June 18, 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.
I heard the story of a guy who was quite overweight and wanted to shed some pounds. Knowing his hankering for doughnuts, he carefully avoided driving past the Krispy Kreme doughnut shop on his way to work every day. He did this successfully for three weeks, and all his coworkers were really proud of him. Then one day he came to work with five boxes of hot Krispy Kremes – three of them already consumed.
Everyone started getting on his case for falling off the wagon. He smiled and said, “Wait, these are special doughnuts! I accidentally drove by Krispy Kreme in the morning, and I could see the sign was lit up telling me the doughnuts were being made fresh.
“So I prayed, ‘Lord, if You want me to have some of these incredible donuts, let me have a parking space right in front of the store!’ And sure enough, the eighth time around the block, there it was!”
That reminds me of a bumper sticker:
“Lead me not into temptation. I can find it myself.”
We all know what it’s like to be tempted to do the wrong thing. Like Oscar Wilde said, “I can resist anything – except temptation.”
But the Bible promises us that we can overcome the lure and seduction of various kinds of temptation:
No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it. (1 Corinthians 10:13)
Now, this is not to say you cannot put yourself in a place of temptation – a place where you don’t belong.
Jesus taught us to pray, “And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.” We cannot completely remove ourselves from temptation. To do that, we’d have to leave the planet. In this petition, we are asking God to so guide our steps that we will not wander out of His will and place ourselves in the way of temptation. We’re saying, “Lord, don’t let me be tempted above my capacity to resist.”
But then there is also the devil, Satan, who directs a well-organized, highly effective army of fallen angels (demons) to lure you into bondage to sin.
The purpose of demons seems to be twofold. They seek to hinder the purposes of God, and they seek to extend the power of Satan. We see this illustrated in Scripture. Consider this snippet from Paul’s letter to the church in Thessalonica: “For we wanted to come to you – certainly I, Paul, did, again and again – but Satan stopped us” (1 Thessalonians 2:18).
The Apostle Paul mentioned his own personal struggles that were brought on by demons, and even allowed by God. In his second letter to the Corinthians, he speaks of a “thorn in the flesh” and calls it “a messenger of Satan” to buffet him (2 Corinthians 12:7-9).
The word “buffet” in this passage means to “strike with the fist.” Though it’s true we as believers can be hassled like Paul was, and tempted and oppressed and harassed by Satan, the devil cannot control us! The apostle said, “We get knocked down, but we get up again and keep going” (2 Corinthians 4:9).
That’s because when we put our faith in Jesus Christ we come under “new ownership!”
However, let me extend this word of warning: If you have not put your faith in Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord, you are entirely vulnerable to the devil and his attacks.
Silver bullets, holy water or crucifixes will not stop him.
Only the power of Jesus Christ.
Someone may ask, “Greg, are you saying that you actually believe in demon possession?” Absolutely!
Now, I am not speaking of the “Hollywood/Exorcist” style of demon control here with spinning heads, etc. In the New Testament, we see people who were possessed by demons having many illnesses as well as suicidal tendencies.
There was one man who was possessed by not one but many, many demons. He hung around in a graveyard, naked, cutting himself with sharp rocks. The Amplified Bible says of this man, “Night and day among the tombs and on the mountains he was always shrieking and screaming and beating and bruising and cutting himself with stones” (Mark 5:5). He had super-human strength and was able to break chains with his bare hands. No doubt the people of the area avoided this place – especially at night.
Nobody, that is, except Jesus, who delivered this tortured man, releasing him from an army of evil spirits in the space of a heartbeat.
But how does this sort of thing happen?
By opening the door of your soul to Satan.
Note the man was suicidal. When I look at the rash of suicides in our country today, especially among young people, I have to say Satan is at work. Suicides among adolescents have nearly tripled over the last 40 years. For those age 15 to 24, suicide is the third-leading cause of death, behind accidents and homicide.
The devil whispers in your ear, “You are worthless – take your life!”
Remember, his ultimate agenda is to “steal, to kill and to destroy.”
But we can be encouraged to understand that when Christ comes in, the devil goes out. And that’s why it’s wrong when we hear people saying Christians can be “demon-possessed.” Believers might allow themselves to be hassled, harassed or oppressed by demons, but those evil angels cannot enter a space occupied by the living Christ! God is not interested in a time-share program with the devil.
If you are a true Christian, God has given you exceedingly precious promises that you can stake your life upon. God will help you overcome temptations of various kinds, and He has given you spiritual armor to wage war against Satan and his legions. Even better, since Jesus has overcome Satan and all his power, He is our Defender and invincible Advocate. As one of God’s children, every move of the enemy against you must come by permission through the protective hedge of Jesus.
So pray, “Lord, lead me not into temptation, but deliver me from evil.”
I suggest you flee temptation and not leave a forwarding address!