I often get frustrated with obstacles throughout my day. Lately, I’ve questioned my interpretation concerning difficult circumstances that I face. It is easy to interpret them and filter them through my physical eyes without ever considering the spiritual side of things.
The Bible often causes me to look at things from a different perspective. Check out these verses:
Be serious! Be alert! Your adversary the Devil is prowling around like a roaring lion, looking for anyone he can devour. -1 Peter 5:8
And no wonder! For Satan disguises himself as an angel of light! -2 Cor. 11:14
Put on the full armor of God so that you can stand against the tactics of the Devil. For our battle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the world powers of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavens. -Eph. 6:11-12
Have you ever considered that some of your obstacles may be unseen? While you may not be able to determine the origin of each struggle you encounter, have you ever considered that there might be spiritual forces involved?
Satan is your adversary. Prowling around like a skilled hunter, he is looking for opportunities to take you down. He also can fool you by appearing to be a godly, light-giving agent of God. Scripture teaches that our battle is not against forces we can see. We are in a battle against a serious adversary.
If we are not careful, we can be lulled into living like we are in a time of peace when a war is raging all around us.
Think through your obstacles over the week. Could any of them been more than meets the eye?
Realize this: we are at war.
Who is Satan?
Satan is called the ruler of this world (John 16:11). He is described as the ruler of the power of the air leading people to walk in the way of this world (Eph. 2:2). Unbelievers are characterized by being held in the domain of darkness (Col. 1:13) by the power of Satan (Acts 26:18) as he blinds their eyes so that they cannot see the light of the gospel (2 Cor. 4:3-4). He is the deceiver of the whole world (Rev. 12:9) as it currently lies in his power (1 John 5:19).
Satan searches for an opportune time (Eph. 4:27) to steal, kill, and destroy (John 10:10). He approaches God in order to make accusations against us (Rev. 12:10). His original temptation caused Adam and Eve to doubt God’s Word (Gen. 3:1). He is bold enough to afflict righteous Job (Job 1:9-11), ask for Peter (Luke 22:31), torment Paul (2 Cor. 12:7), and tempt Jesus himself (Luke 4:1, 13).
If he is that bold to confront spiritual giants, do you think he is hesitant to attack you?
Satan’s Greatest Lie
In our culture, Satan has been turned into a silly, cartoon character with horns and a pitchfork. You might think he would be offended at this depiction used by children at Halloween, but I would beg to differ. I think he loves that depiction. I think he came up with it.
If he is laughable, if he is a costume piece for children, he is not a real threat.
In fact, some would argue that Satan’s greatest lie to Mankind is that he isn’t real.
If we don’t ever acknowledge his existence, he is able to move to and fro through our lives and mess up stuff and we point to simple circumstances as the causes.
Keith Green was a life radically changed by the gospel and would preach as much as sing at his concerts back in the 1970s and 1980s. His style may seem out of context for many of you, but his words are unlike any other writer I have ever heard.
In this song, he sings about how Satan loves the fact that “Nobody Believes in Me Anymore.”
In the final pages of Scripture, the Apostle John reveals to us what Satan is busy doing.
Revelation 12:7-12 Now war arose in heaven, Michael and his angels fighting against the dragon. And the dragon and his angels fought back, 8 but he was defeated, and there was no longer any place for them in heaven. 9 And the great dragon was thrown down, that ancient serpent, who is called the devil and Satan, the deceiver of the whole world—he was thrown down to the earth, and his angels were thrown down with him. 10 And I heard a loud voice in heaven, saying, “Now the salvation and the power and the kingdom of our God and the authority of his Christ have come, for the accuser of our brothers has been thrown down, who accuses them day and night before our God. 11 And they have conquered him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, for they loved not their lives even unto death. 12 Therefore, rejoice, O heavens and you who dwell in them! But woe to you, O earth and sea, for the devil has come down to you in great wrath, because he knows that his time is short!”
Did you catch that?
Satan stands before God and accuses you and me by name.
“Travis?! You want to use Travis?! Do you know what he has done? Do you realize how inconsistent he is? If you are all-knowing, surely you know what he thinks about! You know his track record! He doesn’t deserve heaven! He doesn’t deserve life! Leave him to me!”
And the accusations go on and on and on.
What a pathetic existence to speak half-truths to God for the sole purpose of condemning little ol’ me.
He is partially right. I don’t deserve to be in Heaven. But GOD! Jesus stands in my place! God no longer sees my unrighteousness when he looks at me but he looks at Jesus’ righteousness.
In the end, Satan’s deceiving, accusing mouth will be thrown down where we don’t have to hear his lies anymore! Oh, what a day!
For those of you who feel like God is calling you to do something and yet you hear voices in your head telling you why you can’t, realize that the condemning Devil may be speaking to you. Jesus Christ doesn’t condemn those who are his (Rom. 8:1). There’s only one that I know would do that.
When Satan reminds you of your past, remind him of his future.
Satan’s strategy is simple:
- Keep non-Christians away from Jesus
- Render Christians useless for the Kingdom
Don’t listen to him anymore. Don’t fear him anymore. Don’t neglect him either! He is out there, and he is a force to be reckoned with. By yourself, you would have no chance. Protected by the blood of the Lamb and the word of your testimony, he flees from you for his measly little life.
Submit to God. Resist the Devil. And he will flee from you. -James 4:7
One more Keith Green song for you. This one is called a “Dear John Letter to the Devil.”