We’ve all heard that the devil and his followers are trying to lead us astray. Some of us write it off as nonsense, and some of us think that it is a serious threat. I would like to bring some things into the open here, so that we know what we are up against.
The devil can only be in one place at a time so he probably isn’t hassling you, he has bigger fish to fry, but there may well be demons after you. They work the same way that the devil does, so lets take a look at how he works. Read Genesis 3:1-6 and Matthew 4:1-11 and you’ll get an idea of how he works.
Let me highlight a few things. The devil and demons use the truth, but manipulate it slightly to take on another meaning. They also question it. “Are you sure that God said that?” Is a common question that they pose to christians. The difference between how Eve dealt with it to how Jesus dealt with it were worlds apart. Eve was confused, either because she wasn’t sure what God had said, or she was influenced by what the devil said, either way, she was swayed. Jesus, on the other hand, knew what scripture said and He knew the truth, so when the devil twisted it, He put it right and threw it back at the devil. Another interesting thing is that Jesus told the devil to leave, and he did, Eve didn’t do that, she seemed ‘happy’ to talk with him. James 4:7 tells us to resist the devil (amongst other things) and he will flee, other verses talk about rebuking demons, they are both relevant in a personal setting.
The big problem amongst christians is that the devil twists scripture ever so slightly, so that it takes away from what God has said. The demons won’t necessarily come and say to you that Jesus wasn’t the Son of God, they may just say things like, “Are you sure that God promised you that?” This way they don’t oppose scripture but rather question bits of it. We as christians often don’t know what the bible says, or we have read a verse and it seems to contradict with others. We don’t know the original Greek or Hebrew and the different translations of the bible seem to say different things, so we are confused. Please allow me to give you three tips to help you combat this. These three tips exclude the fact that you need to read the bible, that is a given (although we neglect that too).
Firstly, please realise that there is a HUGE difference between the old covenant (before Jesus died) and the new covenant (after Jesus rose from the dead). Be very careful applying scripture from before Jesus’ death to how we live today. Yes it is relevant otherwise it wouldn’t be there, but Jesus fulfilled the law, so we are now under grace and not the law which makes a big difference. So in simple English, if you want to get an idea of the covenant of where we are today, read from Acts onwards. Jesus shows us what to do in the Gospels, but the books that follow show others going through what we are going through and people like Paul explain how to do it, which should help us. Secondly, read whole chapters. A common problem is when people quote a single verse to justify what they think. With all of the translation ‘issues’ taking just one verse could be a problem. If the whole chapter is saying one thing, and one verse seems to contradict, ask questions. You may have misunderstood or there may be some translation misunderstanding. Let’s be honest, you can back up just about any comment with some verse somewhere, but does it fit in with the ‘general trend’ of what the bible is saying? Thirdly, don’t be scared to listen to other points of view, but question them. I used to think that preachers like Andrew Wommack were heretics, Now I consider him one of my favourite speakers! If someone says something, go and read the scriptures, check what they are saying. If they are speaking against what the bible says then walk away, but if what they say is biblical, take it on board. Note, I said, “..what the bible says..”, and not, “.. what you interpret the bible to be saying..”.
I have had certain views in the past, which seemed scriptural, however now my views are different. Now when I read the bible it makes so much more sense, and less verses need to be ‘explained away’ because they don’t make sense. Why? Because I listened to people, weighed up what they said against scripture, and took the good stuff on board even though it contradicted with what I had been taught. I resist demons and rebuke them, and continue to learn God’s word.
I won’t wish you luck because I don’t believe in it, but I will tell you that you have God’s favour!