Standing Against the Wiles of the DevilBro. David Chancellor
4/3/2005 11:00 AM
Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.
We need to realize that there is a devil at work around us. He has tricks that he uses to try to stop us from making heaven our home. The power of God enables us to stand against these tricks of the devil.
When things are going well, it doesn’t mean that the devil has run and hidden from us. He hasn’t given up on stopping any of us from making heaven our home. He doesn’t quit trying to trip us up as long as we’re alive. Because of this, we need to follow close to God, keep our eyes open, and know what his tricks are so that we can avoid them.
When thou sittest to eat with a ruler, consider diligently what is before thee: And put a knife to thy throat, if thou be a man given to appetite. Be not desirous of his dainties: for they are deceitful meat. Labour not to be rich: cease from thine own wisdom. Wilt thou set thine eyes upon that which is not? for riches certainly make themselves wings; they fly away as an eagle toward heaven. Eat thou not the bread of him that hath an evil eye, neither desire thou his dainty meats: For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he: Eat and drink, saith he to thee; but his heart is not with thee. The morsel which thou hast eaten shalt thou vomit up, and lose thy sweet words.
Stop and look at what’s "on your plate." The devil would set some things before you that are disguised such as to be appealing. It’s somewhat like when someone offers you a "free" lunch. Generally, they have something else that they are trying to sell you. When it comes to your life, something may come along that looks wonderful – but "consider diligently what is before you." The devil would show you something and say that it’s "just the right deal for you." What he offers is not what you’ll end up with. "Consider diligently what is before thee." Things will come along that are designed to take you in. The first verse here is talking to someone who enjoys eating. If you have a strong desire to eat, stop and think about what is entailed in the offer. Similarly, if you have a strong desire toward anything, be careful lest the devil would take advantage of that desire and trip you up. Don’t let your desires get you into trouble. "Be careful what you want, you just might get it." If the devil comes along and offers you something that appeals to a strong desire that you have, that desire could get you into trouble. This offer could come packaged in such a way as to be very sweet and appealing, and it could look like the answer to all your problems – but you need to check it out thoroughly. A sweet deal could be a well disguised trap. Pay attention to what’s on your plate. You might be able to see the pitfalls and snares that the devil is laying for others, and miss the ones he’s laid for you. Consider diligently the whole matter. There’s often more to things that meets the eye. If someone offers you something and tells you it’s a "no brainer" that is the time when you need to REALLY check things out. Stop and think it over. Try to see beyond the here and now. Figure out where this thing could take you. Look at it further down the road. Often the "catch" won’t show up right away – it’ll appear somewhere further on down the road. When something is set before you, consider where this might lead you to. Look beyond the surface. If you’re looking for an answer to a problem, the real answer will be found in God, and won’t cause you harm later on. "The blessing of the Lord, it maketh rich, and he addeth no sorrow with it." (Proverbs 10:22)
Wherefore lift up the hands which hang down, and the feeble knees; And make straight paths for your feet, lest that which is lame be turned out of the way; but let it rather be healed. Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord: Looking diligently lest any man fail of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble you, and thereby many be defiled; Lest there be any fornicator, or profane person, as Esau, who for one morsel of meat sold his birthright. For ye know how that afterward, when he would have inherited the blessing, he was rejected: for he found no place of repentance, though he sought it carefully with tears.
Esau didn’t consider what was "on the plate." He was hungry, and Jacob had food cooked and available – for a price. Esau’s reasoning was, "If I die of starvation, my birthright is of no use to me anyway – sure, why not?" People who live for the here and now, without consideration of the future, will make similarly poor decisions. For one bowl of beans, Esau sold his place in the lineage of the Messiah. He threw away his purpose for being. The devil would try to get you to sell out cheap – for the littlest thing. So many people have ruined their lives for petty theft. Don’t let the devil sell you out – especially not for some little thing. Nothing that the devil has to offer is good enough. Yet, some people would sell out for a bad attitude, someone else’s approval, etc.
The whole course of Esau’s life was changed by one meal – and he deeply regretted it later. Although God is forgiving, our choices do have consequences, and they have an effect on the course of our lives. Sin changes people and how they look at things. You may think, "oh, I can do this and settle up with God tomorrow and everything will be fine." You might … but things will be different than before. They’ll look different and be different. The road back can be very hard. The devil would try to pull you down a road with some tantalizing offer, but it isn’t for you good. He doesn’t have your good in mind. He wants to turn you down a different path than the one that God has for you. Find out where the path leads before you go rushing down it. It may take you somewhere you don’t want to go. The devil will try to take you down a wrong path before you even realize you are on it.
The devil would like to wall you off from help. He would do it through fear – make you afraid to ask for help, or through pride – make you too embarrassed to ask for help. He would get you to a place where the help is there, you can see it, but you can’t get to it. He would torture you by showing you that it is there – just beyond your reach, and laugh at you when you can’t get to it. He tries to divide people up and wall them off from each other. Don’t let the devil work these tricks on you. Don’t let him make you too proud to get the help that you need.
He would like to ensnare you with your own words. One way that this is shown in the Bible is when someone would become "surety" for a friend. Before you stick your neck out for someone, you may want to make sure that it isn’t going to come back to haunt you. The devil would also try to get you to agree to something that you later discover is wrong. He would lay the guilt trip of "well, you said you were going to do thus-and-such" on you to try to get you to go through with it. There are ways to fix things like this without having to do a wrong thing. You could explain that you didn’t fully understand the situation and that because you know now what it is and that it isn’t right, you can’t fulfill that promise. If you speak words of pride, or boastful words, the devil can trip you up easily. You’ll have to humble down and admit that you couldn’t do what you boasted. The way to handle this "wile of the devil" is to keep a restraint on your words. Stop and think before you speak. Your words can get you into a trap if you’re not careful, and could even destroy your testimony. Give some consideration to your words. A few words could change the course of your entire life. The devil would try to get you to say something, rashly, that would get you into trouble. Stop and consider the end result of what you are about to say. Is it REALLY where you want to go? The devil’s goal is to turn you away from what is right. He may send something that at first appears to be something that is right and good, but always consider what comes next. What will it lead to, and is that a good thing?
2 Corinthians 2:9-11
For to this end also did I write, that I might know the proof of you, whether ye be obedient in all things. To whom ye forgive any thing, I forgive also: for if I forgave any thing, to whom I forgave it, for your sakes forgave I it in the person of Christ; Lest Satan should get an advantage of us: for we are not ignorant of his devices.
Paul was writing about how to deal with one who had stepped out of the way. His goal wasn’t go get rid of that person, but to forgiven that one and draw him back. He encouraged them that even in this endeavor, they needed to make sure that the devil couldn’t cause trouble. Even in doing what is right, we don’t want to give the devil place to work.
We need to study our Bibles. If we read through, we will notice various times when the devil has played a trick on someone and caused them to fall. We can learn from these accounts what the tricks of the devil are. It helps us to know what he may try to be pulling on us. If we can spot his traps, we can avoid them. By the Spirit and Word of God, we can know what to watch for. We are told to be on the watch. God’s guidance is necessary to avoid the enemy’s traps. Focus on being wise to the devil’s devices in your life. Find God’s grace to be delivered from them. Bring your desires into submission to the will of God, and you will be much safer. Stand against the wiles of the devil by the grace of God.