by Steven Chan
From time to time we come across instances where some brethren who used to be fervent in spirit had somehow grown cold and weary, and in some instances, even fallen away from the truth and from the faith. When we see them falling on the way-side, we try our best to help them get back up, and we often wonder why they have fallen?
The reality is that God has warned against this possibility of falling away: 1 Cor 10:12: “Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall.” We are to be diligent that we do not find ourselves in situations that may cause us to fall. God reminds us that there is no situation that we may find ourselves in, that are peculiar to us only – indeed, we all face similar challenging situations: 1 Cor 10:13: “There hath no temptation taken you but such as man can bear: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation make also the way of escape, that ye may be able to endure it.” God assures us that we will be able to escape from such situations so that we may be able to endure these challenging times.
The Bible warns us that the devil is very active in seeking those whom he may devour. The danger is that we are sometimes oblivious or blur to the devil’s efforts to overthrow our faith. The devil indeed is like “a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour: Whom resist steadfast in the faith” (1Pet 5:8, 9).
The devil succeeded in overcoming Judas even though he was entrusted by the Lord with the treasury (John 13:29): Luke 22:3-6: “Then entered Satan into Judas surnamed Iscariot, being of the number of the twelve. And he went his way, and communed with the chief priests and captains, how he might betray him unto them. And they were glad, and covenanted to give him money. And he promised, and sought opportunity to betray him unto them in the absence of the multitude.”
Similarly, the devil also succeeded in influencing Peter in Matt 16:22-23: “Then Peter took him, and began to rebuke him, saying, Be it far from thee, Lord: this shall not be unto thee. But he turned, and said unto Peter, Get thee behind me, Satan: thou art an offence unto me: for thou savourest not the things that be of God, but those that be of men.” In fact, the devil succeeded on another occasion with Peter, when he denied the Lord three times:-
Luke 22:31-32: “And the Lord said, Simon, Simon, behold, Satan hath desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat: But I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not: and when thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren.”
In view of the threat posed by the devil, the apostle Paul exhorted us to take the whole armour of God in order to resist the devil:-
Eph 6:10-18: “Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. “For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness; And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God: Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints;”
As you can see from the above, we should never underestimate the power of Satan.
2 Tim 2:23-26: “Have nothing to do with foolish, ignorant controversies; you know that they breed quarrels. And the Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome but kind to everyone, able to teach, patiently enduring evil, correcting his opponents with gentleness. God may perhaps grant them repentance leading to a knowledge of the truth, and they may come to their senses and escape from the snare of the devil, after being captured by him to do his will.”(ESV). Brethren who have fallen on the wayside have in reality been “taken captive by the devil” to do his will. We must therefore be kind to them, improve our ability to teach them the truth, while at the same time, be patient in enduring evil as we seek to correct them with gentleness in the hope that God will grant them repentance leading to a knowledge of the truth and thereby escape the devil’s snare!
Sadly, like Judas Iscariot, some have not been able to escape from the snare of the devil. Others, like the apostle Peter, were able to escape the clutches of the devil – and that’s why he penned the warning in I Peter 5:8 -10: “Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. Resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same kinds of suffering are being experienced by your brotherhood throughout the world. And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you.”
Holding firmly on to our faith, we resist the devil, knowing that inasmuch as others have overcome similar challenges posed by the devil, we will also triumph because of God’s promise that He will be with us (He will not abandon us) and He will provide relief for us so that we can endure the trials. We need to put on the whole armour that God has provided us for our protection (Eph 6:10-18).
The devil actively seeks to cause us to fall. We must be sober and watchful lest we give opportunity to the devil to ensnare us (Eph 4:27). Are you aware of what the devil is planning for you?