Whether Christians like it or not, we are at war. The Bible is very clear about whom our enemy is, and how we ought to protect ourselves from the evil one. Skirmishes are fought in the heavenly realm and not just in the world we see. Not only are we to be on the defensive, but also we are called to advance and fight with the enabling power of God.
To start, every believer should know the story of Lucifer. His name means Day Star, or “The Shining One.” He was originally a ‘good’ spirit being and one of a class of angels known as Cherubim (Ezekiel 28:14). Cherubim are a certain type of angelic creature, it means to guard or cover. At one time, according to the Bible, he was one of only two angelic beings whose task was to cover God’s glory as He sat on the throne of the universe.
“You were anointed as a guardian cherub, for so I ordained you. You were on the holy mount of God; you walked among the fiery stones.” Ezekiel 28:14 (NIV)
However, pride was Lucifer’s downfall. Apparently he looked to himself and became enamored with his own beauty. He became self-focused. Satan was a creature of exquisite beauty and wisdom having no comparison. He wanted to ascend to greater heights. He wanted to be exalted above the glory of God with a desire to be like his creator.
“Your heart was lifted up because of your beauty; You corrupted your wisdom for the sake of your splendor.” Ezekiel 28:17a (NKJV)
“How you are fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning!
How you are cut down to the ground, you who weakened the nations!
For you have said in your heart: ‘I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God; I will also sit on the mount of the congregation. On the farthest sides of the north; I will ascend above the heights of the clouds, I will be like the Most High.’” Isaiah 14:12-14 (NKJV) There are 5 “I wills” mentioned in Isa.14, all are indicative of his corrupted heart and his desire to leave the position assigned to him by God. Along with the devil, 1/3 of the angels were cast out. We now refer to these corrupt angelic beings as demons.
The devil goes by many names and they all refer to his character. They define him. It is to our advantage to know our opponent, but only a few are mentioned in this devotion.
“I am sending you out like sheep among wolves. Therefore, be as shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves.” Matthew 10:16 (NKJV)
The devil is the Antichrist (opponent of the Messiah)- He is a devious expert when it comes to counterfeiting the things of God. Satan often counterfeits God and his apostles (through men) when he appears as an angel of light. Jesus is the “Light of the World,” so Satan has fooled and continues to deceive mankind through this deception.
God has sent prophets to proclaim His word, and Satan sends false prophets and false teachers to preach his word. We are warned that such false teachers will “tickle our ears.” (2 Timothy 4:3) If we are not on guard, by appealing to selfish desires, many of God’s sheep will stray from the flock.
“Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves. You will know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes from thornbushes or figs from thistles?” Matthew 7:15-16 (NKJV)
“But there were also false prophets among the people, even as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Lord who bought them, and bring on themselves swift destruction. And many will follow their destructive ways, because of whom the way of truth will be blasphemed. By covetousness they will exploit you with deceptive words; for a long time their judgment has not been idle, and their destruction does not slumber.”
2 Peter 2:1-3 (NKJV)
“And every spirit that does not confess that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is not of God. And this is the spirit of the Antichrist, which you have heard was coming, and is now already in the world.” 1 John 4:3 (NKJV)
Satan lives to deceive, hoping to cause someone to believe something that is not true, typically in order to gain some personal advantage. He is an accuser. He is the chief complainer against those who believe in God.
“So the great dragon was cast out, that serpent of old, called the Devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world; he was cast to the earth, and his angels were cast out with him.” Revelation 12:9 (NKJV)
“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.”
Revelation 12:10 (NKJV)
The devil is a liar, thief, and murderer. If you read through the parable of the sower in Matthew 13, you will find an example of how the devil steals the Word of God that others have sown. The birds (demons) devour the seeds. Murder happens when the hearer is robbed of the Good News and the promise of eternal life.
“The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.” John 10:10 (NKJV)
“You are of your father the devil, and the desires of your father you want to do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own resources, for he is a liar and the father of it.” John 8:44 (NKJV)
Jesus is the King of Judah and Satan is a “Roaring Lion” who roams the earth looking for those to deceive and lead to destruction (1Peter 5:8) The devil, our enemy is relentless. He does not rest. He is always searching for prey, and that is why we must never let down our guard. We are instructed to dress in the armor of Christ. This is our spiritual attitude and it should be well oiled with prayer and humility.
Times are dark, and will get darker still. Christians are already suffering persecution for their faith, but chances are that more tests and trials will come our way before the Lord returns. The church, The Body of Christ, is being sifted. False teachers are leading God’s flock off the path of righteousness and into believing and accepting lies. Ears have already been tickled. Like the Bereans (Acts 17:11), we must take every message we hear and compare it to the Word of God. It is our responsibility to cultivate our spiritual walk and keep to the truth. Are we caught up in the cares and distractions of the world or are we vigilant in prayer and living a life that glorifies Christ?
Do we fear our faith will ruffle the feathers of friends, family, and neighbors? Do we remain silent when difficult topics like abortion and gay marriage comes up in conversation? Do we support the politically correct views Satan birthed, views that cause the lost to accuse believers of prejudice and behind the times thinking? Or, do we willingly shine our light and oppose what we know is abhorrent to God?
We live in a day of constant distractions and deception. We are told it is okay to be self-centered and politically correct. That a baby is not a baby until it is birthed. If it feels good, go ahead and pursue it since you only live once. Self-control has no value. Money leads to happiness and same-sex marriage is fine, so long as everyone really love each other. God is love, so everybody needs to support the actions of others… even though they are an abomination to God. No! No! No! God’s children need to find their voice and make a stand, even if it means there is a cost to suffer.
Lies are lies and they need to be exposed. May we all make an effort to vigilantly stand against the enemy as he continues to deceive and steal away even the most influential leaders of our churches… be it pastor, worship leader, or author.