Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Taking a Stand

C. S. Lewis says that there are two great errors made with regard to demons. We can deny their existence or become totally fascinated with them. Lewis says that Satan greets the skeptic and the magician with the same joy. Even Christians can hold these views in a watered-down form. While Christians have a hard time denying the existence of demons, we can minimize them so much as to practically ignore them. And there are Christians who emphasize the actions of demons, developing elaborate plans to combat them. How should we approach this?

Scripture clearly teaches that we have an enemy and we need to be aware of him, his minions, and his schemes (Ephesians 6:10-12; 1 Peter 5:8,9; 2 Corinthians 11:1-3). Therefore, we are to put on the whole armor of God to resist them (Ephesians 6:13; 1 Thessalonians 5:8; Romans 13:11-14). Also, Satan and his minions are currently in control of this world (Hebrews 2:14,15; 2 Corinthians 4:4; 1 John 5:19), and we must be on guard not to conform to it (Romans 12:2; 1 John 2:15-17; James 4:4). We must remember that we live in a battlefield. We Christians cannot simply be complacent. We must recognize that there really is someone out there who will try to trip us up.

However, we do not need some mysterious method in order to deal with the demonic. Even less do we need to know all sorts of details about demons to combat them. Nor should we follow the pattern of Flip Wilson (Boy, am I dating myself) of saying, “The devil made me do it.” We must realize that our greatest enemy in following God is our own sinful tendencies (James 1:14,25; Romans 7:14,15; Galatians 5:15). Also, the basic weapons for fighting Satan are the basic methods for living the Christian life. We must trust in God, submitting ourselves to Him (James 4:6-10; 1 Peter 5:5-7; Romans 12:1), realizing that that Christ is victorious over demonic forces (Colossians 2:15; 1 John 4:4; John 16:11). This is rooted in the fact that Christ has saved us and we have been declared righteous before Him (Ephesians 6:14; Romans 8:33,34; Zechariah 3:1-5), making it possible to now live our life based on faith in God (Ephesians 6:16; 1 John 5:4,5; Galatians 2:20). We also need to make use of the Word of God (Ephesians 6:17; Matthew 4:1-11; Colossians 3:16) and prayer (Ephesians 6:18; Mark 9:29; Philippians 4:6,7). Now I do believe there is a place for the direct rebuke of a demon (Acts 16:18; Mark 1:25; 5:8), but I see nothing to indicate that this is a special method superior to all others. But while we should, when required, deal with demons, we must avoid making them the focus. Based on this, I would to consider in future posts in more detail the armor of God.

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