When we enter battle, we not only want to know who the enemy is, we want to know what strategies he employs. Satan uses a couple of different strategies. One of his strategies is to trap us the same way trappers trapped wild animals for their fur. A trapper would put something the animal would eat in the middle of the trap on a trigger. When the animal smelled the bait, he would approach the trap cautiously, because he could smell scent of the trapper lingering with the bait. As he would circle the trap sniffing the bait, at some point the animal's desire for the bait grew bigger than his fear of the man whose scent he could smell. He would then step into the center of the trap, taking the bait, which triggered the trap to shut. The trapped animal was either killed or wounded if only one of his limbs was caught. In the same way, Satan has observed mankind and figured out what he can use to bait us. 1 John 2:16 tells us the bait Satan uses falls into three categories--the desires of the flesh, the desires of the eyes, and the pride of life.
Glancing back to Eden, Satan planted doubts about God's goodness and then baited Adam and Eve in all three of these categories. First, the fruit was good for food and would satisfy their fleshly appetites. The appetite could have been any appetite--food, relationship, sex, status, or significance. The desires we have are not bad as God provides us ways to fulfill every appetite in legitimate ways just as he provided a garden of food for Adam and Eve. Second, the fruit was appealing because of its beauty. Don't we all go for beautiful fruit, passing over that which is misshapen or insect damaged? That is why the advertising industry uses airbrushing to make food, goods, services, and people look better than they are. After all who falls for ugly? Third, the fruit appealed to their human pride as it would make them wise like God. That equates to our wanting to be in charge of our own destiny. We fear God won't give us a spouse so, we don't wait for a godly man, have sex outside of marriage, or marry someone of questionable character. We get impatient as we are working our way up the corporate ladder and begin to take credit for others' work, hoping to get ahead. The enemy watches us and knows what bait we will most likely take and he uses it over and over wearing us down until it becomes a strong hold. Can't we hear him laughing as he watches us circle the bait and play with it, knowing that if we keep circling it we will bite.
Because Satan is not equal to God, his only power is in his ability to deceive. He wants us to believe God isn't really who He says He is, that we aren't really who He says we are, and that His plans and laws deny us instead of protecting us. He did that in Eden. He insinuated God was not really good as He denied them of one fruit in the garden. Look at how he changed their focus from all God was providing to the one restriction. They were made in God's image and fellowshipped with Him daily. Yet, the enemy also implied they were less than they were and that they needed what God prohibited to be more--to be more fulfilled, to be wiser, and to be happier. He stirred the desires with which God had created them, but focused the desires on what God in His love had prohibited. When they bit, they were thrown into a world of hurt and shame and they turned on each other, making each other and God their enemies instead of the serpent who hissed in their ear. The devil took the order God had created and turned it into chaos. Satan does the same thing to you and to me. Can't we hear him laughing when we turn on our spouses, hurt our friends, blow up at our kids, misrepresent our God to a culture that desperately needs him, or when we walk away from God disappointed in the journey He has designed us to live.
Why does the Enemy do what he does? He does what he does to dull our passion for the spiritual. For when we aren't passionate about God, His truth, and His holiness, our relationship with Him grows cold, our witness gets destroyed, our power is diminished, we live in chains that have already been broken, and the image we bear looks nothing like our Father. Satan does what he does to distract us away from our identity in Christ--our inadequacies, the parts of ourselves we believe to be defective, the failures marked by sin, and abuse that has ripped hearts opened wide have a way of distracting us from who He has created and redeemed us to be. He does what he does to stifle the callings God has placed on our lives because worry and fear keep us from living in a way we are most fulfilled and God most glorified. He does what he does to entice us to live lives full of impurity because impurity leads to a perverted state that hides God's beauty and glory. He does what he does to destroy our relationships, because it destroys the picture of our God being a relational God.
The truth is believers positionally are already seated at the table of God. All that we need is found in Him. When the enemy sets a trap before us that looks like a table containing food that is better than the Lords, we need to remember the character behind the meal--he is a thief, a deceiver, and a murderer. His every intention is to destroy. We need to call him out. "You have robbed me one to many times. I will no longer give you the power to deceive me. I choose life. I will not let you kill me with your lies and your forbidden meals. My God is good. I am beloved and redeemed by the blood of His precious son. Depart from me. I belong to God. He will provide."
The Bible gives us two interesting instructions. First, it tells us to flee the flesh. When it is being tickled by the Enemy, we need to run and we need to run fast. We don't sit in a bakery to lose weight. We don't sit in a bar to stop drinking, we don't flirt in the office when our marriage needs work. Second, The Bible tells us to resist the devil. We stand firm, having girded our loins with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness, having shod our feet with the gospel of peace, taking up the shield of faith, the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit for greater is our God than he who is in the world.
Monday, July 9, 2018
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Several years ago I realized that I often sped through my Scripture reading and gave it little thought. Yet, when I had meaningful conversations with friends or family members I replayed them over and over in my head. One day it occurred to me, that if I thought more about what God says in his word that I would not only know more about Him, but I would come to know Him in a personal way. I would know more about His thoughts, His character, His intentions, His passions, and His actions. So, I began to take one verse at a time and think on it and then journal about it. At the time I was served as a volunteer in youth ministry and shared my “Thoughts on God” with those girls. For a while I have been rewriting and posting them on this blog. I have realized when I am in the Word or move through my day focusing on God's presence that I have wonderful opportunities to Meet God in the Everyday. The Everyday can include storms, blessings, hard things, scary things, exciting things...just any where, anyplace, any time. I hope that you will be able to engage with what I write with both your head and your heart. I also hope you will be challenged to love, trust, and know the God of the Scriptures. It is my prayer that as you read you will experience Him at a deeper level and share pieces of your journey in the comments. It is my desire that we form a safe community of believers who pursue the God who loves us radically, eternally, and without reserve. As a precious pastor once told me, "Don't forget, Wendy, God is Good!" I find myself compelled by His Goodness and His Love to share so others can know Him through all the ups and downs of life. Please feel free to dialogue back and to share how each passage impacts you. If if there is a passage you would like me to write on or if you would like to be a guest blogger, please let me know. I am just learning to navigate this blog and appreciate the kind comments you have made in the past...I promise I will even try to respond if you leave a note. If you are blessed please share the blog with friends!