Is Satan Winning the Battle?

Satan and his agents (humans which he uses and controls) have many weapons in their arsenal including deception, lying, exaggeration, cheating, social pressure, overwhelming numbers, physical intimidation, etc.  Satan can use any or all of these weapons at any time, and he is quite skilled in doing so.   He can also tap into the natural desires of man including the lust of the eyes, the lusts of the flesh, and the pride of life in order to win people over to his cause.  To put it in baseball terms, the Devil has a lot of pitches in his repertoire, and he can use any and all of these pitches and not violate his “code of conduct”, but these same pitches are off limits for the Christian.  Does that not give Satan a decided advantage over the righteous?

Not only that, but when a disciple of Jesus Christ lowers himself to use any of these techniques, he is rightfully accused of being a hypocrite because he has violated his professed “code of conduct.”    So Christians are held to a different standard than are the people of the world who follow Satan.  Is that fair?  

On the other hand, if one (like Satan) professes no standards, he or she free to do anything they please.   This is what is happening more and more in America.  We are being told that there are no absolutes and no standards by which to guide our conduct.   In doing this, men and women are following the “code of Satan.”    But not all of us go along with this.  What chance do we have to win the battle over the minds of men if our enemies are free to use a broad area of techniques while the Christians are limited in the weapons they use?

Man Created In God’s Image

This all begins to break down when we consider that all men are created in the image of God and are expected to live according to the rules of their Creator, the great umpire above the heavens,  and not the rules of Satan, the great usurper of authority.  Even those who refuse to have God in their knowledge cannot escape the consequences of breaking the rules of God.  Man is created with a built in sense of fairness called the conscience that has the ability to question his thoughts and conduct, unless it has been totally disabled. 

I was reminded that the conscience and common sense are still alive and well recently when I read an editorial in the October 14th issue of Sports Illustrated by Phil Taylor titled, “Rules Are Meant To Be . . . Rules”   In this hard hitting article he pointed out that rules, if they mean anything at all, should be followed and strictly enforced.   He bemoaned the growing tendency in America for people to lie and cheat and for this to be condoned and taken lightly.  He calls this a wide spread and growing problem.  He believes that those who deliberately cheat in baseball by taking performance enhancing steroids ought to be barred for life because , after all, “Rules Are Meant To Be . . . Rules” and that it only muddies the water when people point out that many of the old timers used amphetamines, etc.  His point was that there were no rules that forbid their use at that time.  He makes the point that there is a difference between players cheating by using amphetamines, which were not forbidden by actual rules, and those who presently violate “known rules”.  The players do not have the right to pick and choose which rules they want to follow.   The apostle Paul addressed this when he wrote: “Also if anyone competes as an athlete, he does not win the prize unless he competes according to the rules” (2 Tim. 2:5).   Paul does not need to prove his statement. This is just plain common sense!   But the real point Paul is making has to do with our need to follow God’s rules as a good soldier of Jesus Christ.

This SI article is interesting in that Mr. Taylor recognizes the need to follow rules or else the foundation of sports will be destroyed.   This is the same man who was willing to promote and defend the homosexual lifestyle in sports, and charged those who do not agree as “homophobes”.   It is because the editors of Sports Illustrated promoted this, that I was forced to cancel my subscription to the paper.  I am still receiving issues because my paid subscription has not yet expired.   Now these people can understand the need for rules in the field of sports, and that these rules need to be enforced strictly.   But they do not see any need to heed any rules made by our Creator for successful living, and yet, it becomes more and more obvious that a lawless society simply does not work.  

Weapons Available To Christians Are More Powerful

Yes, Satan has his weapons, but the weapons of God are more powerful.  The apostle Paul pointed this out with these words:  “For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh, for the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh, but divinely powerful for the destruction of fortresses.  We are destroying speculations and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God, and we are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ, . . . . . . ” (2 Cor. 10:5).   As to the techniques of Satan, Paul wrote: “. . . we are not ignorant of his schemes” (2 Cor. 2:11).   He admonished Christians to “put on the full armor of God, so that you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil” (Eph. 6:11).   Paul was not naive as to the powers of the evil forces.  He wrote: “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places (Eph. 6:12).  Yet he believed that the power of truth was stronger than the power of lies and deception.  Marching orders for Christians are these:  “Do not participate in the unfruitful deeds of darkness, but instead even expose them; for it is disgraceful even to speak of the things which are done by them in secret. But all things become visible when they are exposed by the light, for everything that becomes visible is light (Eph. 5:11-14).  Light is far more powerful than darkness, both literally and figuratively, and “works of darkness” is the proper way to describes all of the techniques of Satan and his agents. 

False Appeals

What is really sad is when ministers of the gospel, who profess to be followers of Jesus Christ,  attempt to appeal to the world by using the same time tested techniques of Satan by appealing to the flesh and fleshly desires, boasting in numbers and picking and choosing which rules they want to follow.   Some even teach that we can engage in the works of Satan and enjoy salvation at the same time, for God is so merciful, loving and kind!  Don’t you just love  the promoters of the gospel of health and wealth and unconditional grace!   Who can believe such nonsense, yet it is skillfully wrapped in the clothing of righteousness.  Of such Peter wrote: “For speaking out arrogant words of vanity they entice by fleshly desires, by sensuality, those who barely escape from the ones who live in error, promising them freedom while they themselves are slaves of corruption; for by what a man is overcome, by this he is enslaved” (2 Peter 2:18-19).  We cannot fight Satan by using the methods of Satan.   Some say, “Since Satan gets down and dirty, we need to get down and dirty to combat him.”    They say that the end justifies the means.  God says no to this.  

Yes, the forces of Satan are alive and well in our present world.  And most people who have been deceived by his tactics will continue to stay in a blinded condition, and they will choose to have it so.  In some ways, it is much easier to go with the flow than the fight upstream.  But I still believe that the values of truth, integrity, honor and righteousness have traction in our society.  The cross of Christ can still reach the hearts of men. 

Keep Your Eyes On Jesus

The real problem for Christians is not the power of Satan, nor the ministers of Satan, which are all built upon myths and lies, but rather, taking our eyes off of Jesus Christ!  Paul wrote:  “Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth. For you have died and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is our life, is revealed, then you also will be revealed with Him in glory (Col. 3:2-4).   Let me ask those of you who know your Bible, why was Elijah so defeated and discouraged?    Was it not because he was too focused on the evil powers that surrounded him?  God finally straightened him out and he went back to work.  (see 1 Kings 19)  Why was Job so discouraged that he wanted to die?   Had he not become totally overwhelmed by the evil that was all about?  Did it not take God to correct his thinking?  (See Job 3, 23-24, 38-40)   Christians are never defeated unless they think they are defeated.  They must not focus on the enemy but the greatness of their Commander-in-Chief.  Do you think that Christ, if we fully trust and follow him, will lead us to defeat?  That will never happen.  It is only when we lose our courage that we lose.  The devil is too strong?  Phooey!   James wrote: “Submit therefore to God.  Resist the devil and he will flee from you” (James 4:7).   It is sad to see downcast Christians who actually think that the cause of righteousness is losing out.  Paul wrote, “Let us not lose heart in doing good, for in due time we will reap if we do not grow weary” (Gal. 6:9).  “If you faint in the day of adversity, your strength is small” (Pro. 24:10). 

Satan may seem to have the advantage when we observe the corruption and lack of justice on the earth, where evil men triumph and live out their full days.  But just remember that God will always have the last word.   As the almighty creator of the heavens and the earth, God has appointed a day of judgment when all shall be judged, both living and dead, and at that time all the books shall be open with nothing hidden.  Everyone’s life shall be exposed and revealed.  All shall be judged by God and receive their just reward whether good or evil.   (see Acts 17:30-31; Revelation 20:11-15).     Are you walking by God’s rules?

Satan is winning some battles, but God will win the war.   Whose side are you on?

                                                          --- Lindy McDaniel, October, 2013

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The photo at beginning of article is of special stamps of old baseball parks issued in 2000 by the U. S. Postal service.   My daughter, Kathi, gave me a framed picture of this.  I actually played in all of these parks.  Guess I am giving away my age! 

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