Are you ready to have a little fun? What is the Devil’s favorite letter? I’ll give you a hint: what is the first letter of his name? The Devil’s path is that of: Drama, Distraction, Division, Discord, Distance, Doubt, Denial and Deceit. It is a path that leads to Destruction, Death and ultimately Damnation.
In contrast what is God’s favorite letter? Again, I’ll give you a hint: what is the first letter of Divinity? God’s path is that of: Devotion, Discipline, Diligence, Dying to self and becoming Dead to sin. That path produces Deliverance, Direction and Dependability. Following His path produces a Dream that takes me to my Destiny.
OK, let’s talk Defense. How can I counter the Devil’s purposes for my life while staying on course for God’s purposes? Let’s look at each aspect above in more detail. If I follow the Devil, I will experience:
Drama: This is the state of constant agitation, negativity and problems. Let’s counter that by meditating on Psalm 23:1-3, “The Lord is Gill’s shepherd: Gill shall lack nothing. He makes Gill lie down in green pastures. He leads him beside the still waters. He restores Gill’s soul. He guides Gill in the paths of righteousness for His name’s sake.” Or how about Psalm 91:1-2, “If Gill dwells in the secret place of the Most High, Gill will rest in the shadow of the Almighty. Gill will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress; My God, in whom I trust.”
Distraction: We become distracted by the busy-ness of living, preoccupied with everyday life and sucked into the world’s way of living. Matthew 7:13-14 warns that we must enter by the narrow gate. Broad is the way and easy is the road that leads to destruction. Narrow is the road, difficult is the way that leads to eternal life. In the Parable of the Sower (Matthew 13:22) the seed that falls among thorns represents the cares and distractions of life.
Division and Discord: Matthew 6:24 warns that we cannot serve two masters. Who does the devil want you to serve? Proverbs 6:19 warns that the Lord hates discord.
Distance: When the prodigal son in Luke 15 left home, he was putting distance between himself and his father. My sin distances me from God. Psalm 138:8 says that God gives grace to the humble but He knows the proud from afar. My pride puts distance from myself and God. The good news is found in Romans 8:35: Nothing can separate us from God’s love.
Doubt and Denial: It started in the Garden of Eden when the Devil tempted Eve with doubt and, when the door of doubt is opened, in steps denial. In Genesis 3:1 the Devil questions Eve, “Did God really say…?” When she doesn’t shut that down, he follows in Genesis 3:4 with “You will not surely die.” If I am to withstand his planting of doubt, his denial of God’s truth, I must have a strong foundation on God’s Word.
Deceit: Proverbs 14:12 warns there is a way that seems right to a man but in the end it leads to death. Would anyone start using drugs if they saw the end result? The Devil never shows the final picture.
Following the Devils’ path inevitably leads to:
Destruction: John 10:10 says the enemy comes to steal, kill and destroy. Don’t get mad at the Devil when he tries to steal from you; it’s his job description.
Death, Damnation: Romans 6:23 warns the wages of sin is death. We have the Good News, of course. John 3:16 “For God so loved Gill, that He gave His one and only Son, that Gill, believing in Him, should not perish, but have eternal life.”
Discernment is needed. 2Corinthians 2:11 tells us we are not unaware of the Devil’s devices. Who is the Devil? Read Isaiah 14:12-17. The Wizard of Oz is a film classic. At one point, Dorothy and her friends come into the throne room of the Wizard. There is loud crashed, bright lights, smoke and the head of the Wizard speaking from the curtain. All very intimidating until someone peaks behind the curtain. The Wizard turns out to be a short, very unimpressive old man who uses trickery to influence others. That to me is a picture of the Devil. To paraphrase Isaiah 14:16, someday we will look at the Devil and say, “Is that all there was? This is what had us so scared?”
There is a better way. God has good things for you. He has dreams, purpose and destiny for you. Pursue God’s path through:
Devotion: Devotion is defined as ardent, selfless dedication. That is what God expects. Matthew 6:33 commands us to seek first the kingdom of God. God desires my devotion. God deserves my devotion. Deuteronomy 6:5 commands, “Gill shall love the Lord his God with all his heart, and with all his soul, and with all his might.” Give it all you’ve got.
Discipline: Proverbs 12:1 tells us, “If Gill loves correction, he loves knowledge, but if Gill hates reproof, he is stupid.” Hebrews 12:11 says that discipline may be unpleasant but “it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace.”
Diligence: Galatians 6:9 encourages us, “Do not grow weary in well doing.” Hang in there. I often go back to Philippians 3:13-14: “Gill doesn’t regard himself as yet having taken hold, but one thing Gill does. Forgetting the things which are behind, and stretching forward to the things which are ahead, Gill presses on toward the goal for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.” Press!
Die to self, Dead to sin: Romans 6:11 tells us we are to consider ourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ. We have been crucified with Christ (Galatians 2:20) and therefore dead to pride, selfishness, unforgiveness and all of the ways the Devil tries to keep us bound. Dying to self is part of being born again; the old self dies and the new self comes to life. Only then can I experience the reality of 2Corinthians 5:17: “Therefore if Gillis in Christ, heis a new creation. The old things have passed away. Behold, all things have become new.”
The product of that new life in God is:
Deliverance: Colossians 1:13 promises, “(The Father) delivered Gill out of the power of darkness, and translated him into the kingdom of the Son of His love.” It is in the Son that we receive redemption and forgiveness. It is in the Son that bondage to addiction, fear, anger and pride are broken. It is in the Son that we have abundant life (John 10:10).
Direction: Proverbs 3:5-6 tells us, “Gill is to trust in the Lord with all his heart, and he is not to lean on his own understanding. In all his ways Gill is to acknowledge Him, and He will direct Gill’s paths.” I don’t have to live in fear of the future or in doubt of the purpose of my life. He gives me direction; He gives me purpose.
Dependability: Another word for it is character, the ability to stand strong in any circumstances. But that doesn’t come all at once. We must develop that through trials and perseverance. Romans 5:3-4 promises, “Not only this, but Gill also rejoices in his sufferings, knowing that suffering works perseverance; and perseverance, proven character; and proven character, hope.”
Dreams Determine Destiny. Read that again and again until you get ahold of it. Our dreams, our vision give our lives direction. Hebrews 11:1 says that faith is the substance of things hoped for. Without hope, without dreams, faith has nothing to grab onto and carry you forward. Our 22 year old son and his fiancé were killed by a drunk driver. Is that the end of the story? Absolutely not! We carry on his memory through the Personal Promise Bible and we hold strong to the hope of heaven. We will see him again. Ephesians 2:12 warns that to be without God is to be without hope. We all see this in friends, family, neighbors. Dreams Determine Destiny.
Anyone who wanders from God’s path becomes Discouraged, Despondent, Depressed. Look at 1Kings 18:1 through 19:4 Elijah had a great victory on Mt. Carmel. After demonstrating God’s power, he slew 450 prophets of Baal. Then he prayed and ended over 3 years of drought that had gripped the land. Then he hitched up his robe and outran a chariot. Wow, what a day! But Jezebel threatened to kill him and he ran. The Bible is the Book of Hope. In Jeremiah 29:11 God promises a future full of hope.
It is Decision time: the Devil’s way or God’s way. The time is over when we can straddle the fence. We have a doormat at our front door that quotes Joshua 24:15 “As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.” What will you choose?
Let’s look at two young men in the Bible (both with names starting with D of course). The first is Demas. He is mentioned in Colossians 4:14, Philemon 1:24 and finally in 2Timothy 4:10 where Paul says Demas had left him because he “loved this present world”. Here is a young man who was mentored by the greatest leader of church history short of Jesus Himself. Yet he chose the world’s path instead.
In contrast, look at Daniel (Daniel 1). Here is a young man who saw the defeat of Jerusalem, the temple destroyed and most of his family and neighbors killed. He had every reason to turn his back on God, yet he remained faithful.
Again, what will you choose? We have to go one way or the other. James 1:8 warns that the Double minded man is unstable in all his ways. To stand strong with trials come, we must Develop our spiritual muscle. Galatians 5:10-19 describes the armor of God. This is not something God puts on us; we must put it on. Only then will we be a Doer of the Word as commanded in James 1:22.
Finally we must Dare to be Different. Romans 12:2 exhorts, “Gill is not to be conformed to this world, but is to be transformed by the renewing of his mind, so that Gill may prove what is the good, acceptable and perfect will of God.” If I think like the world thinks, I will get what the world gets. I am called to a higher level. I am called to transformation, a new way of thinking, a new hope, a new Destiny.