Thursday, March 03, 2011

March 3, 2011 … Standing Against The Devil

Passage of the Day: James 4: 7b [note underlined/bold portion in context] – 6 But he gives us more grace. That is why Scripture says: "God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble." 7 Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.

My Journal for Today: In today’s world, how often do we see or read of politicians, diplomats, or corporate officials wheeling and dealing, compromising for control, or manipulating others to get what they want? I dare say that it’s so commonplace that we’ve become desensitized to its occurrence. We almost expect our government representatives to be shady in their dealings. Maybe you’ve heard others say, as I have, “Oh, it’s just those politicians; what can you expect?”

Well, today’s admonishment from the Apostle James stands out in stark contrast to what we see in the world and what I’ve just described; and it does so in the context of James’ exhortation for Christians to HUMBLY submit to God, while resisting Satan’s dealings in the world. James MacArthur in today’s Strength for Today devotional, makes it clear that Christians can’t live with a foot in both camps, … Satan’s world and God’s kingdom. He posits that everyday our choices as Christians will either reflect Godly kingdom thinking or a Satanic world-view; and these choices certainly cannot reflect both at the same time.

When I read exhortations like the one from James in today’s devotional, I’m taken back to a time about 25 years ago when I was living squarely as an agent of Satan, a “devil’s advocate” by the way I thought, spoke, and lived. It’s like the words of Paul in Ephesians 2: 1 – 2

SCRIPTURE: Ephesians 2: 1 - 2… As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, 2 in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient.

Yes, Satan’s spirit was clearly at work in my life years ago; and MacArthur’s words ring true of me in those days: “At that time, you had no power to resist the Devil and no desire to serve God, because you were slaves to Satan and his system.” (see Heb. 2: 14 – 15) But that all changed for me in April of 1983 when I humbly received Christ into my life and became a volunteer soldier in God’s kingdom rather than living for Satan’s world. And by making that faith choice and all the discipleship choices that I’ve made since then, my allegiance to serve God has replaced my alignment with Satan and his world. With God’s enabling grace, I now have the ability to wear God’s full armor in His everyday battle to stand against the wiles of Satan (see Eph. 6: 10 – 18 - linked); and I can expect victory in resisting Satan, no matter what he throws against me (see 1st Cor. 10: 13 and Rom. 8: 31). Yes, I’m still weak in my own flesh; but I now have God’s power from His grace to give me His strength (see 2nd Cor. 12: 9). That’s why the exhortation of James today holds God’s truth for the way I live in the world now. I pray that it does for you as well.

MacArthur is right when he reminds us today that Satan is strong; but we have a power in our lives as born-again Christians which is far stronger (see 1st John 4: 4); and our God’s calling to serve Him is His enablement to be victorious (see all of Romans 8; yes, linked here so that you can read all of it!). So, let us take James’ charge and move upward and onward to victory in Christ, Jesus!

My Prayer Today: Lord, I will walk in victory with You … TODAY. Amen

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