The devil is on the prowl for unbelievers; he is busily engaged in keeping them in utter darkness.
2 Corinthians 4:4 states, “The god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.”
Satan is on the prowl for the believers too! Scripture is bookended by admonitions to be on guard against our cunning and terrible adversary. God cautioned Cain, “Sin is crouching at the door. Its desire is for you, but you must rule over it” (Genesis 4:7). And Peter warns the church, “Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour” (1 Peter 5:8).
To be sure, Satan can never take you out of the hand of your Savior (see John 6:37 and 10:27-30). But Satan can and will mess up your life . . . if you let him. I once heard a speaker quote John 10:10 – “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy” – and declare that Satan is working tirelessly to steal your innocence, to destroy your dreams and to kill you!
The devil is on a mission to blind you to the truths of the Gospel in subtle and surprising ways. You would do well to review how Satan approached Eve in Genesis, Chapter 3. Satan doesn’t try to convince you that there is no God; instead he smoothly seeks to convince you that a Godless existence isn’t all that bad–it’s actually quite fun and fulfilling! The more the devil can ensnare us in living a life of self-seeking personal pleasure, the more profoundly we are blinded to the life God calls us to live.
Christian believers are blinded when the devil distracts and diverts their affections to things smaller than God. And how frighteningly easy this is to do–especially when these things are not inherently bad . . . or even incredibly good.
Work is good . . . but not when it blinds us to Jesus.
Relationships are good . . . but not when they blind us to Jesus.
Recreation is good . . . but not when it blinds us to Jesus.
Taking care of our home is good . . . but not when it blinds us to Jesus.
A hobby is good . . . but not when it blinds us to Jesus.
Serving the church is good . . . but NOT when it blinds us to Jesus!
My beloved pastor Tullian frequently admonishes our congregation that “Good things become bad things when they become ultimate things.” Our love for the good things in this world can blind us to what should be the one true love of our life: Jesus. The devil has expertly developed the diabolical tactic of blinding believers by keeping them busy. We are certain that idle time is the devil’s workshop, so we keep on keeping on, chasing after lesser gods that never deliver what they promise. At the end of the day, we realize that our problem is not so much in what we are running after, but in what we are running away from.
The only cure for the blinding of believers is the Gospel, which tells us that repentance and recovery of spiritual sight are gifts from God. Paul wrote to encourage us “in the hope that God will grant them repentance leading them to a knowledge of the truth, and that they will come to their senses and escape from the trap of the devil, who has taken them captive to do his will” (2 Timothy 2:25-26 NIV).
Elsewhere, Paul exulted that “The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet” (Romans 16:20). We are not to fear, for we know our victory was eternally secured when our warrior King cried out, “It is finished!” (John 19:30). Martin Luther exulted in the victory Christ won for us in A Mighty Fortress is our God:
And though this world, with devils filled, should threaten to undo us, we will not fear, for God hath willed. His truth to triumph through us. The Prince of Darkness grim, we tremble not for him; his rage we can endure, for lo, his doom is sure; one little word shall fell him. By resting in the truths of the Gospel and recalling all that Jesus has done for us, we begin to see more clearly. And in seeing more clearly, we see Jesus as the only thing and the only One who can satisfy our deepest needs: pardon for our sins and peace for our weary souls.
This is grace for your race. NEVER FORGET THAT . . . AMEN!
Rev. Tommy Boland is the men’s minister and sports minister at Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church. He also teaches adult Sunday school. For more information, including Bible study resource materials, please e-mail [email protected] or visit www.tommyboland.com.