Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Recognizing Satan In Our Relationships

            Satan attacks unexpectedly to destroy our relationship with God. He attacks when we are most vulnerable. His most potent assaults are through our close associates.

            Unless we recognize the satanic attack, we cannot defeat Satan. But how do we recognize Satan in our lives, especially in our relationships?

            Satan’s invisibility challenges our recognition of him. His destructive work through people around us - those whom we love and cherish - intensifies the problem to an unimaginable extent. Therefore, recognizing Satan is imperative insofar as the damage needs to be controlled and our relationship promptly and effectively restored with the Lord and those employed by Satan to attack us.

            A Christian’s life involves two births; the physical birth and the spiritual rebirth (the born-again experience). The physical birth sans the spiritual rebirth is not of eternal worth. A Christian is a new creation when he or she is born again.

            The spiritual rebirth in a Christian’s life entails a swift and/or a gradual shift in the character of a Christian so to progressively resemble the Lord Jesus in both the public and the private spheres of life. The born-again Christian strives spiritually insofar as to shed his/her former way of life. As years pass by, the born-again Christian gradually departs from the sins that plagued him before he was born-again. (A Christian cannot be perfect a.k.a. sinless in this time and age.)

            Transition from the former way of life would be quite arduous for some Christians. Much effort would be invested into this spiritual transition. Every moral victory earned is an outcome of God’s grace and the effort of this spiritually tenacious Christian.

            This is precisely where Satan enters to crucify the Christian’s spirituality.

            One method of satanic assault upon the spiritually tenacious Christians is by motivating the gullible people around them - parents, spouse, siblings, pastor, church leaders and friends - to shamefully recall their former ways of life, which is the life that they so arduously struggled to discard. This assault usually occurs during controversial situations.

            Consider these assaults:

            “You were a liar, how could I believe you?”

            “You were a drunkard, how do I know that you did not drink today?”

            “You had fudged accounts earlier, so I am sure you have misappropriated finances now.”

            In this satanic mode of attack, the Christian’s past would constantly be recollected to shame him. It is important to note that the Christian, after accepting Christ as HIS Savior, has effectively discarded (or is in the process of discarding by overcoming his temptations) the sinful habits from his life. But people around him, in their own moments of spiritual weakness, could be a pawn in the hands of Satan to destroy this Christian’s spirituality with these lethal verbal assaults.

            Sincere Christians would reel under this assault, even if it were a one-time occurrence. Relentless assaults of this nature could spiritually incapacitate sincere Christians, so much so that they could doubt and reject God’s presence. Such is Satan’s lethal activity in a Christian life.

            Think about this.

            You strived so hard to eliminate that sin (or those sins) from your life. You have experienced God’s power. You are thankful to God for your spiritual achievement. You are so happy to live a clean life. You love your new life in Christ Jesus. You have testified to Christ’s power in your life. People appreciate you and they thank and praise God for HIS work in your life.

            Everything is going good.

            This is when your life crumbles around you. Satan attacks you through verbal assaults from those whom you love so dearly. You strive to forgive and forget. But these attacks become a regular part of your life. You are accused of doing that which you have discarded. Being unappreciated is hard enough to fathom, but to be accused of doing that which you are not doing anymore is a poison you have to drink constantly. To die a thousand painful deaths every single day is not fun.

            That’s not it.

            Your life becomes a living nightmare when those accusing you spread rumors about you. Your family and friends believe these rumors and consider you a hypocrite. Those whom you had considered good friends are not your friends anymore. Your life sinks into despair.

            You wonder why this is happening in your life.

            The answer is not straightforward. But the answer is found in the Bible. Read these verses (Emphasis Mine):

            “Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.” (Isaiah 43:18-19, NIV)

            “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here! All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation…” (2 Corinthians 5:17-18, NIV)

            “Jesus replied, “No one who puts a hand to the plow and looks back is fit for service in the kingdom of God.”” (Luke 9:62, NIV)

            “Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 3:13-14, NIV)

            “For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.” (Colossians 1:13-14, NIV).

            “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. I do not set aside the grace of God, for if righteousness could be gained through the law, Christ died for nothing!” (Galatians 2:20-21, NIV)

            These verses teach us one simple truth. God does not remind us of our sinful past. An entailment of this truth is that God’s people also do not remind us of our sinful past.

            What about those who constantly endeavor to shame us by reminding us of our sinful past? These people may be Christians, but their relentless attack indicates that they are not acting under God’s guidance.

            If they are not under God’s guidance, it is quite possible that they are buying into Satan’s schemes because Satan works against God’s people. Satan will strive to spiritually derail a sincere Christian.

            When people assault you with your sinful past - that very past which you have discarded from your life – be aware that it is the work of Satan. Do not fall prey to the evil schemes of the devil.

            You know who you are in the Lord. You are right in God’s sight because you are not guilty of the sin that you are being accused of. When you live right in God’s sight, do not allow these assaults to impact you.

            Keep moving forward by increasing your proximity with the Lord. Indulge more into the Word of God and prayer. When you are in pain, God will offer you HIS peace and protection. HE will bring good friends into your midst. You will be safe. In due course of time, you would be saved from these assaults and you would be exonerated from these false accusations. Trust and obey!

When we walk with the Lord in the light of His Word,
What a glory He sheds on our way!
While we do His good will, He abides with us still,
And with all who will trust and obey.

Trust and obey, for there’s no other way
To be happy in Jesus, but to trust and obey.

Not a shadow can rise, not a cloud in the skies,
But His smile quickly drives it away;
Not a doubt or a fear, not a sigh or a tear,
Can abide while we trust and obey.

Not a burden we bear, not a sorrow we share,
But our toil He doth richly repay;
Not a grief or a loss, not a frown or a cross,

But is blessed if we trust and obey.

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