Thursday, April 13, 2017

Sword Practice: Genesis 3:1-13

We can learn a lot on how not to interact with Satan by looking at the verses in Genesis where Eve interacted with him and seeing the mistakes Eve made.  

You have the Holy Spirit in you.  You have His Sword of Truth: the Word of God. Don’t let your Sword get rusty or dusty.  Practice by daily reading it.  If you know the Word, you will be ready to take a swing when Satan tries to belittle God in your mind as he did with Eve. 

Sword Swing #1:
Satan is not reliable, nor is anyone under his dominion.

Listening to Satan chirp in your ear will not draw you any closer to truth.  Satan deceives and the truth is not in him.  Go to the Source.  Go to the Lord and His Word.  You may receive wise counsel or good information from a reasonable source (Adam qualified on that count) but don’t act on it immediately. 

Pray and read God’s Word, trusting His Holy Spirit to reveal His will for you.  There is no formula here; just you being one on one with your Father. 

Review His Word; don’t just commit it to memory or rely on your pastor to speak about it once a week. Actively seek His counsel: "If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you." (James 1:5 NIV)

Those who do not know the Lord will speak from their flesh.  It may sound like good advice, but it will be coming from the flesh: "Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit."  (John 3:5-6)

The Word is the “water.”  You take a shower every day, I assume.  Likewise with the Word: "…just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word…" (Eph. 5:25-6 NIV)

Sword Swing #2:
Satan will twist Scripture to meet his destructive ends.

He may even get it right up to 90%, but it’s that 10% that will ensnare and then poison you, paving the way to your destruction.  Jesus said that Satan is, "[A] murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies." (John 8:44 NIV)

Satan knows you love God and His Word; he will use it to lure you in, to destroy you and your trust in God.  Read God’s Word with an earnest desire to seek God’s whole counsel.  Do not go through the Word with your mind already made up, looking only for those scriptures that support you.  That’s what Satan does. Study all of God’s Word.  Use all of God’s Word.  God’s revelation is complete; anything else, however well-intentioned, can be a snare to draw you away from His Word and more into someone else’s opinion.  This leaves you vulnerable to Satan’s suggestions.  By staying grounded in the Word, and with the Holy Spirit in your heart, you can stand strong: "All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work."  (2 Tim 3:16-17 NIV)

Don't get into that "The Old Testament is harsh and the God of the Old Testament is harsh; in the New Testament, He's loving.  So I'll just read the New."  Sorry.  The OT was the only Bible Jesus read.  His Father is in those stories, words and revelations.  His Father had very specific contexts for the words He spoke; His Son came to fulfill those words.  Jesus is throughout the Old Testament, in harmony with His Father's involvement with the world.  The OT is rich: ask God to reveal that to you. 
Sword Swing #3:
Doubt is a potent weapon in Satan’s arsenal.

Satan insinuates that God may not have meant what He told Adam. Right there, doubt is planted.  Doubt planted is unbelief sprouted.  Faith is the reversal of doubt and is nourished by His Word: 

"So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God." (Rom. 10:17)

"But let him ask in faith nothing wavering.  For him that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed." (James 1:6)

"I will remember the works of the Lord; surely, I will remember thy wonders of old." (Ps. 77:11)

"Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen." (Heb. 11:1)

"See to it, brothers and sisters, that none of you has a sinful, unbelieving heart that turns away from the living God. But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called ‘Today,’ so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness. We have come to share in Christ, if indeed we hold our original conviction firmly to the very end." (Heb. 3:12-14 NIV)

If you half-heartedly swing your Sword, Satan will break it by heaping more and more doubt upon it.  God’s Word can stand the test of scrutiny; don’t be afraid to swing the Sword with confidence. 

Sword Swing #4:
Up-playing fear or down-playing fear are both potent weapons in Satan’s arsenal.

Did Eve fear that somehow she missed out on something?  In other words, did she fear that perhaps God or Adam may have withheld some vital information?  Did Satan’s insinuation make her fear that she didn’t have all that God made for her and Adam?  Or did she fear the word “die,” not knowing what it was, and then Satan “assured” her that she would not die?  Did he diminish her fear about death, replacing it with a lie?

Fear never comes from God: "For God hath not given us the spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind." (2 Tim. 2:17) 

Fear can be used by Satan to trigger you to move away from God’s Word, causing you to wonder if God is sincere.  Stand on God’s Word.  It flows from His heart, and He cannot lie.  Faith is nurtured by His Word: "So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God." (Rom. 10:17)

Ultimately, unbelief is rebellion against God for we assume, I got this.  That pride, that willingness to ignore God and His goodness, caused Satan to lose his beauty and become evil.  We will explore that in my next blog.  

The Word/Sword of the Lord is powerful and able to pack a hack.  

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