Driving to work the other day I saw this beautiful husky dog just barking away and tugging on his leash as hard as could be, clearly trying to get to something. Then I saw why, just a little out of his reach was a sly grey cat taunting him. It was if the cat was smiling, knowing the dog couldn’t reach him as he was slinking around just close enough. Apparently, the dog was unaware that he just wasn’t going to be able to get to that cat, because he just kept trying with all his strength and might! Oh, that cat though, just pacing back and forth mere inches from the tether that holds that beautiful husky from eating him.
Sometimes, I think this is exactly what Satan does to us. We are blissfully leading our lives, trying with all our might to make our best relationship with God. Then, one day I think, just for today, I am going to run before I do my bible time because I have to get to work and my body is a temple after all. Or I decide that it’s ok to sleep in today – I will read my bible and spend extra time with God tonight, just for today.
I can see Satan just lurking right outside my mind. Almost smiling as he just waits for me to be weak in these moments, watching me add busyness to my day, all the while knowing I will not spend that extra time with God tonight because I will be tired and veg out with social media or tv or something else mindless. Something that fills my mind with anything but Jesus.
Can't you see Satan just outside the fold of holiness, not saying anything, but slinking around, just counting on my humanness? He knows where I am weak and stays out of the way because on those days he has no reason to worry. I am right where he wants me.
Then there are the days I am strong in Jesus. The days I start by reading my bible and spend time in quiet prayer listening for the voice of my Father. Those are the days Satan is threatened, and I think those are the times he whispers that doubt or murmurs those fears that that can take me back to my place of weakness. Because on those days Satan is afraid. He knows I am leaning on Jesus, and that I gain my strength from Him.
“Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But He said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, 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)
Now I am not even going to pretend that I am close to where Paul is, delighting in weakness, hardship or difficulties. I can’t get there yet. I would like to think I handle them better with Jesus. I do know that I am more at peace with weakness and difficulties when I am closer to God. Maybe one day I will delight in them, and perhaps I do find myself stronger because of them. My goal is to get to that day when I can delight in any hardship that comes my way, because I believe that is the day Satan loses his grip on me entirely.
It’s a journey my friend and we will all get there at our own pace. Here is what I am certain of; when that journey is done, we can celebrate the end of this story. Spoiler alert: God wins!
“And there was a war in heaven. Michael and his angels fought against the dragon, and the dragon and his angels fought back. But he was not strong enough, and they lost their place in heaven. The great dragon was hurled down - that ancient serpent called the devil, or Satan, who leads the whole world astray. He was hurled to the earth, and his angels with him.
Then I heard a loud voice say:
‘Now have come the salvation and the power and the kingdom of God, and the authority of Christ. For the accuser of our brothers, who accuses them before our God day and night have been hurled down. They overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and the word of their testimony; they did not love their lives so much as to shrink from death. Therefore rejoice, you heavens and you who dwell in them!' (Revelation 12:7-12a)