Monday, April 9, 2012

Devotion: That Sneaky Devil!

"Then one of the twelve, whose name was Judas Iscariot, went to the chief priests  and said, “What will you give me if I deliver him over to you?” And they paid him thirty pieces of silver. And from that moment he sought an opportunity to betray him." Matthew 26:14-16 

Oh, money! The prospect of wealth! The temptation of beauty. The desire to "share" with others by gossiping. The appeal of knowing more, doing more, being more. Everywhere you turn, there is something out there that is seemingly that much better than what you already have. And Satan is the mastermind behind so much of that. 

Movies, television shows, and music tend to portray Satan as this ugly, horrid looking creature, lurking in the shadows. I always think of Al Pacino's character in The Devil's Advocate when I try to visualize Satan. He's just the creepy, but commanding, character that sits back behind a desk tapping his fingers together in a sinister way. 

But is he really like that? I attempted to find an actual description of Satan in the Bible. I did find a few verses, but I am no theology student, so I'm not 100% sure they are in reference to that Ultimate Bad Guy. If you are interested, check out here, here, and here. What I do want to do, though, is point out how Satan shows himself. 

1. Through Beauty: Oh man, this one is a seriously hard one. Not only are we tempted to be beautiful on the outside (because, as I tell my daughter, it's more important to be beautiful on the inside), but we are also tempted (oh so tempted) by the beauty of others. Look at David. "One evening David got up from his bed and walked around on the roof of the palace. From the roof he saw a woman bathing. The woman was very beautiful..." (2 Samuel 11). Now was there anything wrong with her bathing? No. Was there anything wrong with him up and walking around late at night? No. Even if he saw her bathing, that's not necessarily wrong, if he wasn't looking for a naked woman, but he saw her, and he kept looking (sin), and he sent someone to find out who she was, and he arranged for her husband to be killed so he could have her to himself (sin and sin). How many men (and women) are tempted by another's beauty so much that is has led to sin? Did you see Satan walking around or whispering in David's ear to desire that woman? No. But you better believe he was there. 

2. Through Power: Here is a tricky one. Is it bad to have power? Not necessarily. God anoints leaders (David was a leader, so was JESUS). But Satan likes to take what is good and exploit it and until power becomes an idol. Check out the story of Joseph and his brothers. Joseph was his daddy's favorite. He 12 other brothers were not too happy with that. They wanted the power of being the favored son. So they arranged for him to be sold off. That would then, supposedly, open the door for one of them to move into Joseph's position (Genesis 37). Joseph, though, took it in a decent stride. He continued to trust God would take care of him. And God did. BUT (sneaky Satan), some of that power got to Joseph's head. He ended up becoming the 2nd most powerful man in Egypt. And instead of using that power to help his family (which eventually does), he used it to torment his brothers (Genesis 42). Luckily, Joseph remembered his place, and God was glorified in the end. 

3. Through Money: Have you ever read The Pardoner's Tale? Oh, if you haven't,  you should. It is one of my favorite ones to teach. Not only does it teach about greed, but it also is so stinkin' believable, the story could be set in today's time instead of the 1300s. BRIEF SUMMARY: 3 boys go on an journey to find Death to avenge their friends' deaths. They end up coming across a huge bag of money...and greed takes over. Money is not bad, but the love of money can definitely lead you down the wrong path (1 Timothy 6:10). Judas betrayed Jesus for about a month's paycheck. A big ol' ugly something did not come up to Judas and tell him he had to do that, but that gleam of silver sure caught his eye and led him to betray Jesus. 

And those are just a few ways Satan presents the temptations. He doesn't make us sin, but he most definitely puts them in front of us. And doesn't he just love to tempt Christians? We are God's children, but if we sin, then we give that name a bad one. We must be set apart. AND we must recognize Satan for what he is and what he does. Thank the Lord we have learned, through Him, about *grace, mercy, and forgiveness. 

Luke 10:19 says "I have given you authority to trample on snakes and scorpions and to overcome all the power of the enemy; nothing will harm you." Cling to those words. YOU HAVE POWER OVER THE ENEMY (Satan). Be watchful for ways of temptation and *flee (RUN!!!) away from them. You will enjoy a more blessed life if you do! 

Photo Credit 

*Other references: 
1. Defining True Repentance
2. Wheat and Weeds 
3. Forgiveness
4. Flee Sexual Immorality
5. Flee Idolatry  
6. Pursue God

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