Five Truths Against Satan

scary lion

Be Alert

That should describe our attitude toward Satan (1 Peter 5:8). I’d bet for many of us, though, we rarely ever think about him. I’d bet we’re more alert about the weather, shopping discounts, or our favorite sports teams.

It’s pretty inconceivable that “the whole world lies in the power of the evil one” (1 John 5:19). But what’s really inconceivable is that 60% of Christians don’t believe he’s real. How can we be alert to something that we don’t even believe in? And that’s Satan’s great desire. To have us forget about him, and eventually, to disbelieve in him.

“It is funny how mortals always picture us as putting things into their minds: in reality our best work is done by keeping things out.” – C.S. Lewis, The Screwtape Letters

But the Bible is clear that Satan is real. He is not merely a symbol of evil, but an active, intelligent being with a desire to ruin us. He wants us to question God’s character and to doubt our identity. And like a master chess player, his plotting is subtle, clever, and often unnoticed.

Here, I’d like to offer five truths to provoke our alertness against Satan.

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Do You Scuba Dive?

Universe

Maybe you’re like me. I’ll read a passage of Scripture and feel like I have a pretty good grasp of it. Then I’ll hear someone else talk about the same passage and go, “Woah . . . There’s a lot more here that I didn’t even see!”

This happened to me pretty recently. I was listening to a Tim Keller podcast where he was expounding on these ten words:

“[Jesus] upholds the universe by the word of his power.” — Hebrews 11:3

I’m amazed at the significance of small phrases like this in the Bible. If we aren’t careful, we’ll miss them. Let me walk you through what Keller had to say about it.

Did you know that the distance between the earth and the sun is 92 million miles? Long way. If you and I could take an intergalactic road trip at 65 mph, it would take us 175 years to get there.

So for right now, let’s think about that distance—92 million miles—as the thickness of a sheet of paper.

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Beyond the Door

Rustic Door Handles

Gospel-Gold

When I read the Old Testament, I often feel like I’m mining. A lot of it feels confusing, strange, and irrelevant. And for average joes like you and me, I think that’s okay. Keep reading. Every now and then, we’ll hit gold.

Recently, I came across some gospel-gold. Here’s how it starts:

“When you buy a Hebrew slave, he shall serve six years, and in the seventh he shall go out free.” — Exodus 21:4

In those days, if someone accumulated an exorbitant debt, he could sell himself as a slave to the person whom he owed. He’d live in slavery for six years, and after the seventh year his debt—no matter the amount—would be paid in full. His owner would be required to release him.

Except on one condition.

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So Where Does It Say That?

God-Write-the-Bible

“But as for you, teach what accords with sound doctrine.” — Titus 2:1

I recently drove by a church down the street from my apartment. They have one of those big signs with interchangeable letters out front of their building. Here’s what it read:

“Don’t make me come down there.” — God

At first I felt puzzled and somewhat amused. Moments later, I got angry. That might be the most ridiculous, foolish, bogus theological statement I’ve ever heard! Don’t make me come down there? What the heck does that even mean? What point are you trying to make? Why would you ever put that on your sign?

But here’s the worst part—people are believing it.

I began thinking of other bogus theological statements I hear thrown around.

“God helps those who help themselves.”

“Everything in moderation.”

“We are all God’s children.”

Those are just a few. At best, they’re terribly misleading. More often than not, they’re catastrophic.

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Does God Save People with Good Intentions?

-POP

Honest Questions is a category of a Lift Up where I will feature questions from high school students. Most are directly from my experience of working with them. Some are not. I will do my best to answer as I would to a high school student.


Does God save people who try to love Him through other religions? And what about people who’ve never heard of Jesus?  I have a hard time giving my life to a God who wouldn’t acknowledge their good intentions.


I think that’s a valid question, and I’m glad you’re asking it. It’s okay to feel like that’s a hard hurdle for you to jump—that Christianity says it’s the only way to God. It looks like you have a few different questions here. To help me understand what you’re trying to say, I’ll paraphrase with some specific questions.

(1) Is it possible to love God through other religions (not just Christianity)?

(2) What happens to people who try to love God through other religions after they die? What about people who’ve never heard of Jesus?

(3) Does God even acknowledge the intentions of people who try to love God through other religions? Or are they treated the same way as people who want nothing to do with God?

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Purpose & Pleasure

Freud vs Frankl

Sigmund Freud believed the chief desire for all mankind is the desire for pleasure — that every one of our thoughts, actions, and dreams are a response to the question, “Will this bring me pleasure?”

Victor Frankl disagreed. He said what we want, more than anything, is a deep, experiential sense of purpose — that our thoughts, actions, and dreams are a response to the question, “Will my life have meaning as a result of this?”

When we don’t have a sense of purpose, Frankl argued, is when we numb ourselves with pleasure.

I’m with Frankl. How about you?

“The purposes of a person’s heart are deep waters,

but one who has insight draws them out.”

— Proverbs 20:5

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East of Eden: John Steinbeck

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Why do we fear that we’re not really loved? Why do we do the things we hate? Why is there so much pain in the world? Is there anything we can do about it?

If you’ve ever found yourself asking these questions, this is a great novel for you.

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Snake-Bitten

moses-and-brazen-serpent-crop

Numbers 21:4-9, John 3:14-15

Missing Slavery

You’ve been a slave your whole life. Your parents were slaves, your grandparents were slaves, and the 20 generations before them . . . slaves.

You wake up before the sun, head to the fields, and work. The heat is unbearable—113 °F. The callouses on your hands are thicker than what you’ll eat for dinner. And you don’t get a lunch break. Your back throbs from the incessant labor and the brutal whipping you received last week. After the sun goes down, you eat a forkful of smelly fish, two slices of cucumber, and an uncooked onion scrap. You head to a shack, lay on the dirt, find some twigs and loose hay as a makeshift, itchy pillow, and try to get some sleep.

Every single day, this is your life.

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