At the base of every sin is control. No matter what the sin is, it can ruin a moment of your time or it can take over your life simply because you have released control to Satan. If you are a Christian, Satan wants a barrier between you and God and he will do anything to put it there. He somehow knows when you have taken your eyes off Jesus – when you are unfocused. In those moments, he grabs your attention with something – an injustice someone has committed against you, uncomfortable circumstances, or even leaving solutions to all problems to someone else – like your government.
We have some wonderful biblical examples of people who were determined not to give Satan that advantage.
Think of Nehemiah, who stayed on course while rebuilding the wall of Jerusalem despite all attempts of Sanballat and Tobiah to distract him. Nehemiah prayed and worked. Nehemiah recognized what Satan was trying to do. He trusted God and he finished his mission.
Or think of Esther who, as a young Jewish woman, could have been afraid to approach the king with a request for help for her people. She had no idea whether she would lose her life or he would grant her request, but she did not let that uncertainty keep her from trying.
What about Joshua and Caleb who had to wait to cross into the land God had promised His people? Forty years is a long time. They not only had to wait, they had to endure the complaining of the Israelite people who had caused the delay. In all the waiting, Joshua and Caleb knew God was still in control.
Satan actually approached God and obtained permission to do what he could to get Job to deny Him. Job never knew why tragedy struck him like it did, but he endured sorrow, pain and ridicule without blaming God. In all this Job did not sin nor charge God with wrong…He said (to his wife who tried to get him to curse God), “Shall we indeed accept good from God, and shall we not accept adversity? In all this Job did not sin with his lips (Job 1:22, 2:10).
Sometimes Satan did get the upper hand and accounts of people like King Saul, Judas and Demas had tragic endings. Those who trusted God and recognized His provident hand even in difficulties and delays gave us a positive example, knowing that God’s desire is always for our good. Jesus, especially, withstood all of Satan’s attempts, “For I have come down from heaven, not to do My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me” (John 6:38). For in that He Himself suffered, being tempted, He is able to aid those who are tempted (Hebrews 2:18).
There is a stark contrast today between those who either have refused to give control to God in the first place, or surrendered control to Satan at a later point and those who have continued to trust Him no matter the circumstances. Our legacies will tell the story.
© Stephanie B. Blake