Tag Archives: Satan

In But Not of this World

“Prove all things; hold fast that which is good. Abstain from all appearance of evil.  And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.” 1 Thessalonians 5:21-23 (KJV)

It’s not easy to live in this world as a Christian.  By world, I don’t mean the landmass represented by the globe of the earth but to its people, perspectives, and practices.  When we say that God loves the world, we mean all people.  While God loves the people, He does not love the principles and practices that belong to the “prince of this world” (John 12:31) who is Satan.  That’s why believers are told not to love the world (1 John 2:15-17).  How then are believers to live in the world yet not be of the world? Do they segregate themselves from the world and from nonbelievers?  The answer can be found in God’s Word.

By renewing of the mind.  Roman 12:2 exhorts believers to be “transformed by the renewing of the mind.”  We renew our minds by reading God’s Word and listening to His Holy Spirit within.  The outcome of a renewed mind is knowledge of “the good, acceptable, and perfect, will of God.”  Renewing of the mind also requires careful monitoring of what we see and hear.  The “eye gate” is a key portal to the soul (Matt. 6:22-23).   What we allow to flow through our physical senses becomes part of our essence (our memory) the moment we encounter it.  Therefore, believers may want to exercise greater caution in their media selections (2 Cor. 10: 3-5). 

By exercising spiritual discernment.  Peter warned the early church to “be sober and vigilant because the devil wants to devour you” (1 Peter 5:8).  Satan destroys people by offering sinful choices that lead to spiritual and sometimes, physical death (James 1:14-15).  Our world has become “desensitized” to sin. Those who challenge immoral behavior and practices are often ridiculed and viewed as small-minded and intolerant.  The pursuit of personal satisfaction and instant gratification has blurred the line between right and wrong.  “Be careful!  Watch out for attacks from the Devil, your great enemy” (1 Peter 5:8, NLT). 

By witnessing to God’s truth.   Hebrews 10:23 reminds us to “hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering.”  We “hold fast” by boldly witnessing to God’s truth—His love, His power, and His purpose for those who believe.  Because we live in a world (people, perspectives and practices) that is controlled by the Father of Lies, Satan (John 8:44), it is incumbent upon believers to counter Satan’s   distortions, and deceptions with God’s truth.  The source of God’s truth is His Word (John 17:17) and the Holy Spirit (John 16:13).  It is only through God’s truth that the world can experience true freedom (John 8:31-32).

While it may not be easy to live in this world as a Christian, it is possible.  Christ has shown us the way.  Let us trustingly follow His lead.      

SELAH:  Are you in the world or in God’s kingdom?  During your quiet time, ask the Holy Spirit to reveal those areas of your life that do not reflect the purpose and priority of God’s Kingdom.

If you need help beginning this exercise, take a look at your calendar, your checkbook, and your immediate goals.  These areas are an indicator of where you may be today.

Recapturing Our Thoughts

“Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ.” 2 Corinthians 10:5 (KJV)

Where is your mind leading you?  Most biblical teachers and preachers will agree that the battle for our faith begins with the mind.  It is here that Satan, the world, and our flesh continually attempt to exercise their influence and ultimately control. In our scripture today, the Apostle Paul advises believers in Corinth to bring into obedience and compliance every thought that is not in agreement with God’s plan and purpose for their life.  His teaching is relevant for us today.  How are our thoughts taken captive?

Satan invades our thoughts by planting seeds of doubt which left unchallenged or unchecked, will lead to disbelief and ultimately, disobedience.  Remember Eve?  “Did God really say that you couldn’t eat that apple?” (My paraphrase of Genesis 3:4)   What began as doubt soon became disbelief.  The result was disobedience, shame and regret.  Sound familiar?

The world pervades our thoughts by convincing us to conform to its life styles and beliefs. Paul warned the church at Rome not to be conformed to the world but transformed by the renewing of their mind (Romans 12:2).  The world’s beliefs are characterized by the lust of the eyes—“I want what I see”; the lust of the flesh—“I live how I feel”; and the pride of life—“I value only what’s important to me” (1 John 2:16). The result is vanity and emptiness.

Lastly, our flesh persuades us by appealing to our physical and emotional desires.  Our flesh tempt us with words of deception—“If it feels good, do it.”  “You only go this way once, live life to the fullest.”  “You deserve whatever you want.”  Eve “saw that the tree was good for food, that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree desirable to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate” (Gen. 3:6).  Her flesh deceived her. The result was the introduction of spiritual and physical death, expulsion from Paradise, and alienation from God.

Bringing every thought captive to the obedience of God requires that we:

  • Accept our identity in Christ.  We are no longer obligated to follow the dictates of Satan, the world, and our flesh.  We have been set free by the blood of Christ and are no longer slaves to unrighteousness (Romans 6:12-14).
  • Believe the truth of God.  It is the truth of God that exposes the darkness of sin and its influence in our lives.  It is knowledge of this truth, in Him, that keeps Satan, the world, and our flesh at bay. You shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free (John 8:32).
  • Commit to the lordship of ChristOur obedience is not based on fear of punishment when we sin.  Our obedience is our gift to the Lord.  We give it in gratitude for His gift of eternal life to us (John 3:16).  We love Him because He first loved us (1 John 4:19).

Let us daily use the powerful weapons God has provided for us to bring into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ.  These weapons are not human but mighty in God.  God’s weapons are dunatos (doo-nat-os)—powerful and capable.

SELAH:  The New James Version of today’s text reads as follows:

“Casting down arguments (logismos) and every high thing (hyposoma) that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ.”

Logismos is reasoning or thought that might be hostile to the Christian faith.  Hyposoma in Greek is an elevated barrier.   Meditate on this scripture and ask the Holy Spirit to reveal any “arguments or high thing” in your life that may be keeping you from God’s best.  Share what you hear with us in “Comments.”

You Know Better!

For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds,

casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God,

bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ.

2 Corinthians 10:4-5 (NKJV)

I was a very mischievous child and admit that every spanking I received was painstakingly earned.   But as I grew older, my mother transitioned me to a different technique for shaping my behavior.  I call it “verbal recounting”.  After recounting my infraction to me, she would retort, “you know better!” In her statement, she was reminding me of prior knowledge I had received and how I should have conducted myself.  Paul reminded believers in Corinth that they too were to “know better” as they responded to spiritual pressure from the “prince of the air” (Ep. 2:2).

In our text today Paul is dealing specifically with spiritual warfare.  The motif of the Christian life as warfare is a common one (Ep. 6:10-18; 1 Tim. 1:18; 2 Tim. 2:3-4; 4:7).  Strongholds would be understandable to the Corinthians since Corinth had a fortress in which its residents could take refuge.  Arguments and high thoughts represented barriers and barricades men used against God and the Gospel to maintain their sinful lives and influence.

As believers in Christ, we must recognize that we are at war with Satan and our battlefield is our current sphere of influence.  Our chief enemy, Satan, comes to kill, steal and destroy (John 10:10)—to kill human life and spirit by addiction, brokenness, and bondage; to steal the single-mindedness of family through infidelity, enmity between parents, and the redefinition of marriage.  He comes to destroy moral and social order by elevating individual selfishness, indulgent living, and greed.  Only “knowledge of God” (versus human tactics) can bring down and thoroughly demolish Satan’s kingdom.

To discount Satan’s activities in the 21st century is as fatal as walking down the middle of a busy highway blindfolded.  Satan’s strategy for defeating God’s beloved creature (Col. 3:12) is dependent on our disbelief in his reality.  While we must take responsibility for our personal sins, Satan is intent on minimizing his role in our sinful behavior.  He is determined to “stay under the radar” like a stealth bomber on a mission to search and destroy.

“Knowledge” signifies to understand completely.  By understanding completely who God is, His truth and His grace, Satan’s fortresses will fall.  It is in the knowledge of God, His power and His presence, that those trapped inside damning lies can be set free.   As believers we can move forward with great confidence knowing that He that is within us is greater than he that is in the world (1 John 4:4).  We dwell in Him, and He in us, because He has given us of His Spirit (1 John 4:13).  We need never to feel defeated or distressed.  We can claim victory over Satan because we know better!

SELAH:  Is there an area of your life where Satan has established a spiritual stronghold—an area which stops you from walking in the fullness of God’s will and blessings?  Get in a quiet place with Jesus and ask Him what He wants you to “know” about Him that will set you free.  Find a Bible verse that reinforces what Jesus says to you.