Monday, October 25, 2010

"By Our Own Hand"

We've all likely seen it. If so, we've also likely been mortified by it.

Driving by a young man who walked along a sidewalk yesterday, it became painfully apparent that the back of his pants drooped below his entire posterior region. After passing the young man, the view in my rear view mirror revealed his struggle to hold up the front of his trousers, at least to the degree he could keep them from falling to his ankles while attempting to walk.

My first reaction was the thought of how anyone could be so ill-advised as to attempt navigation while intentionally allowing his attire to create such a hindrance. Then the thought occurred to me. The young man is a pawn not only of his own poor judgment, but of someone else's evil.

"No man ever yet hated his own flesh, but nourisheth and cherisheth it" (Ephesians 5:29).

The Apostle Paul implies that human beings are not intentionally self-destructive. Our flesh is far too focused on personal satisfaction than to purposefully do harm to itself. Therefore, other entities are always at work when we act in a manner hurtful to ourselves.

"Be sober. Be vigilant because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour" (I Peter 5:8).

Satan and his minions originate self destructive attitudes, words, and behaviors by tempting us to think and believe things that are not true. Certainly they use tangible and earthly realities as the vehicle for their delusion, but the source of humanity's ongoing participation in harming ourselves by our own hand does not originate with ourselves. Tragically, devilish lies and deceptions are spiritually devouring the young man with drooping pants. He bears personal responsibility, of course, because unless we "give place to the devil," he cannot have place in us (Ephesians 4:7). Nevertheless, the young man's behavior clearly indicates the destructive influence of the "roaring lion." Let us pray for him.

We also do well to pray for others and for ourselves concerning this vital matter. We all likely bear within our minds deceptive influences of our enemies' darkness. Who among us does not wonder why we think, feel, say, or do things we know will jeopardize our well being? Again, we bear full responsibility for our sins, and no one can absolve themselves by mourning that "the devil made me do it." Nevertheless, we must be sober and vigilant concerning the truth that we live among spiritual entities who seek to harm us by our own hand.

There is a roaring lion. He seeks to devour. His weapons are lies, lies that lead to self destruction in countless ways. Drooping pants, bitter attitudes, sinful habits, dependence on chemicals, haughty self confidence that leads to self delusion, discouragement, doctrinal deception, questioning of God's way and will - all are in some manner the product of our spiritual enemies' continual attempt to cloud and enshroud us in darkness. Failure to understand this truth gives opportunity to the devil as he seeks to do harm to us by our own hand. May our Lord have mercy on us, and awaken us to the truth that "there are many adversaries" (I Corinthians 16:9). Only thereby will we decisively arise by faith to access the finished work of the risen Lord Jesus Christ and overcome the doomed work of devils whose lies will ultimately lead to their own destruction.

"Put on the whole armor of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil" (Ephesians 6:11).

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