Billy Graham once said the ninety-five percent of Christians live spiritually defeated lives. That means only 1 out of 20 Christians are living spiritually victorious lives. How can that be? A number of things can cause our defeat; me, the world, and that old wily devil Lucifer. As my pastor is wont to say, “Satan is the best devil there is.”
So if Satan is our great adversary, how is it that he can get a foothold into our lives if we know he is the Enemy? He’s clever and he tries to use the things closest to us to knock us off the path of righteousness. We should not be surprised by this; he did it with Jesus:
“Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. And when He had fasted forty days and forty nights, afterward He was hungry. Now when the tempter came to Him, he said, ‘If You are the Son of God, command that these stones become bread.’ But He answered and said, ‘It is written, “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.”’ Then the devil took Him up into the holy city, set Him on the pinnacle of the temple, and said to Him, ‘If You are the Son of God, throw Yourself down. For it is written: “He shall give His angels charge over you,” and, “In their hands they shall bear you up, lest you dash your foot against a stone.”’ Jesus said to him, ‘It is written again, “You shall not tempt the LORD your God.”’ Again, the devil took Him up on an exceedingly high mountain, and showed Him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory. And he said to Him, ‘All these things I will give You if You will fall down and worship me. Then Jesus said to him, ‘Away with you, Satan! For it is written, “You shall worship the LORD your God, and Him only you shall serve.’”’ Then the devil left Him, and behold, angels came and ministered to Him.” (Matthew 4:1-11)
Did you see that?! The devil is trying to fight God Incarnate with Scripture! And we wasn’t being completely foolish because he was tempting Jesus’ flesh and trying to give Jesus a way out by misquoting Scripture. That’s what the devil does; he tries to wear us down bit by bit by our physical needs and through our workaday lives. Watchman Nee, the great 20th Century Chinese Christian philosopher, wrote:
“Satan has in fact a plan against the saints of the Most High which is to wear them out. What is meant by this phrase, ‘wear out’? It has in it the idea of reducing a little this minute, then reducing a little further the next minute. Reduce a little today, reduce a little tomorrow. Thus the wearing out is almost imperceptible; nevertheless, it is a reducing. The wearing down is scarcely an activity of which one is conscious, yet the end result is that there is nothing left. He will take away your prayer life little by little, and cause you to trust God less and less and yourself more and more, a little at a time. He will make you feel somewhat cleverer than before. Step by step, you are misled to rely more on your own gift, and step by step your heart is enticed away from the Lord. Now, were Satan to strike the children of God with great force at one time, they would know exactly how to resist the enemy since they would immediately recognize his work. He uses the method of gradualism to wear down the people of God.”
Are you feeling somewhat cleverer than before, trusting in your own abilities instead of God’s plan? God has a plan for you life and as Brother Nee writes so does Satan. Satan’s beef with you isn’t about you; it’s about God. He hates God and so as a child of God he hates you. But as Brother Nee also writes, Satan is far too clever to go at you all at once because you would recognize that and fall on your knees and plead the blood of Christ.
We as Christians tend to forget that Satan is hedged in by God and there are some rules by which he has to abide. Satan knows those rules and tries very hard to get around them. The problem is we do too through our own strength. Jesus’ brother James wrote:
“Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded.” (James 4:7-8)
Did you notice that I included verse 8 from James 4? Many Bible teachers when teaching on spiritual warfare include only verse 7 but verse 8 is how we resist the devil.
The problem is we won’t let go of the sin we hold so dear and purify our hearts unto the righteousness of God. I am a double-minded man if I believe I can continue a life of sin and still live the spiritually victorious Christian life.
Go back to the Savior when you are trying to figure out how to overcome temptation.
Jesus used the “rhema” word of God; a special revelation from God to you.
Where do I find the “rhema” word of God? In the “logos” word of God; the Holy Bible.
We try to be clever and come up with shortcuts to live this Christian life, and instead of being disciples we become double-minded.
Time to put some “it is written” into our everyday vernacular.
Do you have some of those?
“If you’re receiving these devotionals for the first time and would like to receive them on a regular basis, please click here and use “Please add to Devotional List” as the subject.”
Copyright © 2009 David Jeffers