Don’t Let the Devil Plant the Seed of Doubt
God had a couple of interesting questions for Satan in the first chapter of the book of Job. God asked Satan, "Where have you come from?" Satan responded, "From roaming through the earth and going back and forth in it." Certainly the omniscient Lord knew where Satan had been and what he had been up to; the ensuing conversation bears that out. Evidently, Satan and his demonic angels were looking for someone to accuse, devour and destroy, probably someone with weaknesses. God asked Satan if he had considered His servant, Job; however, Satan did not want to consider Job because he was a righteous man. God challenged the devil to attempt to tempt Job, knowing that he would be faithful until the end. Certainly, Satan had been doing just as the New Testament says, prowling about like a roaring lion, seeking to devour. We must be strong like Job, and repent and hold fast till our Lord returns. We must resist the devil so he will flee from us. We must pray for our Lord to lead us not into temptation; but if temptation be permitted, to deliver us from evil.
Subject: In order to resist him, you must recognize him for who he is and what is his purpose.
Again there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the Lord, and Satan came along also to present himself before the Lord. And the Lord asked, "Where have you come from and what have you been doing?" Satan replied "Here and there upon the earth, walking to and fro." (Job 2:1-2)When we read the book of Job, we find it to be one of the most remarkable books of the Bible.
An Epic poem that is an illustrious ode to faith. The book takes it’s name from the main character—a man called Job. A man acclaimed as a patriarch; one who is distinguishable by his integrity and piety. His wealth was vast and because of his faithfulness to God, his domestic happiness was immeasurable.
This historical recollection begins with a wager between God and Satan.
God and his board members were in the midst of a meeting and the angels were giving their reports when lo and behold, in walks Satan, late.
Doing research, it appears that Satan considered himself the tattletale or the secret agent to bring back reports of failure and destruction. He could be considered a CIA agent—Chaotic Indiscretion Accuser. One could say he was a master spy on the road to becoming a hostile agent.After arriving in his flamboyant manner, disrupting the meeting in progress, God stopped and asked him where had he been and what had he been doing. After giving the response of how he was out and about causing stress and duress, God challenged him to attempt to tempt his faithful servant Job. Job a man of wealth and prestige. Job, a father, a husband. Job owner of land and cattle and servants. Job a prosperous man. Job a man of great faith. Satan, one who is indeed full of self,wanted an edge. He replied to the wager with an allegation, as he was miffed at the fact that Job was protected or shielded by God; thusly, he begins accusing God of placing a hedge about him.
God informs Satan he will remove his hand (of protection) from his servant, and Satan is cocky enough to believe that this is a wager he was going to win. I imagine giggling with glee as he anticipated this so-called great man finally turning on God after he had suffered afflictions and infections.
Now we all know the story of Job. He lost his children. He lost his wealth. He lost his cattle. He lost his health. He lost everything. His friends talked about him and turned on him, even accused him of some type of infidelity. His wife wanted him to give up and give in. Job even wavered a little and wondered why he was being forsaken.
But though his faith faltered it never failed.
You see it is easy to be faithful and thankful to God when all is well and all is right.
However, Job lost his empire, his offspring, and his well being. His life was torrent-filled, yet he knew where his strength lied. His helpmate told him to curse God and die; his comrades offered console that was incorrect and inept. However, Job ignored the unsound theology of his spouse and buddies.
Job simply goes to God and pleads his case; and Satan was unsuccessful in his attempt to cause this great servant to curse God. In the end, Job’s wealth was multiplied many times over; and what Satan meant for his demise, God allowed it to be his deliverance.
Let us look at the definition of Satan or Devil or Lucifer: which literally means, an adversary, antagonist, or accuser, prosecutor, persecutor, one who distresses or oppresses. In Zechariah 3:1-2 the title adversary is given. We find it to mean, destroyer, one to cause demise, one who devours and demolishes.
His purpose is to dissolve and diminish the faith of God’s children; to decapitate their trust and to cause their hope to die. He has distinct characteristics that all indicate one who is determined to delete those who love God.
Satan’s job description indicates one who is out to cause chaos and confusion. So when adversity intrudes in your life, it is necessary for you to understand that Satan will attack those who love the Lord, simply because he already owns those who refuse to acknowledge God. Why go after what you already own?
Satan has various attack methods. He will attempt to exterminate your faith. He wants to overthrow your confidence in God. He wants you to think negatively about God. He wants you to doubt the power of God. He thrives for us to be skeptical about God and his authority.
Satan is not interested in what God has done or what he can do. He is not interested in what he has said or has not said. He simply wants us to doubt that God said what he said, and doubt that God had done all he has done. Satan wants to fill our hearts with questions about God and our minds with suspension about God. He thrives to cause us to distrust God’s love as he misrepresents God to us.
So we must recognized him for what he is and understand what he is doing; Satan is just doing his job.
Satan will attack our finances!
He understands that many folk recognize God as the provider as long as things run smoothly. But what happens when monies run short? What happens when our finances evaporate, and where we prospered yesterday, we are bankrupt today?
Satan will attack our funds to discourage, dishearten and defeat. However, God will allow his faithful to become stronger during the period of poverty and empower them for the next phase of prosperity. But during the period of financial drought, we must remember—Satan is simply doing his job.
Satan will attack the family.
When he is unsuccessful in obtaining the desired reaction from the believer, he will attack those that are close in order to cause distraction. Satan will divide in order to devour. Satan attempts to confuse to consume. But in order to resist and sustain, you must recognize Satan for who he is and for what he is. But most of all you must know God!
You see Satan is real, with great intellect. He is subtle and slick. Do not underestimate him or his cause. He desires the destruction of every person who desires to follow Christ. He will use anything and everything to distract, disappoint and disintegrate. He walks about as a roaring lion, seeking to devour. However, when you recognize the adversary, respect his ability, resist his attack, and rely on our advocate (Jesus).
We are assured that this part-time worker will not be successful in his job.
Colossians 1:16-17 tells us that Jesus has all power, which simply means that though Satan wants to devour, Jesus has secured our destiny.
Ephesians 6:12 forewarns us of Satan and his job description
James 4:7 gives instructions on how to resist him
Ephesians 6:13 tells us how to shield against him
But we must understand he is doing his job.
1Peter 5:8 tells us to be vigilant
John 10:10 tells us that though Satan wants to destroy us, Jesus, our advocate has given to us abundantly!
Satan is the adversary of every believer. He is committed to doing all he can to discourage, disarm and devastate. He has come to steal, to kill, to destroy, and to devour. He launches a counter attack every time someone gives his or her life to Christ. He will camp at your doorstep and attempt to take everything God has given. He will actively challenge every step of faith you endeavor to take and contest you in your spiritual growth. He is just doing his job.
But be reassured that no one can steal your victory in Christ if you do not let them. No one can take your joy in the Lord if you refuse to relinquish it. No on can eradicate your peace if you refuse to release it. Nothing can hinder you in your spiritual growth if you will not allow it.
As believers, we need to remember that the devil is not going to give up his attack; but, instead, we simply need to recognize the fact that he is simply doing his job.
Satan desires to keep the believer out of the Word simply because the word of God exposes him for what and who he is. It describes his job description and lays out the outline of his job title. God’s word is the truth and Satan deals in deceit. God’s word reveals, where as Satan attempts to conceal.
Satan wants to shake our confidence. He desires to cause us to doubt God. He strives to steal each blessing God gives. He attempts to change our rejoicing and praise into regret and pity. Satan wants us to rationalize away our miracles and relinquish our joy. But when you understand that he is simply doing his job, his petty prodding will not disturb you. Just remember that he is doing his Job.
Satan strategically plots to get Christians off course and thrives to persuade to perversion. He wants us to struggle in the storm. But God has already assured us the storm is passing over, but we must remember that Satan is just doing his job.
Satan rallies when the faith of a saint is destroyed. He rejoices when the joy of a believer is dashed.
Lucifer succeeds only when we succumb. But when we know God and not just know about him; when we read the word and not just wait until Sunday morning to hear it now and then; we understand who belongs to and who is our help in ages past and our help for years to come. When we have that one on one relationship with the boss, those in the company that simply want to cause harm will not be successful. And when troubles come, we can say: "I have seen the lightening flashing, I heard the thunder roll, I have seen sin breakers dashing trying to conquer my soul; but I heard the voice of Jesus telling me still to fight on. He promised never to leave me, no never alone."
When we learn to understand that though Satan meant it for our destruction, God means it for our elevation. In the face of adversity you can shout nothing between my soul and the Savior, naught of this world's delusive dream—I have renounced Satan; Jesus is mine and there is nothing between.
What Satan wants to decrease, God will use to increase. What Satan wants to obliterate, God will use to liberate. Where Satan attempts to exhaust, God will use to inflate. Though Satan will try to deplete, God will allow to expand. But as believers, we must recognize that Satan is just doing his job.
In conclusion, yes we may become frustrated in life and wonder where God is as life seems to deal bad hand after bad hand. Nevertheless, God wants us to remain patient. Although Satan means our discomfort to detain our blessings, God will allow today’s difficulties to strengthen us for tomorrow.
What Satan is attempting to eradicate, God will use to equip us. Though Satan wants us to feel alone, God will never orphan us. Though Satan attempts to tackle us with fear, God will only use it to renew our faith.
God wants us to remember Satan is simply doing his job; but we must remain hopeful and trusting. As we recognize that this problem and that difficulty is only temporary, God will alleviate that which attempts to eradicate and revive us again.
Yes, sometimes life does not seem fair, but God has already secured our victory. Yes sometimes the road is rough and the going is tough, and the hills may get hard to climb; but God has already said we will succeed. Yes the sorrow may seem hard to bear, but we are assured that someday there will be no more pain and no more suffering.
Oh yes, Satan is busy, but his reign is limited. Yes Lucifer wants to destroy us, but God has assured our destiny. Therefore, when Satan attempts to cause you to stumble, let him know he is only a temp—he only holds a part-time position with limited power. Yes, he will attempt to cause you to falter and faint, but God said fear not! Satan’s position allows him only minute strength, but God has all power.
So regardless of what comes and no matter how hard Satan works his occupation, remember that, in the time of trouble, God said he would hide you.
You see in Isaiah 14 and Ezekiel 28 we learn of how Lucifer (the Devil, Satan) and his followers were cast out of the heavens and how they came to run rampant over those who love the Lord. However, in the 20th chapter of Revelations we are assured they will be annihilated—meaning Satan will be fired!
So for now, this temp is simply doing his job. So when Satan comes a knocking, simply shout: "God will take care of me!" When Satan attacks, profess: "Can’t no body do me like Jesus." When Satan jiggles the door, let him know you have a God that hears your cries and pities your every groan; and as long as you live and when troubles rise, you will hasten to his throne!
When Satan tries to cause you to doubt, proclaim with victory you have learned to lean on Jesus, and you have found more power than you had ever dreamed—a joy you cannot explain has filled your soul since the day you met Jesus the King. Now his blessed Holy Spirit is leading your way! Oh, and go on and shout: "What a wonderful change in my life has been wrought since Jesus came into my heart; I have light in my soul, for which long I have sought, since Jesus came into my heart."
So don’t worry, don’t fret, Satan is a part-time employee, but God has full time power.
Be Careful to Maintain Good WorksThe following is adapted from the Daily Meditations of Charles Haddon Spurgeon
“How long will it be ere they believe me?” (Numbers 14:11)
Strive with all diligence to keep out that monster unbelief. It so dishonors Christ that He will withdraw His visible presence if we insult Him by indulging it.
It is true that unbelief is a weed, the seeds of which we can never entirely extract from the soil; but we must aim at its root with zeal and perseverance. Among hateful things, it is the most to be abhorred; its injurious nature is so venomous that he that exercises it, and he upon whom it is exercised, are both hurt thereby.
In your case, O believer, unbelief is most wicked, for the mercies of your Lord in the past increase your guilt in doubting Him now—this is crowning His head with thorns of the sharpest kind.
When you distrust the Lord Jesus, He may well cry out: “Behold I am pressed under you, as a cart is pressed that is full of sheaves.”
As it is very cruel for a well beloved wife to mistrust a kind and faithful husband, so it is very cruel to distrust the Lord: the sin is needless, foolish, and unwarranted.
Jesus has never given the slightest ground for suspicion, and it is hard to be doubted by those to whom our conduct is uniformly affectionate and true. Jesus is the Son of the Highest and has unbounded wealth. It is shameful to doubt omnipotence and distrust all sufficiency.
The cattle on a thousand hills will suffice for our most hungry feeding, and the granaries of heaven are not likely to be emptied by our eating. If Christ were only a cistern, we might soon exhaust His fullness, but who can drain a fountain? Myriad spirits have drawn their supplies from Him, and not one of them has murmured at the scantiness of His resources.
Away, then, with this lying traitor unbelief, for his only errand is to cut the bonds of communion and make us mourn an absent Savior.
Bunyan tells us that unbelief has “as many lives as a cat.” If so, let us kill one life now and continue the work till the whole nine are gone.
“Behold, I have graven thee upon the palms of my hands.” (Isaiah 49:16)
There is no doubt that a part of the wonder concentrated in the word “behold” is excited by the unbelieving lamentation of the preceding sentence. Zion said, “The Lord has forsaken me, and my God has forgotten me.” How amazed the divine mind seems to be at this wicked unbelief!
What can be more astounding than the unfounded doubts and fears of God’s favored people? The Lord’s loving word of rebuke should make us blush—He cries: “How can I have forgotten you, when I have graven you upon the palms of my hands? How dare you doubt my constant remembrance, when the memorial is set upon my very flesh?”
O unbelief, how strange a marvel you are! We do not know at which we should most wonder: the faithfulness of God or the unbelief of His people.
God keeps His promise a thousand times, and yet the next trial makes us doubt Him. He never fails; He is never a dry well; He is never as a setting sun, a passing meteor, or a melting vapor. And yet we are as continually vexed with anxieties, molested with suspicions, and disturbed with fears as if our God were the mirage of the desert.
“Behold,” is a word intended to excite admiration. Here, indeed, we have a theme for marveling.
Heaven and earth may well be astonished that rebels should obtain so great a nearness to the heart of infinite love as to be written upon the palms of His hands—“I have graven you”—It does not say, “your name.” The name is there, but that is not all: “I have graven you.”
See the fullness of this! I have graven your person, your image, your case, your circumstances, your sins, your temptations, your weaknesses, your wants, your works. I have graven you, everything about you, all that concerns you. I have put you altogether there.
Will you ever say again that your God has forsaken you when He has graven you upon His own palms?
“Stand still, and see the salvation of the Lord.” (Exodus 14:13)
These words contain God’s command to the believer when he is reduced to great straits and brought into extraordinary difficulties. He cannot retreat; he cannot go forward; he is shut up on the right hand and on the left; what is he now to do? The Master’s word to him is, “Stand still.”
It will be well for him if, at such times, he listen only to His Master’s word, for other and evil advisers come with their suggestions.
- Despair whispers: “Lie down and die; give it all up.” But God would have us put on a cheerful courage and, even in our worst times, rejoice in His love and faithfulness.
- Cowardice says: “Retreat; go back to the worldling’s way of action; you cannot play the Christian’s part; it is too difficult. Relinquish your principles.” But, however much Satan may urge this course upon you, you cannot follow it if you are a child of God. His divine fiat has bid you go from strength to strength, and so you shall; and neither death nor hell shall turn you from your course. What, if for a while, you are called to stand still, yet this is but to renew your strength for some greater advance in due time.
- Precipitancy cries: “Do something. Stir yourself—to stand still and wait is sheer idleness.” We must be doing something at once—we must do it, so we think, instead of looking to the Lord, who will not only do something, but will do everything.
- Presumption boasts: “If the sea be before you, march into it and expect a miracle.”
But Faith listens neither to Presumption, nor to Despair, nor to Cowardice, nor to Precipitancy, but it hears God say, “Stand still,” and immovable as a rock it stands.
Avoid Foolish Questions
Avoid foolish questions. (Titus 3:9)
Our days are few and are far better spent in doing good, than in disputing over matters that are, at best, of minor importance. The old schoolmen did a world of mischief by their incessant discussion of subjects of no practical importance; and our Churches suffer much from petty wars over abstruse points and unimportant questions. After everything has been said that can be said, neither party is any the wiser and, therefore, the discussion no more promotes knowledge than love, and it is foolish to sow in so barren a field.
Questions upon points wherein Scripture is silent; upon mysteries which belong to God alone; upon prophecies of doubtful interpretation; and upon mere modes of observing human ceremonials are all foolish, and wise men avoid them.
Our business is neither to ask nor answer foolish questions, but to avoid them altogether. If we observe the apostle’s precept (Titus 3:8) to be careful to maintain good works, we shall find ourselves far too much occupied with profitable business to take much interest in unworthy, contentious, and needless strivings.
There are, however, some questions that are the reverse of foolish, which we must not avoid, but fairly and honestly meet, such as these:
- Do I believe in the Lord Jesus Christ?
- Am I renewed in the spirit of my mind?
- Am I walking not after the flesh, but after the Spirit?
- Am I growing in grace?
- Does my conversation adorn the doctrine of God my Savior?
- Am I looking for the coming of the Lord and watching as a servant should do who expects His master?
- What more can I do for Jesus?
Other Related Scripture
Put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts; and be renewed in the spirit of your mind; and that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness. Wherefore putting away lying, speak every man truth with his neighbour: for we are members one of another. Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath: neither give place to the devil. Let him that stole steal no more: but rather let him labour, working with his hands the thing which is good, that he may have to give to him that needeth. Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers. And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption. Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice: and be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you. (Ephesians 4:22-32)
And a certain ruler asked Him, saying, Good Master, what shall I do to inherit eternal life? And Jesus said unto him, “Why callest thou me good? None is good, save one, that is, God. Thou knowest the commandments, Do not commit adultery, Do not kill, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Honour thy father and thy mother.” And he said, All these have I kept from my youth up. Now when Jesus heard these things, He said unto him, “Yet lackest thou one thing: sell all that thou hast, and distribute unto the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come, follow me.” (Luke 18:18-22)
And, behold, a certain lawyer stood up, and tempted Him, saying, Master, what shall I do to inherit eternal life? He said unto him, “What is written in the law? How readest thou?” And he answering said, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind; and thy neighbour as thyself. And He said unto him, “Thou hast answered right: this do, and thou shalt live.” (Luke 10:25-28)
Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof. Neither yield ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin: but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God. For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace. What then? Shall we sin, because we are not under the law, but under grace? God forbid. Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness? But God be thanked, that ye were the servants of sin, but ye have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered you. Being then made free from sin, ye became the servants of righteousness. (Romans 6:12-18)
Put them in mind to be subject to principalities and powers, to obey magistrates, to be ready to every good work, to speak evil of no man, to be no brawlers, but gentle, shewing all meekness unto all men. For we ourselves also were sometimes foolish, disobedient, deceived, serving divers lusts and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful, and hating one another. But after that the kindness and love of God our Saviour toward man appeared, not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost; which He shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Saviour; that being justified by His grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life. This is a faithful saying, and these things I will that thou affirm constantly, that they which have believed in God might be careful to maintain good works. These things are good and profitable unto men. But avoid foolish questions, and genealogies, and contentions, and strivings about the law; for they are unprofitable and vain. (Titus 3:1-9)
For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting. And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not. As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all men, especially unto them who are of the household of faith. Ye see how large a letter I have written unto you with mine own hand. As many as desire to make a fair shew in the flesh, they constrain you to be circumcised; only lest they should suffer persecution for the cross of Christ. For neither they themselves who are circumcised keep the law; but desire to have you circumcised, that they may glory in your flesh. But God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world. For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision, but a new creature. And as many as walk according to this rule, peace be on them, and mercy, and upon the Israel of God. (Galatians 6:8-16)
But it is good to be zealously affected always in a good thing, and not only when I am present with you. My little children, of whom I travail in birth again until Christ be formed in you, I desire to be present with you now, and to change my voice; for I stand in doubt of you. Tell me, ye that desire to be under the law, do ye not hear the law? For it is written, that Abraham had two sons, the one by a bondmaid, the other by a freewoman. But he who was of the bondwoman was born after the flesh; but he of the freewoman was by promise. Which things are an allegory: for these are the two covenants; the one from the mount Sinai, which gendereth to bondage, which is Agar. For this Agar is mount Sinai in Arabia, and answereth to Jerusalem which now is, and is in bondage with her children. But Jerusalem which is above is free, which is the mother of us all. (Galatians 4:18-26)