There is a battle going on, a war for souls, and it has been going on since almost the very beginning of time. When God created all things we are told that on the sixth day “God saw every thing that he had made, and, behold, it was very good” (Genesis 1:31). The Hebrew words here express just how good things were: they were perfect! God placed the man He had created in the midst of this paradise to work it and keep it (Genesis 2:15).
In the middle of the garden God placed the tree of knowledge of good and evil (Genesis 2:9). Why? Because God had created all things for the sole purpose of having a relationship with a something that could choose to love Him. So the tree was placed there and the single directive was given to man that of “every tree of the garden you are free to eat; but as for the tree of knowledge of good and bad, you must not eat of it; for as soon as you eat of it, you shall die” (Genesis 2:16-17). Therefore, God in loving kindness and grace had created a free moral agent and provided him with a paradise in which he could live forever and love God.
This is where the problem begins. The Devil shows up and tempts Eve. We do not know how long Adam and Eve where on earth before this happened, but it seems to me that Adam and Eve had avoided the tree prior to this satanic interruption. It was not until Satan lies to Eve about God, His commands, and His righteousness that Adam and Eve really even notice the tree. Did they know it was there? Sure they did, but we are told that Eve, “saw that the tree was good for food, that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree desirable to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate. She also gave to her husband with her, and he ate” (Genesis 3:6).
From that day until the Lord returns to take His church home to the Father this war has and will continue to rage! Paul wrote by inspiration and said, “For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places” (Ephesians 6:12). Each battle is the same! “Let no one say when he is tempted, ‘I am tempted by God’; for God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does He Himself tempt anyone. But each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed. Then, when desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, brings forth death” (James 1:13-15). You see the battle that Eve lost in the Garden of Eden is the same battle we fight every day! Paul said he himself fought this battle on a daily basis (Romans 7:15-20) and so he would “discipline” his body in order to “bring it into subjection” (1 Corinthians 9:27).
Only Jesus of Nazareth was ever able to defeat Satan (Matthew 4) but notice that the old Devil used the same battle tactics with Jesus that he used with Eve, Paul, and each and every other man to ever walk the face of the earth. He lies, misrepresents, and tempts us through the lusts of the flesh, the lust of the eyes and the pride of life (1 John 2:16). This gives us a fighting chance! Paul says we are not ignorant of Satan’s ways (2 Corinthians 2:11) and we are warned to both take up the “shield of faith” that we may be able to “quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one” (Ephesians 6:16) and to “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour” (1 Peter 5:8).
Where does all this leave us? With the necessity of building a fortress! I want to leave you today with three areas in which each of our lives in which we need to consider fortification.
- Our Homes. Satan has our homes under attack. The wicked one is hammering away at the very foundation of the Christian home. We are being lied to and deceived into thinking that the father’s leadership is both unnecessary and inadequate. Homosexuality, adultery and other forms of fornication, pornography, gambling, alcohol, feminism, abuse (physical, emotional, and sexual), and a blatant disregard for God’s plan and structure (including letting the children rule the household) and destroying the home in our society.
- The Church. Satan not only is attacking the human household but also the household of God. False doctrine, division, apathy, unkindness, contention, selfishness, secularism, humanism, and socialism are all undermining the family of God.
- Your Soul. Satan wants you! He will lie to you, deceive you, tempt you and kill you! He does not have your best interest in mind only your immediate pleasure and ultimate demise! God gave you a soul and wants it to come home to Him, but Satan’s sole interest is in not allowing that to happen. So the ultimate war is for you! But we must never forget Satan hates us, but God loved us so much that He gave His only begotten Son to die for us so that we do not have to die.
So what do I do?
- Spend more time with my family (physical and spiritual). Your husband/wife needs you, your children need you, your brothers and sisters in Christ need you, and your Father needs you!
- Spend more time with the Word of God. The only decisive battle ever won was won by Christ and His weapon was the Word of God. Resisting Satan with an “It is written…” will send him fleeing in retreat (James 4:7).
- Spend more time in prayer. It is hard to sin while communicating with God!
- Don’t look at the tree! “I will set no wicked thing before mine eyes” (Psalm 101:3).
Don’t let Satan win!