Fight for Your Life - 2
So…how are you feeling about this whole spiritual warfare thing? Are you ready for more? Last week we answered four questions people have about spiritual warfare. This week we’re going to dive a little deeper into the subject.
Here's the first question. A lot of people wonder about this...maybe you're one of them:
What role does the devil play in my life?
The Bible tells us that Satan’s desire is to “kill, steal, and destroy.”
His main strategy has been the same from the beginning: convince people to follow him. And at some point in their lives, just about everyone has!
Why do we continue to listen, although the devil ultimately wants to wipe us out? It’s because he lies! In fact, lying is the language Satan knows best. Jesus said…
…When he [the devil] lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies.
- John 8:44 (NIV)
At first, Satan’s offers look really good…but watch out! His lies are designed to send us to destruction. If you decide to follow, he will shackle you with emotional or physical pain and rob you of God’s blessings. Follow long enough, and he will destroy you completely.
That’s pretty heavy stuff, but I do have some good news! We have the ability to avoid this tragic end. It’s by recognizing Satan’s lies and rejecting them when he first begins to speak.
How do I know the difference between the voice of the Holy Spirit and the voice of the devil?
To answer this, I’d like to tell you about one of my favorite practical jokes. (I promise it’s relevant to the subject!)
When my phone rings, I’ll sometimes answer by saying “Thank you for calling Pizza Hut. May I take your order?” The caller will often hang up and call back…and I do it again! Sometimes they’re silent because they don’t know what to say. Either way, I love it!
However, this prank doesn’t work on my wife and kids. Why? They know me, they know my nature, and they know my voice.
It’s the same way with God. As you grow familiar with God’s voice, you’ll realize it’s him talking to you. Jesus put it like this…
My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me.
- John 10:27 (NIV)
Joining others at Sunday services, becoming a part of a Community Group, and studying God’s Word are great ways to become acquainted with the “sound” of God’s voice. The old saying “practice makes perfect” applies here. The more you practice listening to God, the better equipped you are to recognize when he's talking.
As you’re listening, it’s important to compare ideas you’re hearing with principles in the Bible. God’s Word is constant, dependable, and relevant to every situation you’ll face. He’s not going to say one thing in his Word, then whisper something different to your heart.
If what you’re hearing doesn’t match what the Bible says…continue to pray and listen! God promises to answer if we’ll honestly ask what he wants us to do.
If God is supremely powerful, why does he allow the devil to exist? Couldn’t he just wipe Satan out once and for all?”
God has a plan to redeem his creation, and the devil will be destroyed. But we’re not at that point…yet.
You might remember that God actually created the devil. God has no beginning and no end…but the devil does. Revelation…the last book of the Bible…says the devil will be thrown into a lake of fire to be tormented forever.
But why would God allow Satan to continue to ruin people’s lives today? Doesn’t he care?
It’s for your good and his glory. God shines in the contrast of good and bad.
At first this answer may be hard to accept, but think about it with me: God doesn’t get glory unless you have a story. Jesus told us to…
Let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.
Matthew 5:16 (NIV)
When times are good, a story of God’s provision is being written. When times are hard, the story highlights God’s power, redemption, and grace. When the story comes to an end, God will be glorified.
Satan can (and will) whisper his lies at any time, so be on guard. During good times he likes to say “You’ve got it made…no need to follow God.” During hard times he’ll say something like “If God real, then why is life so hard?”
When the devil speaks, just remember to answer his lies with the truth: “All things are gonna work out for God’s glory and my good. I’m gonna let my light shine. This story isn’t over. In the end, you lose and I win…because of Jesus.”