Tag Archives: Satan

All You Can Do to Stand

Coffee-and-BibleThis morning I read my devotional from The Book of Common Prayer Daily Office, a collection of readings for each day of the year that includes a Psalm, an Old Testament reading, a New Testament reading, and a Gospel reading.  There were FIVE Psalms this morning and I was running short on time, so I skimmed through a few of them.  I guess I was kind of looking for something I liked or wanted to really focus on this morning.  (Don’t judge me…)

Many of the Psalm readings are horrible diatribes against David’s enemies, asking God to kill them, smash them in pieces, and cut out their children’s tongues.  At least that’s the basic theme of them.  I typically skim through these chapters or sections because as good as it may feel to reign down curses on my enemies (or the person who’s particularly bugging me at that time), Jesus expressly forbids us to do it. 

Matthew 5:43 “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ 44 But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you, 45 that you may be sons of your Father in heaven; for He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. (NKJV)

How do I reconcile that with David’s requests that God bash in the heads of his opponents?  And so I typically skim through these passages and deal with the nagging question of why these sentiments ever got published to begin with. 

MaskWell recently I’ve been having a battle with my mind – trying to correct firmly ingrained ways of thinking that are wrong and detrimental.  Although it’s very uncomfortable, I’ve been speaking out loud the truth (yes, talking to myself) and praying for God to remove the lies.  I tend to lean more toward figuring things out than seeing demons behind every door – but Jesus does spend a significant amount of time in Scripture casting them out.  Reading through the Gospels might actually cause one to think there really were demons behind every door.  So just in case there might be any evil spirits plaguing me, keeping me from moving forward and believing the truth, I even went so far as to speak to them and do the whole thing I grew up hearing – binding them, casting them out, and telling them never to return.  I figured if it is an evil spirit, rationalizing it away won’t exactly work, so I gave it a shot. 

So what in the world does that have to do with David cursing his enemies in the Psalms?  I do have a point, I promise!  As I was reading through the curses this morning, another Scripture popped into my head.

Ephesians 6:11 Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. 12 For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. 13 Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. (NKJV)

Hmmmm…  David did have human, flesh-and-blood enemies trying to kill him and take the kingdom from him.  I don’t.  I’m pretty sure no human being has ever tried to kill me.  However, Ephesians says that as Christians we have to stand against the wiles of the devil.  There is such a thing as “spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.”  Creepy!  And real.  It goes on to say that we can stand against them if we put on the full armor of God: 

ArmorEphesians 6:14 Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness, 15 and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; 16 above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one. 17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God; 18 praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints. 

The war metaphor basically means we are to speak truth, live righteously, be peacemakers, have faith, accept the gift of salvation, read and study Scripture, pray, and be alert. 

Remembering that my enemy is actually Satan, I stopped skimming and picked up the Psalm again from the beginning.  I read out loud and when I got to the part about David cursing his enemies, I applied those words to principalities, powers, and spiritual wickedness.  I let them know that they are not going to bother me any longer.  And I smiled, knowing that God has given me authority to curse the devil and command him to leave.  It felt pretty good to ask God to totally destroy and banish them forever. 

I don’t believe that every single issue we face as Christians has a demon lurking behind it.  I’m not even sure the one I’m facing has any evil attached to it at all.  But I’m willing to do what Ephesians 6:13 says – all I can do to stand.  And from now on when I see a Psalm about cursing our enemies, I’ll remember exactly who my enemy is and pray that Psalm out loud, cursing him with gusto.

Advertisements

5 Comments

Filed under Spiritual Life

Keeping Secrets from Satan

I’m an extrovert, which is helpful for a blogger.  I have very few secrets because it’s just too hard to keep them.  How do you remember who knows what about you?  That’s exhausting!  What are we all looking for in life but to be known?  The thing that people say when they fall in love is: He/She “gets” me.  We’re all hoping someone will understand us and think we’re cool.  I don’t think it’s just me.

 

But there’s more to it than that.  One of the Scriptures I’ve based my life on is in I John 1.  In the New King James, the section heading is “Fellowship with Him and One Another.”  I won’t quote it all here, but basically it says that Christians should walk in the light – confessing our sins to one another.  The opposite of walking in the light is hiding away in the darkness.  When we bring things into the light, we are confessing our sins to one another.  Am I promoting the Catholic version of “The Confessional”?  Not really.  I’m promoting friendship.  I’m promoting real relationships with others who know us in and out. 

 

When we confess our sins to one another, they no longer have the same power over us.  The shame is removed, the darkness is exposed, and others who love us are able to pray for us.  Those who love us are able to support us, to not expose us to things that might weaken us, and stand beside us when we fall. 

 

There’s a great power in knowing we’re not alone.

 

There’s wisdom in keeping your precious things private.  As extroverted as I am, you aren’t likely to read specific details about old boyfriends or my hurt over the loved one who constantly breaks my heart here in my blog…  But I have some wonderful, close, trustworthy friends who truly know me. 

 

I think many people in my generation understand this way of thinking and relate to it.  I’ve learned that many who are older have a harder time with it.  They were taught that appearances must be kept up and that there are certain things that are not to be discussed.  There’s an element of truth in their perspective.  Appearances can be important. We want to avoid the appearance of evil.  And some things should not be discussed openly, or at least not with strangers.  So there is probably a healthy balance between the two extremes. 

 

But the younger generation gets frustrated with the focus on appearances to the detriment of the health of a family or an individual when secrets must be kept to protect someone’s repetitively bad behavior.  We are tired of the lies and misrepresentations.  We are tired of being asked to cover for those who want to appear one way to the outside world but are completely different behind closed doors.  We are tired of blatant hypocrisy.  We’ve experienced the hurt it can cause and we don’t want to pass that hurt on to others. 

 

So you can imagine my surprise a while back when someone told me that he doesn’t talk about the deep things in his heart because Satan will hear him.  And if Satan hears his weaknesses and fears, then Satan has power over him to attack him in the weak places. 

 

Huh?  (Picture me shaking my head in confusion…)  I had a very difficult time digesting this information. 

 

This Christian is afraid of Satan?  What happened to “Greater is He that is in me than he that is in the world?”  (I John 4:4)  Christians don’t have to walk around afraid of Satan! 

 

This fear was very real and has paralyzed the man for many years.  As I thought about it later I realized, he’s keeping secrets from Satan!  And those secrets are eating his soul alive.  He is isolated from people, afraid to make friends, and afraid that what he reveals about himself will be used against him by the devil.  (More confused head shaking…)

 

All I could think was – what a sad way to live. 

 

I assume that about one in every three new friends I invest in will really turn into a good, close, trustworthy friend.  I expect new people I meet to fail me or even to betray me.  It doesn’t make it easier when those things happen, but it doesn’t shock my system so much either.  I’m better able to take it in stride and focus on the friends I do have.  But I refuse to give Satan that much power over me.  Let him hear me confess my sins!  And let him be defeated because those sins no longer hold the same power over me as they did when they were locked away inside walls of guilt and shame.  I can’t think of a better way to frustrate Satan’s plans for my life than to confess my sins and make Satan so irrelevant and powerless over me that I have nothing to fear. 

9 Comments

Filed under Just Goofing Around