Tuesday, August 27, 2013

The Devil Has Many Voices

You've heard from God.  You know it.  You're convinced.  You've found a promise in Scripture that relates to you right where you are.  Or maybe that word came in your quiet time with the Lord.  Perhaps, it came through the words of a friend or minister.  Regardless, something in you came alive.  Hope was renewed.  You were strengthened to get up and go another round.  Then....

There's always a then.  Most of the time it blindsides us.  We fail to see it coming and "boom" there it is, from out of nowhere.  A voice that opposes everything that God just spoke to you.  Like a right hook from a heavy weight boxer it causes us to stagger and stumble.  We quickly try to remind ourselves of what God has just spoken to us, but this voice of the enemy is unloading like a machine gun that has an endless supply of ammo.  Over and over and over this voice screams its unrelenting lifeless jargon in an attempt to rob us of every ounce of hope.

The enemy's voice takes a lot of different shapes and comes at us from all kinds of angles.  In the Garden of Eden, it came through a serpent.  With Joseph it came through his brothers who sought to destroy him.  With Moses, it came from his own feelings of inadequacy.  With David, it came from an insecure king who sought to kill him.  With Job, it came through his wife and friends.  With Jesus, there was a time it came through his friend Peter.  The truth is the enemy has many voices.  Regardless of what shape it takes, it has one goal and that is to cause us to doubt what God has said.

We should not think it odd when the enemy's voice speaks.  Jesus explained to us, that immediately after the Word is sown into our hearts, the enemy comes to steal it (Matthew 13).  Rather than being blindsided, we would do well to heed the words of Jesus.  The right hook is coming!  Look for it! Expect it!  Be ready to duck, block, and then hit back.  I think it's interesting that when Jesus was tempted by the enemy in the wilderness that following his attempt to trip up Jesus, Scripture tells us that he backed off and waited for a "more opportune time."  The enemy picks his moments.  He waits and when he sees the opportunity to strike, he unleashes his fury.  Be ready for it!

This past spring I planted a garden.  I worked hard to prepare two raised beds.  I planted squash, strawberries, green beans, tomatoes, black beans, and several other things.  The first thing to produce fruit was my strawberry plants.  They had strawberries all over them.  And just as they started to turn red something happened.  I went out one day and the same plants that had fruit on them the day before were completely barren.  As I looked around I noticed that birds had eaten my strawberries.  Every last one of them!  In order to get strawberries, I was going to have to do something to keep the enemy at bay.  So, I put up bird netting and ever since the birds have been denied access.  Chalk up a victory for me! I've learned a lot from my little gardening experience.  There are critters that want to damage everything I plant.  If you think that simply planting a seed is all there is to insuring that eventually you'll have fruit, you are completely mistaken.  There are bugs, squirrels, birds, racoons, and many other critters that have to be kept away from the plants in order to see a harvest.

So it is with the Word of God.  If you think that simply hearing the Word of God guarantees a harvest, you'll probably never see it.  The Word of God has a real enemy. While the Word of God is designed to produce fruit in our lives, the enemy has a strategy to thwart that process.  If he can't rip the seed out, then he'll show up at another opportune time to attempt his abortion. Expect him. Once, I saw that birds had stolen my strawberries, I didn't sit back and think it wouldn't happen again.  I expected it.  I prepared for it.  I took the necessary steps to make sure that the "enemy" to my strawberries would never destroy that fruit again.  In the same way, we must understand that each and every time the Word of God  takes root in our heart, there is an enemy lurking in the shadows waiting for the right moment to destroy it.  He'll come speaking words of doubt and unbelief and he'll use any voice he can to spew his garbage.  He'll use our friends and family.  He'll use our own internal voices tainted with wounds from the past.  He'll use our fears of rejection or our own insecurities to promote his deceitful agenda.  He'll leave us hopeless, frustrated, and most importantly doubting the very thing that just hours ago we were so confident that God clearly spoke to us.  

When you read the story of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden, the biggest temptation they faced was not to eat the fruit.  It was to doubt the Word of God and believe another.  Eating the forbidden fruit was just the evidence that they had given into that temptation to doubt what God had said.  We face that temptation every single time God speaks to us.  Get ready for it.  Prepare yourself.  The devil has many voices and he'll be speaking to you soon. "Be sober, be vigilant, for your adversary the devil, goes about like a roaring lion seeking whom he may devour" (I Peter 5:8). When he throws his right hook, have your counter punch ready and declaw the sucker!

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