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Friday, February 28, 2014

Like a Roaring Lion

1 Peter 5:8-11 (ESV)
8  Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. 9  Resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same kinds of suffering are being experienced by your brotherhood throughout the world. 10  And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you. 11  To him be the dominion forever and ever. Amen. 

We are challenging the members of our church to have a daily time with God for forty days before Easter. Many people make commitments to God for Lent which represent something they will abstain from We are making a commitment to God in something we will do. We believe that God changes people when they put themselves in His Word and His Hands. Those who commit to the Daily Time with God will read each day's assigned scripture, record at least one sentence which tells what it means to them, report to someone else that they have had their Daily Time with God and tell us when they have had an exceptional time with God. We are expecting God to do miracles in the lives of those who commit this to Him.

Now here's the thing though. The closer we have come to starting the more chaos that has been going on in the church.  Some are having sexual sins being brought to the forefront. Some are indicating that they don't want to be called Christians anymore because of what the Bible says. Some are criticizing the church for various reasons. Things which have never been prevalent are becoming prevalent very fast.

We haven't changed anything that we are doing. We have not moved the worship service nor changed the styles of our worship. We haven't changed our membership procedure nor asked people to  be baptized again. We have simply challenged people to have a Daily Time with God.

Yet, we should have seen it coming. Satan is like a roaring lion. Lions roar to proclaim their territory and to call those of their pride back. He certainly has roared. He certainly has prowled. He is afraid that he will lose some of the territory that he has claimed. Some of those whom he defeated will soon defeat him.

But that doesn't mean that there won't be any suffering on our part. Peter tells us that it is for a little while. I have always thought that any suffering seems like a long while even when it was really only a little while.  It's a great reason to be sober and alert. A calm but alert mind directs the ones being attacked to put on the full armor of God. Satan attacks truth, righteousness, testimony and salvation. He will challenge these are strenuously as he confronted Eve (and Adam) in the Garden.

Still, there is a great blessing after resisting the devil. God restores, strengthens and establishes us once more. I like that part.

So, I resist Satan though not arrogantly. He will defeat me easily if I go in the battle without the Lord.


Anthony Chia said...

Satan is a reality. I have just put up an article on my blog entitled, "Is Satan a reality?" I was surprised to note that surveys showed up that many believers do not believe Satan is a being. Some just believe Satan is merely a personification of sins. Satan is a reality, to both non-believers and believers. We are told to resist the devil and he will flee from us (James 4:7b). James was addressing believers. In the verses prior to v7, we can see James was saying these believers are in danger of falling into the snares of Satan, and we know that Satan is out to steal, kill and destroy men. Those in danger included these:

1. People who give in to the desires of the sinful nature/carnal flesh or what I refer to as Iniquity. Instead of developing and exercising self-control, people who let themselves be led by desires of sinful nature, instead of being led the Spirit, they are in danger. Jesus' 1st of 3 temptations by Satan after his (Jesus') 40 days and 40 nights fasting, was about this, too - be of self-control.

2. People who are having wrong motives. God does not ordinarily grant or give, when we are of wrong motive. A right motive is in accord with the righteousness of God, and is usually honored by God. Wrong motive is a device from Satan; he perpetuates wrong motives in men. Why? Because wrong motive is out of step with the righteousness of God. When we go with wrong motives, we can drift further and further way from God.

In fact, most straying start with an impure motive taking root in us. Jesus was tempted in this, too, by Satan. The 2nd temptation, Jesus realised Satan was leading Him to go along with a wrong motive - to test God. It was NOT God could NOT come to save Jesus from hitting the ground below, it was that, had Jesus jumped, it would be a deliberate testing of God. James, in his epistle, was saying it was NOT God could NOT give to the believers, but they asked with wrong motives.

Satan knows that if he can successfully get you to take on a wrong motive and that God does NOT ordinarily honor your wrong motive, he can get you to take things into your own hands. You no longer want to, and doing IN THE LORD. You would do IN YOUR OWN STRENGTH. And when you are successful, and Satan can be aiding you; over time, you may fall into covetousness. Contentment and godliness have to go together. You cannot develop godliness living apart from The Lord instead of in The Lord. The apostle Paul said in 1 Tim 6:6, "But godliness with contentment is great gain". Is there godliness without contentment? NOT for long! A godly believer without contentment would soon fall to pride and covetousness; before long, his godliness will be gone, too. We come back to pride as a last point.

3. People who wants to befriend the world. James said befriending the world is enmity with God. Why? Because the world is under the control of Satan (1 John 5:19), is corrupted and is being corrupted by Satan. 1 John 2:15 said to us NOT to love the world or anything in it, for if we do that, then the love for God is NOT in us.


Anthony Chia said...

Cont. From above

4. People who are covetous. Although I have talked about it under point 2, still it is worth be listed separate, for It is common for Satan to appeal to covetousness. Had Jesus been covetous, He might have fallen under the 3rd temptation by Satan, offering the world to Him, Jesus.

5. People who are prideful. Appealing to pride is the oldest "trick" in the Book. Pride is the "mark" of Satan. James repeated OT's warning, that God opposes the proud. Satan wants to turn you and I into proud fellows, for when we are so, we are "goners", for God is opposing us. James 4:7b is "Resist the devil, and he will flee from you"; what is 4:7a? It is "Submit yourselves, then, to God." What it means is that before we can successfully resist the devil with him fleeing from us, we have to take care of our submission to God. We cannot be prideful, and we are to obey God absolutely.

Ps Prentis summed it nicely: "So, I resist Satan though not arrogantly. He will defeat me easily if I go in the battle without the Lord."

How does the "lion" devour? He does not necessarily kill you right away. If he can, he wants to first make you his crony, use you to further his aims. He is no gentleman even as he uses you. Jesus spoke of Satan, in John 8:44, that he "was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies."

Because he may not kill you or destroy you right away, if you are a believer, you are yet still with hope, if you would turn back to God. Even the prodigal son who opted to leave the household or "rulership" of the father, can return, all of us, can, so long as there is still time (but don't wait till it is too late).

Anthony Chia, high.expressions