#Article (Archive)

Passing the test (Part 3)

Sep 12, 2012, 10:03 AM | Article By: Galandou Gorre-Ndiaye

Be strong!

If you are going through a lot of trials and temptations lately, it may be because you are on the Lord’s side. Your status is what Satan is unhappy with and he is all out to get you. Anyone who does not bow to him becomes his sworn enemy. Not until he puts a spoke in your wheel or trips you would he be at peace. Paul exhorts us to “… be strong in the Lord and in His mighty power. Put on the full armour of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes.” (Ephesians 6:10)

Satan’s scheme against Daniel and co

King Nebuchadnezzar fashioned a golden image and summoned all his officials to the dedication ceremony. Thereafter he ordered, at “the sound of the horn, flute, zither, lyre, harp, pipes, and all kinds of music,” all of them must worship the golden image. Among these officials were some young Jewish exiles – Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego who had been brought from Judah and set over the affairs of the province of Babylon.

They refused to obey because of their religious beliefs. The sanction fell sharply.

Their position on the matter infuriated the king, who ordered that they be thrown into a fiery furnace. They added fuel to the flames when they stated boldly to the king’s face. “O Nebuchadnezzar … If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to save us from it, and He will rescue us from your hand O king. But even if He does not, we want you to know, O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set before us.” (Daniel 3:16-18)

Satan wanted them dead, but because they were steadfast in their faith God stood by them. They were thrown into the furnace and not only was there a fourth person there with them – the angel of the Lord; but when they were brought out, “the fire had not harmed their bodies, nor was a hair of their heads singed; their robes were not scorched and there was no smell of fire on them.” (Daniel 3:27b) Instead it was the soldiers who were assigned to throw them into the blazing furnace that got killed. The king had in his fury ordered “the furnace heated seven times hotter than usual …”

Christ in you…..

When we have a relationship with Christ, there is hope for glory. (Colossians 1:27) It becomes evident that it is not by our natural strength that we shall overcome the wiles of the devil but by God’s strength. The king had to testify himself ‘for no other god can save in this way’

Need to worry

If on the other hand you have not been a target for the devil or he has let you off the hook, it is probably a sign that you already belong to his camp - bound hands and feet - doing his will. Therefore, he does not have an issue with you. He will not waste his fiery darts or flaming arrows on you.

What this means is that Satan has confounded you to the extent that the desire to serve God has waned considerably; you give your prime time to television; besides, your busy schedule has crowded God out; you no longer think “whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable–if anything is excellent or praise-worthy.” (Philippians 3:8) These have become timewasters for you.

Your focus is elsewhere on futile things, things that don’t matter. You have turned a blind eye. You no longer commune with God; can’t find time to meditate on His word either.

Be on the lookout

The devil is not a friend, but our worst enemy. Therefore the apostle Peter warns; “Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith ...” (1 Peter 4:8) We are able to resist the devil only if we are grounded in God’s word. James admonishes: “Submit yourselves then to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. Come near to God and He will come near to you.” (James 4:7) We must first submit to God, before being able to resist the devil. Yes, the word of God is like fire, a hammer (Jeremiah 23:29) and a sword (Hebrews 4.12). These constitute the weapons for our warfare.

The devil and his cohorts have launched an all-out attack on all who confess their faith in God; we also must vow to destroy their works. Take an oath to fight the devil to make sure you pass the test. Complacency and a laissez-faire attitude will never scare the devil away. If we are worthy warriors, God says in His word that if our enemy “will come at you from one direction flee from you in seven.” (Deuteronomy 28:7)

A way out

There is a way out if we should fail the test. It is not all lost. The word of God says the good shepherd will leave 99 other sheep to go after just one that has gone astray. That one sheep can be you. Like the prodigal son, it is time we come to our senses. “I will arise and go to my father and will say to him father I have sinned...” Admitting our failure is a show of strength, because from then on we shall not fight the battle alone, we shall be fighting in God’s strength. “For when I am weak then, I am strong.” (2 Corinthians 12.10)

As the Children of Israel trekked through the desert on their way to the Promised Land, they were tested myriad times and at each test revealed their inability to withstand the tide. At one time they were so impatient that they spoke against God and Moses. (Numbers 21:4) God punished them when venomous snakes bit them and many died.

Then Moses interceded on their behalf and God told him to make a snake and put it up on a pole, anyone who was bitten could look at it and live.

That snake is an image of Jesus, the Christ, saving humanity as He hung on the cross. All who look up to Him will receive eternal life. (John 3.14)