Standing Firm

It was 7:30 pm. Enjoying the sea breeze that was sweeping my room, with the faint sounds of the heavy traffic on the main road on side, and the occasional noises of the train going by the beach on the other side, I was immersed in prayer and writing. Suddenly the peace despite the usual noises was shattered…. Replacing these were noises of a gate being banged with stones and voices of threat. The word “Police” sounded… I could hear a crowd of young boys making a large row. In fear, I went and peeped from my balcony. I wasn’t quite sure whether they could see me from below being on the 5th floor and feared whether peeping would impose any danger! Quite a large crowd of people were coming along the road… running along rather.

Anyway, it turned out that a man had bought groceries (worth LKR 15,000) from the supermarket at the road top, had decided not to pay for it. His body had been shining thanks to the oil slathered all over to give a slippery surface and thus to prevent people being able to grab him. When the cashiers had tried to stop him. he had threatened them pulling out a long knife hidden in his sarong! The chase had begun. This robber had run down this road and noticed a gate open neighbouring my apartment building. He had then jumped the wall and over into the next door garden (the gates were locked) and crouched underneath the bushy trees. SO much of commotion. Without dispersing, the crowd surrounded these two houses and a lawyer who lived opposite called the police. Much time lapsed but anyway the man was caught.

It was awesome that so many people had gathered together and ensured justice was done. The man’s schemes (he obviously thought he was well prepared but didn’t quite think the strategy through) were far from successful and he was caught! Just imagine if the workers and the crowd had got scared of the threats of the robbers? Imagine if they had let him get away scot free? Well, no they stood and remained together. They succeeded in cornering him!

We often do this when it comes to the schemes of the devil. He prowls and he roars… and we get scared!  We forget the blood shed by Jesus on the cross was so to bridge the gap between us and our Heavenly Father. Yes, the enemy is desperately trying to pull us away from our Father and also trying to thwart the work of God as he wants the power and is greedy for ownership of the world. Yet we can claim our victory and authority in Christ. Being aware of the schemes of the enemy, being alert to his ways will help us stand firm, as victors and not victims.

Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. Resist him, steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same sufferings are experienced by your brotherhood in the world. ( :8,9)

Some of the ways the enemy operates:

  • He twists God’s Word (yes he knows the Scriptures, after all he was an angel, before he was thrown out of heaven for his rebellion) to use it to cause doubt and disobedience to God’s Word… For example the way he approached Eve to cause doubt, “Did God really say that?” (Genesis 3:1-8) and then the ways he tried to tempt Jesus (Matthew 4:1-10).  He managed to succeed with Eve creating the fall of mankind.  However Jesus, who is one with the Father, was very much aware of his schemes and replied, “Away with you Satan”.
  • Satan uses loved ones, those who are close to our hearts to try to tug us away from doing what God has called us to do as they would want to ‘protect’ us from harm.  Peter is an example!  When Jesus told the disciples what must happen, Peter jumped up and protested.  However, Jesus turned and said, “Get behind Me, Satan! You are an offense to Me, for you are not mindful of the things of God, but the things of man”  (Matthew 16:21-23).  Unfortunately, Judas succumbed to the enemy’s schemes (we read Satan entered him) and lost his salvation.
  • The enemy is all out to hinder God’s Work.  He used Peter and Judas for that.  However, Paul writes that the devil had hindered his visit to Thessalonica (Thessalonian 2:18).
  • Satan transforms himself into an angel of light.  After stating that Eve was deceived by the cunning serpent, he writes about a certain type of men being “false apostles, deceitful workmen, masquerading as apostles of Christ.  And no wonder, for Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light. It is not surprising, then, if his servants masquerade as servants of righteousness. Their end will be what their actions deserve.” (2 Corinthians 11:4).
  • Satan endeavours to pull people away from God.  In fact it was he who asked to sift Simon Peter as wheat.  Jesus knew that Peter would fall away but for a time.  “But I have prayed for you, that your faith should not fail; and when you have returned to Me, strengthen your brethren” (Luke 22:31-32).  God told Satan to consider Job knowing that Job would pass the test, “Have you considered My servant Job, that there is none like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man, one who fears God and shuns evil? (Job 1:1-8) and again, “Have you considered My servant Job, that there is none like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man, one who fears God and shuns evil? And again after Job’s first stage of being incited by the devil, God told Satan, “And still he holds fast to his integrity, although you incited Me against him, to destroy him without cause” (Job 2:3).

Right now the enemy is the prince of the earth… Yet, we stand in victory…  Jesus told His disciples,

I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven. Behold, I give you the authority to trample on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall by any means hurt you. Nevertheless do not rejoice in this, that the spirits are subject to you, but rather rejoice because your names are written in heaven.”  (Luke 10:17-20)

Nothing shall by any means hurt us, but do remember that we should also be vigilant and not give the enemy a foothold like Judas did and he was a disciple who spent time with Jesus!  We need to remember,

“For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.” (Ephesians 6:12)

Yet God gives us an assurance:

The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet. The grace of our Lord Jesus be with you.” (Romans 16:20)

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