Dearly beloved in Christ,
Greetings to you in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ!
We meet different sorts of people every day. There are those who are helping by nature. Some are jealous by comparing their state with those of others. Seeing the children of others doing better in studies than their own children they are driven by jealousy. Some are worried about others not respecting or honouring them. They seek their destruction. These people are wicked and would go to any extent.
In the book of Esther, we read about Haman. He had been exalted and seated far above all other nobles. All the servants in the palace had great regard for him and worshipped and honoured him. It was so ordered by the king. But there was one Mordecai who did not respect or worship him. He had informed those who questioned him about it that he was a Jew. These people were interested to know whether he could stand on his decision and so informed Haman about his resolve. Thenceforth, Haman sought to destroy all the Jews. To fulfil his wish, he got the permission of the king himself and a date was fixed to carry out his design. Esther had favour in the eyes of the king and she arranged a feast for the king and for Haman. At the feast she revealed how Haman sought to exterminate the entire Jewish race. The king was enraged at him. He got up from the feast and went to the garden of the palace. When he returned, he saw what had happened and ordered Haman to be hanged.
A wicked man is always with evil thoughts to endanger someone. In John 10:10, Jesus Christ says: “The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.” The wicked one refers to Satan.
WHY DOES THE EVIL ONE COME?
1.To Create Division
“therefore the Lord God sent him out of the garden of Eden to till the ground from which he was taken.” (Genesis 3:23)
The man, created in the image of God, was brought to Eden to plough the ground, but the evil one, Satan, came to thwart the plan of God. He came to destroy the good relationship man had with God. He took a strange form and made Eve and Adam act against the word of the Lord. They had been told not to eat the fruit of the forbidden tree. But Satan cheated and convinced them to eat it and thus separated man and God. Thus, man lost the image of God and came under curse. “In the sweat of your face you shall eat bread till you return to the ground, for out of it you were taken; for dust you are, and to dust you shall return.” (Gen. 3:19).
Man heeding the voice of Satan who came in the form of a serpent lost his original image of God. He lost the glorious imperishable image of God. He was subjected now to death. In his life, sufferings and toil multiplied.
Today many families are divided. Even in young age people apply for divorce. This has become common even among the old. The separation caused in a family astounded me. But knowing how it worked, I understood how Satan works. The husband and the wife were teachers. The husband would buy all the items needed for cooking. He would buy vegetables and mutton on certain days. He would come home for lunch. Then he noticed that the mutton he had bought was missing and was angered but would eat what was available. In the evening the wife came and found that nothing was left of the mutton for her. She thought it was the husband’s doing and was angered against him. This resulted in their separation.
Thus, those united in marriage are separated by the wicked acts of the enemy. Disobedience, suspicion over the other person, lack of control over lust, and such simple reasons give way for separation. In some families the children do not honour their parents, do not talk to them and do not help them in any way and keep themselves away. The acts of the wicked enemy make them incapable of enjoying the blessings of remaining united. Psalm 133:1 says, “Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity!”
2. To Make Us Slaves of Worldliness
“Even so we, when we were children, were in bondage under the elements of the world.” (Galatians 4:3).
Today people are given to the ways of this world. When I was a games teacher, I used to pray with the footballers before the start of a match as they prepared to enter the ground. But I have seen the members of other teams entering the playfield touching the soil of the ground and applying their hands on their eyes. The soil that is trampled underfoot is thus loved by them. Ways which are inappropriate and do not align with the teachings of the Bible are followed meticulously by parents and children. Eccles. 9:5-6 says “But the dead know nothing, and they have no more reward, for the memory of them is forgotten. Also their love, their hatred, and their envy have now perished; Nevermore will they have a share in anything done under the sun.” Without knowing this, people place the photographs of those whom they love in their purses, pockets, phones and on the walls of houses to adorn them. Through faith in these objects the devil is given the way to operate in their lives. The evil one brings evils upon such persons.
Once one sister was affected by breast cancer. When we had been to pray for them, she questioned why the disease affected her. I told her that she thought of a person who died of a terrible disease very often and so the evil one brought this disease. She admitted that it was her mother. She had also died of breast cancer. She had placed her photo before her bed. I counselled her to think of Christ and not place her photo there. If she thought of her, the same disease would affect her.
Similarly, a sister going to a spiritual church was affected by cancer in her stomach. She was admitted to a hospital in Chennai. I asked others to leave her room and told her not to think of her dead husband as that would lead to her death. But she told me that when she thought of him, he would come and lie with her. I told her that it was a wicked design of Satan and so to pray for the Lord’s forgiveness. I assured her that the Lord would do a miracle. That evening a surgery had been arranged for her. She truly repented and asked for forgiveness. The doctors examined her and ruled out surgery and sent her home. Let us not give room for such worldly ways by keeping anything to remember our loved ones and pave the way for the devil to operate in us.
We read of another thing that is abhorred by the Lord in Ezekiel 8:16, “So He brought me into the inner court of the Lord’s house; and there, at the door of the temple of the Lord, between the porch and the altar, were about twenty-five men with their backs toward the temple of the Lord and their faces toward the east, and they were worshiping the sun toward the east.” This is unacceptable in the sight of God. Many worship the Sun without knowing that it annoys the Lord. In the name of yoga, some worship the Sun without knowing what ‘yoga’ means.
In Leviticus 19:28, we read: “You shall not make any cuttings in your flesh for the dead, nor tattoo any marks on you: I am the Lord.” Tattooing has become a fashion. Once I prayed for a sister in a foreign land. I asked her whether she entertained thoughts of suicide very often. She also accepted the fact. She asked why such thoughts crop up. I told her that it was because of the tattoo of a dragon on her body. But she refuted that it was only in the shape of a flower. But when her relatives verified the figure on her chest, it was a dragon. Let us not subject ourselves to the cunning designs of the enemy.
3.To Thwart Our Plans
“Therefore we wanted to come to you—even I, Paul, time and again—but Satan hindered us.“ (1 Thessalonians 2:18)
We observe that in many of our activities there comes something that hinders our progress and causes delay. In certain things we may even have to give up the projects. In matters of marriage, constructing a house, giving birth to children, change of job, promotion and the like, delays and obstructions intervene and cause discouragement. These are acts of the devil.
In the life of a brother, the devil obstructed his going abroad several times for his job. But he came for prayer, the Lord removed the obstacles and paved the way for him going abroad. He removes barriers that stand in the way. He could go abroad as he desired with his family. The very same year he arranged a prayer meeting in his house and bore witness as how the Lord removed the obstacles. Many were encouraged and glorified the Lord.
4. To Sow Weeds
“but while men slept, his enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat and went his way.” (Matthew 13:25)
Today the Word of the Lord is interpreted in various ways and devious teachings have crept in. This is act of the devil who sows tares. Some preachers say that once one is saved, it is permanent. In the life of the spirit, as you sleep, the devil sows weeds which choke the real teachings of the Lord.
In the school where I worked, there were 108 persons on the staff of the school. One of the teachers, who came in white “jiba” used to meditate on the Bible under a tree near our playground. At one stage, he resigned his job to do ministry. Soon after that I too resigned my job for full-time ministry. In a few days after that, I heard that the person who resigned before me took ill. I went to see him. His legs and hands were crippled and he had a cigarette in his hand. I enquired him what had happened. He was disenchanted with life. His wife was seated near him. I told him the vision I had about them. I saw them in dim light in nudity. She narrated the shameful acts of the man. He said that the Lord had clad Eve and Adam with skin clothing. He quoted from Job 19:26-27: “And after my skin is destroyed, this I know, that in my flesh I shall see God, whom I shall see for myself, and my eyes shall behold, and not another. How my heart yearns within me!” I told him to think of the curse that came upon Ham who saw his father without clothes. The Bible teaches that we should be clothed in modesty. But he died after a few days.
As the enemy sows tares in the midst of the wheat which is the Word of the Lord, the wheat is not able to grow. Weeds would affect our lives too. Psalm 107:10-11 says “Those who sat in darkness and in the shadow of death, bound in affliction and irons— Because they rebelled against the words of God, and despised the counsel of the Most High.” The Bible teaches: “And you shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free” (John 8:32). In the spiritual struggle that exists between the body and the spirit, we should remain vigilant so that the enemy does not creep in to sow tares.
II WHAT SHOULD WE DO TO OVERCOME THE WICKED ENEMY?
1. Praise the Lord
“But You are holy, enthroned in the praises of Israel” (Psalm 22:3).
The word ‘Israel’ itself means one who is transformed fully. In Isaiah 43:1, we read that Israel is formed from Jacob. Jacob is one who is filled with the original sin. He is selfish. He was the one who got for him the rights of the first born from his brother Esau when he was hungry and demanded a portion of his porridge. He was the one who cheated his father in his old age saying a lie that he was Esau and made him bless with the blessings he had for Esau. But he was the one who said that he met the Lord face to face and would not let Him unless He blessed him. Thus, he struggled with the Lord. Then the Lord transformed him into Israel. Even today the Lord transforms us born in sin and makes us into new beings in Christ. We become His children, a new creation in Christ. The transformed Jacob was given a new name, Israel. “But now, thus says the Lord, who created you, O Jacob, and He who formed you, O Israel:“Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by your name; You are Mine” (Isaiah 43:1). We have been created to praise Him. He indwells the praises of Israel. As we praise Him, His presence comes in our midst and blesses us. David spent all his time in praising the Lord. He says, “I will bless the Lord at all times; His praise shall continually be in my mouth” (Psalm 34:1). Psalm 147:1 says, “Praise the Lord! For it is good to sing praises to our God; For it is pleasant, and praise is beautiful.” As we praise the Lord more and more, the devil is put to shame and he runs away.
Once a devil claimed possession of a girl for whom we prayed. The mother of the girl also was with us praying for her. We sang a song many times, but it proved useless. The devil tormented the girl more and more. We began to call the Lord who dwells in the praises of Israel. As we began to do so loudly, the devil began to plead with us not to praise the Lord as it felt a burning sensation. Till then, it was boasting. Now it felt the power of the Lord that tormented it. In a few minutes, it twisted the girl and ran out of her saying that it would not come again.
Dear Brother/ Sister, as the children of the Lord begin to praise the Lord, the devil runs away from them and their boundary. Praising is pleasing to the Lord. From today let us be filled with the praises of the Lord. The devil will be destroyed.
2. Fill the Heart with the Word of the Lord
“But this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the Lord: I will put My law in their minds, and write it on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people.” (Jeremiah 31:33)
We should keep the living words of the Lord in our hearts so that we may not sin (Psalm 119:11). “For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks” (Matt. 12:34). The mouth speaks the words that fill the heart. The words of God serve different purposes. They serve as lamps to our feet and light to the path. They have the power to heal us. They caution us. When we meditate upon them, they induce a burning sensation in us. Above all things, the Word is the sword of the Spirit that can attack a devil. When Jesus Christ was tempted by the devil, He overcame him with this sword of the Spirit. As we love and meditate on them day and night, we are filled with the fruit of the Spirit. All things prosper in our hands. Our life will be successful. The Lord uses the Word to cleanse us. We grow spiritually on the pure milk of the word (1 Peter 2:2). “The Lord gave the word; Great was the company of those who proclaimed it” (Psalm 68:11). The word of the Lord is useful to console us and wipe away our tears and to bind our wounds. It works actively in us.
“Now the Lord is the Spirit; and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.” (2 Cor. 3:17).
If the wicked enemy should not come in our way and if he is to be destroyed fully, we should be filled with the Spirit of the Lord. When He fills us, our life gets transformed. We give up our old ways and habits. We become a new creation in Him with a new nature. The Spirit of the Lord will convict us of sin and judgement. Moreover, the Holy Spirit will cleanse us. With the foreknowledge of the Spirit, we are cleansed.
With it we are baptised with fire. This helps us to destroy the works of the devil. This fire was kindled in heaven (Ezek. 28:17-18). Jesus Christ said: “I came to send fire on the earth, and how I wish it were already kindled!” (Luke 12:49). This anointing of fire would destroy the wicked acts of the devil.
Jesus assured His disciples: “And I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever” (John 14:16). They were gathered in the upper house in oneness of spirit and were praying. “Then there appeared to them divided tongues, as of fire, and one sat upon each of them” (Acts 2:3). Only after this incident, the disciples were able to do miracles in the name of the Lord. The crippled stood up and walked. The power of the Lord manifested resulting in the deliverance of many people. More than 3000 people who listened to the teachings of Peter turned to Christ joyfully and were admitted into the church. If you are filled with the Spirit, the wicked enemy will be destroyed.
May the Lord bless us!
In the service of Christ Jesus,
Bro. C. Ebenezer Paul.