For he is powerful who endeavours every day to turn me from the faith and from the pure teachings of true religion...
- Patrick, Confession (British, 5th century)
Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.
- 1 Peter 5.8
Jesus explained that He had bound the devil, and that the enemy of men's souls was unable to prevent the Lord from seizing everything he possessed and making it His own (Matt. 12.22-29).
But the devil is still a power which can deprive us of the reality of our faith. He can distract us from our calling, sow doubt into our minds, back us down from an opportunity to share the Good News, and lead us to believe the most ridiculous of vain speculations.
Patrick knew about his wiles. Every day he experienced some new attempt on the part of his adversary to undermine his faith and throttle his ministry. He was enticed by unlawful opportunities, threatened by violent rulers, criticized by other believers, and betrayed by friends.
But he did not falter. Every day the devil comes at us, but in ways appropriate to our situation. He distracts us by our undisciplined use of time. He discourages us because our devotional times are so shallow and unfruitful. He talks us out of initiating a spiritual conversation with a friend. He convinces us that "pray without ceasing" is just so much spiritual rhetoric.
When the devil comes at us like this, do we falter? Do we even recognize his ploys and schemes? He may be bound and on a chain, held tightly by the Lord of Glory, but he still roars his threats and allurements at us from a distance. If we are not sober-minded and watchful, we may not even recognize the temptations he throws in our path. And if we do not resist him (v. 9), then we are denying our faith and living like the spiritually blind and indifferent people around us.
The devil will be after you today, count on it. Are you ready for him? Will you recognize his temptations? Do you know how to resist him?
Get this straight first thing, friends. Later in the day may be too late.
Today at The Fellowship of Ailbe
ReVision - What is "complementarity" and does it really matter?
In the Gates - We begin today a new series on The Worldview of God's Law. The Law is the cornerstone of divine revelation. Find out why.
Mentoring Opportunities - Pastor, let us help you, one-on-one, in your spiritual life and ministry. Write me for more information.