“There is no neutral ground in the universe; every square inch, every split second, is claimed by God and counter claimed by Satan.” – C. S. Lewis
Satan knows the word of God better than almost anyone.
Ninety-nine times out of one-hundred, the Holy Spirit talks to my heart with a direct quote of scripture. But Satan knows scripture, too. Remember when Jesus fasted for 40 days in the wilderness and Satan came to tempt Him? Satan quoted scripture during the second temptation:
(Satan) said to Him, “If you are the Son of God, throw Yourself down. For it is written: ‘He shall give His angels charge over you,’ and ‘In their hands they shall bear you up, Lest you dash your foot against a stone.’”
Jesus said to (Satan), “It is written also, ‘You shall not tempt the Lord your God.’” (Matthew 4:6-7)
So how did Jesus know that the word that Satan was naming wasn’t for Him to claim at this time? Fasting brings the believer closer in God and increases faith because to abstain from food for this kind of time would require His intervention. His intervention comes through prayer. Jesus already knew what His mission was, and knew that the scripture Satan tempted Him with was against His prior calling.
If you are constantly in touch with God through prayer and study, you will know what God’s will for your life is, and you will not be confused by the wiles of the devil. This is why you pray, study and meditate on the Word. If you don’t know God’s word, you won’t know what to do when Satan comes. In fact, you may not even recognize him as Satan.
For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of the soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. (Hebrews 4:12)
Whose heart does it discern? It discerns your heart as you read it through conviction, understanding and encouragement. But it also discerns between the heart of God and the heart of Satan. Satan cannot successfully lie to you when you are deep in the scriptures.
The more you study, the longer your sword is. Satan loves when we only have a cursory knowledge of the word of God. Because when your sword is short, he can reach you easier. He loves when you know just enough to recognize the word, but not enough to discern it utterly. When he “kind of” quotes scripture, but twists it for his purposes, you need to know enough of the word to counter it the way that Jesus did, or you may fall for his plot of temptation.
Now the serpent was more cunning than any beast of the field which the Lord God had made. And he said to the woman, “Has God indeed said, ‘you shall not eat of every tree of the garden’?”
And the woman said to the serpent, “We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden; but of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God has said, ‘you shall not eat it, nor shall you touch it, lest you die.’”
Then the serpent said to the woman, “You will not surely die. For God knows that in the day you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” (Genesis 3:1-4)
But here’s what God actually said:
“Of every tree of the garden you may freely eat; but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.” (Genesis 2:16-17)
Eve changed God’s word. She added: “nor shall you touch it.” So many people of God who have a cursory knowledge of His word will add commandments to the word of God that God did not place upon them. They think that they will be better and more holy by obeying what they have decided God said.
This is called living under the law. It places a burden upon you that is greater than the “easy” burden that Jesus promised. When you add more to the load that you carry, it becomes harder to carry the load that Jesus placed on you. This makes it easier to shirk off.
It saddens me greatly when people tell me that they “tried” Christianity but found it too cumbersome. They couldn’t follow all of the rules, so they quit. They tell me that they see God as a rule-monger who sends people to Hell for not worshipping Him. And they do not understand what I talk about when I say that God helps me to overcome my self-condemnation and gives me a greater self-worth.
I am certain that not one of them read the Bible for themselves, nor did they believe that they could even understand it for themselves. God did not mean for us to hear His words through the thoughts of others. When we do that, it’s as if we are playing the elementary school “telephone” game.
Have you ever played that? Its where there is a long line of kids. The first kid whispers in the ear of the second. The second kid whispers into the third. And so it goes until you reach the other end. Then the last kid says whatever he/she was told out loud. Usually it’s nothing like what the first kid said. That’s what makes the game both fun and funny.
We don’t want to play the “telephone” game with God’s word. Doing that causes it to lose its power, and makes it easier for Satan to distort. We need to go directly to the source in study and prayer so that we will have our full armor, and become battle ready.
Now that I have thoroughly “trashed” devotionals and Bible teaching, I will say this. This treatise is a response to people who neglect any portion of what is necessary for growth, because they think they get enough from one of the others. I do not mean to say that you should stop listening to Bible Teaching, but I do say that you will not grow the way that you could unless you ALSO read God’s word for yourself.
So are you battle ready? Can you discern the difference between God’s command and Satan’s temptation? Every day we need to remember that there is no neutral ground in this war, and it’s on our doorstep – not on foreign soil. So let us sharpen or minds, hearts, and our Sword, so that we will be ready for battle.