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The Word For Today

Understanding Satan's role 2



'A messenger of Satan, to torment me.' 2 Corinthians 12:7 NIV

Satan's attack can drive you closer to God. That was true in Paul's life. Think of Paul's r?sum?: a personal audience with the resurrected Christ, a participant in heavenly visions, an apostle chosen by God, an author of the Bible. He healed the sick, traveled the world, and penned some of history's greatest documents. Few could rival his achievements. And maybe he knew it. But God loved Paul too much to allow pride to destroy him. 'To keep me from becoming conceited because of these surpassingly great revelations, there was given me a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me' (2 Corinthians 12:7 NIV). We aren't told the nature of the thorn, but we're told its purpose - to keep Paul humble. We are also told its origin - a messenger of Satan. The messenger could have been a pain, a problem, or a person who was a pain. We don't know. But we do know that the messenger was under God's control.

Note what Paul says next: 'Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness". Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ's sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong' (2 Corinthians 12:8-10 NIV).

Here's a truth that can transform every test into a potential triumph: Satan and his forces are simply a tool in the hand of God to strengthen you.

Soulfood: Zech 9-11, Mark 14:27-42, Ps 52, Prov 24:32-34

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Understanding Satan's role 1



'God's Spirit, who is in you, is greater than the devil, who is in the world.' 1 John 4:4 NCV

Satan is a fallen angel who wasn't satisfied to worship God; he wanted to occupy his throne. Angels, like humans, were made to serve and worship God. And they were given free will; otherwise, how could they worship? But Satan said, 'I will make myself like the Most High' (Isaiah 14:14 NIV). That got him evicted from Heaven: 'You are brought down to...the depths of the pit' (Isaiah 14:15 NIV).And Satan hasn't changed. He's as self-centered now as he was then, and he's just as limited now as he was then. Even when his heart was good, he was inferior to God. God knows everything; angels only know what he reveals. God is everywhere; angels can only be in one place. God is all-powerful; angels are only as powerful as God allows them to be. So Satan is still subservient to God. And every time he tries to advance his cause, he ends up advancing God's cause.In The Serpent of Paradise, pastor and author Erwin Lutzer writes: 'Satan has different roles to play, depending on God's counsel and purposes...We must bear in mind that he does have frightful powers, but knowing that those can only be exercised under God's discretion and pleasure, gives us hope. Satan is simply not free to wreak havoc on people at will.' Satan doesn't want you to know that; he'd rather you be deceived into thinking of him as an independent force with unlimited power. But he's not. And he'd rather you'd never read these words: 'God's Spirit, who is in you, is greater than the devil' (1 John 4:4 NCV).

Soulfood: Num 29:1-6, Mt 24, Rev 11:15-19

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Knowing who you are in Christ



'You are mine.' Isaiah 43:1 NIV

We hear about people being released from prison after serving time for a crime they didn't commit. It was a case of mistaken identity. Identifying someone means having the ability to recognise and say exactly who they are. Satan wants you to identify with who people say you are, versus who God says you are. And unless you know who you are in God's eyes, Satan will hammer you with feelings of condemnation and unworthiness.

God's grace and unconditional love for you is the only secure foundation on which to base your salvation and self-worth. Today he says to you: 'Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine' (Isaiah 43:1 NIV). Jesus identified with God's opinion only: 'I know where I came from and where I am going' (John 8:14 AMP). People said terrible things about Jesus, yet here's what God said about him: 'The stone...the builders rejected has become the...cornerstone' (Psalm 118:22 NKJV).

Sometimes we're so busy telling people what to do that we neglect to tell them who they are. Knowing who you are in Christ gives you confidence to hold your head high. You are 'complete' because of your relationship to Christ (see Colossians 2:10). God sees you clothed in Christ's righteousness (see 2 Corinthians 5:21). Once you accept that, you stop feeling like you constantly fall short. When you have money in the bank and you need to withdraw it, you don't feel pressured because you know it's in an account with your name on it. Likewise, you don't have to struggle for other people's approval when you know you're loved and accepted by God.

Soulfood: Zech 5-8, Mark 14:12-26, Ps 34

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