UNMASKING THE ENEMY OF OUR SOULS

  

(WHO'S BEEN FISHING FOR YOU?)

  

Anyone who knows anything about the life of Christ will probably remember that many of Jesus' disciples were fishermen, which was a common profession at the time - just as factory workers are common today. "Come and follow me, and I will make you fishers of men," Jesus told them.[1] And from that day to this, Christ has been working, by the Spirit of God residing in His people, to gather souls into the kingdom of God.

But do you realize that the Son of God is not the only one who is fishing for men? The son of darkness is also hard at work, and has been for millennia, baiting his hooks to lure men and women all across the world into his prisons of bondage to sin. However, very few are even aware of the evil schemes and cunning devices that the devil uses to draw souls into his domain. Most people have no idea that there is a battle going on for the destiny of their eternal soul.

KNOW YOUR ENEMY

There are two common mistakes we often make when dealing with the devil. First, we underestimate him, sometimes even to the point of dismissing his existence altogether, or, we become fixated on him and give him more credit than he deserves. The truth, as it usually is, lies somewhere in between - we have a powerful enemy who we must deal with, but he is not equal to God - he is a created being, just as we are.

So, who is the devil?

Isaiah, chapter 14, and Ezekiel 28 is where we go to find the bulk of the history of Satan. Here we discover that the devil was once one of God's angels - in fact, he was God's #1 angel, the "morning star, son of the dawn."[2] He was an "anointed" and "guardian cherub."[3] In one sense, he was like God's personal secretary. No one came before God without going through him. But somehow, he became proud of his beauty, wisdom and power, and decided he wanted more. He actually wanted to be God! At that point, he lost his position and authority before God's throne, but not before influencing one third of God's angels and enlisting them into his ranks.[4] At some point, he was then given the name Satan, which means adversary.[5] The Greek word is diabolos, or devil, which means slanderer and accuser - which is what he does now - he accuses those who believe in Jesus, before the throne of God.[6]

Personally, I believe that in order to fulfill his prideful desires and obtain an identity that is his alone, the devil conspired to become the opposite of everything that God stood for, becoming the very root and embodiment of evil itself. And since everything that existed was made by God, and was therefore good, in order to have his own kingdom, to mark his territory (so to speak), Satan established the kingdom of unrighteousness. His goal is to destroy everything that is good and holy and just. As Jesus aptly said, "the thief comes only to steal, to kill, and to destroy, but I have come that they might have life..."[7]

ENEMY TACTICS - LIES, DECEPTION, AND DISGUISE

The Bible first mentions Satan as a serpent, in Genesis 3:1, calling him crafty (subtle, clever or shrewd). Jesus called him "a liar, and the father of lies."[8] That's what he did in the garden of Eden. The devil lied about what God had said and deceived Eve into sinning. He does the same thing to us today. He makes that which is evil appear to be good. Only those who know God's Word and obey it have any hope of prevailing against these kinds of schemes.

In America today, many ridicule any notion that there is such a creature as the devil, calling this idea simply the figment of the imagination of weak and ignorant religious fanatics. I'm sure our enemy gets great satisfaction from the cover he gets from these kinds of remarks. The most effective weapon of any warrior is his ability to disguise himself. Surprise, ambush, and concealment are the primary tactics in any kind of warfare, and these are also Satan's stock and trade in the battle for human souls. In Viet Nam they called it guerilla warfare. Oftentimes our soldiers couldn't identify their enemies until it was too late. Today, we have suicide bombers - sometimes young children or teens - innocent children used to disguise evil and hatred. And so, many in America laugh and mock anyone who actually believes in a real devil, while Satan subtly feeds us his lies and takes over our inner cities, our schools, our media, and our government.

But the New Testament clearly spells out who the devil is. He is the "ruler of this world,"[9] the "god of this age,"[10] and the "prince of the power of the air."[11] The "whole world is under the control of the evil one,"[12] who has "blinded the minds of unbelievers so that they cannot see the light...of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God,"[13] The unsaved, he "has taken captive to do his will."[14]

In essence, the devil is the DJ who chooses the soundtrack this world lives by, day and night, and those who allow themselves to listen too closely are in danger of being knocked off-track by the lies contained therein. The Word of God speaks of the "deceitfullness,"[15] or "glamor" of sin, and we all have fallen prey to its alluring power. Even Christians, when enticed to sin, can be used by Satan - he is an equal-opportunity employer. That is why they must always be prayerful, and "not give the devil a foothold"[16] in their lives, and daily "put on the whole armor of God so that [they] can take [their] stand against the devil's schemes."[17] Those who do this are able to help the unsaved "escape from the trap of the devil,"[18] and "open their eyes and turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God,----"[19]

THE REALITY OF EVIL

It is amazing how well our enemy's lies have worked, considering the amount of evil that exists all around us. If not the devil, then what has inspired all of the wars of the last century, as well as those of today? What fueled the hatred of the atrocities of Hitler, Stalin, Mao Tse-tung, Idi Amin, Saddam Hussein, or Bin Laden? And what about the crime that is reported daily all across this nation, and the world?

If you don't see any devil there, how about your own habits? Do you have anything you seem to have a little trouble controlling? Does your tongue sometimes utter things you might not want everyone to hear? What about your relationships - no problems there? How about your spending habits, your job, your relationship with your boss, or your spouse? Yes, I know I am getting rather personal. The fact is, we all have problems that we struggle with in life, but the question is - do we have any hope in our struggles, or are we just being carried along like a bottle floating downstream in a mighty rushing river?

Why is it that we live in a time when there are more things we can buy and do than at any other time in history, and yet very few people seem to be really happy? We're so busy looking for happiness in a million different ways, but we just keep looking. Could it be that someone is trying to lead us in the wrong direction and obscure the path toward real help and hope?

Jesus' ministry was, and is, a public ministry. He pleaded openly with people to turn from their rebellion of God and find forgiveness through repentance and faith in Him, the living Word of God. In the end, Christ offered Himself up as a sacrifice for the sins of all mankind in a very public execution, and proved His divinity by rising from the dead. And, as Christ's ambassadors, Christians now openly invite, urge, and compel everyone to put their faith in the shed blood of Jesus Christ, and step into God's eternal kingdom, which is the only true source of righteousness, peace, joy and love. In stark contrast, the prince of darkness uses every trick in the book to deceive and force souls into his traps of bitterness, confusion, and pride - and then he has the audacity and arrogance to blame it all on God.

THE WAY OUT -- VICTORY IN JESUS!

The second common mistake I mentioned is giving the devil more credit than he deserves. Satan easily shifts from one lie to the other. He get us coming and going. Either he convinces us he doesn't even exist, or he falsely boasts that he is almighty, just like God. The world is full of religions with mystical powers, and many people have been mystified and deceived by putting their faith in false and often harmful practices. Many people have also become trapped by addictions to drugs, alcohol and many other things, and feel like they can never escape. But the truth is that Jesus Christ has already come to set the captives free. His death and resurrection two thousand years ago defeated for all time all of the powers of darkness and sin.[20] There is no sin that is too shocking, and no habit that is too irresistable that the blood of Christ cannot set you free.

The power and light of God's truth is able to transform and free any captive soul that will avail himself of the love that God has brought to mankind through Jesus. The devil can fill your heart and mind with lies, insisting your life could never be changed, but he is wrong. The only thing keeping you in bondage to sin is yourself. The prison doors are open! Put your faith in Jesus and walk right out into His love and forgiveness!

WHICH SIDE ARE YOU ON?

There is no neutral with God, or the devil. If you do not stand with God, you are standing against Him by default. Likewise, if you don't stand against Satan, you are with him. I need to repeat a statement from the cover page of this website - "what you choose to believe about truth will determine the course your life takes - both here and hereafter." These are not issues we can "sit the fence" on. But the truth is not hidden, because Jesus Christ has triumphed over evil by the cross. His victory points the way for all of us to the Father!

"I am the way, the truth, and the life..." John 14:6

  

The prince of darkness grim, We tremble not for him; His rage we can endure, for lo,

his doom is sure. One little word shall fell him.

(from Martin Luther's hymn - A Mighty Fortress Is Our God)

 

"If anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous." I John 2:1

"Greater is He who is in us (Jesus), than he who is in this world (the devil)." I John 4:4

 

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[1] Matthew 4:19; Mark 1:17

[2] Isaiah 14:12

[3] Ezekiel 28:14

[4] Revelation 12:4

[5] Zechariah 3:1,2

[6] see Job 1:6-12, 2:1-7

[7] John 10:10

[8] John 8:44

[9] John 12:31

[10] II Corinthians 4:4

[11] Ephesians 2:2

[12] I John 5:19

[13] II Corinthians 4:4

[14] II Timothy 2:26

[15] Hebrews 3:13

[16] Ephesians 4:27

[17] Ephesians 6:11

[18] II Timothy 2:26

[19] Acts 26:18

[20] Colossians 2:15

Other sources used:

- Dr. David Jeremiah, Turning Points magazine and devotional - May 2012, "The Devil Made Me Do It"

- Beresford Job, "Satan, A Biography," available on audio tape, cd, or mp3 from Chigwell Christian Fellowship,

Essex, UK

 

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