Tuesday, November 9, 2010

"Not Against Flesh and Blood" Part 7

    It is the good fight "of faith" whereunto we are called" (I Timothy 6:12).
    The Apostle Paul reveals that our spiritual enemies' primary temptation always involves matters of truth, confidence in God, and our choice to believe and submit unto His Word.  This is a far cry from the fanciful portrayal of the devil and his angels as depicted in literature, the media, and even in much religious teaching.  God, in His wisdom, allows our enemies to challenge us with falsehoods concerning Himself, ourselves, other people, and the circumstances and conditions of our lives.  Through Christ, we are able to overcome by faith the darkness Satan attempts to bring upon us - "Greater is He that is in you than He that is in the world" (I John 4:4).  As we do, the Lord Jesus is glorified, God's will is done, and our enemies fall into the snares they have set for us.  "Surely in vain the net is spread in the sight of any bird. And they lay wait for their own blood; they lurk privily for their own lives" (Proverbs 1:17-18).
   If, however, we do not recognize "the wiles of the devil" in seeking to lead us astray, the net spread for us can detour us from faith in the Lord Jesus.  We can be ensnared us Satan's lies, and the discouragement, distraction, and disobedience to God that ensues (Ephesians 6:11).  This raises the question: how do we become spiritually sensitive and aware of Satan's deceptive influences in order to maintain our walk by faith?  The answer is that we must know the Word of God in order to recognize and overcome the wiles of the devil.  "Faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God" (Romans 10:17).
     Many years ago, I worked as a bank teller.  When my training began, the issue of counterfeit money quickly came to my attention.  "How would I know if a bill is bogus?"   I expected the person training me would tell me that the bank had many counterfeit bills that I would study in order to become familiar with the appearance and texture of the false.  This was not the case, however.  My advisor smiled and simply said, "After you have counted hundreds of thousands of real bills, which you will in your training, the counterfeits will feel and look so different that you will have little trouble in spotting them." 
    She was right.  Knowledge of the real became the basis for recognizing the false.  The same is true in becoming spiritually aware of the devil's deceptions.  Increasing knowledge of the Lord Jesus, as revealed by the Scriptures and the Holy Spirit's working in our lives, sharpens our vision for the appearance and texture, as it were, of our enemies' attempts to mislead us.  Thoughts, attitudes, beliefs, words, habits, and carnal ways of relating to God and people begin to stand out as inconsistent with the Truth of God's Word and the character of Christ.  The backdrop of Divine light exposes aspects of darkness.  Thereby we are prepared to overcome as we realize that fleshly aberrations are the product of devilish deceptions.  As mentioned in previous considerations, this should get our spiritual dander up in the realization that our enemy seeks "to steal, to kill, and to destroy" our vibrant experience of the Lord Jesus (John 10:10).
    Our primary purpose for reading, pondering, believing, and obeying the Bible is to know God so that we may genuinely and effectually trust Him.  "The just shall live by faith" (Romans 1:17).  In the pages of Scripture, however, we also discover our enemies and their nefarious working against us.  This is vitally important as the Christian life comprises a war in which we will lose much if we do not fight the good fight of faith.  May our Lord lead us more and more to count the bills of truth, as it were, so that we may more and more recognize the texture and appearance of Satan's falsehoods. 
"In Thy light shall we see light."
(Psalm 36:9)

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