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Understanding Satan's role 4



'Hand that man over to Satan.' 1 Corinthians 5:5 CEV

Satan's attack can be a wake-up call. Do you know that when you refuse to acknowledge your sin and repent of it, the wall of protection around you is breached and Satan is free to come in and attack you?Paul writes to the Corinthian church: 'I have heard terrible things about some of you. In fact, you are behaving worse than the Gentiles. A man is even sleeping with his own stepmother. You are proud, when you ought to feel bad enough to chase away anyone who acts like that' (1 Corinthians 5:1-2 CEV). Then Paul instructs the leaders of the church, 'You must then hand that man over to Satan. his body will be destroyed, but his spirit will be saved when the Lord Jesus returns' (1 Corinthians 5:5 CEV). Later the man repented of his sin and Paul said he should be restored to fellowship in the church. So what Paul was saying, in essence, was: 'Let him be driven to despair that he might be driven back into the arms of God.' Again Paul writes: 'Some people have made a mess of their faith because they didn't listen to their consciences. Two of them are Hymenaeus and Alexander. I have given these men over to the power of Satan, so that they will learn not to oppose God' (1 Timothy 1:19-20 CEV).Does God enjoy seeing us suffer? No more than a parent enjoys disciplining a child. But holy love makes tough choices. (Remember, discipline should result in mercy, not misery.) Some of us are awakened by a tap on the shoulder, while others need a two-by-four on the head. And whenever God needs a two-by-four, Satan gets the call.

Soulfood: 1 Kings 3:4-28, James 1:2-8

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Understanding Satan's role 3



'The trouble the Lord has brought on him.' Job 42:11 NCV

Satan's attack can strengthen your faith. The devil dared to question the stability of Job's faith, so God gave him permission to test Job. 'The Lord said to Satan, "All right then. Everything Job has is in your power, but you must not touch Job himself"' (Job 1:12 NCV). Notice, God set both the permission and the parameters of the struggle. Job passes the test and Satan complains that Job would have fallen had he been forced to face pain. Again God gives permission, and again he sets the parameters: 'Job is in your power, but you may not take his life' (Job 2:6 NCV). Though the pain and the questions are abundant, in the end Job's faith and health are greater than ever.

Again, we may not understand the reason for the test, but we know its source. Read this verse from the last chapter of the book of Job. The family of Job 'comforted him and made him feel better about the trouble the Lord had brought on him' (Job 42:11 NCV). Satan has no power except that which God gives him. Even when Satan appears to win, he loses. Martin Luther was right on target when he described the devil as God's tool, a hoe he uses to care for his garden. The hoe never cuts what the Gardener intends to save, and never saves what the Gardener intends to weed. Surely a part of Satan's punishment is the frustration he feels in unwillingly serving as a tool to create a garden for God.

So be encouraged today: Satan's attack will strengthen your faith, refine it, and take it to greater heights.

Soulfood: Zech 12-14, Mark 14:43-52, Ps 54, Prov 25:1-3

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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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