Monday, August 22, 2016

Start Your Week in the Word: Know Your Enemy - the tempter

There are more names for the enemy in the Bible for anyone, aside from Jesus Christ Himself. I came across that statistic this week while doing some research for this post. I mentioned last week that I don't like talking about the enemy; I shy away from giving him any of our time or attention.

But if the Bible ... God's Word ... addresses him so frequently ... doesn't that sound like something we need to lend some attention to? While I myself have never taken the privilege to hunt (yet) I will tell you what I see hunters doing as fall approaches. They are honing their weapons and skills ... target practice, Hoppe's No. 9, siting bows and rifles in. But they are also studying their prey - their movement patterns, where they congregate, they are offering them feed, they are mimicking the presence of others of their kind in order to lure them to their leases and hunting blinds.

Our enemy does this. God knows you and knows your heart. And your enemy knows you and knows your every weakness. He has been a student of human nature for eons. But more than that, he has prowled like a mountain lion ... observing your ways and your habits. He doesn't strike erraticly. Mountain lions in several places have been known to observe joggers habits and highways for long periods of time before attacking.

The closest I have ever been to a lion; a zoo in Nicaragua
Unnerving to have so little between us and so much boredom reflected in those eyes
"... Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour."
- 1 Peter 5:8b

One of the names the Bible gives the enemy is tempter. This gets so personal, so ugly. That the very one who is called the accuser is the one who tempts us. Does that not infuriate you? Entrapment of the worst kind. He butters us up and draws us out into the open then exposes us in the wrong ... the crooked finger that coaxed us there now turned on us impeachingly.

"Keep watching and praying that you may not enter into temptation; the spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak."
- Matthew 26:4

Those weaknesses of our flesh is what our enemy is well versed in. This same father of lies who will lie to us about ourselves, about the goodness of the father. He tempts us into a trap and holds us there in a web of lies. Anything negative in your past can be your prison. Thoughts like "I'm too _______ for God to use" ... "God wouldn't notice me because ______" ... "God has given up on me because _______." Lies.

Las Vegas is known for temptation ... and the lie that what you do here won't affect the rest of your life
Remember, dear friend, even the truth becomes a lie when whispered from that throat of death. You may have messed up in the past. Guess what? We all have. God knows that; He knew we would before we were born. There is hope.

"then the Lord knows how to rescue the godly from temptation"
- 2 Peter 2:9

"No temptation has overtaken you but such as is common to man; and God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, so that you will be able to endure it."
- 1 Corinthians 10:13

Be aware that the tempter is studying you. Don't be afraid, even when evil your flesh desires comes crawling, dripping with enticement that threatens to overwhelm your pounding heart. Focus on God and beg Him to show you the escape hatch. It's always there; I speak from experience. Your flesh will war with you ... your enemy has done his homework, remember ... and the last thing you will want to do is fall to your knees and ask for help.

Even I can find something tempting in Las Vegas
Sweet friend! All it takes is once. It feels like standing on the edge of a cliff. You can't see any way out but giving yourself over to the darkness at the edge and hoping for a thrilling ride before you hit the rocks you know are waiting at the bottom. The weakest, whispered breath of a prayer though ... your hairs will stand on end in the almost undetectable breeze from heaven itself. It must be the flutter of angel wings ... stay with me, feel it even if you don't believe in angels. Believer, the Holy Spirit will sweep in and you will be lifted up from that precipice. It will shrink away below your feet like it never existed.

"Then the devil left Him; and behold, Angels came and began to minister to Him."
- Matthew 4:11

There is always a way out, and I've found that there is rest and relief on the other side.

"Resist the devil and he will flee from you."
James 4:7b

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