Friday, October 7, 2011

Are You Too BUSY?

In spiritual warfare, the Commander in Chief of the Christian army is the triune God – Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. We can march forth victorious knowing that the battle is the Lord’s (1 Samuel 17:47), and that we are on the winning side (1 Corinthians 15:57; Romans 16:20).

Still, to be effective, we must know our enemy and his strategies. Satan is not God’s equal or even His opposite; as a fallen angel, he is a being who was created by God to have supernatural powers that are limited by God Himself. When he was Lucifer, an angel of light, God endowed him with great beauty, wisdom and talent. But when his sin of pride caused him to rebel against God’s authority and to exalt himself above his Creator, God exiled him from heaven, along with those angels who joined in the rebellion (Luke 10:18; Isaiah 14:12-15).

God allowed Satan temporary control of the world, its institutions and its governments (Ephesians 6:12). God allows Satan to tempt and attack even His own children, but always for our own ultimate good (Romans 8:28). Satan can do nothing to us that God Himself does not allow (Job 2:6). God turns Satan’s evil weapons into instruments designed for our good, to conform us more to the image of His Son through suffering (Philippians 3:10), to strengthen our faith on Him, to give us compassion and experience to help those going through similar trials (1 Corinthians 10:13), and even to give us greater joy in our mountain top experiences.

We should not be afraid of Satan or his demons, for God’s perfect love for us casts out all fear (1 John 4:18). Even so, we should respect the devil’s power and understand his strategies. Satan may try to intimidate us, but we can prayerfully use the whole armor of God (Ephesians 6: 11-15) to fight him off, just as Jesus did when tempted in the wilderness (Matthew 4:1-11).

As a former angel of light (2 Corinthians 11: 14), Satan may appeal to our sense of beauty, working through the lust of the eyes and the lust of the flesh (1 John 2:16), just as he did with Adam and Eve (Genesis 3:6). He surely will appeal to our pride, trying to convince us that we are self-sufficient and don’t need God. And as the father of all liars (John 8:44), he will distort the truth, which is why we need the discernment to realize that anything added to, taken away from, or changed in God’s Word makes it a lie.

All Satan wants is one little piece of our heart where he can set up shop (Ephesians 4:27). We must resist the devil, and flee from temptations that can harm us (James 4:7; Proverbs 6:27; 1 Corinithians 10:13). If we give in to that bad seed of doubt or fear that undermines our faith, or to that one sin that so easily tempts us (Hebrews 12:1), or to that false teaching that perverts the Gospel ever so slightly (2 Peter 2:1), Satan has established a stronghold. A single virus-infected email can crash your computer. A tiny drop of cyanide in a glass of pure water turns it to poison. Breathing in an anthrax spore can destroy our whole body. It is even more vital that we use the whole armor of God t0 repel Satan’s seemingly innocent intrusions.

When all else fails to neutralize effective, fruitful Christians, Satan tries to keep us BUSY. According to an Irish web designer in Galway, BUSY stands for Being Under Satan’s Yoke. Mature believers who are in God’s will may keep from sinning, at least in their actions. Yet they may all too easily get distracted by things that are not bad, but that keep us from God’s best. God wants us to be productive, but not so busy that we lose our focus on Him and fail to hear His voice. Unlike Satan, Jesus promises us a yoke that is easy and a burden that is light because He will give us rest (Matthew 11:28-30).

Do we want to be like Martha, who loved Jesus but became too burdened with serving to sit at His feet, or do we want the joy and peace her sister Mary experienced by keeping her quiet time with Him her first priority? (Luke 10:38-42)

Time is the one resource that constantly gets depleted and can’t be bought back. When an opportunity passes by to witness to an unsaved soul, to encourage a fellow believer, to minister to someone in need, or to share love and joy with your family, it may never come again. Satan loves to keep us BUSY.

Do we serve on so many committees that we never have time to read God’s Word? Do we spend so much time tracking worldwide news that we don’t pray for missionaries risking their lives around the globe? At church functions, are we so preoccupied with preparing food, or passing handouts, or managing the sign-in, that we ignore those who need a kind word or a loving touch? Do we spend so much time at home cooking, cleaning or paying bills that we don’t notice when our loved ones just want us to spend quality time with them? Satan loves to keep us BUSY.

For those who have turned from their sins and trusted in the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ as the only Way, our eternal destiny in Heaven is secure. But how sad it would be to learn of His perfect plan for our lives that we missed because Satan kept us too BUSY.

Hebrews 12:1 Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, 2 Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.

15 comments:

  1. Many people today say that they believe in God, but they also think that Satan is medieval imagination or at least something like metaphor. But Satan is real.
    Yes, I agree that Satan likes, when Christians are busy, too busy. We should work, learn and serve God, but we should also remember in this all about Him and His Word.
    Please about prayer - in next Friday I will probably have to talk about The Babel Tower at my seminary at university - I'm afraid that I could be at least ridiculed. I don't want also be in the centre of attention.
    Greetings for You.
    God bless.

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  2. Dear Zim, Thanks as always for your thoughtful comment. It is a difficult balance between working to study and to serve Him, yet spending quiet time alone with Him in prayer and in His Word. But the Holy Spirit can help us set priorities and be good stewards of our time.

    I will pray for your talk on Friday, that the Holy Spirit will give you the words to say. Because you are humble I know God will lift you up (Matt. 23:12). God is faithful to honor those who seek to bring Him glory, and if He brought you to it, He will see you through it!

    Love in Christ,

    Laurie

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  3. Excellent thoughts; I also think people give the enemy too much credit. They will blame things on him that are really of their own flesh with what they choose to do. He is definitely our enemy though, but I am comforted that no one can snatch us out of the Lord's hand and greater is the one in us than the one in the world. If God is for us, who can be against us! We just need to remember he is fighting our battles and he already won the battle against the enemy :)

    enjoy the weekend!

    betty

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  4. Thanks, Betty, for your thoughtful response. Our enemies are Satan, our flesh, and the world, all clamoring for our attention to distract us from the Holy Spirit. Praise God that our salvation is secure, and that the victory is His.

    May you have a blessed week!

    Laurie

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  5. great post. I tend to forget that we're in a battle...and have a very real enemy....one that doesn't want us to make it or live free. Thanks. for this.

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  6. Well said! I haven't written about Satan yet. I agree our first priority should be Jesus, His Word, and prayer each day. And I sometimes get busy, only to regret missing my time with Him. This is a very good post and a reminder to stay centered on Jesus. God bless!

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  7. I have been guilty of being too busy. When I am, my joy disappears. Then I remember to step back and spend some time with God.

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  8. Hi Sarah -- Thanks so much for your comment and insight! Satan is indeed like a roaring lion, seeking to trap and devour us, but God has given us His armor to fight him off.

    Hi Karen -- Thanks for the kind words! A well-known pastor and devoted man of God said he was too busy not to pray! Not only does prayer draw us closer to Him in sweet fellowship, but it helps order our priorities so that we are more efficient and have peace instead of stress and confusion.

    Hi Pamela -- That is so true, that keeping us busy is one of Satan's best strategies to rob us of our joy. Praise God that He is always there, waiting for us with open arms when we return to Him.

    May all of you have a blessed and God-filled week!

    Love in Christ,
    Laurie

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  9. Hey Laurie..thanks for following me and want you to know....I'm following back....Have an awesome Monday.

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  10. You're right that too many who claim to be Christians either credit Satan with more power than he has, or deny that he has any real power. Those who credit him with too much power either live in fear or excuse their sin with "the Devil Made me do it so it's not my fault. Those who Ignore his power make no effort to avoid his traps.

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  11. Hi Sarah, Welcome! Thanks so much for following! May your day be filled with blessings!

    Hi dfish, Thanks as always for sharing your insights. These are good points, and we should understand Satan's powers and the limits on his powers to ward him off. Satan is not omniscient, so he can't read our thoughts, but he is a master psychologist who can deduce our weaknesses from our words and actions. Yet another reason to be careful what we say and do! May God bless you and your ministry.

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  12. Great post. I agree with dfish. However, the devil has no power over the Lord. So if we are strong in the faith and say "Get behind me Satan!" We will be doing well. God bless, Lloyd

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  13. Hi Lloyd, Thanks, and Amen to your comment! I encourage those in my Bible study class to memorize, or at least to carry in their wallet, "power verses" that they can verbalize when Satan threatens them. "Get thee behind me, Satan!" (Luke 4:8) is a great one; so is "He who is in me is greater than he who is in the world." (1 John 4:4). Singing hymns (and focusing on the meaning of the words) is another great way to repel Satan.
    God bless,
    Laurie

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  14. Many important lessons to consider, Laurie. We need to be reminded that even though Satan attacks God is still in control and we don't need to fear. Although we do need to be aware of Satan's tactics. He has many. Certainly Busy is one of his best tools.
    Blessings,
    Charlotte

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  15. Thanks, Charlotte! Praise God that the battle is the Lord's, and that His perfect love casts out all fear.
    May God bless you and your ministry,
    Laurie

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