Am I the Devil?
“Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour” (1 Peter 5:8)
As I sit and reflect this morning, there is something that every Christian needs to do and that is to search their selves and make sure they are not the devil. Laugh as you will, but it is the truth. Many “Christians” (emphasis added) do not know they are being used by the adversary or do not understand how to combat against such tactics that is used by him. I am not saying I do understand everything in this arena because if I did I would not be sitting here typing. I struggle just as everyone else does if not, more so. Many people have this crazy thought that preachers, deacons, pastors, etc… are not afflicted and everything is just “hunky dory.” Ask any one that is a teacher or preacher and see what they say.
I read a great book called, The Devil in Pew Number Seven by Rebecca Nichols Alonzo. It is based on a true story and without giving up the story, it is basically about a person that attended a church, in pew seven, and this person “ran the church” from that pew. When a preacher was named pastor over this church, the pew seven attendee found out he could no longer run the church from this pew and waged war on the pastor and family. The outcome is somewhat overwhelming. (I suggest this to anyone who likes to read). This led me to think about how many people gracing the pews of their local church are being used by Satan and does not even know it.
“Blessed be the Lord, my rock, who trains my hands for war, and my fingers for battle” (Psalm 144:1). God trains His children for battle, if His children are prepared to train. There needs to be a willingness. Obviously, David was talking about a physical battle, but this works on the spiritual side as well. If we do not prepare and know what to do, how would one ever survive? Understand that king David was a man after God’s own heart, and David did not just merely believe God would deliver, David had to get up and go into battle. Many claim Christianity and say they believe in God. I have some bad news, some of you may have to get off your backsides and do more than just believe, “You believe that God is one; you do well. Even the demons believe—and shudder” (James 2:19).
It takes more, and where do we start. We start in prayer and the Word of God, read and believe! Understand what God has for you and how to tackle the situations that you will face, good or bad. Next, instead of sitting in church and figuring out ways to overrule God, listen to what God has for you. If you put nothing into Sunday mornings, you will leave with nothing! Next, obey God. If you sit in the pew and the Holy Spirit is calling you to do something, simply obey Him. No questions. A big lie Satan will tell you during invitation is that you can get what you need right where you sit. The question you should ask is, “did the woman with the blood disease sit in the crowd or did she get up and get what she needed?” The following is something everyone will claim they accomplish, but in reality not everyone does. Some people will bury their motives and truth so deep inside they even fool themselves. “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?” And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets” (Matthew 22:36–40). There is no way around this, you love God and love your neighbor. This does not say just love your physical neighbor, or the people you judge to be righteous, rather to love everyone! There is no way around this if you are going to combat evil, if you develop a way around this, you are fooling yourself and Satan will use you as a tool!
The last point I will make is, “Abstain from every form of evil” (1 Thessalonians 5:22). EVERY (emphasis added) form of evil. Not only the evil that you see fit, but the evil you rationalize against what God has called evil. That means pornography, drinking into drunkenness, stealing, cussing, lying (even the white lies), lust, homosexuality, adultery, pre-marital sex, covetousness, etc… you have been in church and read the Word, you already know these things. Does this mean you have a right to condemn others for committing these things, NO. This command was for the individual to prevent them from falling into evil, not giving someone the right to condemn others as this goes against Jesus’ second commandment, to love your neighbor.
In the end I ask every parishioner to search their motives and thoughts. Evaluate yourselves, am I going to church for the right reasons, am I putting effort into what is being taught and preached, am I more concerned about the color of the carpets or what is for lunch instead of the Word, am I disagreeing with the pastor, deacon, or elder because it goes against God or is it because something is not to my liking, am I reading the Bible as much as I should, do I keep in touch with God on a daily, hourly basis, can I love more than I love now? Simple questions that will prevent a lot of heartaches and problems IF you will do this. So do us all a favor and search yourselves, find areas to improve and seek to improve them. The church has gotten a bad stigma because of Christians not wanting to search themselves and obey God’s Word. It is not just a cool old book for you to browse once a week or when you are in need!
I have been in the ministry a short time, compared to many, but I have been hurt by those closest to me, and I am pretty positive everyone can relate on being hurt by someone close. Magnify this times ten as it has been by Christians that are supposed to love, understand, trust, and support. I have been attacked from every angle and almost on a daily basis. This can even be magnified by the depression and anxiety that I suffer from. I admit these things not to gain pity, rather to show that I am not immune to it, I cannot battle on my own, I cannot defeat this on my own, and it takes the love and grace of God to get me through with some prayer, encouragement, support, and love from those I trust.
 Unless otherwise indicated, all Bible references in this paper are to the English Standard Version (ESV) (Wheaton: Standard Bible Society, 2001).