I was at a Bible study before sitting down to write this blog tonight. One of the things we discussed is ways that Satan wreaks havoc in this world. Some of the topics discussed were abortion, homosexuality, and thinking we can do things on our own without God’s help. I couldn’t help but think how Satan is simply living up to his name as the deceiver of the world.
We read about it in Revelation 12:9, “And the great dragon was thrown down, the serpent of old who is called the devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world; he was thrown down to the earth, and his angels were thrown down with him.” We have abortion because Satan has deceived us that we are in charge of our own bodies and choice should be valued above life. Tolerance of any type of union is pushed because we have been blinded to the truth of God’s Word that marriage is between one man and one woman (Gen. 2:24). We are deceived everyday thinking that we can even breathe apart from God’s authority to allow it to happen.
The name Satan literally means “adversary” which also tells us what he does. He is an antagonist, he is against us always, he is for no one. He hates all people, believers and non-believers alike (that is his nature), but he often targets Christians. This is pointed out in scripture in 1 Peter 5:8, “Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.” To keep this simple, ladies - Satan is real and he is hunting you down.
I want you to pay attention to this today because you need to know that you have an enemy intending to do you harm every single day of your life. What are you doing to prevent his deception in your life? We take self-defense courses to learn how to defend ourselves from physical attack, do we take spiritual attack as seriously? I don’t think we do.
What lies are you listening to? Are there common ones in your life that keep popping up? (You’re a bad mother, you’re a failure, church doesn’t matter, the Bible is subjective …) Realize who is talking to you - it is your Adversary. John describes him this way, “He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks out of his own character, for he is a liar and the father of lies.” (8:44). He is full of lies and constantly spewing them at you. Do you realize this?
This is why I encourage you to question everything! Question your beliefs, question what others tell you, even the thoughts that cross your mind each day (where are they coming from?). There is only one standard of truth and that is God’s infallible Word. Should we question God’s word? Yes! In a right way, look there for truth and answers! Don’t simply doubt and walk away. Being an inquisitive reader, always asking “why?” It is a great way to search the Bible for understanding. I have such confidence in God’s Word because I have been examining the Bible for years myself. The more I read it, the more proof I find of its truth. I dare you to try it yourself.
It is there that we find the only true defense system that protects us from our Antagonist. We are told in Ephesians 6:11 to, “Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil.” And, “In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one;” (v. 16). Our enemy is scheming against us, but we have a shield of faith to protect us. Faith in what? Faith in a God who has overcome the world (Jn. 16:3) and who has authority over the Enemy (Mt. 28:18) and who has promised to defeat our Enemy for good. Revelation 20:10, “and the devil who had deceived them was thrown into the lake of fire and sulfur where…they will be tormented day and night forever and ever.”
We fight lies with truth, truth is found in the Word of God which is called the sword of the Spirit (Eph. 6:17). Arm yourself well and defend yourself daily. As 1 Peter 5:8 says “be watchful” for that prowling lion.
I want to make clear, we cannot simply blame Satan for our wrong doing. He may point us in the right (wrong) direction, but we are the ones taking willing steps into darkness. We are held accountable for our actions before God. God is the one who will hold up our “beliefs” to the measuring rod of his perfect Word. Your decisions, beliefs and actions are on your shoulders. That is why you need to seriously question everything.
Don’t take the word of your priest, pastor, spouse, friend, counselor, teacher or parent as truth before weighing it against Scripture. Same goes for your personal feelings of right and wrong (“The heart is deceitful above all things” Jer. 17:9) and mainstream beliefs accepted by the misguided majority.
Question everything until you find solid truth to build your life on. That will be the solid bedrock of Jesus Christ.
“You shall be holy as I am holy.” – 1 Peter 1:16
Does serving an infinitely holy God intimidate you? If not, it should. This quote of God by Peter should cause a great pause, it should initiate an examination of your heart. Don’t skip over it. This is not an isolated verse, it is also found in Leviticus 11:44 and 45, 19:2, 20:7 and there are other verses very similar such as Matthew 5:48, “You therefore must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.”
As Christians we cherish the “shall” in the verse from 1 Peter 1:16 above (praise God for helping verbs). There is coming a day when we will be fully holy. That will be the day we get to be with our Savior and before our God, complete (wow, do we look forward to that day!). But, while we are here on earth and in the process of holification (yep, made that up) what are we to do? We read in the Bible that we (true Christians) are progressively being conformed to the image of Jesus “from one degree of glory to another” (2 Cor. 3:18), but, what does that look like today, this very day that you are reading these words? Good question! Here is the answer: it is displayed in the very next thing you do.
We often like to step way back and take a broad panoramic view of our lives and hope it displays progressive holiness. This is a very good thing to do and your life will image that promise from God if you are truly his. But, what about the close-up view of today, even this hour, or the next minute? How do you take the enormous task of becoming more like Jesus and display that in your mundane, ordinary life right now? It starts with the very next thing you do.
Are you about to speak to your husband? Speak words of respect and love. Are you talking with co-workers? Refuse to gossip and find opportunities to turn the conversation toward the gospel. Are you wiping snotty noses? Do so in love and because Jesus also humbled himself and served others. Are you deciding what to do for the evening? Make a choice that accords with Scripture and pleases God. Do holiness now.
We can easily get caught up in “putting off” holiness for another day and just trust that God will get us there eventually. We like to think of ourselves as “long-term projects”, maybe saving holiness for our golden years. This is a rotten way to think and says very little for our zeal for the Lord and his desire for us to “grow up into salvation” (1 Peter 2:2). Instead we need to “Strive for peace with everyone, and for the holiness without which no one will see the Lord.” (Hebrews 12:14). We need to work at our holiness with discipline and be, “bringing holiness to completion in the fear of God.” (2 Cor. 7:1). Fear God and shape up. We are his kids and we need to act like it.
Understand, it is okay to feel overwhelmed when you read verses calling for your holiness. Imitating our perfect Savior is a huge task! Actually a God-sized task, only accomplished by God himself. That is exactly why Jesus sent his Spirit, the Helper, to reside in you. It is the Spirit that produces the fruit of holiness that honors God. We really can do nothing apart from him (John 15:5). The Holy Spirit will help you be more like Jesus, from the next thing to the golden years.
Take comfort in knowing that when God says, “You shall be holy as I am holy, “it is not just a command but also a promise. You will someday experience the fullness of the rewards of being washed clean with the blood of Jesus. Our holification will be completed (it’s a good word). We will truly be holy like our Father is. It will be a great day!
Until that time, Ladies, intentionally work on your holiness. Continually do the next thing like Jesus would.