The Special of the Day… From the Orange Moon Cafe…
"The Third Party"
When tempted to discouragement, we can be sure that amid the human and earthly realities that present challenges, spiritual entities devoted to our harm also play a role.
"Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour" (I Peter 5:8).
The Apostle Peter presents fascinating imagery in his counsel to beware of Satan's ploys. "Devour" in the original Greek of the New Testament means to swallow liquid. Thinking of this in graphic terms, what would we see if we could be physically consumed by Satan? Obviously, we would see things from within him and his perspective. This is precisely what happens when our we succumb to our enemy's temptation to discouragement. We forget the presence, promise, and power of God on our behalf, seeing things in terms of darkness, distraction, and despair. We believe the devil's delusions rather than God's truth. Little wonder we feel discouraged on such occasions. As Job mourned…
"My soul is weary of my life; I will leave my complaint upon myself; I will speak in the bitterness of my soul" (Job 10:1).
No Biblical indication exists that Job ever knew of the Heavenly discourse between God and Satan that led to his grievous sufferings. Had he known, Job's sorrows and pains would still have profoundly wracked both heart and body. However, being the righteous man he was, might Job have knelt before his Lord had he realized the devil's involvement, and then arisen to "fight the good fight of faith?" (I Timothy 6:12). Might he have gotten his spiritual dander up, as it were, realizing that a liar sought to discourage him and entice him to distrust God? The chronicle of Job strongly indicates he perceived his challenge as only a matter between God and himself. This was not the case at all. A third party darkens Job's story, a malevolent entity allowed to savagely attack and tempt the man of God. Job did not stand to fight in faith by the power of God because he seems to never had known his sorrows resulted from an enemy's assault rather than God's chastening and judgment. He wrongly perceived his pains to have been "the arrows of the Almighty" rather than what they actually were, namely, "the fiery darts of the wicked" (Job 6:4; Ephesians 6:16).
A bright and essential light shines before us in Job's narrative. Whatever the nature of our temptations to discouragement and even despair, we do well to realize the matter involves not only God and ourselves, but also a "third party" who seeks to cast us down. For the born again believer, such awareness bears great potential and opportunity whereby we get our spiritual dander up and "stand fast in the Lord" (Philippians 4:1). We may still deal with emotional and physical responses as we "fight the good fight." However, awakening to the reality of our present place on a spiritual battlefield greatly aids us to walk in truth, and also to access the power of the Captain of our salvation to "take the shield of faith whereby ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one, and the helmet of salvation, and "the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God" (Ephesians 6:16-17).
God sometimes allows our spiritual enemies the license to challenge our confidence in Him through circumstances and conditions that tempt us to be cast down rather than look up. The way is not easy, but the Bible never suggests the life of faith involves anything but a good fight waged through the leading and enabling of God. Being aware of the role of the devil and his minions awakens us to the reality that someone ever seeks to discourage us. We arise to get our dander up, look to our Captain, and trust Him to empower our overcoming through the administration of His "peace… which passeth all understanding" (Philippians 4:7). Thereby, He will "keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus." We fight from the victory of our Lord's empty tomb and His lordship over a dreadful enemy, but also a defeated one who can do nothing without seeking God's permission to challenge us. Thereby we find opportunity to overcome, amid opposition to overwhelm.
"It is God that girdeth me with strength, and maketh my way perfect. He maketh my feet like hinds' feet, and setteth me upon my high places. He teacheth my hands to war, so that a bow of steel is broken by mine arms. Thou hast also given me the shield of Thy salvation."
"This is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith."
(I John 5:4)
Weekly Memory Verse
"The fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness and righteousness and truth."