We do not recognize often enough the work of Satan in our world today—in our every day lives. In reading a biography of Martin Luther, I have been stunned by how often he spoke of demonic and Satanic activity. It has certainly caused me to consider Satan’s work in my own life.
Martin Luther grew up in Mansfield, Germany, a mining town. Lyndal Roper tells us, “With water being essential to the process of smelting, Luther grew up with the belief in ‘nixes’, or water spirits, mischievous creatures who played tricks on humans. Fossils that were found in the mines were said to be drawings made by the spirits of the earth and of the air, and strange uncanny lights were believed to point to the rich seams in the rock.” When Luther became an adult and mature in Christ, he “thought the lights were Satan’s work.” "Satan was the rich deceiver," Luther Said, “in the mines the Devil vexes and deceives people, puts spirits before their eyes so that they believe they see a huge pile of ore or silver, where there is nothing.”
Roper recounts the dramatic and life-changing storm in the summer of 1505, “Luther was on the road, this time returning to Erfurt from Mansfield on a summer’s day. He was near Stotterheim when a terrible thunderstorm broke. Terrified, Luther called on St. Anna—the patron saint of miners—vowing to enter a monastery if she saved him. His response might seem extreme, but storms were believed to be caused by the Devil or witches, and church bells were rung during tempests to ward them off" (Roper, 14).
A famous account of Luther’s is the ink thrown against the wall, at Satan, while Luther was hidden away in Wartburg—the stain is still visible today on the wall of his castle room.
At one point Luther said of himself, “Satan has raged against me with incredible contriving to destroy or hinder me, so that I have often wondered whether I was the only man in the whole world whom he was seeking" (Roper, 192). I certainly have felt this way before. Have you?
We ought to identify more with Luther than we do, I think. If we try to glorify God in some way we can expect Satan to get try and get in our way. We ought to recognize his schemes and stand against him. We ought to believe, as much as we believe there is a God in this world, that there is a devil, the fallen serpent, who seeks to disrupt all the plans of God.
What will Satan do? What can he do? “He who would be faithful and useful as a worthy exponent of the scripture and a guide to human souls”, Lewis Sperry Shafer instructs, “should comprehend, next to knowing the triune God and the positive values of his redeeming grace, the truth relative to the enemy of God.” Consider what Satan has done, does, and may do.
We could go on. Satan is a schemer, a liar, a murderer, a prowling lion, a serpent, and a dragon in the Bible.
Do we consider the slithering and contriving ways of Satan? Are we oblivious to the slightest whispers which may turn our heads, our eyes, our hearts, our minds or our hands to something other than God’s work? Consider them!
No dilemma is too small or too large for considering the work and the temptations of Satan. He kept Paul from visiting a church. Might Satan try to keep you from visiting your church? Lying? That is what Satan does best. Giving? He led two Christians not to give. Satan is all up into the business of the local church.
Roper notes that a terrible vision Luther received, “was one of the devil’s attacks on Luther which proved [to him] he was one of the elect.” We would be in danger, if this is so, to begin to believe that Satan has simply left us alone. If Satan has left us alone we ought to be very curious as to why. Do we bring him no dread? Have we don so little for God that he does not know who we are (Acts 19:15)? Are we God's? Are we cattle being put to sleep before the slaughter?
If we profess Christ, Satan is certainty at work we are just totally incongizant to him.
Satan outwits Christians all the time. So pay attention! We need to pay attention to our hearts and our lives and our relationships. Satan, for example, wanted to keep the church from forgiving one another. That was part of his “design”. Not just rape and murder and drug addiction. Unforgiveness is a design of Satan. Consider what traps and baits and paths Satan would lead you down today. A decision that tests the character of Christ. Even the twisting of things which you meant for God or you had no ill will in. Watch and see how Satan might turn them. Give him no opportunity if there is a even a hint or chance of the appearance of unrighteousness.
10 Anyone whom you forgive, I also forgive.
Indeed, what I have forgiven, if I have forgiven anything, has been for your sake
in the presence of Christ, 11 so that we would not be outwitted by Satan;
for we are not ignorant of his designs.
2 Corinthians 2:10–11
As Screwtape regrettingly recalls, “But of course the Enemy will not meantime be idle" (Screwtape Letters, ch. 3). God is not idle in all this. Satan is but a chained mutt and he lunges only as far God lets the chain out. Often we are confused when the chain is loosened and we are confronted by Satan (like Job or Peter being sifted). Notice in the end of the Bible Satan is put in prison only to be once again released (Revelation 21). Satan is perfectly working no more and no less that God intends in the world ever single moment. Even the murderous cross of Jesus Christ, Satan’s greatest triumph, was the seal of Satan’s demise. Through death, death was defeated. God is not surprised by Satan. He is not overpowered by Satan. His plans are not thwarted by Satan. God, we know, “will soon crush Satan under [our] feet” (Rom 16:20).
To confront Satanic schemes we ought to be close to God through our Bibles. Satan's lies are twisted words of God. From beginning Satan has tried to malign God's word. Be in God's word and directed to his righteousness in Christ for us, our adoption in Christ, our life in the spirit, the good that comes from rigthesouness, and even there is the warning to "be watchful" of Satan's prowling.
For His Glory,
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