[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]“Be sober-minded and alert. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion seeking someone to devour. -1 Peter 5:8
A perfectly reasonable excuse? You think? Of course, making this excuse assumes there is such a thing as Satan, or a master devil. Many self-described Christians do not believe in a personal devil such as Satan, according to the well-known surveyor of religious followers, Barna.
Most of the Barna survey results expose those who take these surveys to be all over the map on any number of religious issues, depicting a real lack of knowledge and commitment. Their equivocations attack their credibility. Many of the respondents’ various replies are actually contradictory. Barna, nor other authentic Christians, have any certainty the self-described Christians in the survey really are followers of Christ, proven by their answers, especially as compared to genuine believers who are defined differently in the Bible. Of course, there are always pretenders scattered among genuine believers, as the book of Jude readily points out.
We would be hard pressed to offer much concrete evidence of Satan as he is were it not for his exposure by Jesus in the wilderness, as they engaged in combative, yet personal conversation. Also, the book of Job (and especially its first chapter) draws the curtain back between the spiritual and physical world, uncovering this diabolical one and his obvious purposes. And, though he is not called “Satan in Genesis 3, the talking serpent is unmistakable as the devil in his cunning deception of our first parents. If you believe the Bible is God’s Word, you cannot deny the existence of Satan.
He is so well known to people of deep faith that even the scholarly Martin Luther threw his ink well at him, hitting the wall, and Jesus, knowing Satan was behind Peter’s unbelief, said to Peter on one occasion, “Get behind me, Satan! Is he as real to you that you take similar actions or even speak out loud to him? Belief in Satan as your chief enemy is a faith-result of believing in Jesus as your Lord and Savior. If Satan is real to Jesus, how can he not be real to you?
But the question remains: Does Satan make you sin? He does! But is he rendered powerless to overcome you when you take Jesus at His word? The Bible tells us you can escape Satan’s temptations by following Jesus’ lead. “No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; He will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, He will also provide a way out so that you can escape (1 Corinthians 10:13). Satan is lethally dangerous and very shrewd. He purposefully destroys lives. But he is also vulnerable and can be defeated.
The struggle with sin and Satan is faith-producing. It is what best creates true Christian character, the very thing Jesus desires in you. No believer is beyond such struggle; all are tempted with sin of every kind, all must struggle with Satan, and all are given the opportunity to produce heroic Christian character prior to standing before their Judge. As Isaac Watts wrote, “Must I be carried to the skies on flowery beds of ease while others fought to win the prize and sailed through bloody seas?
Life in this world requires vigilance against sin and Satan. Your guard can never come down as it will when you let your faith become complacent. Rest in Jesus certainly, but also be strong in Jesus. His strength within you is your salvation. But Satan, the prowling lion, devours many “someones.
“Am I a soldier of the cross, a follower of the Lamb, and shall I fear to own His cause or blush to speak His name?
Sure I must fight if I would reign. Increase my courage, Lord; I’ll bear the toil, endure the pain, supported by thy Word.
(1st and 4th verse of Isaac Watts’ hymn, “Am I a Soldier of the Cross, 1724)
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