When The Devil Is Busy
Abundant Life Ministries Life Study: September 20, 2017
It’s common for us to think that the devil is always busy in our life or responsible for life’s wrecks, chaos and setbacks. What we know, from bible, is that that’s not true. I’m guilty, as we all are, of blaming the devil for an outcome or issue that really had nothing to do with the devil.
Think about it another way. The enemy is not the problem that occurs. That’s life. In fact, if you think about it, it’s not what happens to us that causes our trauma, hurt, disappointment or anger, it’s what happens inside of us. When a volcano erupts, it’s not because of the pressure on the outside, it’s because of the pressure on the inside.
The bible says it this way, “Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it” (Proverbs 4:23). As many times as we read this one scripture, we often overlook the main part — “for everything you do flows from it.” Think about that…Everything we do flows from what’s in our heart. We control the outcome because we’re in control of our heart, not the enemy. Hurt is what happened, misery is what happens when we talk to the enemy about our future.
Let’s see how this really works but first, let’s be clear about something. God does not tempt us, the enemy does — it’s impossible for God to use evil to tempt us: “When tempted, no one should say, “God is tempting me.” For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone; but each person is tempted when they are dragged away by their own evil desire and enticed. Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death” (James 1:13-15). Volcano.
Remember what the enemy’s belief was about Job’s volcano? “Have You not made a hedge about him and his house and all that he has, on every side? You have blessed the work of his hands, and his possessions have increased in the land. “But put forth Your hand now and touch all that he has; he will surely curse You to Your face” (Job 1:10-11). From the very beginning, the enemy thought Job’s pride would cause him to erupt and curse God to his face. Is there anything in your heart that the enemy has on you or that gives him the power to control you, your thoughts, your emotional stability, your temper, or your trust in God?
The same thing that the enemy said about Job, is the same thing that he says about us — “If you let life happen, I can tempt them to erupt and walk away from their faith and trust in you (God).” What the enemy did not plan on, was Job saying and standing on this: “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked I will depart. The LORD gave and the LORD has taken away; may the name of the LORD be praised“(Job 1:21). When the enemy shows up do you dig in or give in? If they leave is your life over or is their role in your life over?
What the enemy thought was going to set Job off, really set Job up to be rewarded for his faithfulness: “After Job had prayed for his friends, the LORD restored his fortunes and gave him twice as much as he had before” (Job 42:10). The bible does not say how long Job suffered but it’s estimated to be between 9 days and a month. What would you do if you lost all your stuff, your house, your family, your money, your health and to top it off, your spouse told you to just curse God and die (Job 2:9) — all within 30 days?
It was the pressures of life that the enemy thought would cause Job to erupt. Our heart condition, our regular workout with faith and the health of our soul, determines the outcome of life situations, arguments, disagreements, disappointments and setbacks, not the enemy. The enemy is just the gasoline for the fire that burns inside of us. The enemy shows up when life shows up because that’s when faith meets the road. We all believe, quote scriptures and are strong as ever until life makes a phone call to one of our unresolved weaknesses.
Listen to this Psalm of David: “Test me, LORD, and try me, examine my heart and my mind” (Psalm 26:2). Psalm 26:2, goes with, “Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me” Psalm 51:10). Notice in Psalm 26:2, David said, “Test me,” and not tempt me. God tests and we’re told to test ourselves for our good, the enemy tempts for our destruction. The enemy is waiting to show up to every life situation, conversation or experience, that provokes fear, doubt, anger, sadness or unbelief. We cannot stop life from happening but through practice, submission and obedience, we can stop ourselves from becoming what happened.
Examine your heart — not just during a life crisis, a setback or a storm, but when it’s sunny outside. I remember a song from back in the day, won’t say when, by New Edition called, “Can You Stand The Rain.” There is one line that I’ll never forget, it goes, “Sunny Days…Everybody loves them…but can you stand the rain.” Hell or high water, sun shine or rain, Gods promises for your life don’t change. You’re not what happened; no thought that undermines your greatness, overrides your God-fidence or causes you to climb into the gutter of your emotions belongs to you — it’s the enemy tempting you to erupt. We’re all vulnerable to the realities of humanity but the fact that we can examine or test ourselves, gives us the power to correct ourselves.
The bible says, “Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you” (James 4:7). Living our best life, overcoming and walking in victory is not easy but the key to power is being true to ourselves. We know what the enemy knows about us, but what the enemy does not know is that when we submit ourselves to God, in good times and bad, no weapon formed against us can prosper. Test yourself, listen to yourself, watch and be willing to do your work. The enemy cannot defeat us, we defeat ourselves when we allow the enemy to use our weakness against us: “…but each person is tempted when they are dragged away by their own evil desire and enticed” (James 1:-13-15). This is your life, live it to win!
Life Study Exercise
The bible tells us to: “Examine yourselves whether you are in the faith; test yourselves” (2 Corinthians 13:5). To really get the most out of today’s life study, we have to be transparent and honest with ourselves — as we should always. If we want to know where the enemy is likely to show up, ask yourself these three questions and then start building a faith workout plan to grow stronger before it rains or to put water on your volcano if it has already erupted:
- What am I insecure about?
- What do I fear most or what causes me anxiety?
- What have I not completely surrendered or keep allowing — emotionally or mentally, that keeps resurfacing in my life, my thoughts, my relationships that causes me to erupt?
What does the X-ray of your truth, your patterns of behavior, your negative thoughts, tell you about when and where the enemy has or will show up in your life?
When we guard our heart, we’re protecting ourselves from the tricks of the enemy and, potentially avoiding turning a spark into a raging, destructive fire in our life. Remember, you are more than a conqueror (Romans 8:37), don’t tell the God about the enemy, tell the enemy about God.
If you have a comment that will help or bless the group, please feel free to leave a comment below.
Share and be blessed.
A God Vision — The Abundant Life Center Campus
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