The Enemy Within
I have to tell you…this is the first time that I’ve sat down to write a post for The Seed of Hope with a bit of apprehension. It’s not that I’m afraid…I just have this sense of darkness…or dread…or insecurity. I feel threatened.
This is a topic that I’ve wanted to write about for some time, but something (perhaps it is fear) keeps getting in the way. In fact, this feeling has been growing in both my mind and my heart for the past couple of weeks, and with that growth has come restlessness, irritability, and a weakening in my relationship with God, our God, who I love so much.
The focus of this post is on something, or perhaps I should say someone, that many of us don’t want to talk about. Some of us go about our daily lives pretending that he doesn’t exist. Others feel that talking about him will make him aware of our presence. I think that there are many people “of the cloth” that will touch on the issue, but are afraid to go in depth on the subject because, well because they don’t want to make their “sheep” uncomfortable. Well, guess what, sheep?
The Big Bad Wolf is here, and he’s real...
and I’m gonna talk about him. Yep, I’m talkin’ about Satan…the Devil…Lucifer. And I know that he’s gonna try to pound on me for doing this…for writing about him…but I don’t care. I’m walking with God, I have Jesus in my heart, and the Holy Spirit is protecting me from evil. You see, Satan has been riding around on my back for weeks now, and it’s time for him to be gone.
Jesus said to him “Away from me, Satan! For it is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God, and serve Him only.’ ” Matthew 4:10 (NIV)
If I asked you to visualize Satan, what would you see? A snake? A demonic-looking creature? A red man-like figure with a tail, horns, yellow eyes, and a trident? Something so evil that you don’t even want to picture him?
I think that Satan looks like any man…like every man…and yet, like no man. How can this be?
Look at the faces of men throughout history…Attila the Hun, Adolph Hitler, and Charles Manson, just to name a few. All were from different eras, yet each man was evil personified. Do you believe that the actions of these men were the work of God? How about the murderers, rapists, and child molesters sitting in prisons around the world today? Would you consider them to be “men of God”? I didn’t think so.
I want you to stand in front of a mirror and look into the eyes of the person looking back at you. Before you do it, I want you to offer you this line of thought…
· Nothing that comes from God is evil. Nothing.
· Nothing that comes from Satan is good. Nothing.
Now go take a look in that mirror. Do you see a person who has told a lie, or stolen, or cheated, or lusted, or thought a malicious thought about an “enemy”, or envied the possessions of someone else? Can you run down the Ten Commandments and say that you’ve never broken one of them?
Don’t worry; I can’t either. I’m no saint…never have been, and don’t suppose I ever will be. If you feel like I’m throwing darts at you, you can rest assured that I’ve plucked those same darts from myself at one time or another.
GOD created man in His image. Satan had nothing to do with it.
We are born in God’s image, and because of Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross, we are born pure…free from sin…free from evil…all of us…even Attila, and Hitler, and Manson.
As soon as we are able to think for ourselves, Satan goes to work; on us!
Why do you think that Eve took a bite of the apple, or that Cain was beset by jealousy and murdered his brother Abel, or that the Israelites were havin’ one heck of a party while Moses was getting the Top 10 List of what not to do, The Ten Commandments?
Do you believe that God was responsible for any of those actions? Of course you don’t.
Satan was responsible for that very first offense against God in the Garden of Eden, and he has, in some fashion, played a part in every subsequent one, large and small, through all of history!
Every thought, word, and deed that is not in keeping with God is from Satan. Jealousy. Greed. Envy. Hatred. Prejudice. Dishonesty. Lust. Bribery. Murder. Cruelty. Rape. Abuse. Gambling. Theft. Addictions. Satan doesn’t commit these offenses against God. We do.
Satan didn’t try to talk Jesus out of following the path that God had laid out for him. He used a man to tempt him.
Jesus turned and said to Peter, “Get behind me Satan! For it is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God, and serve Him only.’ ” MATTHEW 16:23 (NIV)
Satan didn’t betray God’s only Son, Jesus. He used a man to do it.
As soon as Judas took the bread, Satan entered him. JOHN 13:27 (NIV)
Satan didn’t nail Jesus to the Cross. He used men to do it.
Here they crucified him, and with two others – one on each side and Jesus in the middle. JOHN 19:18 (NIV)
When someone is born again in the spirit, they open their hearts and minds to Christ, and invite Him in. I’ve heard that more people than ever before are giving their lives to Christ…perhaps this is out of love for Him…perhaps this is out of need for Him…perhaps they feel that the end is near…perhaps it’s all of the above.
I’m going to use an apartment as an analogy for what I’m trying to tell you…
There’s only room for one tenant at a time in an apartment. One moves out; one moves in.
When Christ moves into a heart, Satan gets evicted. Tossed out. Kicked to the curb. Put out with all the other garbage. Yesterday’s news.
Satan has been getting the boot more and more lately. His ranks are thinning, and he’s, well he’s mad as hell about it. He’s gonna come after me, and you, and every Christian…he’s gonna try to sneak his way into the hearts and minds of all of us, and try to take our eyes off of God. And make no mistake about it; Satan is a powerful adversary. Unlike an attacker that you can spot approaching from a distance, Satan works from the inside out. He is the enemy that lies within. Stand ready.
Satan always uses man to do his work. The same man that God created in his own image…the same man that God poured His love into…the same man that God blessed with a soul, so that we might spend eternity with Him. Don’t you find it ironic that Satan’s only way of getting back at the Creator is by using the created ones to do it? And do you not find irony in the fact that Satan pits God’s children against one another to keep them from being in union with God? Our minds are the only true weapons that Satan has! Fight back! Be ready. Be strong. Be alert.
Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore 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. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for the saints. EPHESIANS 6:10-18 (NIV)
See you next week.