June 4, 2007 – TheScroogeReport.com Post
GREG LAURIE – A NEW BEGINNING
Greg Laurie pastors Harvest Christian Fellowship (one of America’s largest churches) in Riverside, California. Laurie is also the founder of the Harvest Crusades.
No, Virginia, there is no Santa Claus, but, I am sorry to say, there is a Satan.
Now, don’t get me wrong. I’m not talking about the character in a red suit with the horns and pitchfork. I’m talking about the real spirit-being the Bible calls the devil, or Satan. And if you have put your faith in Jesus Christ, you need to know that he’s going to set his sights on you.
Becoming a Christian, the best decision you ever made, doesn’t mean you’ll be walking along sunlit paths through California poppies for the rest of your life.
In fact, that decision launches a war that will follow you all your days until Jesus takes you to His Father’s house. “Conversion,” someone wrote, “has made our hearts a battlefield.”
Just as you came to realize there is a God who loves you, you also must come to understand that there is a devil who hates you.
And that devil wants to pull you right back into sin – right back into the snares and traps and sorrows of the old life from which you just escaped. In one of the stories Jesus told, sometimes called “the parable of the sower,” He spoke about what happens right after the living seed of God’s Word is planted in someone’s heart. “And these are the ones by the wayside where the word is sown. When they hear, Satan comes immediately and takes away the word that was sown in their hearts” (Mark 4:15).
If the evil one fails in that task, he will simply battle with you, contending each forward step you take for Jesus Christ. The devil’s “ultimate objective,” as the Lord tells us in John 10:10, is to “to steal, and to kill, and to destroy.” So, until the day we finally walk through the doorway of heaven, spiritual warfare will rage on.
The believer may be known by his inward warfare as well as by his inward peace. This battle is not against flesh and blood. It is spiritual battle! With a very real devil. As Martin Luther wrote in the classic hymn:
For still our ancient foe
Doth seek to work us woe.
His craft and power are great,
and armed with cruel hate
On earth is not his equal.
We should never underestimate the devil. He is a sly and skillful adversary, with thousands of years of experience dealing with mankind. But even though he is a wily and powerful foe, he also has clear weaknesses and can be overcome.
If we want to effectively resist him, first we need to understand his “M.O.” – his method of operation. The Bible says, “Resist the devil and he will flee from you” (James 4:7).
But how do you do that?
First by knowing about his strategies and weaknesses. And there are many. Let me start by sharing with you a few things the devil does not want you to know.
Satan is not the equal of God
It isn’t even close!
God is omnipotent. He is unlimited in power and might. Satan is not. Yes, he has great power – more than any man and most angels – yet he is nowhere near being the equal of our God.
God is omniscient. He knows everything there is to know down to the tiniest, atom-sized details. Satan does not. Our adversary is not omniscient. He has a powerful intellect, a long memory and from experience knows many things – far more than people. But only God is all-knowing.
God is omnipresent. There is nowhere that He is not! He is everywhere at once all the time. Satan is limited. As an individual personality, he can only be in one place at one time. So when we say “the devil is hassling or tempting me,” it’s not likely. It is his power working through a well-organized network of demonic forces.
But there is another thing the devil doesn’t want you to know.
Satan is subject to God’s permission
The evil one can do nothing in the life of a believer without permission from God. The book of Job gives an account of the angels presenting themselves before God – an amazing “behind the scenes” look at what happens in the spiritual realm.
One day the angels came to present themselves before the LORD, and Satan the Accuser came with them. “Where have you come from?” the LORD asked Satan.
And Satan answered the LORD, “I have been going back and forth across the earth, watching everything that’s going on.”
Then the LORD asked Satan, “Have you noticed my servant Job? He is the finest man in all the earth – a man of complete integrity. He fears God and will have nothing to do with evil.”
Satan replied to the LORD, “Yes, Job fears God, but not without good reason! You have always protected him and his home and his property from harm. You have made him prosperous in everything he does. Look how rich he is!” (Job 1:6-10, NLT)
Understand some important truth from this text. First see that Satan, even after his fall, still has access to the throne of God. He has lost his once high-ranking position, but he still has access. But see also that in spite of his power and wicked agenda, he has to ask permission when it comes to the child of God, because of this “hedge of protection” God has put in place.
The intercession of Jesus for you
In one instance in the gospel of John, it appears that Satan himself was specifically asking for Simon Peter by name. Jesus said to Peter: “Simon, Simon, behold, Satan has demanded permission to sift you like wheat; but I have prayed for you, that your faith may not fail; and you, when once you have turned again, strengthen your brothers” (Luke 22:31-32, NASB).
Apparently, Peter was such a “big fish” that Satan himself went knocking. Thankfully, God knows our breaking point and won’t give us more then we can handle. That’s a promise!
So remember: If you are a Christian, you better expect to see some real spiritual warfare in your life. But take heart: Satan is not the equal of God by any means, and he can’t harass you without obtaining God’s permission. Best of all, you have the Lord Jesus right there beside you, praying for you to fight the good fight of faith and overcome the evil one.
That seems to me to be more than enough of a reason to put your faith in Jesus Christ! So, the next time the devil comes knocking at your door, you can say, “Lord, would you mind getting that?”