Skip to main content

The Devil Made Me Do It

 In the early 70’s Flip Wilson, a popular comedian, made the phrase famous—The Devil made me do it!  It’s easy to joke about the devil, ignore him, or make too much of his power in our spiritual lives.  Paul gives us a balanced approach to facing off with the devil in Ephesians 6.  It is unwise to ignore him but unnecessary to fear him.
 I had the privilege to be under the teaching of J.I. Packer recently, and his thoughts regarding Paul’s instructions to all Christians from Ephesians 6 were inspiring.  Packer suggests that Christians today are not instructed effectively about our faith.  In this passage, Paul is giving us the Christian instruction necessary to receive the victory we are lacking in our daily walk with Christ.   An explanation of the failure of Christians to live as Christians may be found in their lack of understanding of what the Christian life is about. 
 Packer’s outline included seven catechismal questions; your answers will reveal if you are living in Christian victory or defeat. 
1. Do you know who the enemy is? (Ephesians 6:11-12)
2. Do you know where the conflicts are? (Ephesians 6:12)
3. Do you know what sort of war you are engaging in? (Ephesians 6:12)
4. Do you know what God wants and expects of you as His child? (Ephesians 6:13)
5. Do you know what armor God has given you in order to equip you for this encounter? (Ephesians 6:13-17)
6. Do you know how to keep in touch with the God we serve? (Ephesians 6:18)
7. Do you know how to be an encourager of people’s hearts? (Ephesians 6:21-23)
Our enemy is Satan, and he is clever and scheming.  He does his best to disguise himself as your friend and make you think that the people you live among are your real enemies.  Don’t get deceived.  He is an intelligent enemy, and we are fools if we do not allow the Spirit of God within us to open our eyes to his deceptions.  The conflicts are in heavenly places—not confined to this world alone.  We cannot see or measure everything that permeates our lives.  God knows we cannot fully grasp all that is involved, but what we can understand is that we must go armed.  Our focus is to be on the armor of God which He provided to overcome the conflict that is beyond our intelligence.  We are engaged in a defensive war—we are told to stand firm.  Standing firm means resting in the promises of God and believing them, no matter what we see the enemy doing in the world.  The victory has been won through Jesus Christ; our part is to believe and live in the victory.  God expects His children to understand that they are under attack and being constantly tempted away from Him.  He wants His children to believe in their adoption and great inheritance rather than remain overly attached to this world.  God gives us His armor to equip us for the battle—belt of truth, breastplate of righteousness, shoes of the gospel of peace, helmet of salvation, shield of faith, and the sword of the Spirit.  We must go armed into the world, and mentally putting on this armor every day will help us remember that we are in a war and that we are constantly tempted to ignore God’s great love for us.  The way we keep in touch with our Commander is through prayer.  Daily we are to be like Tychicus whom Paul sent to encourage the hearts of other believers.  We are in this war together, and together we help each other stand firm.
The enemy of our souls is real and intelligent; the Savior of our Souls is far more powerful and loving.  Satan is no problem for His love.  We can find victory through Christ.  Don’t neglect the reality that being a Christian means you are at war with the world.  Jesus said it Himself in John 16:3, I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.
Copyright © 2012.  Deborah R. Newman  All Rights Reserved.


Popular posts from this blog

Thank You Dad

Recently I have been contemplating why it is ingrained in me that I must be quiet and respectful and look at the flag when the national anthem is played.  It’s as natural for me as standing for the Hallelujah Chorus during Handel’s Messiah or for the Bride when she walks through the back door.  Like a Pavlov dog, my instincts go into action, and I do not even think about my somewhat conditioned response. Why?  It was definitely my own father who had the most influence over me regarding the national anthem.  I am not a sports enthusiast.  However, from a young age I found myself at sports games because my older brother played every sport offered.  Our family faithfully attended those games, which normally started with the national anthem.  I found a way to enjoy the otherwise agonizing experience of being held prisoner to my brother’s sporting events by gravitating to my friends who were there under duress as well.  We made up games of our own; we would laugh and talk throughout the q…

You Shall Not Be Overcome

I distinctly remember sending this quote by Julian of Norwich to a recently widowed friend of mine over ten years ago.  You will not be overcome.
God did not say you will not be troubled,
You will not be belaboured,
You will not be disquieted;
But God said, You will not be overcome.
The quote in one of my devotional books for July 23, which marks the day I became a widow myself is by the same author.  “One day God spoke to me and I heard these words, “you won’t be overcome.”  God wants us to pay attention to His words.  God wants us to be strong in our certainty in Him, always, both in good times and in bad.  The Lord loves us, and God so enjoys our company.  God loves being with us and wants us to love Him and enjoy being with Him and trust Him completely, and all will be well.”  As I write this six years since his death I can attest to the reality that all will be well.  God chose to bless me with a second marriage to a wonderful man who holds my hand through this hur…

The Worst

What is the worst thing you think could happen to you?  There are so many options in a fallen world that it is hard to consider the worst.  We try not to think about it.  We do think we are going through the worst thing when we lose a loved one, are betrayed by a friend or family, sent to prison, or become the victim of a crime.  You know the worst thing that has happened to you.  You can think of someone for whom you are grateful that what happened to that person didn’t happen to you.               The world is full of frightening and dreaded options of worst case scenarios.  When you read the Bible, it is not hard to decide what the worst thing that could happen in your lifetime would be.  The Bible makes it clear that the worst is that you do not believe in the Son of God, Jesus Christ, and be saved.               That sounds like a Sunday School answer doesn’t it?  It doesn’t feel that bad to say “No Thank You” to God.  Many don’t even recognize the day that they to…