Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. (Jam 4:7)
Around the year of 1980, five years before I came into the church. I had taken some narcotics called acid. I was wide awake after about 48 hours sitting alone in my two room bedroom. This bedroom was separated by a split blanket that I used for a curtain. I had aluminum foil on some of the walls with black posters of Led Zeppelin (which I don't listen to anymore). I had my purple light on as well.
Hanging from the ceiling was a solar system of one florescent ball and white beads for stars and planets. I was listening to music by King Crimson, a psychotic head music band (which I don't listen to anymore either). As I was staring and staring at the red ball, I kind of went into a semi-trance. I just happen to look into the other half of my bedroom and seen the blanket move and a black figure standing there. I knew that I had just seen a demon, and it scared me.
In my sinful state I had two other occurrences happen to me that convinced me that there really was a devil. A few years down the road God began to deal with me. I was later witnessed to and finally God got a hold of my life and I was born again in 1985!
After getting saved and from personal experience in spiritual matters, it soon became clear that what I saw was truly demonic, but only in a small part. However, these kinds of manifestations are not where the devil really likes to work. Actually you may be surprised where the devil and his angels really like to work the most.
As we look into this spiritual world that we live in, you will see a powerful God and a clever foe. We cannot be ignorant of satan’s devices and understanding his methods will help you to "Just Say No" to him.
For you to understand the rest of this article, we need to look at where God and the devils originated. Of course there was God, who reigned supreme in heaven. He created all the angels and gave them all a free will to choose. God also made Lucifer, a beautiful and wise angel. He was the anointed cherub of God. (see Ezk 28)
Somehow in this perfect spiritual realm, Lucifer got exalted in his heart and wanted to rise above the throne of God. His revolt was so convincing that one-third of the angels joined him and ended up sinning against God as well. What was in Lucifer that caused him to sin? It was his beauty and wisdom that caused him to get pride. He was not content just being Lucifer, he wanted more power and authority. His God given gifts caused him to lust for more!
The sin of lust, pride and rebellion was Lucifer's biggest downfall, and with his revolt, he and one-third of the angels were expelled from heaven. With their casting away also came a perversion of godliness, holiness and truth within them that they twisted and propagated. Everything that the fallen angels knew in heaven was now demented and polluted because of rebellion.
Now that Lucifer and the fallen angels are corrupt, they are referred to as satan, the devil and the fallen angels are called demons. And now that they are on earth, their only focus is to get mankind to also rebel against God too.
The devil doesn't care about us. The desire of the devil is to manipulate us so that our thinking is just like his thinking. Sin is a product of rebellion against God. To get mankind to rebel would be Lucifer's greatest revenge on God. And using us would make him very happy.
ANGEL OF LIGHT
One of the biggest misconceptions about the demonic world we live in, is that the devil is this scary, red-horned monster that bears his teeth when he attacks. Those images are propagated by the world to get us to fear.
Actually you will find in scripture that he is very subtle and angelic in his presentations. Scripture says he comes as an angel of light and even transforms himself into a "minister of righteousness" (2 Cor 11:14). What that means to us is that what the devil and his demons present us, will feel good and it will even feel like God is the one telling us we can have it.
It also means that the demonic world is actually working harder on God's people then on sinners; he already has them! So, we already see that the devil disguises himself as a "feel good" kind of presence; even as a brother, minister or he even simulates God himself.
IN THE GARDEN
We all know about Adam and Eve's temptation in the garden. We know how it all played out. But, when looking at it, can we look beyond the temptation and see how the devil was so easily able to get Eve to fall. The devil did not approach Eve with this rough demented voice, but instead in a voice and presence that simulated God. All Eve ever knew was the presence of God, so the devil was subtle in his presence around her. His voice sounded gentle and god-like.
When he questioned Eve on God's word, it planted a thought in her head that she was being withheld from something good for her. The devil had convinced her that the temptation would make her wise as God.
That little deception appealed to Eve's pride, which then caused her to lust (desire), then caused her to rebel against God's command to not eat the fruit. The three biggest dangers in our lives are pride, lust and rebellion. The devil had opened a tragic door through the lust of the eye, lust of the flesh and the pride of life.
OUR HUMAN FRAILTY
Because of the fall of Adam and Eve, we are all automatically born into sin. We inherited a weak nature that is drawn to sin. Born inside of us, is all kinds of seeds of corruption. Not all these seeds will grow, but given the right circumstances they will produce sin.
Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God. (Gal 5:19-21)
That is a long list of the possible sins someone can fall prey to. These sins are the seeds that the devil can tap into by trying to trap you in some circumstance or getting you to alter your moral thinking.
Not sure if you realized this or not, but your carnal desires and the demonic world are a team. They like to play together and team up against God.
Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be. (Rom 8:7)
JESUS AND THE DEVIL
In Genesis is the very first prophecy of the devil and the Messiah. And since the fall of man satan has always waged a war with God's people. In all of scripture, there is nobody that has dealt with the devil more than Jesus. From his birth to his resurrection, the devil has always been around to try and defeat him.
One of the most notable occurrences is found in the gospels when Jesus was led by the Spirit of God to be tempted by the devil for 40 days. Notice, that is was the Spirit of God that led him there. Meaning, that God needed him to go through this testing so he could resist the devil and gain power over him. I am not getting into all the aspects of this occurrence. But, Jesus had to resist the advances of the devil using every day things such as hunger, authority and possessions. We could surmise that Jesus was tempted with the lust of the eye (possessions), lust of flesh (hunger) and the pride of life(authority).
The very same things that Adam and Eve gave into, Jesus had to refuse. Jesus refused to do business with the devil. He just said NO! Scripture then emphatically states that after the 40 days were over, that he returned in the power of the Spirit. That is why we have to resist the devil too.
The word temptation means to be tempted by something that is prohibited. Temptation in-of-it-self is not sin. However, giving into the temptation is sin. Temptation usually comes in the form of "good" and "pleasurable" feelings. The devil doesn't come to you with a rough presentation, but sweet and subtle. The devil will make the temptation look and feel like it is God's will. It will seem so right at the time!
Temptation can come in many forms. Most think of temptation mostly as sexual in nature, which it can be. But, some people are tempted to steal, covet a position, money, fame, materialism; shopping and the list can go on. The scripture speaks of lust(s) as many different types.
Temptations usually occur because there is a weakness in our life. Some weaknesses usually come from childhood events such as rape, molestation, divorce or some other catastrophic things. These events leave scars in our heart and opens a door in our lives for the devil to work on us and cause us to sin. Wounds of the past and present creates emotional and mental weaknesses that the devil will work on to get us to fall.
At other times, temptations can come because of circumstances, peer pressure or just not paying attention to what is happening around us. The most prevalent reason for a temptation is because we are drawn away of our own lust (desires) and enticed.
"Wow, that women seems so right for me!" - "That man has so much money, I could be secure for life!" - "I could get away with stealing that money; no one will ever see me take it!" - "Wow, that person has what I want. How can I covet it!"
What a pretty picture the devil has just painted! It looks perfect; so you go ahead and grasp your temptation! Oh... It feels so good to finally have it! But, a little later on down the road you start feeling guilty. Now it is not so fun anymore. But you keep indulging in it until it becomes a stronghold in your mind. You are now bound by it! Then after a while you are exposed because you are not getting it out of your life. For some, their sin becomes front page news.
The consequences of temptation and the yielding to it produces sin. Sometimes we think that temptation will make us better when in fact it emotionally, mentally and spiritually makes us weaker. The consequences can be anything from broken relationships to lawsuits and even resulting in death. The consequences of yielding to temptation not only hurts you it will surely hurt others around you.
If you find yourself falling to a particular temptation over-and-over, it is most likely that you are dealing with a stronghold in your mind. Strongholds are established sinful behaviors (habits) that have been setup in your mind. These strongholds are there because of an open door of sin in your life.
In dealing with strongholds, you must get to the root of the issue and truly repent of it. You may need emotional healing or even deliverance. You may even need to seek spiritual counseling to help you overcome strongholds.
When strongholds are present, you will have to spend some dedicated time in prayer, fasting and resistance to get them out of your life. Strongholds are just that... strong! They will have to be pulled down (2 Cor 10:4-5) through prayer.
REVERSE THE CURSE
Since the fall of man, God has always provided a way for mankind to be saved. Each dispensation had its particular way to deal with salvation. First was there was faith (Abraham), then the tabernacle (Moses) and now the age of grace (Church).
The book of Hebrews details the truth that shedding the blood of animals could not make a sinner clean. It was only through the blood of Jesus that a conscience can be cleansed from sins.
Through the new birth experience and the sanctification process that we go through, God can and does deliver, cleanse and make us whole.
The purpose of salvation is not just to save us, but it is to reverse the curse and damage that the devil inflicted on us. God wants to bring us back to the place of obedience and unblocked fellowship with Him; back to Eden if I may use that term. God's restoration process necessitates that we go back, face the devils that caused us to sin. Then we are to resist and overcome them (and the devil) so that we can get to the place of wholeness and holiness.
In the book of 1st John we read; I write unto you, young men, because ye have overcome the wicked one (1 Joh 2:13).
Then we read; For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith. (1 Joh 5:4)
I have observed over the years, saints of God blaming the devil for their mistakes and sins. They often talk about it as though they had nothing to do with it. When a child of God matures, then they will realize that they are responsible for their behavior and must face the truth that they have to say no to sin!
Sometimes they get frustrated and blame the devil for some circumstances in their lives, when in fact God has allowed them to go through boot camp to learn to defeat the devil, sin and their own flesh. Often we think if God will just stop the devil from attacking us, then we could be victorious. However, it is the opposite! God wants us to face the demons and crucify our flesh to be victorious. He wants us to overcome the devil, not just "wish" him away.
Overcoming is not running or hiding. It is the means by which we persevere in prayer, fasting and resistance so that we weaken his manipulating tactics and our flesh is controlled by God and not him. We overcome him, not the other way around. It is through this process that we reverse the fall that Adam and Eve experienced.
JUST SAY NO!
The temptation comes, the battle rages, the winds blow, the storms pound our little boat and the devil causes confusion in our minds. The temptation seems so sweet, wonderful, real and how could God be withholding me from it! We really think that we need this particular temptation, it will make us better and a lot more happier!
You feel God pulling in one direction and the pleasure pulling you in the other. The decision you need to make is a struggle, you're tossed between two worlds. The battle is difficult in your mind, what are you going to do?
In the middle of the storm you hear a small gentle voice say to you "don't do it, just say no." You pause for a moment, and you feel that gentle voice remind you of the consequences you will face.
Finally, you decide that you are going to say no to this utopia feeling. You walk away from the situation or person and then you feel a peace come over you and that you have done the right thing. Later down the road, God reveals to you what harm would of taken place. You weep in prayer thanking Him for delivering you from evil.
In conclusion, the devil and temptation is a real and dangerous thing. Often times we play with things we really shouldn't. Sometimes we are fooled by our emotions and what we see and feel so much that it overcomes us. Some people lose control and even become addicted to sinful vices.
I will not lie to you, the grass really does look greener on the other side. Temptation and sin does have pleasure for a season. For we read about Moses view on sin...
Choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season; Esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt: for he had respect unto the recompence of the reward. (Heb 11:25-26)
I am not saying that pleasure itself is a sin, but pleasure outside of God's commands are sin. Desiring another man's wife or husband is sin because they are not yours to have. Stealing somebody's money is tempting, especially if you're poor; but taking it is sin.
The simple remedy is so clear, yet we miss it because we like how it makes us feel. Just saying no is difficult, just denying yourself is hard, walking away from something that seems so right goes against our reasoning.
Even if you fail a temptation, keep trying until you overcome it. A righteous man may fall several times before he gets it right! But, don't stay down... get back up and resist the next time!
Just saying no is more powerful than you may fully understand. So just say no to any temptation regardless of how euphoric it makes you feel!