THREE DISTRACTIONS: As we think about our FOCUS on the Lord Jesus, we have touched on two distractions that are very real. The distraction from the world is the issue of entertainment. The distraction from ourselves is our desires which often run counter to the will of God.
But what is the third distraction? I would suggest that our third enemy, the devil, deserves some serious attention in that he wishes to destroy us and do everything in his power to get our eyes off Jesus!
But we must become thoroughly biblical in our understanding of our enemy, the devil. Here are some passages that will clarify some details about the arch-enemy of our souls:
1. The devil is a real personal being, a high-ranking fallen angel (Is. 14; Ezek. 28; Lk. 10:18). He is the believer’s enemy (I Pe. 5:8). He has been sinning since the beginning (I Jn. 3:8).
2. He is in the business of tempting human beings to turn away from God (he tempts Jesus in Mt. 4; he tempts God’s people as we see in Gen. 3 and I Cor. 7:5). He is the accuser of God’s children (Zech. 3:1).
4. He is described by the Lord Jesus as a murderer, a liar, and the father of lies (Jn. 8:44).
5. Jesus came to destroy the devil’s work (Acts 10:38; I Jn. 3:8). The devil holds the power of death (Heb. 2:14) and is the prince of the power of the air (Eph. 2:1-2). He has the power to bind people with affliction (Lk. 13:16).
6. He can influence Jesus-followers to deny Jesus (Jn. 13:2) or to lie to God the Holy Spirit (Acts 5:3). He takes people captive to do his will (2 Tim. 2:26). He looks to devour believers (I Pe. 5:8).
7. He has a whole host of fallen angels to do his bidding called “demons” (Mt. 7:22; 8:31; 10:8; etc.).
8. Whatever Satan does, he does by God’s permission (the book of Job).
9. He is capable of doing great acts of wonder to deceive people (2 Thes. 2:9).
10. His fate is sealed; he will be cast forever into the eternal fire prepared for him and his followers (Mt. 25:41; Rev. 20:10).
1. We are not to give the devil a foothold in our lives (Eph. 4:27).
2. We need God’s full armor to stand against the devil’s schemes (Eph. 6:11).
3. We are to resist the devil and he will flee from us (James 4:7). We must not forget that he desires to “sift” us like wheat (Lk. 22:31).
4. We are not to be unaware of Satan’s tricks (2 Cor. 2:11), for he masquerades as an angel of light (2 Cor. 11:14).
5. He can and often is used by God to keep His servants humble (2 Cor. 12:7).
Most of us are probably not important enough to receive Satan’s direct attention, but he has many demonic followers who can do his will. Our primary attention is not to be on Satan and demons, but on the Lord Jesus. However, this does not mean that we shouldn’t understand our spiritual enemy and resist him. But we must keep our eyes focused on the Lord Jesus and His work in our lives. (to be continued)