Friday, May 24, 2013

Beautiful Battle Book Club: Chapter 2

Chapter 2--Satan’s Story: Understanding the Enemy Who Cowers and Towers

Key Verse: 2 Corinthians 4:4-6 NIV 
The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel that displays the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. 
For what we preach is not ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, and ourselves as your servants for Jesus’ sake. 
For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of God’s glory displayed in the face of Christ. 

This chapter is so very important and full of profoundly important details.  It proved right something that I have said for a long time.  "I can handle anything as long as I know what I am dealing with".   And Mary DeMuth did an incredible job of laying all the proverbial cards on the table regarding Satan's history and his ambition.
With that in mind, I am mindful that there are many who might be reading this blog series on Beautiful Battle but are not actually reading the book along with us.  So today I am including more quotes than I originally intended so that we can all be reinforced with truth.  Truth about who Satan was & how he became what he is today.  I believe this is so very important because too often we have believed the lie that Satan is the antithesis of God, and thus have given him authority that is equal to God’s.  
Ezekiel 28:2, 12-17 is the best Biblical description of Lucifer who became known as Satan. 
Here are a few of my favorite quotes from this chapter.
1.  Once Upon a Time
  • But something shifted in a hiccup of a moment.  A slight reorientation of the gaze from God's splendor to his own.  Every day the amount of time spent gazing at God ebbed in light of Satan’s newfound affection for himself, his beauty, his power. He may have reasoned, Surely there is a place in this kingdom for more than one God. He sowed discontent among other angelic servants, plotting to set up his own kingdom where the servants would follow him, revere him, extol his beauty.
  • Pleasure. Stuff. Achievement.  Satan craved pleasure outside of what God provided. He saw himself as worthy of worship, and he prided himself on his ability to be like God. Since there can be only one true God, and because Satan is merely a created being incapable of creation, God’s loving act was to banish him and his cohorts.  
2. God Fashions the Earth
  • When Satan saw God’s deep affection for this man, this woman, his anger ignited. He might not be able to compete with this all-powerful Creator God, but he could maim and mar the Creator’s new love.  
  • His (Satan's) tactic became deception and lies and his three fallbacks. Pleasure. Stuff. Achievement.  So he slithered to the woman, whispered in her ear that God withheld pleasure. . .  He made her crave something outside of God’s stated provision. He portrayed God’s goodness as restriction, practically parading the fruit before her as evidence that God had no intention of making her happy, taunting her with achievement-oriented words, words about being like God, understanding the nature of good and evil. he deceived her until she not only wanted the forbidden fruit, but also believed she needed it.
  • In that moment, he heard God’s groan—an agony that made Satan smile. So that’s all it takes, he thought. Mess with God’s crowning achievement, and you hurt Him.
3.  God Sends His Son
  • Satan threw his entire arsenal at Christ during his foray on earth. In recorded history to that point, no one engaged and cast out as many demons as Jesus did during His three years of ministry on the earth. Yet He employed no tactics or gimmicks in doing so. Jesus’s exorcisms were swift and clean. It’s fascinating to study the words of demons in response to Jesus. They present the most astute, compelling theology, forced to tell the truth about Jesus every time He calls them out.

Truth To Never Forget about Satan

  • The god of this world seeks to subvert the message of God. (2 Corinthians 4:3-4)
  • It is important to note that Satan is in no way God's equal.  He is finite.  He is created.  He is uncreative. He can’t be everywhere; therefore it’s important not to say “Satan’s tempting me,” as he can only be in one physical place at a time. . . He is not all-knowing. He is not all-powerful. Though he roars a huge show, his ultimate position is below the blood of Jesus. He cannot stand beneath the power of the cross of the risen Christ.
  • Since he creates nothing and can only counterfeit or destroy what God creates, his best weapons are to tell lies about God’s creation and incite you to believe those lies.
  • And he loves to tackle new believers with his seeming favorite sin: pride. “An elder must not be a new believer,” Paul cautioned in his letter to Timothy, “because he might become proud, and the devil would cause him to fall” (1 Timothy 3:6).
  • One of Satan’s names is Destroyer. Nothing delights Satan more than tearing down what God builds.  Satan does destroy. And one way he does that is to de-story us (to rework the letters a bit). He wants to rob us of the victorious story we long to share with a sin-weary world. My friend Malcolm puts it: “We insult Jesus when we live defeated lives.”  And we cower to Satan when we allow him to write our stories.
There is just so much in this chapter!  But I believe the primary issue here is our response to who he is/is not and his tactics.  This last quote is a BIG DEAL.  Do you remember what Revelation 12:11 says? "They overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and the word of their testimony (story)!"    

When we recognize that "Satan's biggest foe is not you or me by ourselves; it's our collective body as the church.  AND when we stop taking every attack personally and simply acknowledge that Satan accuses the church day and night, we will regain our footing!  You and I are The Church, and he is terrified of what will happen if we start moving forward.  So just grasp this truth:  If you’ve ever felt condemned, unworthy, shamed, dirty, stupid, or deeply embarrassed, chances are Satan had some sort of hand in it."   

Let us heed this Scripture as we leave today.  
“Stay alert!” warns Peter. “Watch out for your great enemy, the devil.
He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour.
Stand firm against him, and be strong in your faith.
Remember that your Christian brothers and sisters all over the world are going through the same kind of suffering you are”
(1 Peter 5:8-9)
Reflection questions
  1. Do you agree with Mary that pride is Satan’s favorite sin?  Why or why not?
  2. What does Peter suggest to do about the devil in 1 Peter 5:8-9?
  3. What does it mean to say that Satan wants to “de-story” us?
  4.  Why should we not overly worry about Satan’s plans?
 "Determine to keep moving in obedience, remaining faithful to My call on you. So much more is at stake than you know right now. I will reveal in time. Keep my word in your heart and let me strengthen you. I will not forsake you during this trial." 
(a word Holy Spirit spoke to my heart in March 2013) 


Jen Baierl said...

In this chapter, I began to write down lies I had believed about satan. Then I followed with a list of things he is not. I tweeted my favorite yesterday. "He is not all powerful. Though he roars a huge show, his ultimate position is under the blood of Jesus." I will tell you ladies that as I read this, I got to my feet,did a small victory dance, & proclaimed it loudly. (It may have slightly freaked out the people in my office) J/K
My other favorite part is that CS Lewis makes it clear, satan is not the opposite of God. Satan was not self-created. In order to be the opposite of that, he would not excist at all. Good call. I am super choosy on what I read & I'm so glad I'm reading this!

WCW said...

I have been doing my own Truth = FREEDOM dance this week! I have believed too many lies about Satans power for most of my life--NO MORE!! So glad you are on this journey with me!!

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