March 16, 2017

To Steal, Kill, and Destroy

The Enemy.  His name was Lucifer.  Jesus called him the 'Dragon', and he is known to us now as Satan, "The Deciever".

The Scriptures tell us that Satan roams the earth looking to see whom he can devour "like a roaring lion".  They also tell us He masquerades as an Angel of Light.  It is interesting then to imagine a more biblical picture of the great temptation of Christ than the Grimm's fairy tale version most of us have grown up with.

As I read the narrative in Mathew and Luke 4, I see the picture of the Great Deceiver, who has just learned that God in Heaven has publicly affirmed Jesus as the long awaited Messiah through he baptism of John, coming to Jesus in all his pomp and temporal glory  (as an angel of Light with all the authority of being the "Ruler of the Air" for now).  He's wondering if this truly is the one that was promised to crush his head and He wants to thwart this divine plan if at all possible.

I don't think a goat-horned, gnarly-faced, fawn of a character came to a pristinely dressed Jesus in the desert to try and defeat him with three temptations.  I believe the incomparably intelligent Deceiver, still resilient in his created beauty, met with a tired, disheveled Jesus at some point toward the end of a grueling 40 days where he had been assaulted by the powers of Hell with "every manner of temptation" (Hebrews 4:15).  This is a very stark contrast to what I grew up hearing - and I think it is an important contrast.

Think of the contrast between these two characters in the desert.  This event really occurred.  And I believe it occurs on a less cosmic scale many times throughout our private and corporate lives.  The Enemy didn't come to Jesus while Jesus was in all of His glory and strength, but in His weakness.  Nor does the Deceiver come as a half-breed goat man to make us think that He really is a good being with all authority.  I don't know about you, but that would really be a no-brainer for me; wouldn't it be for you?  A grotesque looking snarling creature shows up to ask me to follow and worship him by harming myself?  Compared to my idea of a Good, loving, beautiful Father?  C'mon!

The Enemy comes to us the same way.  In our weakness and in our hour of great need or launching points many times.  He comes as an Angel of Light possibly promising good and other things we want.  He is exceptionally good at what he does.  He does, after all, lead a rebellion of a third of all of Heaven's host (Revelation 12:4).  You have to be pretty exceptional to do that!

I would like to encourage you to think on two things regarding the Temptation of Jesus in the wilderness:

1.  The Enemy is not a schmuck.  Nor is he a wimp.  Notice that he was not defeated at the end of the wilderness temptation.  Luke 4:13 says that "he left until a more opportune time."  He does not give up right away - even against the Son of Man.  He flees (James 4:7). But he will fight God's purposes with everything at his disposal. That is bad news - but it makes the good news that much more powerful.
2.  Our Savior met the Enemy more than once in all of the Enemies glory and power, while He himself was in his humble state as a servant - even unto death on a cross as a criminal.  But Jesus defeated this incomparably evil authority not by His majesty, but by His obedience and dependence on God the Father.

How does this impact me or encourage me?

The Enemy comes to steal, kill, and destroy.  He is a mighty warrior.  He was once the Archangel of Heaven.  But he is nothing compared to our Savior, the maker of Archangels.  The Maker of Heaven and Earth.

And while the Enemy seeks to steal, kill, and destroy our dependence on God, Our trust in His Word, and our faith in His ways, his fight is not against us.  It is, always has been, and always will be his arrogant fight against the Creator.  It is not our fight.  It is the Fathers to fight.

That means the only way to resist Satan and cause him to flee until Jesus has the final victory over Satan at the Judgment Seat, is to do what Christ did.  Know our Word, Trust it, and have faith that it will work out the way God says it will if we do.  The fight for us does not start when Satan shows up, but daily, as we transform our minds by the washing of God's Word, and pray for discernment.  don't be distracted by what you see around you.  Don't be discouraged by what you hear or see on the news.  There is a greater reality at all times!

By the way, that is how we prepare to win the souls of those around us which we care so much about.
Let's begin to take the ground and win the fight now, especially for our lost brothers, sisters, sons's and daughters.  Let's bring the fight to God's altar, and humbly prepare ourselves to depend, trust, and walk by faith.

With you for His glory,