Fear Not

2 Corinthians 2: 11                     God’s Word

I don’t want Satan to outwit us. After all, we are not ignorant about Satan’s scheming.

Or are we? That is, are we ignorant about his scheming? I want to talk about Satan today. This is not to elevate him but rather to edify you.

The Apostle Peter said that Satan is “like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour” and he warned us to “be of sober spirit, be on the alert” because our adversary, the devil is prowling around looking for prey (1 Peter 5: 8). Is this a scary thought? I have really been around the block on this. I used to shudder when people talked about demons and the devil. I did not want to be involved in that discussion so I ignored it, but to fail to have this discussion is to give Satan and his cohorts a free pass.

I am reminded of playing peek-a-boo with small children. When they cover their eyes, you really do cease to exist. We have tried to do the same thing with Satan. Our internal mechanism has operated to remove him from our presence by closing our eyes to his existence and/or his operation in the earth. I have noticed and increase in the avoidance of the subject of the devil and great discomfort when reference to him comes up. I even had one person tell me that there is no such thing as evil. Are you kidding me? Have you looked at the world recently? How can anyone believe there is no such thing as evil?

The truth is that this topic makes us uncomfortable. The other part of the truth is that we are afraid. Oh sure, not many of us will admit it and in truth, we may not even realize that we are being driven by fear. I want to tell you, though, that you have nothing to fear. Christ, our own beloved, is far bigger than Satan and has already defeated him. So fear not. However, be ignorant neither. We are not ostriches. There is no gain by sticking our heads in the sand and pretending there is no enemy. Your defenses are not strengthened by making believe there is no ravenous beast roaming the earth seeking those whom he may devour. We are no longer children, we don’t need to play make believe. There is a devil out there but we have the ability to deal with his schemes. That is why he must roam around seeking whom he may devour. Not everyone makes a good target for him because they are, as Peter advised, on the alert.

You will note that today I used the God’s Word translation for the verse. The New American Standard shows us that Paul’s teaching is relevant “so that no advantage would be taken of us by Satan, for we are not ignorant of his schemes.” Paul, in writing to believers in Corinth, did not want them to be ignorant and their ignorance pave the way for Satan to take advantage of them. The wise thing we can, and should do, is to be aware of our enemy, learn where and how he has influence and understand what Jesus did for us so that we do not needlessly become victims of Satan’s schemes. You have nothing to fear. Do not be afraid to accept that there is a devil in this world doing his best to upset God’s perfect plan but don’t think that you are a defenseless lamb. Far from it. Christ has laid the sword of Satan’s defeat at your feet. The defeat is already embedded in the sword. We only need to realize there is an enemy and then stoop down and lift the sword and let the gleam of Christ’s victory shine in the mirrored reflection of his glory. Oh glory, Jesus has won; he has overcome. Now it is your turn.

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Live in the Light

John 8: 12

Again therefore Jesus spoke to them, saying, “I am the light of the world; he who follows Me shall not walk in the darkness, but shall have the light of life.”

Recently another minister and I were to teach on the spiritual realm and believers’ participation therein. We discussed many aspects of the integration of our lives beyond the physical realm. Of course a part of that conversation dealt with communion with the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. The scripture says that God is spirit (John 4: 24). Therefore, if we are to commune with God we must engage the spiritual realm. That’s pretty simple logic isn’t it?

The next part of the discussion had to do with angels. Do you know that angels are real beings? They, of course, are spiritual beings, i.e. they are spirits. Well, no big deal there, we are too. Our essential self and that which will never perish is our spirit. The conclusion was that we should certainly be able to recognize angels and the role they play in our everyday life.

Invariably a discussion about angels leads to a discussion about demons. Demons are very real also. They interact with human beings and have throughout human history. Some people deny their existence, some people are afraid of them. Both are inappropriate responses and I imagine that the truth is that those who deny the existence of demons are in truth just afraid and too overcome to admit it. There is no reason for us to fear though. Jesus has overcome all of the powers of darkness. That is part of the good news of the gospel. Fear not!

There is another group of Christians though. These are the ones that obsess on demons and demonology. They see demons everywhere and behind everything. We know by now that balance is always supposed to be a key factor. Any time we are overly involved in any one aspect of life there is probably a balance issue. Here is what this other minister and I discovered as we dialogued. We decided not to discuss demons at all in the soon to follow talk. The reason is that we have discovered that hanging out in the light means that we won’t have to deal as much with the darkness. In other words, when we focus our attention and intention on the light, i.e. Jesus, we do not have to spend as much time fighting demons. They flee from us because they cannot bear the light. If we abide in Christ and he abides in us then we become like a sun storm in the darkness. 

Satan’s forces recognize Jesus. That was evident in the New Testament gospels. When, therefore, we don Jesus as I have been encouraging you to do, you will find that there are fewer issues with pestering demons. I do want to say, though, that there are times when demons have to be dealt with and we are well able to do that. The gospels show us the way. Also, there are people whose ministries specialize in demonology. They have an anointing and calling for that service and we are glad to have them in the body of Christ. For most of us though, we just need to bathe in the light. Jesus’ brother, James, gave us the key to living in a world populated with evil, “Submit therefore to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you” (James 4: 7). Resist evil and it will flee but don’t ignore the first part of the prescription, submit to God. If we pitch our tents in the throne room of God and spend time communing with our father, then we will have little worry or trouble from the pawns of evil.