Friday, December 21, 2012

Overcoming the Real Devil

One Year Bible
New Testament passage for Friday, December 21, 2012:  Revelation 12:1-17

10 Then I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, “Now salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of His Christ have come, for the accuser of our brethren, who accused them before our God day and night, has been cast down. 11 And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, and they did not love their lives to the death. Revelation 12:10-11 (NKJV)

A recent Gallup poll tells us that 70% of Americans believe in a real devil.  There is great variety in the way they see this devil to exist and operate -- perhaps a personal being, perhaps an impersonal evil force -- but, the vast majority agree that there is the evil which we call the devil. 

Many people cringe at the thought of facing this devil.  He seems so powerful and intimidating.  He is a nightmare figure inciting the worst fears of human existence.  Just as God is absolute pure goodness, Satan is intrinsic, undiluted evil. 

Satan was once a powerful angel, but he invented evil by rebelling against God.  He fell and led a host of other angelic being in his rebellion.  This is described in the symbolism of Rev. 12:3-4 when it says that the dragon (Satan) drew a third of the stars (angels) of heaven down with him.  Satan sought to broaden his rebellion and a war broke out in the heavens (vs. 7).  This is cosmic and dramatic in nature!

All the evil that ever afflicted humankind has an origin.  It all has a source.  The prince of darkness seeks to steal, kill, or destroy (John 10:10) the good creation of our good God.  Like the dragon of Rev. 12, he stands ready to devour anything that God births (Rev. 12:4). 

This entire topic of the invisible war bears our ongoing study and attention.  There are weapons that God has given us (II Co. 10:4) so that we can prevail.  There is armor that He offers us (Eph. 6:13-18) that we need to use.

I want here to focus on perhaps the most fundamental aspect of this war that begins in the heavens and seeks to reak havoc on the earth.  Satan is called "the accuser of our brethren" (vs. 10).  ACCUSATION and CONDEMNATION is Satan's foremost weapon.  He deals in lies.

I really believe that Satan has no power whatsoever of himself.  He is, in fact, a weakling and a wimp in his intrinsic being.  He, however, has a big mouth.  He knows how to speak quite well.  He seduces with lies.  He has NO POWER unless we believe his lies.  We need never feel the need to arm-wrestle with the devil.  We need never feel the need to "muscle up" in man's strength. 

We deal Satan the most fatal blow when we simply believe the truth.  What truth are we talking about?  "They over came him (Satan) by THE BLOOD OF THE LAMB and by the WORD OF THEIR TESTIMONY."  When we believe in the power of Jesus' blood, we cut the legs out from under the devil.  When we confess God's truth, we are driving out the lie.

This seems so simple, but it is the most important lesson we will ever learn in terms of spiritual victory.  The third part of the spiritual arsenal is "they did not love their lives to the death."  Self-preservation is one of the most basic human instincts.  We automatically tend to take care of Number One.  When we lay down our lives for Jesus -- when we deny ourselves -- we are doing one of the wisest things we could ever do in terms of our well-being.

Some have called this the cost of discipleship.  It is, however, far more that a COST.  It is a BENEFIT and a BLESSING.  We can live above this being called Satan.

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