“Satan hindered us!”

Fear is a tool used in politics and preaching to move the masses because it works. People with different ideas are turned into objects of derision. Statistics that are alarming are sensationalized. Thorny challenges are turned into the next ‘end of the world’ event. To tell the truth – I hate it!  It is one of the reasons I have disengaged from ‘news’ reports on major media. So many stories are reported along with fanfare and dire warnings that scare us silly with the goal of making us come back for more.

This CoffeeBreak deals with a scary subject but it is not an exercise in hype. It is a reminder of an important fact in our Christian discipleship. It is about someone most of us do not want to think about too much.

Peter wrote to us with this arresting image: “Be careful! Watch out for attacks from the Devil, your great enemy. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for some victim to devour. Take a firm stand against him, and be strong in your faith.” (1 Peter 5:8-9, NLT)  A serious student of the Scripture must grapple with the reality of an Adversary who is active in his pursuit of the destruction of God’s work in this world! The devil is not imaginary or a shadow in our psyche!  

Jesus variously describes him as “the prince of this world,”  “a murderer,” and as “a liar and the father of lies.”    Paul calls him “the god of this age.”   John’s vivid imagery in the Revelation reveals his diabolical nature and plans.  Though some would consign this belief to the realm of superstition, I believe that there is a real Satan, evil personified, who hates God and good. If you belong to Christ, if your desire is to walk in the life of the Spirit, the Devil and his demons will work against you.

So, what does that mean for our daily choices?  
Must we live in fear, with high levels of anxiety about the possibility of failure? Not at all!

We, who belong to Jesus Christ and can have an awareness of our Adversary without falling into terror. It is a major mistake to spend very much time focused on ‘rebuking’ the devil, for he is overcome with good, the darkness dispelled by the Light.  A key truth of the Gospel is this: Christ Jesus came to be our Savior and  to defeat the Devil. His death and Resurrection declare that we are ‘no longer slaves of sin and death!’  Despite our promised victory we must not marginalize the evil one to such an extent that we become an unwitting pawn in his plans.

The Word tells us that we must not “unwittingly give Satan an opening for yet more mischief—we’re not oblivious to his sly ways!” (2 Corinthians 2:11, The Message)    Paul, in one of his letters, asserts that devil continues to exploit every opportunity he can find.  He wrote of his intent to minister to the church in Thessalonica, plans that did not happen. “We wanted to come to you—even I, Paul, time and again—but Satan hindered us.” (1 Thessalonians 2:17-18, NKJV)  

As we live in Christ we must stand in this truth. “You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you (The Holy Spirit) is greater than the one (The devil) who is in the world.” (1 John 4:4, NIV)   Our God has provided us with a suit of armor for the spiritual battles in life.  Paul remind us to get dressed! “Put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.” (Ephesians 6:13, NIV)

Make these choices every day. They are keys to confidence, our way of turning away the temptations, the attacks, exposing the schemes of the devil.

1. We rest, in full confidence, on Christ Jesus, our Savior.
      We are not secured in spiritual warfare by our skill, experience, or intelligence.

2. We know and trust the Truth about ourselves, about the world, about Christ – and we liberated from sin and death.

3.  We learn to agree with God! If we sin, we don’t excuse, we confess.

4.  We choose to ‘walk in the Spirit’ today. Letting God lead us to life is our first desire, not our last resort.

5. We live in love, generously engaged with life, practicing constant forgiveness so that no bitterness finds root in our heart to produce evil fruit!

6. We learn to live prayerfully, as the Word says, “Pray continually.” That is an attitude that keeps us God-aware.

7.  We pray to be filled with the Spirit Who makes us whole and fruitful in the life of God and good, people who  cultivate ” love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. ” (Galatians 5:22-23, NIV)

Here is a word from the Word. May it fill your mind with peace this day.

“For this reason I kneel before the Father, from whom his whole family in heaven and on earth derives its name. I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.

Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.” (Ephesians 3:14-21, NIV)

______________

Less Like Me
(a fun song with a serious message!)

Oh I have days I lose the fight
Try my best but just don’t get it right
Where I talk a talk that I don’t walk
And miss the moments right before my eyes
Somebody with a hurt that I could have helped
Somebody with a hand that I could have held

When I just can’t see past myself
Lord help me be
A little more like mercy
A little more like grace
A little more like kindness goodness love and faith
A little more like patience
A little more like peace
A little more like Jesus
A little less like me

Yeah there’s no denying I have changed
I’ve been saved from who I used to be
But even at my best I must confess
I still need help to see the way You see

Oh to feed the beggar on the street
Love to be Your hands and feet
Freely give what I receive
Lord help me be
I want to put You first above all else
Love my neighbor as myself
In the moments no one sees
Lord help me be

A little more I’m living
Everything I preach
A little more like Jesus
A little less like me

Hank Bentley | Mia Fieldes | Zach Williams © 2019 Capitol CMG Amplifier (Admin. by Capitol CMG Publishing)

Every Square Inch (Admin. by Capitol CMG Publishing)

Anthems of Hope (Admin. by Essential Music Publishing LLC)

Be Essential Songs (Admin. by Essential Music Publishing LLC)

Upside Down Under (Admin. by Essential Music Publishing LLC)

Wisteria Drive (Admin. by Essential Music Publishing LLC)

CCLI License # 810055

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s