Eph. 4:27 Don’t give the devil any opportunity to work.
Have you ever stopped to take a look at life through the eyes of the devil to have a better understanding of how he works and what he does? Think about this for a minute as we are clearly told here by the apostle Paul that we are not to give the devil any opportunity in our life to work. I want to share with you something that can help you to see that this does not happen in your life. In doing so you will not become someone who willingly or even unknowingly gives satan the opportunity to take advantage of your life.
When you think about not giving the devil any opportunity in your life most would only think of things such as giving place to sin, or allowing him to deceive you or seduce you to take advantage of your life. But what many don’t realize is that they may be giving the devil opportunity to work in their life through things they have now discounted as unimportant. Think about this, if a believer is not going to get settled in their life the very basic things that a follower of Christ should be doing, then we are in fact giving the devil opportunity to work in our life.
What I am going to share with you this week is what scripture reveals as the basic things in Christianity that should forever be settled in our lives, for once they are then the devil can no longer mess with our life in those areas. Join me as we “Get It Settled” what should no longer be an issue for us who know Jesus Christ. All the things I am going to share with you are so simple but so powerful, so let’s get started.
1. Don’t argue with the Word of God.
Psa. 119:89 Forever, O LORD, Your word is settled in heaven.
This is a biggie because first and foremost we must settle forever in our hearts and in our lives that God’s Word is settled forever in heaven therefore our opinion does not matter. It is amazing how many times in 24 years of pastoring that people who have come to me for help will ask about a situation and I will point them to a verse of scripture that clearly gives them the answer to their issue but you may then get the following response, “I know the Bible says that pastor, but….”. But what?
When we are governed by our carnal nature then our old fleshly man is dominating and he wants to always get his way. So even though you can show people from scripture how to fix a problem in their life or what they should do in a certain situation if it isn’t what their flesh wants to hear they will try to reason out why they should not be living according to scripture. God knows what He is doing and His Word is settled. He honestly does not care about our opinion of the Word; it will never change Him nor the truth of His Word, which is what sets us free.
We must come to the Bible and make it the first and final authority in our life. No matter how much our flesh does not like what scripture may or may not say, it will always be right because God is always right. So if we don’t settle this issue then the following areas are going to be a problem as well, and we give the devil opportunity to deceive and mislead us when we start arguing with the Word of God. This is exactly what the devil did when he was booted out of heaven. Don’t ever argue with or go against God’s Word, no matter how hard it is for your flesh.
2. Be a doer of the Word and not a hearer only.
James 1:22 But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.
This goes without saying but still needs to be addressed. We cannot just “amen” the Word of God but yet never put the Word into practice in our lives. For anyone who hears the Word of God and yet does not have the diligence to do what the Word says they are deceiving themselves. If you are self deceived how much opportunity do you think a self deceived Christian is giving to the devil? This makes his work even that much easier.
This is like someone who knows to do right, but they don’t do it and they will often have others drawn to them who are living the same way. These people cheer you on and give you all kinds of reasons why you are right and therefore why you don’t have to obey the Word of God. There are many believers who say they love God and they amen at church, but they don’t put forth the effort to walk in line with the Word. James said in verse 25 of the same chapter that he who does what the Word says, this one will be blessed in what he does. That would mean we are not going to be blessed unless we are doers of the Word. So settle it forever in your life that you are going to be diligent at being a doer of the Word of God.
3. Honor God with your tithes and offerings.
Prov. 3:9 Honor the LORD with your possessions, And with the firstfruits of all your increase;
Prov. 3:10 So your barns will be filled with plenty, And your vats will overflow with new wine.
It is a bible fact that scripture teaches us to honor the Lord with the first tenth of all our increase and with offerings (our possessions) as well. People that want to argue about this are going against what Jesus Himself even said. Where your treasure (wealth) is there your heart is also, you cannot serve God and mammon. You know what satan does not want you to do? To give to the work of God. Why? Because you are going to help reach the lost for Christ and when you do, that is a blow against the devil. If the devil has you serving mammon he not only can control what you do with your money, but he can keep you from serving God for you cannot serve God and mammon.
It is simple to see if you look at the world’s system and those bound by this world’s system, which scripture teaches us that satan is the god of this world’s system, that money and possessions are a high priority in life. But in fact money and possessions are not high on God’s priority list, people are. God paves streets with gold. God so loved the world He have His most precious and valuable gift, much more valuable than money, the life of His Son, all because people are a priority to Him. When His priorities become our priorities then the devil cannot keep us in fear of not having enough or fear of losing what we do have. God shall supply all the need of those who sow and give to the gospel. If you don’t settle this once and for all then money (mammon) will be your master not God.
4. Settle in your heart who your pastor is.
John 10:3The watchman opens the door for this man, and the sheep listen to his voice and heed it; and he calls his own sheep by name and brings (leads) them out.
If you take time to study out John 10, especially the first part of the chapter, you will find out that Jesus refers to Himself as the watchman or door through which those He gifted to be shepherds (pastors) come through. These shepherds call to the sheep and lead them out to pasture. Simply put, Jesus has a pastor for your life, not many pastors, and you will know that pastor when you hear his voice, when he preaches and teaches the Word of God.
Years ago a great man of God, Dr. Lester Sumrall asked my pastor Dr. Mark Barclay where satan comes against Christians the most. Dr. Barclay said it would have to be where they go to church, for you don’t see many Christians committed to a local church. I do understand that most Christians have never been taught that scripture does not tell us to find a church, we are the church, but in fact you are to find the shepherd Jesus gave as a gift to grow you up in the Lord.
I will never forget the day I found my pastor. When I heard Dr. Mark Barclay preach for the first time there was something both my wife and I knew that was different about this man. This was the man of God that Jesus had gifted to be the shepherd of our lives. I am so grateful to have found my pastor. Don’t think the devil hasn’t tried to get me focused on my flesh and pull away from my pastor, he has, but he cannot for I know I found my shepherd and I have settled it in my heart. Because of this it has brought growth and stability in my life and I know I would probably not be in the ministry today if it were not for him in my life.
The shepherd Jesus has gifted to pastor you is not someone you will always agree with, but they are someone that the Lord Himself gave to help you grow in God and become all Christ wants you to be. It is easy to see why the devil works so hard at getting people away from their pastor. Once you find that shepherd it should be forever settled in your heart, and this will bring great stability in your life.
So these are a few of the key things that scripture reveals should be settled in our hearts and no longer something we debate or argue about. If you can get the basic things of Christianity settled in your life you are well on your way to becoming a mighty man or woman of God and you will stop giving opportunity to the devil to keep taking advantage of your life.
See You Again Next Week For More “Weekly Wisdom”
May God’s Best Be Yours!
Pastor Darryl Baker