Monday, June 16, 2014

Be Self-controlled and Alert!

- Satan, God's and our Enemy, is real and is actively and aggressively seeking to destroy all that God loves, especially us, His beloved children. Satan is never satisfied with the prey he has already gotten; he always prowls around looking for more. He is ravenously hungry for us. He is roaring insults, accusations, and lies at us to intimidate us, to get us to doubt God and/or stay away from God, to make us feel unloved, unworthy, and unfruitful for the kingdom of God.
- Spiritual warfare is real but we don't have to be afraid of it. Our God is stronger than our adversary. He gives us power through Jesus Christ to overcome all attacks from the devil. First, we must stay alert, be watchful/vigilant, and be self-controlled. Don't let down your guard. Beware of the real danger. Watch out for Satan and his tricks & temptations. His schemes are cleverly hidden and disguised. He loves to make sin look sweet and God's principles burdensome. Stay alert to recognize his tactics; be aware of his schemes. Know your Enemy but more importantly, know God (and His Word) so that we will know how to respond, defend ourselves, and defeat our Enemy. Don't let him outwit us. We're told to resist him. Stand firm and strong in the faith, in God's truths, in the Holy Spirit's power and we'll have courage to say no to all ungodliness and be able to overcome evil. Put on the full armor of God daily (Ephesians 6:10-18). "Since we belong to the day, let us be sober, putting on faith and love as a breastplate, and the hope of salvation as a helmet." (1 Thessalonians 5:6)
- Perhaps Peter remembered his own difficulty in staying alert during our Lord's prayer in Gethsemane. Jesus said to His disciples whom He found sleeping, "Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak." (Matthew 26:41) When we are weak (physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually), suffering, feeling lonely, feeling sorry for ourselves, focusing on our troubles/circumstances, isolating ourselves from fellowship with other believers, ignoring spending time with God in prayer & in His Word, we tend to forget to watch for danger and we are more vulnerable to Satan's attacks. Keep your eyes on Christ always. Satan tries to keep us from living freely and fruitfully for Christ. If you're feeling weary today, run to Jesus and let His love empower you to face every fear, worry, and discouragement that Satan throws at you. Don't listen to him...don't believe his lies. Unseen spiritual battles must be fought in Christ's name and by the power of His blood. "For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ." (2 Corinthians 10:4-5) The devil is to be resisted through divine grace and power. Remember that we're more than conquerors through Christ. A surrendered life (to Christ) is a victorious life. As we humble ourselves and rest at Jesus's feet, He promises to give us everything we need to live a victorious, godly life. Pride is an open door inviting Satan to have a field day. "Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you." (James 4:7)
- "Rescue me from my enemies, O Lord, for I hide myself in You." (Psalm 143:9)
There are definitely spiritual enemies. Thankfully, our lives are in the hands of Almighty God who loves us and cares about us. He is our Refuge, Rock, Fortress, Shield, and Strength. God's grace and strength sustain us and help us be victorious over our enemies. God gives us His Word and His wisdom. Be wise in how you spend your time, treasures, and talents. Be wise and careful in what you allow to enter in your lives, your home, your family. Satan often uses ungodly "friends", books, movies, TV shows, songs, games, media, internet, false teachers, worldly pleasures, etc. to poison people's hearts, mind, and soul. Be self-controlled; control selves! Keep your distance from anything remotely connected with Satan and his power such as occult.
- Some interesting quotes to ponder:
"The devil is willing for a person to profess Christianity as long as he does not practice Christianity." ~Unknown
"He who delays his repentance pawns his soul with the devil." ~Unknown
"God put the Church in the world. Satan seeks to put the world in the Church." ~Unknown
"One of the devil's snares is to occupy us with the past and future so as to take away our peace for the present." ~Unknown
"If Satan can't make us bad, he'll make us busy." John West

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