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Respect for the devil!
- Jacob Ninan
Our enemy, the devil, is a crafty old liar and deceiver. When he was an angel he was more intelligent and wise than all other creatures. Now he has had thousands of years of experience observing people and learning how to fool us one way or another. He has supernatural abilities (think of all that he did to Job, and how he raised a storm against Jesus). Even though he cannot be in every place at the same time, he has innumerable demons at his command to send after us. He cannot see inside our mind, but can make a very good guess by observing our actions and expressions. Even when he comes as an 'angel of light' (2Co.11:14) promising us great and wonderful things, his aim is only our ruin and misery (Jn.10:10). We make ourselves easy prey for him if we aren't prepared for him.
The devil is prowling around, looking for those he can capture. If he wants to attack us, first he has to get permission from God (Job.1:10;Lk.22:31). Jesus has given us authority over the devil and his armies (Mt.10:1). But the devil can take advantage of us as much as we allow him. The Bible tells us to be sober, alert and aware of his ways (1Pe.5:8;2Co.2:11). God warns us that if we wish to survive the attacks of the devil we need to put on the full armour of God (Ep.6:11). This tells us that God knows about the powers of the devil, and also our weakness!
Some of us are scared of the devil, not realising that he has been defeated already and that his final place will be in the lake of fire. Some others are over-conscious of the devil, 'seeing' him in everything that happens! But many others tend to underestimate his cleverness and power.
If we harbour wrong attitudes in our heart, we give the devil a foothold in our lives. If we hold anger, bitterness, resentment or unforgiving attitudes towards others the devil finds it easier to influence us by suggesting further judgmental thoughts and actions of revenge, spite or malice (Eph.4:26,27;2Co.2:10,11). Letting our imaginations run about on what pleasure or advantage we will gain by sin is another way to attract his attacks. Playing in our mind with the first thought suggested by the devil is like answering the doorbell when he rings it. Very soon he will be inside the house taking charge of everything!
The problem is that when he rings the doorbell--when the first suggestion pops into our mind--we don't realise how serious the ultimate consequences are going to be. We feel we can handle this at the thought level, not realising that the more we think about it, the devil finds it easy to slip in more ideas and suggestions, and our will becomes weaker to resist him. We may imagine that our ideas are logical conclusions we arrive at, and be totally unaware that the devil is playing with us.
The devil tells lies and evil suggestions, and also deceives us by making us think they are true and appropriate. Our safety is to recognise him when he comes with the first suggestion itself and run to Jesus for help.