Years ago I read about a man who had a rather ingenious way of getting rid of his garbage. He would gift-wrap it, put it out on the curb in front of his house, and invariably someone driving by would see that wrapped box, stop, and pick it up. And the man would be behind the curtains, watching those people drive away with their gift-wrapped garbage!
So many times that's what the devil does. He just takes the things of this world and wraps them up so beautifully. But what we get is not treasure…it turns out to be trash.
Don’t let the devil cheat you—don’t cling to the worthless things of this world, but use your resources and energies wisely to invest in souls and store up eternal treasures in Heaven!
One of Satan’s favorite tactics is to resurrect buried sin. Wrapping that confessed transgression in his vain taunts and useless accusations, the enemy hauls it back into focus, hoping that guilt will paralyze and imprison a soul set free. Satan can hold us prisoner if we let him. But how often do we believe his empty lies – and by doing so, grant him access to that which he has no right? To break the hold of sin, we can and must stand against the enemy, trusting not in our feelings but in the facts of God’s word. And those facts are unchanging and crystal clear – when we confess sin, God forgives it.
One of the major tactics of Satan is to use difficult situations to create fear in us and thus immobilize our witness. For example, during the 9/11 attack in USA, Heather Mercer and Dayna Curry were being held in a prison in Afghanistan. In an interview with Christianity Today magazine on the tenth anniversary of 9/11, Heather Mercer said, “There is not a day that goes by that I don’t think about it. God sent me to prison to set me free. I don’t think I realized how much fear I actually had in my life until I had to confront some of my deepest, darkest fears. When I first set out to go to Afghanistan, I knew it might cost me my life to reach Muslims with the love of Jesus. Then I had this opportunity to face that fear of, ‘What would I do if someone tried to kill me for sharing the Gospel?’ God made Himself known in such a profound way that now, what do I have to fear?”
In Papua New Guinea (PNG), Wycliffe’s Sue Ambrose was out for a walk on February 4th, 2009. She was talking to the Lord about people, issues and life. As she continued her walk, she read memory verses from three Gospels that say, “Whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.”
The slapping sound of bare feet running on packed earth caused her to turn around to see a crazed PNG man charge her with a large machete-like knife raised murderously above his head. After a quick altercation and feeling as though she was dying, Sue was rushed to the medical clinic where friends and co-workers were shocked to see her in such grave condition; many abrasions, a damaged hand, a puncture wound near the sternum just below the diaphragm and lungs, and the knife still stuck fast in her hip.
Sue was remarkably calm through the process and felt no pain. Once stabilized, she was transferred to medical facilities in Australia. While in the hospital, God gave Sue a clear vision of an angel, “A big warrior kind of guy that was eight or ten feet tall with his sword raised, saying, ‘No, that is enough! I am not going to let you kill her.’” Sue says, “That really opened my eyes to the whole spiritual realm; that this man was part of Satan’s attacks on us, on the training center and on the work there.”
Two and a half weeks after being air-lifted out of the country, Sue returned to her ministry in PNG. The Wycliffe magazine, Word Alive reported:
That seemingly simple act proves to be a strong counterstrike to the enemy—a living sermon calling others to shun fear and courageously press on in their respective callings.
“I don’t think that I ever considered not going back,” says Sue. “God has given us the strength to return and it has spoken volumes to people.”
Sue models an attitude that we all must grasp, the article concluded.
Let fear not rule!
God has not been silent in declaring his desire to be found by those who seek him:
Unbelief cannot be attributed to a lack of convincing evidence. "Even after Jesus had done all these miraculous signs in their presence, they still would not believe in him." (John 12:37) Why? Were the miracles not sufficiently spectacular? The apostle John explains one aspect of the struggle with coming to faith in Jesus: "Yet at the same time many even among the leaders believed in him. But because of the Pharisees they would not confess their faith for fear they would be put out of the synagogue; for they loved praise from men more than praise from God." (John 12:42-43) These Pharisees saw the weight of the evidence and the direction in which the evidence pointed – to the Lord Jesus Christ. But something was more important to them than belief, namely their own pride; they found the compliments of men more satisfying than the praises of God.
You may be surprised to know that the apostle Paul had every reason to feel ashamed. He was one whose past was dreadful: "formerly a blasphemer . . . persecutor . . . violent aggressor." Then how could the same man write, "I am not ashamed" (2 Timothy 1:12)? He gives us the answer here in 1 Timothy 1:14: Grace was more than abundant. Blasphemy had abounded in his past, but grace superabounded. Violence and brutality had abounded, but grace superabounded.
“Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.” He doesn’t mean that every person in the world is saved. He means that every person in the world will be saved if they believe in Jesus and follow Him. If they believe, God’s wrath has been removed by the Lamb.
There is no race, no nationality, no ethnicity, no socio-economic status excluded. To as many as receive Him, who believe on His name (John 1:12), their sins are taken away (John 1:29; 1 John 3:5) and the wrath of God is removed (John 3:36; 1 John 2:2) and they are made the children of God (John 1:12) and given eternal life (John 3:16).
A Paradigm Shift
I enjoyed reading the Harvest Daily Devotion by Greg Laurie "The Reason for Resistance
"And this is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil."
Why is it that some people never respond to the gospel? They are not necessarily mean about it, though they may be. They are simply not open to it.
Some people will say no with a smile. When you tell them all about your faith in Christ, they will say that is very nice for you. But when you ask them if they would like to become a Christian, they will decline.
Then there are others who are hostile or argumentative. They may point to a problem they have with a certain teaching of the Bible or want to know why God allows suffering. Or, they may say the Bible is full of contradictions or claim there are a lot of hypocrites in the church.
Yet I think their reason for not responding doesn't have to do with any of these things. Because the moment you start to address the actual issues with an intelligent and biblical response, they will change the subject. It is seldom about any of the issues they raise; it is simply about one thing: they want you to go away.
Jesus said, "And this is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil" (John 3:19). The bottom line is they don't want to change. They don't want to stop doing what they know, deep down inside, is a sin before God. The bottom line is they don't want to admit their weakness and their need for God. They just don't want to believe.
So what should we do? We should pray for them. We should ask the Lord to open their eyes and help them see their need for Jesus Christ.