more than a conqueror
Have you ever wondered how the enemy can gain total control over the life of an individual? I know you contemplate such thoughts every time you hear a report of a young student or soldier unleashing violence on his school or work environment. And, with every account of terrorist activity, you cannot fathom how one becomes so loathsome.
It is through deception that the enemy gains a foothold. The deception begins subtly but it progresses to the point of one’s total allegiance and willingness to comply with every evil act. Let us not be deceived: we are just as accessible to the enemy’s temptation as the next guy. The question is, will we be susceptible?
The enemy of your soul is no dummy, but he definitely lacks new tricks to work deception in your life. It begins with a subtle step away from complete trust in God the Father.
Take your cue from Matthew 4: (I paraphrase)
v.3- “Hey, why wait for the proper time for material gratification? Get it now and worry about the cost later!”
Why do we fall for that? Because it seems harmless! We tell ourselves we will pay the full price for it later, but we fail to realize that the full price will actually be more than we ever intended to spend. This tactic is the inconspicuous way of deception: a harmless first step down into the depths of financial despair. Oftentimes, folks find themselves in a poverty stronghold within a few years. The beauty of deception at this level is it inevitably leads you to a new preoccupation and loyalty of heart where there’s no time for a relationship with God. You have one pursuit above all others: money. Time for Financial Peace University by Dave Ramsey!
v.6- “Since you’re God’s child, why don’t you do something impulsive and see if God will pick up all the pieces afterwards?”
A more direct means of deception, we conclude, should we fall prey, that God is not who He says He is. It is here that the deceived limps away from the test site under the impression that God failed him when he needed Him most. Have you ever been angry at God? Have you been angry at people who disappointed you? Do you see now the deception that Satan worked in leading you to the conclusion that God is not faithful? And where did the belief come from that you can place your trust in man, that he will never fail you? Understand that we are quick to be offended by man’s failings when we already lack faith in God. The continued state of believing the world is against you is your first-class ticket to “Mad At The World” island paradise. Satan knows the glorious outcome of this work of deception is your isolation from God and from God’s people. In a state of disconnection, you’ll find that pride breeds itself effortlessly while the hardened heart pumps reluctantly.
v.9- “If you worship me, I will give you great power on earth.”
No pretense here! This one is a direct invitation to bow down before Satan and claim him lord. The offer of wealth, fame and power tempts us where our pride hungers the most. Many have said yes without reading the fine print: “Your soul will be mine to torment for eternity without end.” Counted among the deceived are people we see and hear about in the news or watch on stage or film.
Find out who is influencing you through their craft, because if they are not serving the King of kings and the Lord of lords, Jesus Christ, they are an instrument of darkness. Maybe they didn’t make an allegiance to Satan, but there’s no double-standard when it comes to eternal matters: you are either all in for Jesus, or you are all against Him.
I want to apologize for unloading the heavy topic of temptation upon you today, but I can’t. To pretend that temptation is not real and there’s no consequence for our beliefs and actions is an injustice. Jesus did not fall to the work of deception, and you and I are perfectly resourced through our relationship with our Savior to follow suit. We can come out on the other side victorious- every time.
“How is it possible to overcome the enemy?” you ask.
I can quickly think of many strategies, but the most obvious thing we need to employ is the spoken Word of God. Truth defeats lies. Period.
In addition to speaking the eternal truth, keep your praises lifted to God. Blast heaven with your gratitude! Pray in the Spirit. Lastly, continue to renew your mind through the study and application of the Word of God.
You are more than a conqueror through Christ Jesus who loved you. You overcome.