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Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil's schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. (Ephesians 6:10-12)
In Paul’s letter to the church of Ephesus, he tells his readers that behind every opponent in this world is a spiritual enemy, the devil, who is trying to steal, kill, and destroy God’s good works (John 10:10, 1 Peter 5:8). One of the classic books about the devil is Thomas Brooks’ Precious Remedies against Satan’s Devices, which was published in 1652. Brooks discusses some of the strategies Satan uses to tempt and accuse believers. In last week’s Pulse, I shared four of the temptation strategies discussed by Brooks. This week, I will look at four accusation strategies.
The devil has many names or nicknames in the Bible. In Revelation 12:10, he is called “the accuser of our brothers, who accuses them before our God day and night.” Here are four specific ways that he accuses us:
1) Get you to think of your sins more than your Savior – One way he accuses is to convince you to measure your self-worth by what you’ve done or haven’t done instead of by what He has done for you. Judging yourself by your good or bad works is a dangerous place to be, because it ends in either pride, envy, or despair.
2) Cause you to obsess over past sins and the consequences that can’t be undone – There are few things more emotionally painful than regret. Even though we may know in our head that Jesus died for our sins, sometimes we have a hard time “forgiving ourselves.” But when we do that, we are missing out on the freedom that comes from trusting that “there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus” (Romans 8:1).
3) Convince you that your troubles are punishment from an angry God – Satan can try to convince us to have the mindset that if we are suffering, it is because God is punishing us for our sins. One look at Job’s life should remind us that even the righteous suffer. And Jesus, the righteous one who experienced more than His share of undeserved suffering, told us that in this world we will have trouble (John 16:33).
4) Convince you that a real Christian wouldn’t have the struggles you have – It is so easy these days to compare the mess of our own life with what appears to be the successes and blessings of other Christians. Life is hard, and sanctification is a lifelong process. But God promises to complete the good work He has begun (Philippians 1:6).
Satan loves to accuse us in the hopes of taking our focus off of Jesus’ finished work for us and the righteousness we have been given by Him (2 Corinthians 5:17) and making us focus on our self or our sins. Remember what Paul wrote in Romans 8:31-34: What, then, shall we say in response to this? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all-- how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things? Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies. Who is he that condemns? Christ Jesus, who died-- more than that, who was raised to life-- is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us.
Satan may accuse, but you have a defense attorney in Jesus who stands before the Judge, declaring that you are justified – not guilty – because He took the penalty you deserve on the cross. Believe that you are forgiven, and walk in the freedom that comes from being a child of God!
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