COULD IT BE . . . SATAN?

Sep
2017
23

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“Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour.” (1 Peter 5:8)

In the Golden Age of Television, actor Flip Wilson kept America in stitches with his characters “Reverend Leroy,” the pompous pastor of the ‘Church of What’s Happening Now,’ and “Geraldine Jones,’ the sassy lady in a miniskirt. Whenever Geraldine would impulsively buy anything she shouldn’t — she excused her urge by uttering the line she made famous, “The Devil made me do it!” Only a few decades after Flip Wilson’s character first appeared, ‘The Church Lady’ burst onto the scene. Created and played by comedian Dana Carvey – The Church Lady was a pious host of her own talk show, a recurring sketch on Saturday Night Live.  The interviews presented an opportunity for her to call out celebrity guests or portrayals of public figures for their alleged sins, frequently in the news. In each case, the interviews culminated with her judgmental reprimand posing the question, “Could it be . . . Satan?”

These days, it doesn’t take a very astute observer to see that the devil is alive and well. Although, in today’s world – it’s far from a joking matter. The following analogy appeared in a December, 1992 article from the devotional, Our Daily Bread. “In the Australian bush country grows a little plant called the ‘sundew.’ It has a slender stem and tiny, round leaves fringed with hairs that glisten with bright drops of liquid as delicate as fine dew. Woe to the insect, however, that dares to dance on it. Although its attractive clusters of red, white, and pink blossoms are harmless, the leaves are deadly. The shiny moisture on each leaf is sticky and will imprison any bug that touches it. As an insect struggles to free itself, the vibration causes the leaves to close tightly around it. This innocent-looking plant then feeds on its victim.”  This is exactly what happens to us when we dare to dance with the devil, who has been referred to by some as the ‘great deceiver.’

The Bible tells us that there was a time when Jesus “was in the desert forty days, being tempted by Satan. He was with the wild animals, and angels attended him” (Mark 1:13). On three different occasions, the Devil wanted to take control of Him, but Jesus knew exactly how to handle the situation. “”Get out of here, Satan,” Jesus told him. “For the Scriptures say, ‘You must worship the LORD your God and serve only him” (Matthew 4:10). There are times in our lives when we must do exactly what Jesus did. Paul understood this and provided this instruction: “Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes” (Ephesians 6:11) for He never allows you to be tempted beyond your ability to withstand and always provides a way of escape (1 Corinthians 10:13). In these situations, it may be helpful to recall the words of the powerful evangelist Billy Sunday: “Temptation is the devil looking through a keyhole. Yielding is opening the door and letting him in.”

Most of our society fails to accept personal blame when they fall into temptation. Public figures often misconstrue the details of their transgressions, and in our own life – it can become easy to make excuses for our personal wrongdoings. Sentiments like “the devil made me do it” are used far too often to justify our own bad choices. James 1:14 declares “Each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire.” James continues: “Submit therefore to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you” (James 4:7). If you are a Christian and you commit a sin, the devil did not make you do it. He may have tempted you to do it. He may have even influenced you to do it. But he did not make you do it. You still had a choice. The devil is absolutely worthy of blame for much of the evil in the world, but using him as a scapegoat for our own sinful choices is counterproductive to achieving victory over sin. So the next time you feel tempted, you might want to carefully consider your situation and ask the question – Could it be Satan? For, yes – it very well could be!

REFLECTION: Are we being desensitized by the present evil world? Do things that once shocked us now pass us by with little notice? How can a Christian become more attune to the reality of a personal spiritual conflict? What are some ways you might grow wiser in understanding Satan’s schemes? Consider the words of Chuck Swindoll: “Where there is no temptation, there can be little claim to virtue.”

A NEW LOOKUP  DEVOTION IS UPLOADED EACH WEEK. THE NEXT WEEKLY POSTING WILL BE ON SAT., SEPTEMBER 30, 2017.  COMMENTS ARE WELCOMED

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