Beating the Devil with These Three Objectives

devil

Who is  the Devil anyway, and what does he do?
Satan is the Devil, the chief of the fallen angels. Since they were thrown out from heaven for usurpation of power and rebellion, they are here on Earth (see Re. 12.9; 2 Th. 2.4). They are the original anti-God even before we were created. Their main goal is to dissuade as many as they can from coming to God, and eventually take with them to their final destination – which is hell. When our first ancestors, Adam and Eve were created, Satan (as the serpent) was already there.

We could ask ourselves, why did God throw them on Earth, and not directly to hell? My best answer to that is, the LORD meant this present world to be a testing phase of life, and whoever overcomes sin overcomes the devils, and will then be among those taken to the next phase – the eternal life. This is both a test of faith and volitional love for Him – that is, a filtering stage. 

Where is he and his cohorts?
They are everywhere in this world, invisible to the physical eyes of humankind. They are spirits, rulers of the darkness of this world (see Ep. 6.12). They cannot be seen, but their activities are manifested in the works of men and women all over the world. 

How then, can we detect them?
Hardly really, especially if one does not understand the set-up of this world, its story, and where it is heading. Knowledge of the Bible is a must in order to somehow get a grasp of everything, and consequently gain the sense to detect them and their works.

A person who is under sinful activities barely realize that he or she is under the yoke of the devils. Sin has blinding effect on our intellect, and it captures our will (see Ro. 7.23). 

First, let us realize the fact that these fallen angels, now called devils and/ or demons dwell in sin, or in darkness.They opposed the Almighty, the bastion of righteousness (or whatever things that are right), and so therefore they were thrown away on the other side – the side of unrighteousness or sin. They cannot go back anymore to their former state. The LORD has figured out they were incorrigible; otherwise, how could they be adjudged to be sent away to hell in the appointed time the LORD Himself has set?

In light of this, they reside in the sphere where the state of consciousness is anything but godly. Anything in the opposite of God is where and what they are. Anything against, or sinful to the LORD is their territory and influence. Anything ugly and despicable is what they are concerned about. Anything dishonest and corrupting is their specialty. Let us remember that the Devil is the father of transgression. He is its originator and hence, has become the influence for all mankind. Who else is?

Now, how do they do operate?
Actually, it is not too difficult for them to influence and enslave mankind to their brand of life. Why? It is because this is a fallen world we live in. Mankind is under the dominant influence of sin. Sins abound everywhere – just look around and it is not hard to observe that. We all know that the wages of sin is death . . .(see Ro. 6.23). Death expressed here is not death of the body, but of the soul – as opposed to eternal life. This is the big, big trouble about sin.

Ignorance is really the main problem. I am not talking about just any kind of ignorance – but the ignorance of God.  A person ignorant of God and His ways is automatically an easy prey of the devils. Knowledge is power, and anybody without it is powerless; moreover, the person is not even aware that he is because of ignorance in the first place.

The Devil and company hit where we are weakest. And where is that? Our own carnality is the answer. It is our weakest link. What is carnality? It is the state of being carnal. The Latin root word is carn, meaning flesh. 

So the dictionary defines carnal as: 

  • of or relating to the body
  • relating to or given to selfish pleasures and appetites
  • of or relating to the world
  • earthly, rather than heavenly

The apostle Paul termed carnal activities as works of the flesh. He listed several of these activities as: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, idolatry, . . . envy, murder, drunkenness, etc. (see Ga. 5.19-21) The commonly recognized seven deadly sins, namely: lust, gluttony, greed, sloth, wrath, envy and pride are all works of the flesh. 

If a Christian still commits sin from time to time, it is because carnality or dominance of the flesh, is still there. Christianity should not be about prohibitions and restrictions, or the thou shalls and thou shall nots (for we will still be under the law); rather, it should be about total liberation from carnal mindedness. Paul sternly warned, for to be carnally minded is death . . . because the carnal mind is enmity against God. (see Ro. 8.6-7

How to get rid of flesh enslavement?

  • It is by a total change of mindset. A transformation can begin by the renewing of your mind as taught by Paul who went through the process (see Ro. 12.2). He was fully aware that carnal mindedness is death, hence the mandatory shift to spiritual mindedness. A dire need to go higher in our state of consciousness is a must, since carnality is the lowest state of man’s intelligence. A decision to renew one’s life is the beginning.
  • Mortify the deeds of the flesh by not making provisions for it to fulfill its lust (see Ro. 13.14). Just imagine that our old body is crucified with Christ, as Paul teaches; in doing so, the body of sin is destroyed, hence we should not serve sin (see Ro. 6.6). This is  figuratively getting nailed on the cross and dying from the old man or self in order to live anew.
  • Here’s a tip: Differentiate need from wantAfterwards, retain your needs and get rid of the wants. Our flesh/body needs food, water, clothing, shelter, etc. Basic needs are necessary because they are required to sustain life, without which we could die. Without those needs just aforementioned, we could die. Wants are those things that we could go without and still live. Examples are: drunkenness, cigarette smoking, drugs, fashion fads, jewelry, feasting, wild parties, etc. If we stop smoking, we will not die; on the contrary, we could prolong our life. But if we stop eating or drinking water, we will surely die. This is just an example of the difference between need and want. 

There are also necessities that have become needs in today’s living like: personal transportation, computer, television, home appliances, etc. We should be contented if we have these. Do we want an expensive flashy car for a means of transportation? Or we just need a decent car? Choosing the former is a choice in excess and pride.

We cannot just want all the beautiful clothes that we see in the department store. We cannot just want to have every latest gadget that comes in the market. We cannot just want the properties of others. Want is the jumping board for covetousness, envy, greed, lust, etc., and it could go as far as murder. 

What did Christ say to Satan when he was tempted to turn stones into bread? “. . . Man shall not live by bread alone . . .”(see Mt. 4.4) This packs a wallop. This simply laid sentence was a gem of wisdom. This means mankind shall not live by food, or money, or material things alone. This was a slap on carnality and Satan’s face. Life is not just about living in the flesh and the material things we work and long for, but firstly, by the wisdom of God.

Contentment 
Contentment is a good defense against temptations of the flesh. For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out, reasons Paul. And having food and raiment, let us be therewith content. Why so? Because . . . they that will be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and hurtful lusts, which drown men in destruction and perdition. For the love of money is the root of all evil . . .(see 1 Ti. 6.6-10). This what usually happens when we go beyond what is needed, when we want more, more, more . . .

Steadfast faith in God discourages the devils.
Fear and fear in them attracts them.; on the contrary, faith in God dismays them. The shield of faith blocks the tactics of the devil, explained Paul in Ep. 6.16. Job surpassed the calamities brought about by Satan in his life. He beat him by believing in the LORD all the way; moreover he thought the trial was going to turn his character into gold.

When unpleasant circumstances strike, the devil wants us to think that God does not care or has forsaken us, while in reality, all things work together for good to them that love God . . . (see Ro. 8.28)

In a nutshell:
Our direct adversary is not the devil; rather, it is our own carnality – for it is where they tease and can easily lure us. Our three objectives: first, we cut off our own carnality and worldliness, and we cut off the link for the devils; second, practice contentment in any given situation in life; third, top it off with steadfast faith in the LORD Almighty who booted them out of heaven, and they will flee. They will have no interest in us.  
  

  

             

 

 

Gluttony

 

glutton 2

It is a lifestyle of “pigging out“, or eating like a pig. (This article is in no way denouncing or insulting any class of people who may fall under this subject; rather, it is a laying down a very important truth, and at the same time, an admonition). 

It came from the root word glut, which means to supply with more than what is needed or that can be handled. Latin source word is gluttire – to gulp down or swallow. Excess is the main thought here. It is no other than eating more than what is needed or required. Gorging is the much shorter, modern term.

What makes a person glut himself or herself with food? Food is certainly a necessity, a means of sustenance, but why do people overeat? How much is necessary for one to sustain his or her body and life?

Gluttony is the main cause of obesity (what else is?). Obesity is a condition of not just being overweight, but being grossly overweight and having excessive body fat. There are so many obese people on Earth. In the United States, 2016 statistics revealed 38 percent of total adult population is obese. How many is that? Total adult population, men and women combined, is 246 million. Thirty eight percent of that is 93.5 million. Additionally, seven million more teenagers are in the same situation. So altogether, there are over a hundred million obese people in a population of 324 million. It is roughly almost 1/3 of the population, that is, if the data statistics were accurate.  

In Europe, United Kingdom has the highest rate with 20 percent of the population categorized as obese. In China, a 2016 report speaks of an explosion of childhood obesity which is worst ever. Australia is one of the most obese nations on Earth, a recent report says, with 1 in every 4 children as obese; moreover, about half the adult population (more or less) is of the same condition. 

Obesity has already been considered a disease by medical associations in developed countries. It is labeled as epidemic in some rich countries. What causes overeating? Is it affluence? Is it the availability of so much food around and the accompanying financial ability to purchase them? Is it an emotional outlet for boredom, depression, anxiety, or whatever? Or is it just plain greed? It could be a combination of all.

Now, why did this writer tackle the subject gluttony here? Because it is a deadly sin. It is in fact one of the seven deadly sins, namely: pride, greed, lust, envy, wrath, sloth, and gluttony. In ancient writings and drawings of Christian monks, gluttony is depicted as or represented by the animal pig. So when we are about to stuff ourselves with food in a festive gathering, we often blurt, “let’s pig out”!

The book of wisdom, Proverbs has a number of passages concerning this. These were from King Solomon, who had long personal experiences and meditations regarding the nature of life:

“Be not among winebibbers; among riotous eaters of the flesh: For the drunkard and the glutton shall come to poverty: and drowsiness shall clothe a man with rags”. (Pr. 23. 20 -21 KJV)

Alcoholic drinks incites the passions of the flesh, specially the appetite for food. 

“And put a knife to thy throat, if thou be a man given to appetite”. (Pr. 23.2)

The apostle Paul was much harsher in denouncing this:

“Whose end is destruction, whose God is their belly, and whose glory is in their shame, who mind earthly things”. (Ph. 3.19)

Are you an obese Christian? By God, you should quit being one – not as being Christian, but as being obese. Overeating is carnality at its best. It is an enslavement to the flesh and its inordinate craving. A person who overeats has no control of his or her self; rather it is the other way around – the flesh controls the person. The belly becomes the master (or god), for that person will do anything to obey it. 

Christians do not live in the flesh; rather we live in the Spirit who just happen to be in this bodily flesh. Paul spoke so much of the triumph of the spirit, not its defeat. If a Christian over indulges in food or drink, then his being Christian is just a label. 

Food is a first basic necessity but is also the first test of self-control. A person who fails in this first test of self-control will likely fail in other aspects of life.

Besides, don’t we want to be healthy? Let us hear what Alphonsus Liguori (1696-1787), an Italian bishop and writer had to say:

It is almost certain that excess in eating is the cause of almost all the diseases of the body, but its effects on the soul are even more disastrous”.

To eat is to get sustained and be maintained of well-being, but to overeat is to get sick. Just look at the diseases you will acquire if you are very much overweight: diabetes, hypertension, coronary artery diseases, liver failure, cancer, etc. 

Christian or no Christian, gluttony is a major problem for anyone afflicted by it.  An American novelist, Peter De Vries (1910-1993) wrote:

Gluttony is an emotional escape, a sign something is eating us

It is something deeper. I just want to add something to that: Gluttony is a psychological and spiritual problem of a void that can’t be filled up by food. That void can best be filled up by the knowledge of the teachings of God and His Son. 

Being grossly overweight and fat has dire consequences, both physical and spiritual. I was once overweight to a certain degree and I hated it. The sluggishness and irritability caused by it was disgusting. I felt the control of the flesh over me.

Sin begets another sin; they can be interconnected. A glutton is endanger of committing another one or two, or all of the other six deadly sins. Beware. 

How to cure gluttony? Well, I am no expert on anyone’s case, but nothing is really impossible if one wants to cure him or her self. All I can say is you must first have an irrevocable decision, then close the door behind; from thereon, you can figure out bit by bit what to do. Prayers only work if accompanied by actions.   

Lastly, an ultimatum from apostle Paul:

For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the flesh, ye shall live”. (Ro. 8.13

  

  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

RHYMER OF GOD SERIES: food for the soul repackaged (#10)

The Rock Fortress

stormThe Secret Behind Nature

Thunderbolt and lightning, where have you been?
Who sent you forth from heavens, where you have been hiding?

Blurting out in the sky, terrifying!
Thunderous, loud, and screaming noise, it’s deafening!

Coming out among the dark clouds looming,
Giving a flash cue, before heavy rains start falling.

Oh rain, oh rain, where have you been hiding?
Where you up with the white clouds just before they darkened?

Who commands you to descend: “It’s time to pour!”?
Drenching the lands which were long parched before.

Oh gale, you strong wind, where have you been resting?
Did you come by yourself, and start blowing and howling?

Did you just shake the trees, their leaves falling?
You are strong and powerful, though you cannot be seen.

Who says these things are of no consequence?
I say, I say, it is the Almighty God, it’s Him!

ref: jb. 37.2-6

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To Lose Patience is To Lose the Battle

The Rock Fortress

duel

To lose patience is to lose the battle“, thus said Mahatma Gandhi, the chief leader of the Indian independence movement during the time of British-ruled India.

Well, you may not be battling any empire or anyone, but you may be battling your own impatience and growing restlessness inside. Impatience can make you irritable and your blood pressure surge, defeating your composure. Impatience can even make you lose your temper and go wild. It can also make you sulk in a corner and throw in the towel.  

Have you failed in your endeavors before and are now losing it – I mean, your patience? Or are you just starting out fresh and want fast results? Or are you in the middle of some difficult work and feel like it is not going anywhere?  Relax, my friend, for that is not the way it works in this existence of…

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RHYMER OF GOD SERIES: food for the soul repackaged (#7)

The Rock Fortress

rich man on moneyWoe unto the Rich!

Christ did not come to save the rich and famous:
 esteemed, arrogant, and self-righteous.

Like a doctor would not come to see those fit,
but those who need him because they are sick.

He has compassion on the hungry and thirsty,
not on those who are full and have tons of money.

Christ came to save the poor in spirit:
the humble, whose sins they readily admit.

Woe unto the rich! for you have received your consolation.
Enjoy, laugh to the fullest now, for you shall weep and mourn.

ref: mt. 19.23; lu. 6.24-25; mt 5.3-6

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Boundless Horizon: The Eternal Mindset

The Rock Fortress

horizon 3

Are your thoughts confined within the limits of this world’s horizon? You have the option to free your mind: by discarding the temporal mindset most of humanity have – and think eternal.

A person, while yet living, must come to a realization that he or she is a little “eternal mind” being, a piece from the original, great Eternal Mind Being (God). This will greatly benefit him or her in day-to-day living by means of understanding and peace.

God, the Creator of the universe, our world and everything in it, made only one creation that is in the likeness of His own image: mankind (Gen 1.27). Only mankind closely resembles God. Naturally, we are not referring to physical form or image here, for God is an infinite Spirit and has no material form. We are talking of intangible likeness. In essence, man is both…

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Resilient Energy

sun-2

Have time and events in your life worn you down? Do you want to bounce back and be alive again?

Look at the sun: its hot, bright, burning  energy emit sunshine and warmth to the whole world. Its power is unceasing and unblinking; it is on all the time for as long as humanity can remember. Just when it is setting down on some countries’ horizons, it is simultaneously on the path to rising up on others’.

The sun is a great physical manifestation of the Creator’s constancy and faithfulness. The sun is always there, which means God is always there. He set up the sun, along with the moon and stars, for us; thereby, establishing the solar, lunar, and stellar systems of the universe (Gen. 1.16).

The sun is also a great example of resiliency: in the sense that it sets down at the end of the day, leaves the scene for darkness to come; but thereafter, rises up and shines again after dawn. It faithfully shows up again after every rainfall or snowstorm,too. It is a “springing back” up after going down cycle, which goes on and on. 

Resilience:

One of the word’s meaning (Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary and Thesaurus) is: an ability to recover from or adjust easily to change and misfortune. 

This is a trait, especially children of God have  that others don’t. Adversities, difficulties, or just plain unexpected, unseen circumstances or events come and go; but after each time, a child of God “bounces back”, and consequently, stronger or better than his or her former state every time. This writer terms it as “resilient energy”: power that comes back on after lying low or shutting down.

Analogy with a power plant:

power-plant

There are types of power plants: coal-fired, hydro-electric, nuclear, etc. These plants run for good, as long as the need for their services. Their purpose, as their names imply, is to provide electrical power or energy to the population. They feed on raw materials depending on what types they are. For example, coal-fired type feeds on coal; hydro-electric on falling water; and nuclear on uranium. Periodically, they undergo maintenance shutdowns, partially or wholly, to keep its optimum working capacity.  Afterwards, they go back on running again.

Similarly, at times, we wear down due to work, stress, unpleasant experiences, etc. We do not stay down though. We turn back on again because of the inherent resilient energy in us. Because we are in the flesh, we take breaks to recover or recuperate. But as always, the recurring strength is there. 

Let us look at the declarations of a prophet named Isaiah in the Bible:

“Has thou not known? has thou not heard, that the everlasting God, the LORD, the Creator of the ends of the earth, fainteth not, neither is weary? there is no searching of his understanding”. (Is. 40.28 KJV)

This is the reason why the sun does not run out: because its Creator and maintainer “fainteth not, neither is weary”. If  our Creator tires out, the sun simultaneously fades out. 

“He giveth power to the faint; and to them that have no might he increaseth strengh”. (Is. 40.29)

The prophet Isaiah was referring to the humble people who seek and rely on God, who do not have their own strength. 

“Even the youths shall faint and be weary; and the young men shall utterly fall” (Is. 40.30)

The people implied here are those who rely on their strength. In the long run, human power will not last.

“But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint“. (Is. 40.31)

We are talking about continual energizing and re-energizing here by the same Source who maintains the sun! What more could one ask for?

Let us be like the sun that rises up every morning and after every storm; and like a power plant, whose raw material feed is the Spirit, that keeps churning out power and energy, regardless of time. 

So, If any one out there is tired and worn out, and feels the passage of time is dragging him or her down –  pray and seek the Source of endless energy that you may bounce back again forevermore.