“The devil is after me!”
“The devil made me do it!”
Have you heard anyone say something like this recently? Or maybe you’ve thought it yourself. Everywhere we turn we hear the devil did this and that. There is truth here, the Word of God tells us the devil is a liar (Jn. 8:44) and to be on alert, because the devil is our enemy prowling about as a lion seeking someone to devour (1 Pt. 5:8). The devil really IS dangerous.
But, you and I are far more dangerous than the devil! As dangerous as he is, you and I far exceed him!
The Bible says that the human heart is more deceitful than anything else (Jer. 17:9). It doesn’t say man’s heart is deceitful above everything else except the devil. Rather this verse continues to say that our hearts are absolutely evil, desperately sick apart from God transforming them.
Why is this? Because sin is defiling (Mk. 7:20-23). Anything it touches becomes just like it, exceedingly wicked and perverse and utterly sinful (Rom. 7:13) and at an ever increasing rate (Prv. 29:16). We take after the first baby ever born; he grew up to murder his brother (Gn. 4:8)! There is deep wickedness in each of us. Our depraved hearts love and delight in doing evil, even if we get no return from sinning; it flows from within our heart and defiles us completely.
Life and the world are not in the state they are in because of a few bad people like Hitler. The atrocities and evils of our world exist because it is made up of a multitude of people like you and me (Rom. 3:10-12). For this reason, the sins and atrocities of Hitler are not only in us, but the sinful longings of men’s hearts surpass those even of Hitler’s because sin snowballs in defilement. If we are born-again Paul says that we fight a similar battle, our unredeemed flesh mimics the sound of our heart to cause us to sin (Rom. 7:14-25). Either way, deceit must be rooted out, we must agree with truth and the voice of God must be recognized and followed above all else!
Thinking about this, I asked God how it is we can be more sinful than Satan, the father of lies. Amidst my questioning, God reminded me that sin is a heart condition (Mk. 7:20-23). Our hearts are incredible and have astounding capacity! Our hearts were created in the image of God (Gn. 1:27), with the ability to respond to God as He responds to us: to love with all our soul, mind, strength and HEART (Mt. 22:37, Lk. 10:27). What must it be like for God to love you with all of His might? His heart? Our hearts were meant to hold affection like God’s heart, to the degree that we would even love Jesus as the Father loves Him while we walk on earth (Jn. 17:26). Our hearts are truly awesome vessels!
Satan, on the other hand, is a fallen angel (2 Cor. 11:14). Angels are mentioned 273 times in the Bible. They are spiritual beings (Ps. 104:4), have a will and can have pride (Is. 14:12-14; Jude 1:6), were created to live for eternity (Lk. 20:36; Rv. 4:8), and are wise and intelligent (2 Sm. 14:17). Their emotions are recorded only as joy and longing (Jb. 38:1-7; Lk. 15:10; 1 Pt. 1:12; Rv. 4:11). Never do we hear of an angel who loves, who shows affections to God. Angels were made to be messengers and worshipers of God.
At the moment man was made, we were made to be different from the rest of creation both in the heavens and on the earth below. Men were MADE IN THE IMAGE OF GOD with powerful affections like those of God! We are very different from the angels. The Bible even tells us that redeemed men of God will even judge the angels (1 Cor. 6:3). Indeed, we are different creatures!
So, what is the point? None of the above is meant to say that the devil is not a threat to our spiritual lives. He is a GREAT danger, a prowling lion, that we must be vigilant in watching out for. But there is so much more! The above is a warning to me of my own heart.
Oh, I want to be steadfast in rooting out deception! Not by navel gazing and leaning on introspection to find deceit. Rather, I hear the prophet Joel’s challenge (Jl. 2:1,12): tear open your heart! Fast, weep and mourn over sin! Ask the God of wisdom and revelation (Eph. 1:17) for grace to fast, weep and mourn over sin, not in line with worldly sorrow, but godly sorrow (2 Cor. 7:10). Ask our Father in heaven to insert truth in the inward parts (Ps. 51:6).
Great testing is coming to the earth. Each man’s work and its quality will be tested by fire at the end of our lives (1 Cor. 3:10-15). Will we be found faithful and ready or will we be found steeped in sin and compromise blaming the devil for the condition of our hearts when the fire comes?
If we rend our hearts, Jesus will meet us here! As we gaze on His beauty—read of His beauty in the Bible, sing about His beauty to Him, whisper our agreement of His beauty back to Him, tell others about it, set His beauty continually before our mind and eyes—He will give us joy inexpressible as we are transformed into His likeness before His coming.
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