The Devil’s Devices
We are scripturally admonished not to be ignorant of the devil’s devices; one of these is satan’s attack on our bodies. Often the enemy attempts to weaken our spiritual position by using disease and pain. When we are suffering in our bodies it lays greater stress and burden upon our spirit, so that it becomes difficult to cope with everyday problems and trivial disruptions. An extreme crises or severe emotional situation will all but render us helpless unless we are on guard.
If we practice depending on Yahweh for the healing of our minor pains and discomforts, it would then become easy to receive healings or even to completely avoid major illnesses. But often we are tempted to surrender to minor attacks on our bodies, especially when we are overworked and exhausted in spirit. Not only do minor illnesses offer us the opportunity to relax and escape grueling daily routines and demanding responsibilities for awhile, but it can gain us some special attention from loved ones who tend to neglect us when everything is going smoothly.
That which is true in the physical is also true in connection with our whole being. We must learn to call upon Yahweh in our mental and emotional crises, even when they seem to be trivial. These things can become our daily exercise program that can help us build spiritual muscles.
Little Foxes Spoil the Vines
Minor problems tend to put us under stress, but they do not weaken us so much that we cannot fight back if we desire to do so. Sometimes we do nothing to combat these forces because they do not seem to be life threatening, when in fact they can be. Many of the serious problems that confront us gain their major position while posing as trivial matters.
No problem, whether physical, spiritual or otherwise, should be ignored by Christians. We need to confront our problems by acknowledging them. Then we need to prayerfully take authority over them. The popular belief that ignoring the devil will drive him away, can be a sad mistake and is not scripturally sound. Nowhere does the Bible tell us to ignore the devil and he will flee from us. The scriptural way of handling our confrontations with satan is in resisting him. Have you ever heard of an army winning a battle by ignoring the attacking forces? Gideon did not fire a shot to win his battle, but he did fight a spiritual warfare—he followed the leading of the Spirit and warred according to his instructions. Proverbs 3:6: “In all thy ways acknowledge Him and He shall direct thy paths.”
Our warfare often demands actions that displease unbelievers, and we are made to feel their scorn. Remember, these individuals are not spiritual minded, nor are they Spirit led. Do not allow unbelievers to bring you under condemnation for your godly manners. Many will try to make you self-conscious and uncomfortable. If they succeed in making us feel defensive, it is a definite signal that our faith is waning and we need to increase our spiritual fellowship.
Double-foolish is the Christian that will seek spiritual advice and counseling from a carnal minded person, even if they profess to be a Christian psychiatrist, or therapist. There is no master’s degree that can qualify a person to become spiritual minded. Only the Holy Spirit can enlighten mankind to become qualified spiritual leaders.
The second and most deceptive device the devil uses against us is to steal our time. Our bodies will become physically weak if we do not maintain a proper diet; likewise our spirits will weaken and die without spiritual food. The devil knows our weaknesses and uses our loved ones against us. They need us so desperately that we must miss church to help them. But do we feel guilty when we refuse to help them when it is time to go to work? No! And we should never allow any one to take away our spiritual substance when it is time to strengthen our inner spirit. Time goes on and rarely is it a life-threatening situation when they demand our time. Socializing is included in the devil’s method of starvation of the spirit.
The Accuser of the Brethren
The Sabbath is stolen from the average Christian more times than not because of the social demands of our modern society. We weaken our spiritual walk every time we compromise and spend our Sabbath meeting the demands of our social environment.
I can hear the devil whispering in the ears of some of my readers, “God does not expect us to be selfish and self-centered.”
We must sacrifice to build strong family relationships. Strong family relations cannot be built by starved-to-death Christians. If we would not miss our natural nourishment to fulfill the demands of building healthy bodies, we should not allow ourselves to be made to feel guilty for not sacrificing our spiritual nourishment. The devil will use the mouth or actions of any available sinner to condemn us: unsaved spouses, children, friends, or neighbors, even sometimes young or foolish Christians. We must be consistent in feeding our spiritual bodies if we desire to become spiritual survivors.
Not by Works
There are usually many more spiritually starved Christians in the assemblies than healthy ones. Healthy Christians require an active prayer life that includes worship and praise, and also requires daily feeding upon the written Word, i.e., the Bible and other inspired works.
Spiritual growth demands participation in flowing with the assembly, and above all, yielding to the Holy Spirit. We must read the Word every day. It is best to “study” the Bible, but if we cannot, we can always find a few moments to feast upon the Word by just reading it. Charitable works are rewarding and essential, but they must not replace nor hold preeminence over an intimate relationship with the Savior.
Our spiritual strength is all we have to offer our loved ones; if we sacrifice that, we have nothing more than a sham to display before their eyes. Our loved ones are dependent upon us staying spiritually strong. They may not understand our spiritual persistence, nevertheless, they will profit greatly from it.
When trusting the Savior in every phase of our everyday life becomes a continuous habit of life, it will shrink our everyday problems so that they become small enough to handle.
Flesh Shall Not Have Dominion
There are pitfalls in every realm of spiritual growth. The enemy is always there with his clever devices. We must be on guard against our own flesh and recognize it as our archenemy. As we develop in spirit we will become a beacon for people around us. This is good and as it should be, but we must remain alert to the devil’s devices. As we develop into a strong spiritual image, more and more people become dependent upon our strength, forcing us to bear unnecessary burdens. We begin to be looked upon as a tower of strength, without human frailty, and our human needs are neglected by those around us. When this happens, do not hand out invitations to a pity party, but praise the Lord for the opportunity to crucify your flesh at an accelerated speed.
One more word of encouragement—Yahweh is not oblivious to our hardships. He cannot use us as vessels of honor in his house until we have been tried by fire (1 Corinthians 13 and 2 Timothy 2:20-21). This makes it necessary for us to be processed, unless we prefer being vessels of dishonor. The Spirit of Yahweh is the overseer of our situations. He does not motivate the devices that are used against us, but he will turn them into blessings on our behalf if we are faithful.
Romans 8:28: “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love Yahweh, to them who are the called according to His purpose.”
1 Peter 4:12-13: “Beloved think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you: But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ’s sufferings; that, when His glory shall be revealed ye may be glad also with exceeding joy.” The word “exceeding” in the above scripture comes from a combination of two Greek words “huper,” meaning “over,” and “pleonazo,” meaning “increase, abound.” Therefore, it means “over-abound” or “super abound.”
If you desire to “super abound” in the Spirit, there is a small price to be paid; Romans 8:18-19: “For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us. For the earnest expectation of the creature waits for the manifestation of the sons of Yahweh.”
The whole creation is waiting for the sons of Yahweh to manifest that which the Word has revealed for thousands of years, “…but the word preached did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in them that heard it,” Hebrews 4:2. If we can believe the revealed word, we can receive every promise without compromise.