Threat Detected

 We have a relatively new sound system at church and those running the sound board are still learning how to use all the fancy features. On Easter Sunday, after our pastor candidate spoke and we had a closing hymn, When The Roll Is Called Up Yonder, I was asked to close in prayer. As I was praying, we started hearing the message again over the speakers. The message had been recorded and was somehow  playing back as CD copies were being made.  It was a bit awkward to say the least. If the Holy Spirit was working on people’s hearts, it was obvious that Satan was doing his best to distract them from making any decisions for Christ.  Then a week ago, as we were closing in prayer at the end of Sunday School, where our adult class is going through a CD series by David Jeremiah on fear, suddenly over the speakers we hear “Threat detected!”  Amen to that!  We had just heard a great message on trusting in the Lord and delighting in Him, based on Psalm 37.  I’m sure that God was working in our hearts as we prayed, showing us how we could apply this passage to our lives, but again, Satan wanted to distract us.

     We know that “…our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places” (Eph. 6:10).  So, we are to “Be of sober spirit, (and) be on the alert, (for) your adversary, the devil, prowls about like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour” (I Pet. 5: 8). The warning concerning the devil was given not only to young Christians but also to the elders (see I Pet. 5:1). Satan works hard to cause Christian leaders to fall, not only destroying that  leader’s influence for Christ, but also giving occasion to the enemies of the Lord to blaspheme (cf II Sam. 12:14). But the devil doesn’t always come as a roaring lion; he is a great deceiver (Rev. 12:9), and will also appear as an “angel of light” (II Cor. 11:4), appealing to our pride or our aesthetic sense, or our appetites, or our desire for material things—whatever he discerns might usurp the preeminent place of Christ and His Word in our lives—and then tempts us with a convincing rationale that will cause us to let it do just that. Peter, obviously, could speak from bitter experience (cf Lk. 22:31-34).  Note particularly in the context of I Pet. 5:8 that Peter is especially warning against greed (v. 2) and pride (vv. 5,6).
     Satan is deceptive and powerful (Eph. 6:12; II Cor. 2:10,11), but we need never fall to his temptings if we simply—along with staying sober and alert—do also as James says: “Submit therefore to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you” (James 4:7). Believers are able to be victorious over Satan because of our position in Christ and the effectiveness of our weapons (Eph. 6:10-18). Since God has “seated us with Him (Christ) in the heavenly places” (Eph. 2:6), no one is able to touch us without touching Christ Himself. Paul reminds us that “the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh, but divinely powerful for the destruction of fortresses” (II Cor. 10:4).  Our position in Christ makes it impossible for Satan to gain the victory over us as long as we do as James exhorts us: “Submit to God.”  Christ has all power over Satan and his forces of evil (demons).  But Satan, who is very cunning (cf Gen. 3:1), will attempt to draw us out of our dependence on Christ and cause us to rely on our own strength to defeat him, rather than on the strength we have in Christ. Eph. 6:11 refers to the “schemes” (NASB)  or “wiles” (KJV) of Satan. Satan uses subtle methods to lure us out of our stronghold in Christ. If Satan can get the believer to doubt or to become discouraged, he has greater hopes of succeeding in his schemes. The moment we no longer rely on our position in Christ, we fall under Satan’s power. We need to heed Jesus’ words recorded by Luke: “Watch ye therefore and pray always” (Lk. 21:36 KJV).  The Apostle Paul didn’t view the Christian life as being easy, and he encouraged Timothy to “fight the good fight of faith” (I Tim. 6:12a). As believers, especially when we are intent on growing in Christ and sharing our faith with others, we are under attack. We are at war.  Satan will do whatever he can to distract us from focusing on Christ and to rob us of our joy and destroy our testimony for Christ.  It is important that we not be overconfident and think we can defeat Satan on our own.
     So, stay alert in order to detect the enemy’s subtle threats and respond as David, who “spoke the words of this song to the LORD in the day that the LORD delivered him from the hand of all his enemies: ‘The LORD is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer; My God, my rock, in whom I take refuge; My shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold and my refuge; my Savior, Thou dost save me from violence. I call upon the LORD, who is worthy to be praised; and I am saved from my enemies” (II Sam. 22:1-4).
     Praise God that “greater is He (Christ) who is in us, than he (Satan) who is in the world” (I Jn. 4:4). When a “threat (from the enemy) is detected,” submit to God, keep your armor on, and  “you will be able to extinguish all the flaming missiles of the evil one” (Eph. 6:18). And don’t forget how Jesus dealt with Satan’s temptations (Mt. 4:1-10), He quoted Scripture. That’s why it is so important for us to memorize God’s Word to make it available to the Holy Spirit when we face Satan’s temptations. David said, “Thy word I have treasured (hidden) in my heart, that I may not sin against Thee” (Psa. 119:11).
     Stay alert today—and each day—for any threats from the enemy, submit to God (depending upon Him), resist the devil (using God’s Word), and he will flee from you.
                                Forever His,
                                        Pastor Dave
            Spiritual victory comes only to those who are prepared for battle (I Pet. 1:13).
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About Pastor Dave

Until my retirement 2 years ago, I pastored an independent Bible church in Northwest Montana for nearly 38 years. During that time I also helped establish a Christian school, and a Bible Camp. I am married and have children and grandchildren. The Wisdom of the Week devotional is an outgrowth of my desire to share what God is doing in my life and in our world, and to challenge you to be a part.
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