Thursday, February 25, 2010

"Lusts and Lies"

The traditional literary and cinematic representation of Satan is highly misleading, and can cause us to be unguarded against his primary strategy.

"Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it. And because I tell you the truth, ye believe Me not" (John 8:44-45).

The devil kills with lusts and lies, with desires and deceptions. He misled a large portion of the angelic host down a path that will ultimately lead to an eternity in the lake of fire (Matthew 25:41). Adam was also felled when Satan tempted the first man to embrace a sinful, doomed existence with Eve rather than eternal life with God.

Our enemy will always seek to foster desire in us for things that are not in accordance with the glory and will of God. Every category of human experience is included in the challenge, including seemingly good and spiritual things, as well as the obviously devilish and carnal. Satan will also seek to deceive us with thoughts, notions, ideas, and appearances that contradict the Word of God. We must be "vigilant" of our adversary because he is a subtle foe given much latitude by God to entice us with "the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life" (I Peter 5:8; I John 2:16).

The latter point is vital. The devil is on God's leash, and can only do that allowed by his Creator and Lord. By no means does this imply that Satan is doing God's will, but rather that the mystery of Divine providence and perfect foreknowledge factors every contingency into His eternal purpose in Christ. Accordingly, the devil's temptations to lusts and lies can become the fodder for God's trusting children to know our Lord in far greater measure than an unchallenged life would offer.

First, if we succumb to temptation (never excusable or to be desired), God's grace and mercy await us, and are proactively pressed upon us by the Holy Spirit. We do our Lord, ourselves, and others no favors by wallowing in our sins, especially when the high priestly ministry of the Savior is so effectual in providing forgiveness and cleansing. Believers who genuinely avail ourselves to the Father's pardon come away from the throne of grace amazed by His love, and thus more devoted to His glory and will. "Her sins, which are many, are forgiven; for she loved much: but to whom little is forgiven, the same loveth little" (Luke 7:47).

More to be sought after and desired is the power of our Lord to enable overcoming of temptation. The devil's temptations to lusts and lies become opportunity for manifesting the victory of Christ when we trust and obey through the power of the Holy Spirit. Former rebellious enemies are revealed to be beloved children who bear the nature and character of the One who redeemed them. When this happens, Satan's allowed attacks upon us become the scene wherein the glory of God is revealed in ways that could not happen if we were not tempted. A lengthened leash thereby makes possible increased liberty to behold the wonder of our Lord.

We will feel desires today for things contrary to the will of God. We will also be confronted with notions that conflict with His Word. Most importantly, however, today is the day in which the Captain of our salvation is also the very Life of our lives. Through Him, we can overcome. Through Him, we must overcome because we want it to be revealed in that portion of God's vineyard where we labor...

"Jesus Christ is Lord."
(Philippians 2:11)

"And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath He quickened together with Him, having forgiven you all trespasses; blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to His cross; and having spoiled principalities and powers, He made a show of them openly, triumphing over them in it."
(Colossian 2:13-15)

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