The world is full of subjects worth thinking or talking about. While it seems like most of the negativity in the world is in the news, many wonderful things occur that could fuel our conversations. Yet too often we hear mentioned the one thing, or in this case, being, we would do better to simply be aware of and resist. It's Satan, otherwise known as, the Devil!
Why Talk about the Devil?
“Lest Satan should get an advantage of us: for we are not ignorant of his devices.” 2 Corinthians 2:11
There is only one reason we should even mention the Devil that I can find in scripture. So we can be aware of his devices. What does this mean? We need instruction in how the Devil works. He lies (John 8:44), accuses (Revelation 12:10), tempts (Luke 4:13), hinders (1 Thessalonians 2:18), deceives (Revelation 12:9), and ensnares (2 Timothy 2:26). At times, he also afflicts (Job 2:7), possesses (Matthew 9:32), oppresses (Acts 10:38), and causes death and destruction (Job 1:13-19, Hebrews 2:14). It is important and helpful to know an enemy's tactics so we can defend against them. But what good does it do to talk about him constantly?
What the Devil isn't Doing
One thing the Devil isn't doing. He is not doing any of the above mentioned things to everyone all of the time. This is because he can only be in one place at any given time. He can only directly afflict one person or cause one event at a time. He is not omnipresent like God. He can however, appear to be in more than one place at a time through his network of fallen angels (Revelation 12:4). Remember, deception is one of his tools. And besides, we bring about most of the issues we deal with in life. The actions we take today have the potential to create our tomorrow. If we spend more time examining ourselves instead of looking for someone else to blame, we will find less to blame on others. This includes you know who.
“Examine me, O LORD, and prove me; try my reins and my heart.” Psalms 26:2
“But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of that bread, and drink of that cup.” 1 Corinthians 11:28
“Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves. Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates?” 2 Corinthians 13:5
Don't give the Devil credit where none is due!
Our Weapons Against the Devil
While the Devil is a formidable adversary, God gave us weapons to fight with.
“Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.” James 4:7
You may have thought I would mention the Armor of God first. Like with a natural foe, if you can dissuade without combat, all the better. So first and foremost, we are to resist the Devil. God promises that the Devil will flee, if we resist him. Be mindful that it helps to be submitted to God (Acts 19:15).
“Neither give place to the devil.” Ephesians 4:27
We cannot walk or live however we please and expect to overcome Satan's devices. Then we are given armor to help resist him.
“Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.” Ephesians 6:11
Ephesians 6:13-17 tells us what the armor is and what it does. Now you may have noticed what I have. Nowhere among any of these weapons are we told to stomp, kick, slap, give a black eye or bloody nose, make him mad, or… wait for it… talk about the Devil! 😀 That's because it is pointless attempting any of these things with an angel. So if anyone tells you to do any of this, do yourself a favor. Don't! Unless you enjoy being laughed at by the powers of darkness or giving them a reason to notice you…
Examples of Dealing with the Devil
When Job was tried, he never talked about the Devil. He didn't accused him of anything either. He gave glory to God and examined himself for the reasons why his trial came (Job 1:21-22, 2:10). I believe Jesus inspired James 4:7. He resisted Satan and Satan left Him (Matthew 4:1-11, 16:23). Jesus never carried on conversations with devils. He ordered them out and only told one to identify itself. That's because in this case, there was more than one devil and these demons were exceptionally violent (Luke 8:26-33). Michael the archangel also resisted and did not argue with him (Jude 1:9). As you can see, we are given examples of what to do. Here is one example of what NOT to do.
“Then certain of the vagabond Jews, exorcists, took upon them to call over them which had evil spirits the name of the Lord Jesus, saying, We adjure you by Jesus whom Paul preacheth. And there were seven sons of one Sceva, a Jew, and chief of the priests, which did so. And the evil spirit answered and said, Jesus I know, and Paul I know; but who are ye? And the man in whom the evil spirit was leaped on them, and overcame them, and prevailed against them, so that they fled out of that house naked and wounded.” Acts 19:13-16
Never think that devils are to be messed or toyed with. God in His mercy have kept many from being attacked. Those who do not heed sound wisdom may not fare as well.
The Object of our Thoughts and Focus
“Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.” Philippians 4:8
Satan is mentioned so little in scripture. Why? Because it's not about him. It's about God and our Savior, Jesus Christ. And it's about us!
“And daily in the temple, and in every house, they ceased not to teach and preach Jesus Christ.” Acts 5:42
The Devil was not mentioned in the early Church very often. Why? The gospel was never about the Devil!! They preached Jesus. And they walked in the power of the Spirit. If we are to live as they lived, we must do as they did.
Satan is a Defeated Foe (In the Future)
“Therefore rejoice, ye heavens, and ye that dwell in them. Woe to the inhabiters of the earth and of the sea! for the devil is come down unto you, having great wrath, because he knoweth that he hath but a short time.” Revelation 12:12
As you can see, Satan's defeat is yet to come. Time is relative. Nevertheless, if Satan is truly a defeated foe, we need not waste time on him. Talking about him only serves to give him glory. So let's turn our focus to the main thing. One thing I learned from a successful networker is this… “Let the main thing be the main thing, because the main thing IS the main thing!”
Let's Focus on the Main Thing
Regardless of what we read or who we listen to, our time must be spent learning about what we need to do to please God and to prepare ourselves for the return of Christ. Let's focus on how to live transformed and victorious lives by applying the truth found in Scripture.
“Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour:” 1 Peter 5:8
We know the Devil is out there. We doesn't help us to jabber on about what he does. Let him do his thing. There is nothing we can do to stop him anyway except to take note of his tactics. Then we can prevent or overcome his devices. Our victory is not in our own power. It's in our stand on God's Word! We are to be wise as serpents, yet harmless as doves (Matthew 10:16). If we do this, we cannot be defeated…
“But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.” 1 Corinthians 15:57
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