The Devil

Satan, Lucifer, Beelzebub, the Evil One...we all know him by various names and have all sorts of ideas, myths and notions about the Prince of Darkness. Some people think he is only a concept and not really a living entity, while others see him as an unrelenting supernatural creature with untold powers to curse, possess, dominate, and control.

Well some of these ideas are true while others are misplaced.

Some of us like to blame the devil for all the bad things that happen to us. Yet we also are blinded by the fact that we are ultimately the ones responsible for everything that goes on with us and our world. You see, much of what the devil does himself...is nothing. Let me put it another way...the devil talks. He talks and talks and talks. And who listens? US.

WE are the ones who listen and BELIEVE him.

He whispers of the dangers of what may happen to us, so we become afraid. He points out the faults of others, so we spread gossip, prejudice and stereotyping. He talks to us about how we are being taken advantage of, so we become angry.

Of course, a bit of healthy fear, questioning, and skepticism is natural so that we can learn and maneuver through our lives, but the devil wants us obsessed, irrational and preoccupied.

Yes the devil does cause chaos, but through us. He himself doesn't have to lift a finger. We do all the work. Much the troubles of the world are because of us. But the devil tries to get us to blame God for our troubles.

"Why does God allow starvation in the world?" The question is...why are we allowing these people to starve? "But all the wars and poverty?"  Guess who started the wars and allow poverty? Us. "God is punishing me! The landlord is kicking me out." Well... if you paid your bills...

Our selfishness, our greed, our corruption, our unwillingness to do the right thing or work with each other is why we have problems. Satan tells us to blame God, but we are responsible because we listen to the devil more than we listen to God and judging from the news, Satan truly does have a powerful grip on the world.

Yet, the devil is stuck on a stool in the corner...only barking at us.

Oh, it's easy to recognize the voice of Satan. It's always critical, negative, makes excuses, is divisive, distrustful, frustrated, frantic, impatient, selfish, fault-finding...his voice always tries to bring out the worst in us.

"Look at that selfish bitch...you should get back at her." "Everyone else is doing it, what's wrong with it?" "No one loves you, you're alone in the world." "Don't get involved, it's none of your business." "Look at those people, they are sneaky, they stick together, and take advantage of us...we've got to stop them!"

You see the devil just talks, but we believe him...and do his work.

He gets our minds going. He tells us to be afraid, he tells us to be discontent, he tells us to distrust others, he tells us to care only for ourselves....he just goes on and on and on and on. And we repeat his words to ourselves and others.

If there is a way he can GET US...he will.

Being a Christian doesn't make us immune to the voice of the devil and even the most faithful servants of God fall for the devil's words. We have allowed his voice to govern our thoughts. We have allowed his voice to drown out God's voice.

God's voice is sweet, God's voice is hopeful. God's voice seeks to change things for the better, to make things stronger and more beautiful. Following the voice of God helps us discard the ugly parts of ourselves. The devil seeks to make those ugly parts greater. He wants us angrier, pettier, more selfish, more stagnant, more confused...he wants it ALL: Everything that is counter to the Fruits of the Spirit and the Love Commandments of God:

"But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law" - Galatians 5:22-23

"'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.' This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.' All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments." -Matthew 22: 37-40

The devil has even talked us into believing that all the good things from God...are really BAD things.

"Love , joy, peace? What are you naive? Those unattainable, unrealistic fairy tale ideals are foolishness...that goes along with teddy bears, happy faces, sunflowers, and angels...simplistic, juvenile...stupid. LOVE only causes PAIN and DISAPPOINTMENT. If you believe in those things then you will be trampled over like roadkill...it's a dog eat dog world. Get your head out of the sand. Nice guys finish last. Every man for himself."

The devil's voice taunts and tempts us in hopes that we will stay unforgiving, addicted, depressed, self-righteous, and bitter... ANYTHING, so we will be alone, pessimistic, fighting each other, and useless. That is when you have become his slave. When he can make you USELESS or even WORSE...DESTRUCTIVE. But his MOST important mission is to GET Christians...God's children to be USELESS and DESTRUCTIVE.

Satan's words have worked. Many non-believers today distrust Christianity and stay away from it...all because the devil is alive and well...in the church. Many of God's people have veered away from true spirituality and the humble teachings of Jesus Christ and headed straight to church legalism, politics, pointing and shouting at sinners and each other, saying one thing and doing another (hypocrisy), sex sin obsession, self-righteousness and a vengeful nasty unforgiving God. All well-proven tactics to scare people away from God and the Gospel.

But the truth is...God is love. God is understanding. God is nothing like they make Him out to be. Every human can attest to the spirit of goodness that they feel from God. Yet the devil has made God out to be a cold tyrant ready to send people to hell, so people are AFRAID of God. If we are afraid of God, then we are uncertain of what God might do. Because of that uncertainty, we cannot love or serve God fully. A Christian who fears God will scramble and cower only to save their own neck, unable to love God or their neighbors. Fear is one of Satan's favorite tools. Whether fear of God, fear of Satan or fear of each other, his goal is to keep us from loving, trusting and obeying God and loving each other.

Don't get me wrong. Yes, we should fear God in humility, but the sacrifice of Jesus Christ has proven that His love for us is beyond measure. "Perfect love casts out fear" - 1 John 4:18. We have confidence that He indeed wants and loves us. But Satan has told us to run scared or God may change His mind about us.

As long as Satan has you trembling in your boots...you will be useless to God and anyone else. Satan may not be able to take away your faith, but he can make you ineffective. And the reason so many of us heed the voice of the devil is because we've heard it all of our lives and fall for it every time. We hear the words of Satan repeated everyday out loud by people who agree with him, even people of the church.

"God's punishing you because you've displeased Him", "God will send you to hell if you don't watch it", "God's not listening to you".

Unfortunately many of us rarely hear the voice of God, because God's voice is a whisper.

God's voice has love, patience, understanding and compassion. It is counter to the ways of the world. God's voice asks for your action. He asks you to get up and serve Him and go against the words of Satan. God's voice asks us to do anything that will bring His love to the world, no matter how small. God's voice is very quiet just behind the devil's in-your-face shouting. You can barely hear Him, but he is saying to you..."Listen to Me. Trust Me. Be patient. Be kind. Let your pain and sorrows go. Lift someone up. Accept someone no one else accepts. I love you, so love others too!"

That is God's voice desiring us to be healed, wanting us to get out of ourselves and to reach out in love to spread His hope. And the more we listen to the voice of God, the more His voice will grow stronger and the voice of the devil will become a faint background chatter.

How much power Satan has, is up to you. You have the ability to tune him out.

"Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you." - James 4:7

As a Child of God you will recognize God's voice because God's words are radical, optimistic and against all conventions of the world because it speaks of love, peace, forgiveness, reconciliation and healing. His voice asks us to do those things that Jesus has ALREADY done for us. To love and serve God and each other, all things to make the world beautiful in His Name.

 

© 2008 Edrick


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