Monday, May 30, 2016

Be Sober

Photo from Listening to God Forum
I've never been a devil chaser.  I've always been uncomfortable with those types of Christians.

In fact, just this week I was talking with an employee about her grievous misdeeds that I witnessed from our camera footage at work. I had her look at what I'd seen on camera, and then let her explain her actions from her viewpoint.  She talked at length.  When, at the end of her monologue, she started to get into talking about Satan getting the best of her, I finally cut her off.


I try, by God's grace and power, to take the Word at what it says.

I can't get around this passage here in Ephesians 2:1-3, especially the second verse:

 in which you once walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience,(NKJV)

John McArthur points out that the word "world" used in this verse is Kosmos and that it:

"does not represent simply the physical creation but the world order, the world's system of values and way of doing things-the world's course And as Paul makes it clear, the world follows the leadership and design of Satan"

John Piper has a truly worthwhile sermon on these very same first 3 verses in Ephesians; it's entitled Why we need a Savior: captive to an alien power, by nature children of wrath.I appreciate how in this sermon Piper explains the analogy of Satan being the prince of the air as well as the corroborating scriptures he brings in to verify that Paul is indeed speaking about Satan in this verse.

Piper explains the analogy of prince of the air this way:

"Air is everywhere.

Air is where we live. Between heaven above and earth beneath is the realm of air, and that is the habitation of man. Sometimes we say things like, "there's excitement in the air". What we mean is that excitement seems to be gripping everybody. Its influence is so widespread that it simply must be in the air.

That's Paul's point, the influence of the power spoken of in verse 2 is so pervasive, that it can be called the power of the air."

Scriptures which corroborate that the prince of the power of the air is Satan are:

Ephesians 6:12: 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.(NIV)

Matthew 12:24, note the second part of the verse where the Pharisees are talking about Satan and refer to him as "the prince of demons"(NIV).

2 Corinthians 4:4 where Paul is referring to Satan as the "god of this age" (NIV, NKJV).

John 12:31, John 14:30, & John 16:11 where Jesus refers to Satan as the "ruler of this world" (NIV, NKJV)

Luke 4:6 when Satan is bragging to Jesus he proclaims that he has authority over this world.   

It's apparent that Satan has some power in this world.  1 Corinthians 2:14 indicates that the natural man is greatly influenced by this power because he can't understand the things of God.  As a Christian, between the pervasive influence of Satan on my culture, and the pull of my own flesh, I can be influenced too. I'm reminded of 1 John 2:15-17 that talks about the sources of temptation, one of which is simply my own flesh. 

What does all of this mean to me, today, in my life? 

Do I need to become a "devil-sighter"?  Must I always be on the look out, trying to see where Satan is working?  I am reminded of 1 Peter 5:8-9 which could be interpreted to indicate that I'm to be on the look out for Satan.  However, I'm intrigued by the Amplified Bible translation of these 2 verses in 1 Peter:

 Be sober [well balanced and self-disciplined], be alert and cautious at all times. That enemy of yours, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion [fiercely hungry], seeking someone to devour. But resist him, be firm in your faith [against his attack—rooted, established, immovable], knowing that the same experiences of suffering are being experienced by your brothers and sisters throughout the world. [You do not suffer alone.]

This translation speaks to me about an approach to life, more than about looking for the devil under every rock.  I need to seek, by His Spirit within me:
  • to live a well balanced and self-disciplined life
  • to live in the realization that there are spiritual forces around me
  • to be firm in my faith 
Repeatedly in my life it comes back this. Staying in the word from which my hope and faith is derived.  I'm reminded of Romans 12:1-2 where I'm told to constantly stay in the Word so His Spirit can change the way I think.  God is constantly reminding me to speak His truth and not the lies in the culture around me. Oh Father, You know me. You know that I can't do this on my own. I'm so much like water; I just want to run along the easiest path of least resistance.  Change me. Empower me.  Help me stay close to You.  Because I so desperately need You.  Thank You for loving me.  Thank You for giving me Your Holy Spirit.  I can never thank You enough.
As I've been doing this study today a song by an old music group named Petra has been coming to my mind: Not of this World. You can click this title to find the lyrics and listen.


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