Eph. 4:27 Don’t give the devil any opportunity to work.
Have you ever thought about how much time and attention has been given to keep bad people who are out to do harm from taking advantage of our families and rightfully so. There are all types of alarms available as well as monitors, and of course guns, not to mention online protection from hackers as well. Society has done a lot to provide protection from such people, but as believers how much attention do we give to our spiritual enemy and how he works? We may not even think much about these spiritual enemies and in not paying attention to them and how they work, they can subtly move in and take advantage of our lives. I want to share this week some very important things we can do to give this enemy of ours no place in our lives.
First of all let me establish a couple of very important facts. The first of which is the fact that our foundation scripture reveals a very important truth for us to understand. If Paul tells us to give the devil no opportunity to work in our lives that means he cannot do so unless we give him that opportunity. Far to often Christians have given satan a whole lot more credit than he deserves. Realize that he cannot work in our life if we will not permit him to do so. Don’t think for a minute that he can just come against you and do whatever he wants, not unless we give him such opportunity. We can slam the door in his face every time he comes.
Col. 2:15 He stripped the rulers and authorities of their power and made a public spectacle of them as he celebrated his victory in Christ.
The second key point I want to make is the fact that God stripped satan and his cohorts of their power through the victory of Christ on the cross. We need to fully understand this truth because far too many Christians are even afraid to talk about the devil for fear that he might come against them if they do. First of all he has no power left. He has to deceive you to take advantage of the authority Christ has given to us. Jesus Christ delegated to the church the same authority that was given to Him. The power of God that defeated the devil is still God’s power, not ours, but when Christ gave us His authority that means we have the ability to use God’s power. We should have no fear of the devil for he has been stripped of his power.
Why then does the devil seem to take advantage of believers? There are three primary areas in which he works that we will go over so we can learn how to address these in our life and make sure we give him no place. The three primary areas in which satan works are deception, seduction, and the cares of this world. If we recognize these works we can slam the door in his face and keep him out of our lives. So let’s look at each one individually and learn how to be victorious over anything he may throw our way.
Rev. 12:9 This great dragon—the ancient serpent called the Devil, or Satan, the one deceiving the whole world—was thrown down to the earth with all his angels.
John 8:31 So Jesus said to those Jews who had believed in Him, If you abide in My word [hold fast to My teachings and live in accordance with them], you are truly My disciples.
John 8:32 And you will know the Truth, and the Truth will set you free.
In Revelation 12:9 we clearly see that the devil is a deceiver of the whole world. He works to take advantage of us by getting us to believe things that are not true. He is continually at work in the lives of people trying to convince them of things about God that are not true. If he can convince you that it is God who makes you sick or God who brings bad things in your life or it is God who uses evil to teach us then he can deceive you and keep you from receiving what God has for your life. One of the primary areas satan has worked to bring such deception in people’s lives is through false teachings from the pulpit. John chapter 10 reveals this very truth.
So how do we keep from being deceived? Jesus gives us the answer in John chapter 8. If we abide in His Word, we are His disciples (students learning from Him), and we will know the truth, and the truth will set us free from deception. Abiding in the Word is more than just reading the Bible. The Amplified translation brings out in verse 31 above that we are to hold fast and live in accordance with Jesus’ teachings. Knowing the truth refers to knowledge through action. Reading scripture is not enough we must live by it.
It wouldn’t do you any good for example to just look at food. You don’t get nourishment from looking at food you must eat it. We must take God’s Word and meditate on it, and put it into practice if we want to overcome the deceptive works of satan. The problem with deception is you don’t know you’re deceived, and that is why we must abide in the Word of God. Stick with the Word and it will never lead you astray, but if we oppose God’s Word that will lead to deception.
1 Tim. 4:1 Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils; …
Seduction is different then deception for when someone is seduced they know what they are doing is wrong. Seduction is satan’s way of tempting us with things that our flesh wants. If we give in to seduction we know what we are doing is not right. This is the work of satan’s seducing spirits, which leads people away from the faith. This refers to not putting our faith in what the Word says, but instead giving in to what our old fleshly nature wants instead.
Gal. 5:16 Let me explain further. Live your life as your spiritual nature directs you. Then you will never follow through on what your corrupt nature wants.
The key to overcoming satan’s seducing works is to walk in obedience to our spirit man, the real you on the inside, and this will keep us from following after the old corrupt fleshly nature. For us to do this we must develop our spirit man. Just as the natural man can be developed, and just as the intellect of man can be developed, so can our spirit man be developed. If we want to develop the spirit man within we must feed on spiritual food. If we continue to feed on fleshly things that we should not be listening to or watching, we are going to see our fleshly nature dominate. Paul said in Romans chapter 8 that if we set our minds on the flesh we will live a carnal fleshly life, but if we set our minds on the things of the spirit, then we will be dominated by our spirit man. Dr. Roy Hicks had a great saying, “There are two natures that beat within my breast, one is cursed and one is blessed, one I love and one I hate, but the one I feed will dominate.”
If for example you don’t want to adopt all the stray cats in your neighborhood, then don’t put out cat food for the cats. If you feed them they are going to hang around and keep coming back for more. If you don’t want them around stop feeding them. If you don’t want to give in to seduction, being tempted in your flesh, then stop feeding your flesh with all the fleshly worldly things that others watch and participate in. Instead feed your spirit man and watch your spirit begin to dominate your life. Then when fleshly temptations come you will choose to walk in life through the spirit instead of corruption through the flesh.
1 Pet. 5:6 Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time,
1 Pet. 5:7 casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you.
1 Pet. 5:8 Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.
One of the most overlooked areas where satan is at work in people’s lives is in getting people to live with the cares of life. This leads to worry, and Jesus said there is nothing good that will be added to your life through worry. As a matter of fact you cannot walk in faith and worry at the same time. Notice Peter here clearly states that we are to humble ourselves under the mighty hand of God so that He can lift us up above the circumstances of life. We do this by casting all, not some but all of our care upon Him because He cares for us. This is significant because what Peter is saying here is that God wants to help you deal with and overcome the things that become a burden or care in your life.
Notice the very next verse warns us to be sober and vigilant in dealing with cares because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion seeking whom he may devour. He devours people by getting them to carry the cares of life. How do we release these cares to God? You must make sure you are not in love with the world nor the things in the world, for those who are the love for the Father is not in them. If you will maintain a close and intimate relationship with God you won’t have any problem trusting Him with life’s cares for you know He cares for you.
So make sure you are abiding in the Word of God, living in and living out what the Word says. Keep developing your spirit man for as you do you will walk in the spirit and not fulfill the lusts of the flesh. Make sure you are maintaining a close walk with God because then you won’t hold on to the cares of life but in fact life a care free life.
See You Again Next Week For More “Weekly Wisdom
May God’s Best Be Yours!
Pastor Darryl Baker