Oct 5, 2009, 6:30 AM
“The world and its desires pass away, but the man who does the will of God lives forever.” (1 John 2:17)
The devil rules the world, there is no gainsaying that. We just have to look around us to confirm that. Every step of the way there are pitfalls strewn on our path; if we are not careful we will literally walk blindly into them. Why? They do not look like traps in the first instance, yet if we do not take heed we’d have a sad story to tell. It doesn’t matter how the devil presents his snares, the end result is death.
The lust of the eyes
When we examine the process closely, a good many of our problems begin with our eyes – in a sense, we court trouble ourselves. With our eyes, we covet; the thought is captured and nurtured in our minds; our whole system gets tuned in and our bodies move into action. At this point it is impossible for us to keep still - not until the scheme that this ‘thought’ had engendered, aided by our eyes, becomes a reality. This was Eve’s problem. She was caught up in her own lust for the fruit on the tree.
The Bible teaches that we must flee from lust, from our sinful desires. The only way to do so admonishes the apostle Paul, is to “take captive every thought and make it obedient to Christ.” (2 Corinthians 10:5) What does this mean in practical terms? We must reject, banish, dismiss or refuse that thought outright – the very first time the devil makes the suggestion - because it is contrary to the Word of God. Otherwise, we become comfortable with the idea and before we know it, Jack Robinson, we have graduated to the operational stage. At the instance when the thought of doing something contrary to the Word of God invades our minds, we must use scripture to combat it. If for instance we are gripped with the urge to commit adultery; automatically the relevant scripture should pop out of our lips. What does the Word of God say about adultery? “You shall not commit adultery” (Deuteronomy 5:18), “You shall not covet your neighbour’s wife.” (Deuteronomy 5:21) “I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God….” (Romans 12:2) To do that, we have to be soaked in the word of God. Would that be enough to scare the devil away? Yes, for there’s power in the word. Our strength comes from speaking the word of God which is a double-edged sword. (Hebrews 4:12).
The devil will want to make us believe that we are hardcore, unrepentant sinners; that we will not change. It may even seem that after breeding a habit from childhood that has taken root to become a stronghold, we cannot get rid of it. That is a lie from the devil. Yes, we can, because it is; “Not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit, says the Lord Almighty.” (Zechariah 4:6) Our Lord Jesus says of the devil “…for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies.” (John 8:44) Our power and our self-will have nothing to do with it. We shall overcome only by God’s Word.
If we are conscious of our right standing with God and are happy with the relationship we have knit with him, so be it. But if we feel like we are being tossed to and fro like a piece of linen, or are still being trampled under Satan’s feet, then it is time to shake the shackles off our feet and step into fellowship with God. Let the glory of God’s name in all that we do gear us to do what is right. The Christian is a winner not a loser; a victor not a victim. Paul describes us “as more than conquerors.” (Romans 8:37) This happens when we truly love God, and not pretend to. “If you love me you will obey what I command.” (John 14:15)
As beacons, we have a leading role to play in transforming humanity and turning its focus back to God. Remember we are “the light of the world” and “the salt of the earth.” We are responsible for our actions and the world is looking up to us. “God is light and in him there is no shadow of darkness at all. If we claim to have fellowship with him yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live by the truth.” (1 John 1:5-6)
“Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For everything in the world - the cravings of sinful man, the lust of his eyes and the boasting of what he has and does - comes not from the Father but from the world.” (1 John 2:14)
God is not the tempter. Temptation belongs to the world that is orchestrated by Satan and his cohorts. Their desire is to shred us to bits, but will be unable to if we take cover under the wings of our Lord and Saviour, Christ Jesus.
“For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone; but each one is tempted when, by his own evil desire, he is dragged away and enticed. Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death.” (James 1:13-15)
Dear Reader, it cannot be business as usual. Time is of the essence; we are in the last days, the writing is on the wall. God abhors sin to the extent that even though he sent his Son to the cross to die for humanity, he could not look at him. “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” (Matthew 27:46)
Must we continue to sin for grace to abound? Our Lord Jesus’ work on the cross is complete - reason why he exclaimed: “It is finished!” (John 19:30) Neither Satan nor death has power over us. “For sin shall not be your master.” (Romans 6:14)Do not be despondent because it seems like you are losing the battle on sin. Set your mind on it and trust in our Lord Jesus to get you out of the lion’s den. What a friend we have in Jesus. All our sins and griefs to bear! We should never be discouraged: take it to the Lord in prayer.