The Enemy Is Playing For Keeps: The Battle For Our Soul Rages All Around
“Woe to the world for temptations to sin! For it is necessary that temptations come, but woe to the one by whom the temptation comes!” Matthew 18:7
“When the unclean spirit has gone out of a person, it passes through waterless places seeking rest, and finding none it says, ‘I will return to my house from which I came.’ And when it comes, it finds the house swept and put in order. Then it goes and brings seven other spirits more evil than itself, and they enter and dwell there. And the last state of that person is worse than the first.” Luke 11:24-26
The battle for our soul is a fight as old as the creation of humanity. What we are really saying here, is that the battle is actually about our mind, our thoughts, and ultimately our wills. This cosmic tug-of-war began in Genesis 3, it is documented that satan questioned Eve about the word of God. His simple yet complex question; “did God really say…” placed the seed of doubt in her mind. Humans were created to think critically and reason in a rational manner to exercise the free will that God gifted to them as men and women. The reader is not told how much time had lapsed before both first humans decided to doubt their Creator and then to disobey the one guideline that they had been given. How long did it take for them to make this decision? Did they discuss it over with each other? What was the deciding factor to suddenly step out of line with what they had always known? Did they have enough information to make a rational and well informed decission? Were they tempted by the suggestion that satan made to them, that they would be like God, knowing good and evil? The one thing that we do know, is that they made a choice using their free will. Were they deceived? Yes. Were they coerced? I do not think that we have enough information to make that assumption.
In order to understand the battle that rages all around us, it is important for believers to think about what was going on in the garden. To begin with, ‘Satan’ is not a name; it is a title that means ‘adversary.’ Why was humanity’s mortal enemy allowed to hang out in the garden? There are many questions like that one that we should ask and think about. Satan must have spoken with them before because Eve did not seem shocked to have this creature speaking to her, but instead had a conversation with him. Somehow, he gained their trust. The Bible tells us that satan was very crafty and it seems as if he knew the difference between good and evil. Did he also know that if God’s image bearers learned this, it would destroy their intimate relationship with the Creator and ultimately destroy their humanity?
Recently, I have been researching the origins of evil and how it has proliferated throughout time. Our adversary has not had to change his tactics of persuasion and deception that appeal to the lust of the eyes, lust of the flesh, and the pride of life (1 John 2:15-6). In the garden, he used his suggestion of the promise of power and status which appeals to our pride. When he tempted Jesus in the wilderness, he used all three tactics (Matt. 4:1-11). Every sin will stem from one of these three roots. Why is there such a fierce battle to begin with? Scripture tells us that our enemy, spends all of his time seeking to destroy us (1 Pet. 5:8), not to just hurt us, but to annihilate us.
Our enemy is very aware of how easily we are persuaded and inclined to believe all sorts of lies. Keeping knowledge from us is one of his greatest tactics. We are most susceptible (but not impervious) to the lies of the Enemy when we do not have an ongoing relationship with our Creator. The further we have drifted from the garden and walking with Him in the cool of the day (Gen. 3:9), the more vulnerable we have become to the deception and the strategies of the enemy. Mankind was created to seek their Creator (Ecc. 3:11) and God has made it possible to find him, but it does take effort. Our Creator chose to intervene with his image bearers when he came in the flesh. He came to remind us of who we are as we stand before a holy God and to teach us how to turn our eyes from this world to his presence. Voltaire, a seventeenth century French philosopher, known for his attacks on the Catholic Church, is quoted as saying, “If you can make people believe absurdities, you can make them commit atrocities.” I believe that we have reached a precipice in the history of humankind.
Chaotic thought is not from God, yet that is what we are experiencing today. Our world is telling people to completely deny who and what they are. This is a spiritual battle for the very soul of every human alive and those yet to be born. It is a war of epic proportions. I have found that the deeper that I dig into the pervasive evil in our world today, the uglier and more distorted are the tactics that our adversary has used to deceive, coerce, and entice both the unsuspecting and the willing participants in this grand scheme.
If Christians do not begin to get out of their comfortable seats in church, speak up, and to take action in their communities against the atrocities being committed at every level in our culture today, we will only have ourselves to blame for the marring of the image of God on our humanity, to the point of no return. Everything is not alright. People are being lied to and psychologically and physically destroyed as a result. Watch that by staying silent you do not become a pawn in satan’s plan to destroy you and your neighbor. Chose to make a difference, one soul at a time. Research. Seek truth.