will feel bad… and we will be punishing them. In fact, we are the ones who are being punished. We are risking losing our salvation! It is a high price to pay to make ourselves ‘feel good’.
Sometimes the hardest part of forgiveness is learning to forgive ourselves. We feel so unworthy of forgiveness. Our wounded mind tells us we are not good enough to receive God’s forgiveness let alone someone else’s forgiveness. Not forgiving ourselves is really a matter of pride. We think we are too bad. We think no one else has ever thought like us. We put ourselves on a lonely pedestal while Satan has a field day pointing his accusing finger in our faces laughing! You need to know that you are not the first. Others have walked that path before you and the moment you get honest with yourself and with God, you will learn that His forgiveness is big enough for every sin! There is lots of information in the Scripture about how Satan works. In Matthew 13, we know he loves to put fakes among the real thing. He loves to steal the truth before it takes root in the Christian's life. In John 8, we learn he is the father of lies, the father of all unbelievers and he cannot tell the truth. 1 Timothy 3:6 tells us that he is the perfect illustration of what happens when pride rules. In Luke 13:16, we are told that he binds men through their physical circumstances. In Luke 22:31, we read that he desires to sift Christians until they fall. In Acts 5:3, we see that he fills men's hearts to lie. In 1 Corinthians 7, we learn how he loves to destroy marriages through temptation. In 2 Corinthians 2:11, we read that he battles to keep Christians from seeking forgiveness from one another. In Revelation 12, we see that he knows that his time is short. So He is working hard now.
This is not an easy world we are living in today. We are facing wars and rumors of wars. Inflation and spiraling gas prices hit our finances. Families are in turmoil. Society mocks those who serve the Lord. We don’t know what the future holds. But there is good news! No matter what Satan throws our way, no matter how high expenses go, no matter how much we face persecution for our faith, no matter what happens in the Middle East….God is still in control! We may feel like the bottom is falling out. But God wants to remind us that we are not home yet. We are only temporary citizens here. Eternity awaits us all. In a moment as quick as the blink of an eye, the King of Kings can come and takes us all home. 1 Thessalonians 3:13 says, “To the end, He might establish your hearts unblameable in holiness before God even our Father at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ with all of His saints.”
If Satan has been using his arsenal on you, remember, he has already lost the battle. You can take a stand against his schemes and weapons in the all powerful name of Jesus. We are victorious through Christ Jesus our Lord! We are more than conquerors!
J. Johnson