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Miranda Writes: Itís War, Part 1




by Omar Miranda



In the middle of the night I got up because our neighbor’s dog wouldn’t stop barking. As I went into the foyer, I stepped on the most dangerous and diabolical thing ever known to man: the Lego brick. This “toy,” if you can call it that (I call it a tool of death and destruction), punctured the sensitive, soft part of the bottom of my foot that doesn’t actually touch the ground. I think the foot doctor I had to visit right after that called it my arch (which isn’t so swoopy lately, no thanks to the aforementioned Lego piece).

Anyhow, this incident taught me two deep and never-to-be-forgotten lessons about the devil’s schemes.

The first one: what looks harmless to us in the light can be deadly to us in the dark. Ahhhh, I know, right? I’ll give you several seconds to let that gem of wisdom sink in. OK, moving on. The naughty thing that seems easy to refuse when you’re spiritually full and things are going great may be the same thing that seems so overly tempting once you’ve gone without Bible study and prayer for a day or two and the pressures of life seem overwhelming.

Here’s the second thing it taught me: earlier, while the light was on and my son was awake, he needed to pick everything up and clear the floor—a preparation for when it would be dark and we wouldn’t want to suffer a puncture wound by blindly stepping on the stuff. In our walk with God, during times of strength (when the light is on, so to speak), it’s important for us to prepare for times of weakness (for when it’s dark). That means doing things such as memorizing scriptures that are applicable to our own weaknesses and temptations and making sure we’re being strengthened by daily connecting with God and godly people. The devil wants to keep this preparation from happening.

The Bible calls the devil many things, but mostly none of them are good. Let’s take a quick tour and see what the Bible has to say about the devil, and then we’ll take a look at his strategies of warfare, what God has given us to beat the devil, and last, what we can do to prepare ourselves to do battle with him.
The devil is called by many names in the Bible: liar and father of lies, dragon, serpent, thief, Beelzebub, Satan, Lucifer, lion, the enemy, the evil one, the deceiver. In general, all of these names, except for Lucifer (his name before he became evil), denote someone who is evil and does evil things.

What are the devil’s strategies? Well, he likes to make us question God’s goodness, God’s plans, and God’s motives. He likes to make us think that we know better than God. Sometimes he would like to just kill us if God didn’t stop him—yes, he’s that evil! He also uses his angels who got kicked out of heaven, his demons, to work miracles to fool us and sometimes to act like he and they are good angels. The devil uses all kinds of tricks to get us to stray from God.
Here’s the important thing: he knows you, and he knows what your specific weaknesses are, your personality and character, your likes and dislikes, your pet peeves and your quirks, and he, at this very moment, is probably watching and studying you in order to trip you up, discourage you, and get you in his clutches.

The devil and his demons were thrown out of heaven during a civil war. When they were thrown out, God sent them to earth. God made the wise decision to put them out because of the lies and outright rebellion that the devil instigated. The Bible calls the devil the prince of the air and of this world. The devil is powerful, but God is more powerful! AMEN! Ultimately, the devil is a dog on a leash and can do nothing without God giving him express permission to do it (see Job 1).

But there are four things that I want you to know about God:

• God is greater and stronger than the devil.
• God already won the war with evil when He gave His Son, Jesus, to die on the cross for us, and He will ultimately restore everything and do away with evil.
• God wants you to be victorious over the devil and his demons.
• God will go with you, He will never leave you, and He will give you all the skills and weapons that you need to win both the battles and the ultimate war against the devil.

Let’s take another look at what the Bible has to say about the devil—what he does and how he does it. This passage is especially significant if you are seriously considering accepting Christ as your Savior or just became a Christian, just got baptized, or are presently going through difficulties.
Before we look at the passage, let me give you some background on what’s happening. Jesus has just asked His cousin John the Baptist to baptize Him. John dunked Jesus like a Krispy Kreme chocolate doughnut into a glass of frosty cold soy milk—mmmmmm—sorry about that. He baptizes Jesus in the river Jordan, and as Jesus comes out of the water, God lets everybody there know that He is happy about the whole thing and approves of it all and of Jesus! Wow, can you imagine being there and hearing God talk! Anyhow, right after that is where we pick up the story. We find it in Matthew 4:1-11. Read it for yourself, and then we’ll talk about what we can learn from it all.

1. The Holy Spirit led Jesus into the desert so that the devil could test Him. Why do you think that was? Simply put, God allows temptation and trials and difficulties in our lives in order to draw us closer to Him and to make us more like Him.

2. The devil knew the Bible—HELLO! The devil is the ultimate psychologist. He’s had millenniums to watch human beings, to learn about our behavior, and to figure out what makes us tick.

3. The devil took the Bible out of context and twisted it to make it say what he wanted it to.

4. The devil tempted Jesus with the same three temptations—pride, position, and possessions—that he tempted Eve with (look at Genesis 3), and we all know how well that went for Eve, and consequently for you and me. The devil tried to do the same thing with Jesus, but Jesus made a different choice, the right choice.

5. Jesus successfully overcame the devil through the power of God and through His knowledge of Scripture. If perfect, sinless, Son of God Jesus had to know His Scripture to overcome the devil, then how much more do we need to be reading and studying our Bibles so we can be ready with the sword of the Spirit to fight off the attacks of the devil. (We’ll talk more about the sword next week.)

6. The devil tempted Jesus when He was at His weakest physical and emotional state. The devil’s not stupid. He’s knows exactly when and how to tempt you. He’s just like the Dell computer company: he’ll custom-make one, just for you!

7. Once Jesus successfully overcame the devil, the devil left—but he came back. He’s like the Energizer Bunny: he just keeps going, and going, and going. You read about how he worked through the religious leaders of Jesus’ day and how he even worked through one of Jesus’ inner circle of 12 followers—Judas Iscariot! Again, the devil’s not a quitter. He’s not going to let you go without a fight!

8. After the devil left, angels came to attend Jesus. Remember, God will never leave you alone. You have the eternal, inexhaustible resources of God on your side when you team with Him. If it were you alone versus the devil, my money would be on the devil. But you and God make a majority! The Bible says that if God is for us, who can be against us?

So now that we’ve learned the truth about what happens behind the scenes, next week we’ll learn about the weapons that God has given us, and how we can guard against the tricks of the devil and his angels.

Until next time, remember these things: God’s way is always the best way. Life is full of decisions, so make yours good ones. Put God first in your life, and you can’t go wrong.

Feel free to contact me: you can e-mail me at omarmiranda@earthlink.net; or you can keep up with me on Facebook; or you can read more of my stuff on Miranda Writes at www.insightmagazine.org; or you can check me out or send me a message at my Web site, thriveatlife.org; or you can reach me via snail mail (slow!) at the address printed below.

In Christ,
Omar Miranda, certified Christian counselor
Abundant Life Ministries
155 Earl Street
Plainville, GA 30733
Phone: 1-770-354-2912

Omar Miranda is a Christian counselor with 20 years’ experience working with youth in public and private middle and high schools. He’s married and has two kids. He enjoys teaching the youth at his church, reading, writing, gardening, and camping. He’s a recovering knucklehead who spent a lot of time in the past doing stupid stuff away from God. He’s been back with God for years now and is eager to share what he’s learned from his experiences by answering any questions you may have about life, the Christian life, Jesus, spiritual matters, and relationships in his column, Miranda Writes.





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