The devil desires you

Published 6:13 pm Wednesday, June 10, 2009

The final eternal judgment for the devil and his demons is certain, but for the present he is alive and well and is a constant and powerful enemy of every believer. Instead of listing his desires, methods and plans toward us, let us review what he has done toward different persons in the Bible.

Adam and Eve were innocent. God made wonderful provisions for them in the Garden of Eden. Out of his love, he gave them one negative commandment and warning saying, “You may eat of every tree of the garden except the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. The day you eat thereof you shall surely die (be separated from me).” The devil appears, seeking to get Adam and Eve to doubt God’s truthfulness, God’s love and God’s provision. The devil placed the following thoughts in their minds: “If God really loved you he would not keep anything from you; you will not surely die; there are no bad results from disobedience; don’t take God’s word for it, you need to find out for yourself; and disobedience will bring a more enjoyable life.” Have you ever thought that you could not be fully happy and obey God at the same time or that rather than obeying God you must find out for yourself about premarital sex, drugs, extra-marital sex, drinking alcohol, using Sunday for self, using the holy tithe for yourself, etc. Those thoughts are from the devil. Rather than learning for yourself, learn by observation and revelation. Learn by observing the broken lives, broken bodies, broken marriages, broken families and broken dreams of others who have given in to the devil’s temptation. Learn from God’s revelation, the Bible, and especially the New Testament.

In Luke 4, it is recorded that after the baptism of Jesus he was tempted by the devil for forty days. The devil came to Jesus, who was in great hunger, and tempted him to turn stones into bread. “Situation ethics! Everything is relative. Maybe other people should not do this, but they have not been without food for forty days. Fulfill your desire. God’s word does not apply in this situation.” The temptation was real and it was not easy for the human Jesus but he remembered the word of God, which says, “Man shall not live by bread alone but by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God.” Later, in seeking to get Jesus to cast himself down from the pinnacle of the Temple and to fall down and worship him, the devil was seeking to get Jesus to turn away from God’s plan for his life and take another way. The devil tries to work in our minds and bodies and circumstances, seeking to get each believer to get out of God’s plan and God’s will for his life and to take another way which has no cross, no suffering, no dedication and no full obedience. The commitment of Jesus to God’s word and his dependence upon the Holy Spirit and prayer made him our perfect example in being tempted of the devil and our perfect example in overcoming the devil.

Jesus said to his chief Disciple, “Simon, the devil has desired you that he might sift you as wheat” (Luke 22:31). This is what Jesus wants to say today to every believer: boy, girl, man and woman. The devil desires you. He wants you, but it is not good to be wanted when you are wanted by the devil. He wants to sift all of the good and the potential out of you and leave only the old self centered you. Simon Peter said to Jesus, “Lord, I am ready to go to prison and death for you.” Jesus answered, “Before a day has passed, the devil will have sifted that dedication right out of you and you will have denied me three times.” And so it was! Simon learned much about the power of the devil out of this experience. Later, in I Peter 5:8-9 he wrote, “Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith.”

The Apostles Paul, Peter and James tell us in the New Testament that we can successfully resist the devil and stand against all temptations and tests with which he confronts us. Let’s summarize the three simple ways the Lord Jesus resisted the devil. First, he was committed to the written Word of God. In the face of each of the three temptations he remembered, quoted and was committed in obedience to God’s Word written in Deuteronomy. Second, he depended upon the Holy Spirit. Luke 4:1-2 says that Jesus was filled with the Holy and led by the Spirit as he faced the devil’s temptations. Third, he depended upon prayer. His fasting included sincere prayer to the Father. Now, you and I as believers have available the same help our Lord Jesus had: the word of God, the Spirit of God and prayer to God. We must take seriously being a true follower of Jesus as we follow him in victory over the devil’s temptations toward us.