Sunday, July 18, 2010

false peace

Luke chapter 11 has many teachings, including the presentation of the Lord's Prayer.  This morning I am especially challenged by the evidence of direct spiritual warfare that occur in the chapter.  In our sophisticated modern times we don't like to consider that such things as demonic posession, or even influence, still exist.  But there is no reason to believe that the spiritual forces that influenced lives in Jesus' time are any different today.  But, just as the serpent was subtle in his initial deceptions of Adam and Eve, I believe his presence is subtle still.  Jesus delivers a man from a demon that was blocking the man from speaking in chapter 11:14.  And then the crowds accused Jesus of casting out the demon with the power of the devil, himself.  At least they had some kind of awareness of the spiritual world.  But I think we minimize the presence of satan, and his crew of evil, to our peril.  In the early part of the chapter the Lord's Prayer included this phrase: "and  bring us not into temptation, but rescue us from evil."  Evil is the work of satan in our midst.  It takes One who is stronger than the devil...stronger than bind that force and rescue us.  This is exactly what Jesus is illustrating when He purges demons from different ones.  Satan doesn't have to "possess" what he can control through influence.  I was fascinated to consider Jesus' words in verses 21-22: "When the strong man, fully armed guards his own dwelling, his belongings are undisturbed.  But when one stronger than he attacks him and conquers him, he robs him of his whole armor on which he had relied, and divides up and distributes all his goods as plunder."  I think I had misunderstood this passage in the past.  I used to think the "stronger man", who conquers was satan and the victim was a person who had let their guard down.  But now I believe that the strong man is satan, or his forces, that put a form of armor around the hearts of those who have not been born again.  We all start in this condition, with a sense of false well being...and perhaps even contentment...despite our unsaved condition.  It is as if satan has a form of armed guard that watches us and seeks to keep us satisfied with the darkness of living outside the knowledge of our sin and our savior.  But Jesus is the "stronger one" and when He attacks the armor is shattered and the habits of sin are shattered.  I think this may be why one who has invited Jesus into his heart feels a sense of "lightness" and deliverance...and a freshness that, somehow, all is different and new.  It is because there is a new ruler of the heart.  We may have had a false peace under satan's dominion, but it was keeping us from the eternal peace that only the Strong Man of Heaven can bring.
So many walk in our world under the subtle dominion of satan and a false sense of peace.  We must join Jesus as He says in verse 23: "He who is not with Me is against Me, and he who does not gather with Me, scatters."
blessings to all in the battle, with encouragement to all embrace the "stronger Man" of Jesus to rule their heart,
Rob Smith

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