Satan is a deceiver, but Jesus is a revealer. So any time you bring Jesus into the situation, Satan is unmasked and his plans for your life are exposed and foiled. Satan is referred to in Scripture as “darkness,” and Jesus as “light.” The moment the light moves in, the darkness has to move out. So your first priority is not to conqueror Satan, but move closer to Jesus; to line up your will and your word with His will and His Word. Instead of just lying down, taking it, and saying, “I guess there’s nothing I can do about this,” rise up in faith and say, “Satan it is written.” Faced with a level of temptation none of us will ever be exposed to, that’s what Jesus did to Satan in the wilderness. And the record reads, “Then the devil left him, and behold, angels came and ministered to Him” (Mt 4:11 NKJV).
Recently we witnessed bankers and brokers take people’s money, lose it, then later come back and say, “Here’s another good plan; invest it.” But now we know better, don’t we? We no longer believe an investment is good just because somebody says so. Don’t miss the spiritual analogy here. When you know the truth of God’s Word and you use it as a weapon, Satan’s walls crumble, his plans for you come unglued, and his schemes fall apart. When you understand who you are “in Christ,” you are more than a match for the Devil and he can no longer control your life.
Having the faith required to get answers to your prayers is an important truth. But that’s not what Paul is speaking about here. He begins the chapter saying, “Some will depart from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits” (1Tim 4:1 NKJV). He warns, “Stay anchored to the truth, or you’ll be caught in the undertow of error.” Here’s a fact that should alarm us: 90 percent of all those who end up in cults started out in mainline churches. How come? Because they weren’t grounded in the truth of Scripture! They are the like the guy who was asked, “What do you believe?” He replied, “The same thing my church believes.” When asked, “What does your church believe?” He replied, “The same thing I believe.” When asked, “What do you both believe?” He replied, “We both believe the same thing.” Bottom line: he didn’t know what he believed! You say, “But doesn’t God have more truth to reveal to us?” Yes. “The path of the just is as the shining light, that shineth more and more unto the perfect day” (Pr. 4:18). But God doesn’t destroy the foundations of truth, He builds on them. Sometimes Bible teachers with fresh revelation act like “the party started when I arrived!” That’s ego, not annointing! We are not called to be tasters of experience, but testers of truth. We must honor the ministry, but understand that just because a preacher says it, doesn’t make it so. The Bereans “received the word with all readiness, and searched the Scriptures daily to find out whether these things were so” (Ac 17:11 NKJV). You must do that too!
Something for you to meditate upon as you go through the day.
WHAT KIND OF EXAMPLE ARE YOU (4)
Jesus said, “Love your enemies, do good, and lend, hoping for nothing in return; and your reward will be great, and you will be the sons of the Most High. For He is kind to the unthankful and evil. Therefore be merciful, just as your Father is also merciful” (Lk 6:35-36 NKJV). Such words bring us to our knees, for we fall far short of practicing them. The pastor of a large church tells of being on an elevator with a drunk man who was throwing up. The pastor couldn’t wait to get off. All the way to his room he kept criticizing the man. Later that night God spoke to him and said, “You laughed at him, but I loved him enough to die for him.” Watch your attitude! The same sunshine that melts the butter hardens the clay. When you constantly deal with people’s problems, it will make you either callous or compassionate. In spite of his disappointment in people, Jesus never lost His sense of compassion. Love isn’t a virus you catch, it’s a virtue you’re supposed to practice every day. And there’s a divine dimension to this kind of love. “The love of God has been poured out in your hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us” (Ro 5:5 NKJV). You can’t reach into the well of your own emotions to find such love; you can only take the love of God that’s been poured into your heart and share it with others. And if you are to serve God successfully you must have regular transfusions of his love.
Seneca, the Roman statesman said, “I govern my life and thoughts as though the world were to see one and read the other.” You can always predict what a person of integrity will do in two areas: (1) In business. Saying no to your boss usually isn’t a good career move. But when faced with a choice between his and his convictions, Daniel refused to eat the King’s meat because it was a violation of God’s law (See Da 1:8-17). Joseph refused to sleep with the boss’s wife (See Gen 39:6-12). Elisha refused to accept a rich man’s money in exchange for healing (See 2KI 5:1-16). Getting the idea? (2) At home. Noah saved his family from destruction by listening to God (See Heb 11:7). And the first thing he did when he emerged from the ark was to build an altar. Think about that! Noah had an altar before he had a home. Most of us have homes, but no prayer altar. And it shows. Lot, on the other hand, lost his wife and sons-in-law to the destructive influences of Sodom (See Ge 19:14-26). Today issues of character that once raised alarm don’t even raise an eyebrow. But they should. “I plead with you to give your bodies to God because of all he has done for you. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice-the kind he will find acceptable. This is truly the way to worship him. Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect” (Ro 12:1-2 NLT).