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Have you ever asked yourself that question?  Why the Devil is there a Devil?  I have.  I deluxe-devil-maskmean, think about it.  Before God created anything, he knew that there would be a Devil.  In fact it was part of his plan.  In his omniscience he knew the Devil would tempt Eve, and that she would sin, and mankind would suffer pain and turmoil for a long, long time.

I have been reading Job for the last month, and page after page, chapter after chapter, I am confronted with his great trials, tribulation, and loss.  He wouldn’t have had to endure such great suffering if there was no devil.  Even worse, he would not have had to endure what he did if God had not allowed the Devil to do what he did.  We would not have to suffer if God had not allowed the Devil to exist.

So one thing we can be sure about, it is God’s fault!

And everyone said, “Hallelujah!  Praise the Lord!”

Well, if you didn’t say it, you should have.  Why?  Because God does love us and does want us to be happy.  Our task is to figure out how having the Devil and his minions in the world can possibly be something to cheer about.

I have been thinking more intently about this because in our morning devotions at the home for needy children in Oaxaca,  Mexico, a brother was sharing about a mission trip he recently took, and how the Devil was opposing them.  He told some stories to indicate how the demonic forces were battling him and his good work.

My first thought was, when it comes to the Devil and his power, and God and his power, it’s like comparing a little kid with a squirt gun and the U S A with a thousand nuclear weapons.  So the question arises, why does God allow the puny, weak devil to hinder the work of the Gospel?  There are different Bible verses that indicate that God does indeed allow battles and struggles against the Devil, and that even tell us how to do battle against the Evil One.  Why?

In thinking about this, I at first chalked it up to one of those great mysteries that we will not be able to understand this side of Gloryland.  But then I got an idea of perhaps one reason why.  There might be a hundred reasons why, but I am thrilled if I can come up with even one reason that might be at least partially correct.

Here it is.  The Bible tells us, and Martin Luther emphasizes this, that we battle not only against the Devil, but also the world and the flesh.  In fact our greatest enemy is our flesh, meaning our evil desires.  The devil and the world just come along and encourage and direct and entice the flesh, the evil desires, to greater heights until we basically destroy ourselves and often times those around us.

Eve ‘s biggest combatant around the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil was not Satan in snake clothes.  It was her flesh.  Why was she even close to the tree?  If God prohibited eating the fruit from that tree, then the best thing to do would have been to avoid it altogether.  But Eve, like most of us, is tempted with the idea, presented to us by the lust of the flesh, to get as close to sin as we can, without actually sinning.  The biggest part of the “flesh”, is pride.  We think we are strong enough to get close to sin, without actually sinning.

It all started with her pride.  Pride brought her close to the tree.  Pride caused her to listen to the serpent.  Pride caused her to consider Satan’s words.  Pride caused her to pick the fruit and pride caused her to take a bite, thus changing her future, and that of humanity forever, or what seems like forever.

John tells us that sin is caused by the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life.  Paul says sin begins with an evil desire of the flesh, which conceives and gives birth to death.  Both of these Apostles didn’t need to look any farther than the example of Eve.

The Devil has been in the business of tempting people to sin for thousands of years and has gotten pretty good at it.  It isn’t really all that difficult for him, since the root of sin abides in each one of us.  Many Christian scholars say that humanity has a “bent” towards sin.  That is our default mode. The Devil just comes along to make the sin more approachable and more destructive, and the world is along for the ride, cheering us on every step of the way.

So back to the question, WHY the devil is there a Devil?  I think God allows the Devil, and the flesh for that matter, to exist to show us how weak we are without God in our lives.  Paul battled the Devil daily.  If that wasn’t enough of a struggle for him, he was also given a “thorn in the flesh” by God, no less.  Did he complain about the Devil and the flesh and the thorn?  No, he thanked God because those things reminded him of his weakness,  and staring his weaknesses in the face, reminded him of his great need and dependence on God.  They brought him closer to God.  They reminded him that God loved him and wanted him to be happy.  Paul knew that when he looked to God for help, that God was right there to strengthen him and help him overcome.  Paul concluded that when he was weak, he was strong.

So we thank God and rejoice that there is the Devil, in the sense that we recognize that he is incredibly weak compared to God, and that if we are for God, and God is for us, then who can be successfully against us?   Certainly not the Devil.  We can sing with Martin Luther the great hymn, A Mighty Fortress is our God.

 

And though this world, with devils filled, should threaten to undo us,
We will not fear, for God hath willed His truth to triumph through us:
The Prince of Darkness grim, we tremble not for him;
His rage we can endure, for lo, his doom is sure,
One little word shall fell him.

That word above all earthly powers, no thanks to them, abideth;
The Spirit and the gifts are ours through Him Who with us sideth:
Let goods and kindred go, this mortal life also;
The body they may kill: God’s truth abideth still,
His kingdom is forever.

 

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In Stephen Kings book Lisey’s Story, he writes about Bad Gunky.  He uses this phrase to refer to an evil Armor_of_God_01_280pxpresencee that his main characters are sometimes up against.  I think of this phrase when I think of the Christian’s spiritual enemies.  Luther talks about the World, our Fleshly desires, and the Devil.  Paul warns the church in Ephesians that our battle is against the Devils schemes, the Authorities, Principalities, Powers of Darkness and Spiritual Forces in the heavenly realms.  Bad Gunky all!

Paul also tells believers in Christ how to defeat these enemies of our soul.  In Ephesians 6:10, he says to be strong in the Lord and in His mighty power.  That sounds great, but how do we do it?  Paul explains that we need to put on spiritual armor.  Or, as Stephen King says in the same book, “Strap it on!”

Of all the pieces of spiritual armor that we need to strap on, I think the most important piece is “the sword of the Spirit, the Word of God”.  It’s significant that Paul mentions both Spirit and Word.  There are theologians the world over that have a tremendous grasp of the Bible, but don’t have the Spirit, and are spiritually defeated.  There are many Christians who claim to be filled with the Spirit, but are ignorant of much of God’s Word.  They also suffer defeats regularly in the spiritual
realm.  To be victorious we must have the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God.  Spirit and Word.  All the other pieces of armor are ultimately based on these two things.

With that said I will list the other pieces of spiritual armor, and rather than going into a long description of each piece, I will simply include a few relevant scriptures.

BELT OF TRUTH
Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth and the life.  No on can come to the Father except through me.”  John 14:6

You shall know the truth, and the truth will make you free.  John 8:32

BREASTPLATE OF RIGHTEOUSNESS
But now, the righteousness of God has been made known apart from the law.  This righteousness is given through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe.  Romans 3:21,,22

SHIELD OF FAITH
For it is by Grace you have been saved through faith – it is not of yourselves – it is a gift of God.  Ephesians 2:8

If you have the faith of a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, “be removed from here and be cast into the deepest sea” ans it will be done. Matthew 17:20

GOSPEL OF PEACE
I am not ashamed of the Gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God for salvation to all who believe.   Romans 1:16

My peace I give to you. Not the kind that the world gives, I give to you.  John 14:27

HELMET OF SALVATION

   Confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.  Romans 10:9

A cursory reading of these verses makes it plain that they are all connected in a radical way.  You can’t have one without the others.  A soldier back in the day could walk into his local armor shop and pick and choose which piece he wanted.  He could a quote on one or two pieces or buy the whole shebang.  As Christians, we get the whole outfit when we trust Jesus for our salvation.

I think the reason that Paul lists them all as separate entities is that the act of putting on each piece, should be a daily act of meditation each morning before we go out to face the day, to face the enemy.  God gives us each piece free of charge, and the mental act of strapping on each piece each day, each morning should give us cause for rejoicing in God and result in an attitude of strength that enables us to overcome the worries, frustrations, anxieties and anger that Satan and his minions will sling at us.  With the spiritual armor of God we will be “strong in th Lord and in His mighty power.”  We will go victorious into the day, full of joy knowing that God loves us and wants us to be happy.

Schwabbynitions

Faith – believing that God loves you and wants you to be happy.

Righteousness – enjoying living in right relationship with God.

Peace – not just the absence of conflict, but wholeness and contentment in every aspect of life.

Gospel – the Good News that God loves us and wants us to be happy, and has revealed the way to inner joy through His Word.

Salvation – being saved eternally from the power of sin and the wrath of God.  Being saved daily from the time of trial and the Evil One.

Truth – reality as seen through the eyes of God and revealed to us through scripture.

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Christ’s humility is our armor, His love is our strength and His forgiveness disarms demons.

 

“Give us this Day our daily bread. Forgive us our sins as we forgive those that sin against us.  Deliver us from the Evilsalvation One; save us from the time of trial.”

In Christianity we talk about salvation.  It’s not uncommon when one Christian meets another Christian for the first time, to ask, or to be asked, “When we’re you saved?”  Sometimes, when asked this question, I want to say, “Today.”

Of course we understand the meaning of the question – When did you begin to trust in Jesus with your life and experience salvation from Sin?  Some people can remember the day and hour that they were “saved”.  Other people, like me, can’t remember an exact time or place that “salvation” occurred, because we were brought up in the faith and as far as we can remember, we always believed that God loved us and that Jesus died for our sins and rose again so that we could have eternal life. That was me.  Sure I remember a time when I was about five years old and said “the sinners prayer” at Vacation Bible School, but I trusted in God’s saving grace before that, even though I had never verbalized it in such a formal way.  Later at age eight an evangelist came to our little farmhouse in Colorado and talked to my parents and my sister and I about “salvation” and once again I prayed a prayer that he wanted me to pray, which I prayed as sincerely as I could and seemed to make everyone happy.

Some people are looking for a great emotional experience when they talk about salvation.  I had one of those as well at Summer Bible Camp one year when I was about 12.  I cried and then felt spiritually “high” for about a week afterwards.  It was a wonderful experience that I will never forget.

Some years later I began attending Bible College and experienced other spiritual, emotional and mentally transforming times that had, to various degrees, an impact on my life.  In one sense or another, these were all “salvation” experiences.  I was “saved” each time.  Sometimes I was saved from Sin, other times I was saved from sins.  The ultimate Salvation is being made righteous in the sight of God.  Other times salvation is a changing of a wrong attitude, or an incorrect perspective on some aspect of life.  Sometimes we are saved from an unforgiving spirit. In short, some of us need to be saved everyday!  Especially me.

The greatest commandments are not things we shouldn’t do, but things we should do.   “Love the Lord your God with all of your heart, mind soul and strength.  Love your neighbor as yourself.”  If we disobey God’s commandments we sin.  Not a day goes by when I am apathetic in some way or another to those around me.  Not a day goes by but that I turn a deaf ear or a blind eye to the needs of my wife, children, brothers and sisters in Christ, or strangers that cross my path.  Many times I am much more like the priest and levite that ignored their fellow man in need, than I am like the good Samaritan who showed compassion on the poor man lying naked in his own blood along the road.  By neglecting my neighbor I am also neglecting God  and disobeying his commandment to love him with my entire being.  Truly I need to be saved everyday.

Martin Luther has said that we are continually struggling against the World, the Flesh and the Devil.  That is why Jesus taught us to pray daily to be delivered from the Evil One.  Satan prowls around like a hungry lion, seeking to destroy and kill us- mentally, spiritually, socially and physically.  Our flesh and the world are bent toward sin, thus when we pray to be saved from the time of trial, we are praying for God’s power and intervention in our daily lives.  We are asking him to maintain a hedge of protection around us, our family and our community of faith.  Indeed we need salvation everyday.

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Oh, what’s going on inside of me?
I despise my own behavior
This only serves to confirm my suspicions
I’m still a man in need of a Saviour

Charlie Peacock

Why Am I Here?

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