Just coming off the season of "It's a wonderful life" , and into the resolve that new beginnings, a new year brings, the post I want to write is all roses and butterflies...you know Life is good, God is good, you can do it, and so on. But for some reason I feel compelled to encourage us all to BE STRONG, and BE AWARE. The new year will bring blessings, no doubt, but it will also bring new challenges, struggles that we must fight against. I think perhaps we are too naive, we go into these battles, unaware of the unseen enemy that works to defeat us. Do we even acknowledge how very real Satan is? Or is he just some fable, some cartoon caricature that we attribute to evil, but not a real entity that affects our personal life?
I started thinking about this after reading an interview of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, by New York Magazine, In the article, he was asked about his defense of DOMA, (the defense of marriage act), and somehow the interview comes around to good and evil, and the existence of Satan. Judge Scalia stated that he believed in Satan. (This caused quite a stir in the liberal media!) Here is an excerpt from the article. To see the whole article click on this highlighted link. I recommend you do so, it is enlightening.
From New York magazine, November 2013
Can we talk about your drafting process--
Judge Scalia: [Leans in, stage-whispers.] I even believe in the Devil.
Judge Scalia: Of course! Yeah, he’s a real person. Hey, c’mon, that’s standard Catholic doctrine! Every Catholic believes that.
Every Catholic believes this? There’s a wide variety of Catholics out there …
Judge Scalia: If you are faithful to Catholic dogma, that is certainly a large part of it.
Have you seen evidence of the Devil lately?
Judge Scalia: You know, it is curious. In the Gospels, the Devil is doing all sorts of things. He’s making pigs run off cliffs, he’s possessing people and whatnot. And that doesn’t happen very much anymore.
Judge Scalia: It’s because he’s smart.
So what’s he doing now?
Judge Scalia: What he’s doing now is getting people not to believe in him or in God. He’s much more successful that way.
Interesting statement, don't you think? Satan is getting people not to believe in him or God. It is one thing for an athiest to not believe in God. But woe to the Christian who doesn't believe in the very real presence of Satan. Do you think that maybe, just maybe, that is why some Christians live such a defeated, robbed of joy life? If we don't acknowledge the enemy, then we surely are easy prey for him.
The Bible describes Satan as a lion in 1 Peter 5:8, and admonishes us to be alert.
Be of sober spirit, be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil, prowls about like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.
I have been fortunate to go to South Africa to Kruger National Park and see lions in the wild. When you have a very real image of the enemy, you start to get a bit of respect for what that enemy can do. At first glance the lions looked regal and beautiful; enticing me to draw closer. And then I heard a roar, heard the crunching of bones, and locked eyes with one. (All from the safety of the rover, with a driver who had a rifle.) Nonetheless, fear crept into me.
My husband says if we could see even for just one second what Ephesians 6:12 describes as what we struggle against, "against the world forces of darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places", we would be scared to death. There is an unseen world that we mortals, we humans just don't see. And we are arrogant enough to think if we don't see it, feel it, touch it, well it just doesn't exist. How mistaken we are!
You know we also don't see the invisible energy all around us which exists in our atmosphere. In fact, of the 7 types of energy in the electromagnetic spectrum or range of energy, we humans only have the ability to detect one and that is visible light. And yet there are x-rays, and radio waves, microwaves and UV waves, all of which we can't 'see', yet know exist because we see the effects of them or have created devices that capture and transform that energy so that we can see it. So just because you don't 'see' something, does not mean it doesn't exist.
Do not be deceived. Satan does exist. He is very real, very cunning, and he wants one thing: to rob you and me of that loving relationship with our Heavenly Father. Don't let him. Be aware. Be aware of your strengths, and your weaknesses, be aware of your triggers. Be aware of how Satan works in your life. And for heavens sake, Armor up! Do battle with the armor of God found in Ephesians 6:10-20; truth, righteousness, preparation, faith, salvation, the spirit, the word of God and prayer.
And finally, find your voice. Learn to say, " Get behind me Satan,' as Jesus did in Matthew 16:23. I added my own phrase to that years ago, and it is, "Satan, I am NOT going to let you take me there." Wherever the 'there' is for you, the wrong thoughts, the downward spiral, the prideful self, or the pitied self, whatever it is, practice saying, 'NO' to the one who wants to destroy and 'YES' to the one who wants to give life.
There is an unseen world all around us. Faith in Him helps us see the unseen, and have the power we need to fight the good fight and become an overwhelming conquerer!