No Apologizing

"But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect." 1 Peter 3:15

Tag Archives: Hell

Are Christians Sociopaths?


Are Christians, particularly Christians in America, sociopathic?

What started as an off the cuff remark I made during a recent sermon at my Church (Legacy Church, in Kansas City, MO) has begun to legitimately haunt me (you can hear the sermon here)…

Christian… Sociopath… These are two words that on the surface seem completely incompatible.  Acts 11:26 tells us that the term “Christian” was first used of disciples in the Antioch church.  This was initially used as an insult in that people were saying they were “little Christs”.  In other words, they were just like Jesus, who because of His great love for people, voluntarily died to pay for the sins of the world. On the other hand – the dictionary defines sociopath as “a person with a psychopathic personality whose behavior is antisocial, often criminal, and who lacks a sense of moral responsibility or social conscience.” Another says that “Sociopaths are interested only in their personal needs and desires, without concern for the effects of their behavior on others.”

How can someone who is living a life that is reminiscent of a man whose critics admit was at least a good person and moral teacher exhibit behavior or attitudes that are patently selfish and apathetic to others? However, in spite of the apparent contradiction, I think if we are truly honest with ourselves, the answer is closer to “yes” than any of us who call ourselves a Christian would like to admit… And it tears me up inside… Let me allow this clip from Atheist Magician and Comedian Penn Jillette to begin to explain what I mean:

“How much do you have to hate someone to believe everlasting life is possible and not tell them that?” There is the rub… Way too many “Christians” fall in a daily routine and are comfortable to coast through life without a broken heart for their friends and family who, if what we believe is really true, are destined for an eternity without God… Well… to be honest that is the essence of selfishly living life “without concern for the effects of their behavior [or lack thereof] on others”, isn’t it???

We certainly shouldn’t be comfortable with it… But sadly I think that may just be the problem… our comfort.  Because we are relatively comfortable, especially in comparison to most of the rest of the world, we just get into auto pilot and unintentionally slip into apathy.  It’s not a conscious thing, but it occurs anyway… and it’s tragic.

Penn said “There comes a point where I tackle you… and this is more important than that.” Because people’s eternities are so important, our “social conscience” should remind us that we have a “moral responsibility” to love those around us enough to take the risk of offending them or losing a friendship to in a sense “tackle” them by sharing the truth about Jesus

Let’s pray to God for forgiveness for our sociopathic tendencies and begin to live a life that actually reflects our name-sake, Jesus… and refuse to scoot through life uncaring and unaffected by the many people we know who do not yet have a relationship with Him.

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Mourning the Death of Osama Bin Laden…


If you’ve read this blog at all you know that we are not fans of any religion or worldview that sets itself up against the God of the Bible. Nor do we back down from honest and straightforward debate with proponents of those worldviews.  I’m also not a fan of heinous acts perpetrated against our great nation and her people.  So it will probably surprise you that I have been grieved over the last few days by the death of Osama Bin Laden and I have been doubly heart-broken over the reaction the majority of our nation has had over this news.  Before you even think it, let me say that doesn’t make me a Muslim sympathizer and it makes me no less patriotic.

Look, let me explain:  I’m not saying that justice wasn’t served… because it was.  Nor am I claiming that he didn’t bring it upon himself… because he did.  And I’m definitely not saying that he shouldn’t have been stopped and dealt with… because he absolutely 100% needed to be.

What’s got my heart hurting is the fact that there is one more soul whose fate is sealed to be eternally separated from the loving God of this universe in a horrible place called Hell and people are rejoicing over it.  Regardless of what people may claim or wish or pretend, or what Rob Bell may imply, Hell is very real… it is very bad… and it is eternal.  So much so, I’d not wish it on my worst enemy – Even Osama Bin Laden… Even Hitler… Even the people who have directly, personally and deeply wounded me (both intentionally and unintentionally).

Again, please don’t misunderstand me here…  I am NOT a fan of Bin Laden… I detest and denounce what he has done… He was evil to the core and I realize the chances of him ever accepting Christ were slim to none… Well, given recent events, Slim is permanently out of town, so the chances are obviously zero now. But we have condemned Osama for his blatant disregard for the value on human life, but yet, by rejoicing his death aren’t we doing the same?

Some of you may call me a hypocrite because I am a proponent of capital punishment… And I definitely believe that Bin Laden should have been put to death (and unlike Mendenhall I do believe we have all the info we need to condemn Bin Laden’s actions and he would have undoubtedly been convicted had he made it to court)…. What I’m saying is that we need not rejoice over it.  There are often things that NEED to be done, but which should give us no pleasure in the doing of them… Burying the dead, disciplining your children, complicated and painful (but life-saving) surgery, chemo-therapy, etc. are all examples of things that have to be done that no sane person should rejoice over.  In fact, that last one may be the best example… Killing Bin Laden was chemo-therapy – it eliminated a cancer that needed to be dealt with, but is it cause for jubilant celebration? I submit to you no, it is not.

Consider this… 2 Peter 3:9 says, “The Lord isn’t really being slow about his promise, as some people think. No, he is being patient for your sake. He does not want anyone to be destroyed, but wants everyone to repent.”  That “everyone” includes people we’d rather not have existed… Hitler… Stalin… Bin Laden… child abusers… rapists… your ex… EVERYONE.  Further food for thought is Ezekiel 33:11 which says, “Say to them, ‘As surely as I live, declares the Sovereign LORD, I take no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but rather that they turn from their ways and live. Turn! Turn from your evil ways! Why will you die, people of Israel?’”

Does that mean everyone will believe and or that everyone will enter into Heaven? By no means, (God speaks about punishing the wicked in the Ezekiel verse – sorry Rob Bell, both God’s Love AND His Justice wins) but it does mean that we should value human life and desire, like God does that everyone come to know him… It means that we need to tell people about the good news of Jesus Christ… and it means we should grieve when people die without Him – even people as evil as Osama Bin Laden.  We need to love and pray for people as long as we and they are alive and let the Lord sort it out when we’re all dead (cf. Romans 12:19)… In fact Jesus Himself said, “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven; for He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust” (Matthew 5:43-45).

Getting to that place is hard… and it will require a revolution in thinking… but let me ask you this:  Can you bring yourself to care more about the Kingdom of God than the good ol’, US of A?  That’s where I believe God is leading me… How about you?

So yes, I grieve for Osama Bin Laden… as well as all who die without knowing Jesus. Do you?

HOLY WAR (but NOT Jihad)!!!


God’s Word makes it very clear that all Christians are in a very dangerous and deadly battle – we are called to MAKE WAR!  That is why we are given instructions on how and who and with which weapons we are expected to fight. Check out what Eph 6:10-18 has to say about it:

10Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. 12For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. 13Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. 14Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, 15and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. 16In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. 18And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints.

Not only are we expected to fight, but we are expected to WIN – BIG TIME (cf. Romans 8:37).

Over the coming days we are going to look at the various aspects of the Armor of God… and see how each to be used to increase our effectiveness for our Supreme Commander-in-Chief. But before we strap on the Armor and go out Rambo-style to kick tail and take names I think it’s important for us to examine just exactly who who or what is/are the enemy.

Far too often I see Christians assuming that we need to fight against people and their messed up thinking… their ideologies (aka their politics), but it seems to me that verse 12 above makes it pretty clear that this is not the case. Let’s take a peek at what God says about it elsewhere (Ephesians 2:1-3):

As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, 2in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient. 3All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our sinful nature and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature objects of wrath.

One can derive from this passage, and the one from chapter 6 above, that Christians have three basic enemies: the World (culture), Satan/the Devil, and our own wicked Flesh… NOT other people!!! Nowhere does it talk about political entities… Hmmm…

Now for those of you who know me you know that I personally have a massive disdain for certain political views and that most of these views are held dear by a certain political party here in our country. This, of course, leads me to have VERY strong negative feelings about that party. But I have to stop and ask myself are rage… frustration… outrage… disgust… against a political party (and thus many of the people in it) a good use of my time and energy?

If our enemies are the World, our own flesh and Satan, aren’t we already fighting on 3 fronts? No military expert would tell you that is a winning battle plan… So why on earth would we want to add a 4th? It is a losing strategy, it is harmful to other people, the reputation of Christ and when you get down to the bottom of it, in almost every instance, fighting against other people it is downright sinful…

When I studied this out to teach it on our recent youth retreat I think I found that, we can reduce this fight to a two front battle. I deeply believe that if we will rightly focus our efforts it will make us more effective for the cause of Christ – I welcome your comments on whether or not the following makes sense.

In spiritual warfare we often (rightly?) begin by focusing on Satan as the primary enemy. Let’s look at some of his names (characteristics) to understand him better and fight him better. As I studied out his names I saw a pattern or progression unfold that made a lot of sense to me and helped me focus my battle efforts – hope it does the same for you.

In simplest terms the Devil is God’s enemy… Satan HATES God and would love nothing more than to replace Him. We see this in these names: Satan (which means Adversary) 1 Peter 5:8; 1 Timothy 5:15; Enemy/Opponent – Matthew 13:28; Evil One – John 17:15…

He is not powerful enough to oppose/fight God directly so he employs a round-about attack by going after God’s people and doing everything in his power to keep others from becoming God’s people… To do this Satan has masterfully influenced the culture toward greater and greater depravity and evil. God recognizes this ploy and has warned us in other names that have been given to Satan: Prince of the Power of the Air (which means he controls unbelievers) – Ephesians 2:2; Ruler of Demons – Mark 3:22; Ruler of this World (which means he rules the world system/culture) – John 12:31; God of this Age (which means he influences the thinking of this world) – 2 Cor. 4:4; Beelzebub (Lord of the Flies) – Matthew 12:24; Belial (which means that he is worthless – just like the corruption he has brought to the world) – 2 Cor. 6:15

Satan then uses the Culture/World to provide temptation for our flesh (the second enemy listed above). We see this in his names: Tempter – 1 Thes. 3:5; Serpent of Old – Deceiver in Garden – Rev. 12:9, 20:2

God warns us from falling to these schemes in 1 John 2:15-17 when He says:

15Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 16For everything in the world—the cravings of sinful man, the lust of his eyes and the boasting of what he has and does—comes not from the Father but from the world. 17The world and its desires pass away, but the man who does the will of God lives forever.

However, Satan is stubborn and will not give up… through the World/Culture will try to tell you that certain sins are OKAY… he’ll try to convince you that they are not that bad… He’ll provide you with every kind of justification from “I’m just wired/born this way” to “God wants me to be happy and this will do it” to “I/they deserve this”… But I’m here to tell you IT’s NOT OKAY…

Satan is a masterful liar (cf. John 8:34) – Though he tries to make it look good, pleasing and harmless, sin is an affront to God and His Holiness and it is harmful to our soul and damaging to our lives and relationships! Sinning is telling your heavenly father that you know best – it’s basically giving God the finger… and though God is loving and forgiving that is a dangerous game to play…

Once Satan has trapped you in one of his schemes and he has hooked you with some type of addictive sin, he then capitalizes upon our temptations and failures. God calls him the Accuser  (Rev 12:10) because Satan bad-mouths you to God, in your mind and to other people. He is called the Dragon/Destroyer (Rev. 9:11; 12:3, 7, 9) because he uses your sinful mistakes to ruin your life. He is called a Roaring Lion (1 Peter 5:8) because he wants to swallow you up in the consequences of sin and keep you from experiencing fellowship with God. He is a Murderer (John 8:34) because he leads people to eternal death (aka Hell). The term “Devil” actually means “slanderer” ( Matt. 4:1) because If he can’t get to you any other way, he’ll try to destroy your/God’s reputation.

So, what I see from all this is that if Satan is the deceiving force that is corrupting the culture we only truly have to fight the battle on two fronts… We need to Submit to God and resist the devil (James 4:7-8).  And we need to MAKE WAR against our sinful nature (cf. 1 Cor. 9:27, Galatians 5:16-26). John Piper would say that the war against our own flesh is the most important aspect of this… but I’d have to respectfully disagree… I think both prongs of our counter-attack are equally important… If we fight directly against Satan (and we’ll see how to do that in coming posts) then the culture will be effected which will minimize temptations as much as possible, making it easier to fight against our sinful desires…

I don’t know about you, but I’ve seen sin’s painful effects on a lot of people’s lives and I’m hopping mad about it… I’m ready to strap the armor on and get it on with Satan in God’s mighty power… Will you join me?

BOY, it’s HOT!!!!


The heat wave that is sweeping the nation is definitely brutal… My A/C is having a VERY hard time keeping up… When Robert and I spoke earlier today he mentioned to me that this reminded him of how urgent we ought to be about the souls of our friends, family and neighbors… He said: “If you think it’s hot now… Imagine how bad it’s gonna be in Hell, where the heat never lets up!” What a sobering reminder…

Revelation 20:12-15 says, “And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Another book was opened, which is the book of life. The dead were judged according to what they had done as recorded in the books. The sea gave up the dead that were in it, and death and Hades gave up the dead that were in them, and each person was judged according to what he had done. Then death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. The lake of fire is the second death. If anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.

Later on we’re reminded elsewhere (Rev. 14:11 and 20:10) that this torment is forever and ever… OUCH… Let’s take a cue from my friend and let this oppressive heat help remind us that we are called to the ministry of reconciliation (cf. 2 Corinthians 5:18-20)… Let’s get to it… Let’s show them how to get permanent/eternal A/C!!

One Quick Thought on George Steinbrenner


George Steinbrenner, former owner of the New York Yankees, passed away earlier this week. He is credited with turning around the fortunes of the Yankee organization. His passing was a very sad thing for all of Major League Baseball.

I heard a quote from Steinbrenner once: “Nothing is more important to me than winning… Winning is everything.” This made me think of Romans 8:37 “In all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.” It is not a right mental attitude, shrewd business dealings, awesome strategy, or excellent scouting that makes us such great winners – it is Jesus… I wonder if Mr. Steinbrenner ever became a winner in this way… I certainly hope he did.

I have no idea if he ever gave his heart to Christ, but there is one thing I can guarantee: If Mr. Steinbrenner was able to come back from the grave and offer everyone one piece of advice for becoming a true champion he’d say this: “If you do not know Jesus… Get to know Him – Today! If you do know Him – Live for Him each and every day!”

US vs. Algeria – US Wins in Dramatic Fashion


WOW! What a game! If you missed it here’s a quick recap… The US dominated play against Algeria but didn’t score the winning goal until the “added time” at the end of the 2nd half. The Yanks HAD to win to advance because England was winning their match against Slovenia… This was a nail biter for sure.

For much of the match it seemed like the US was going to be robbed of a win on a mysteriously disallowed goal, much like they were against Slovenia earlier in the tournament.  Plus, in spite of their best efforts and spectacular opportunities, goals were just not finding the net… However, during the added time Donovan perfectly placed a ball that weakly ricocheted off the Algerian goal keeper after a fabulous US counter striking run on goal. I literally jumped out of my seat!

Like the last dramatic match, this one got me thinking about spiritual stuff… Immediately after the goal was scored Matthew 20:1-16 popped into my head. This is a parable that Jesus told that demonstrates that as long as you’re alive, it’s never too late to accept Him and enter the Kingdom of Heaven (by placing your faith and trust in Jesus – click HERE to learn how to do that). Like the US, it doesn’t matter how many opportunities you’ve let slip away in the past… the important thing is that you do it! However, unlike the US, who only faced elimination from a tournament, this decision is the difference between Eternal Life in Heaven and Eternal separation from God in Hell.

Now, some of you may be thinking something like… “I’ll wait until the last minute and accept Christ then, cuz I wanna have my fun now.” That is a dangerous game to play… The US didn’t know in advance how much added time there would be at the end of the match (if any)… That is why they valiantly tried to score all game long – and their desperation became more and more evident as time elapsed – they knew England’s score… they knew that they had to score as well. Additionally, they didn’t know how many scoring opportunities they would get… Similarly, none of us knows how much time we have left here on Earth… nor do we know how many opportunities we are going to have to trust in Jesus… But, like the US, we know that time is running out… God’s patience with you is not leis e fare. In fact, the Bible tells us in 2 Peter 3:9 that, “The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.” Consider this, Jesus said, “Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with me.” But He won’t knock forever… Won’t you open your heart to Him? If you do the party that awaits in Heaven is far greater than our mutual rejoicing over the US Soccer team’s win today (see Luke 15:7).

For more details on the US victory click HERE.

US vs. Slovania – Yanks Robbed of a Victory


I only saw the very end of the US vs. Slovenia Soccer match… but I’ve got to say the US got ripped off by the ref. With very little time left and the score tied, the US had a free kick which resulted in the apparent go-ahead goal, but the referee disallowed the goal because of some mystery call (no one knows for sure yet even what the call against the US was). Strange…

But, like many things, this got me to thinking about life – More specifically, it got me to thinking about the afterlife. And again, I’m amazed by the fact that we will not have an incompetent judge deciding our fate… and unlike the World Cup, our fate will not be decided by our own merit and/or performance either!

From what I’ve heard, the US probably deserved to lose the match because they played so poorly in the first half and fell behind 0-2 (only 21 other times in World Cup history has a team come back from that kind of deficit to tie or win). Like the US… All of us EVERYONE deserves to live life now and in the hereafter separated from a perfect and holy God. Unlike a sports team, however, we cannot just fight back and be good enough to even things out or make things right. Instead, because of God’s justice a penalty must be paid for our sin. Here’s where the good news comes in.

Jesus came and paid the penalty for our sin!  He didn’t just even things up… He made us winners… Here’s an abbreviated version of what the Bible has to say about it… Read these out loud, and ask yourself “What does this mean?” – Think about it… It truly is Good News!

Romans 3:23 – all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God

Romans 6:23 – the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Romans 5:8 – But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

Romans 10:9-11 – If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved. For the Scripture says, “Everyone who believes in him will not be put to shame.”

Romans 5:1 – Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ

Romans 8:31-32, 34, 37 – What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things? Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who died—more than that, who was raised— who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us… No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.

 Again, the US might have been deprived of a victory because of their bad play in the 1st half and because of a horrendous call from the ref… but those who trust in Jesus are assured of an eternal victory, though they don’t deserve it. Have you trusted Him? If not, will you?

LOST Series Finale


Sunday night was bitter sweet for me. LOST is over… Yeah, I can admit that I’ve been a huge fan of the show. My wife and I didn’t start off watching it, but got caught up in about season 3 by renting the first two seasons on DVD just before season 3 launched. This series has been one of my favorite shows of all time and the finale didn’t disappoint.

Of course, there are plenty of things to criticize about the show’s world view… but seriously, who forms their belief system over something they know to be fiction? There are, however, at least a few parallels to biblical Christianity (this is often true of great literature)… So, to put LOST to bed, so to speak, please allow me to point out just a couple of these.

First of all… the concept of the show started out simple enough, but then it got REAL complicated – REAL quick… Not everything made sense – no one could ever quite understand all the rules governing the island and those living on it – good people went bad, people with dubious pasts redeemed themselves. To the very end everybody had their own opinions as to why such and such was happening (from the tiniest detail to the over-arching purpose/meaning)… In fact, the most helpful episodes were the reruns that included the writers’ and/or directors’ commentary – but even these sometimes brought more confusion and questions than they provided answers.

Isn’t that just like real life, though? Life starts out real simple, but gets REAL complicated – REAL quick. Not everything that happens to us makes sense – Why do bad things happen to us or people we know? Why does the economy stink? Why do folks get laid off? What is the Purpose of Life? Why is the government so jacked up? The questions roll on and on… And the stronger the questions and challenges the less we know how to deal with them on our own!

Sorting it all out can be crippling! So people turn to various religions and try all sorts of theories (remember the hatch… Hugo’s unlucky numbers… Daniel’s crazy insights and ideas – including the nuke… Desmond’s idea last night). But even when they find the right place (we believe this to be the Bible) to search for reliable answers to life and morality (I mean, just how are we supposed to fight the “Smoke Monsters” in our lives – whoever he is) the waters can still be muddy because people often have a hard time understanding it or it leads to more questions!

SPOILER ALERT: Two of my favorite places in this last episode is where Jack initiated Hurley by passing him the bottle as Jacob had done for him – “Now, you’re like me”. Kate said “I know you don’t understand, Jack… But if you come with me, you will.” She touched his life profoundly and then led him to his father, who could (and did) provide the answers.

Both of these scenes demonstrate the kind of evangelism we need to have in the Church today… a passionate compassion for other people that leads them to be their best by seriously engaging in a relationship with God. In both scenes a life-altering decision was made and it was initiated by one of the characters simply asking them to make a decision. The decisions were tough but because of the love and care and friendship that had been invested between them the decision was really not all that hard… But still, one had to ask and the other had to accept. Demonstrating their decision wasn’t complicated – instead, it was so easy Hurley asked “Is that it?” It is the same for sharing and accepting God’s free gift of salvation. Through Jesus there is redemption for everyone even someone as evil as Benjamin Linus (I was glad to see them bring that character around for good through admitting his failures and apologizing). But for that to occur they must be presented the Good News that forgiveness and a new life are available though Jesus… this means that we are going to have to do a much better job of just lovingly asking our friends and family to make a decision (just like Kate and Jack did) – I’d venture to say that we will often get similar responses as the ones depicted on the show… acceptance (even if there is some reluctance at first).

That is what Robert and I are trying to do with this venue… it’s our driving force… our passion… our purpose: To connect with you and share life with you – to show you the way to the God and place (God’s Word – the Bible) where we’ve found our answers – And, we want to do this with No Shame, No Fear and No Apologizing – though we ourselves have been LOST, even though we fail… We sincerely hope you will come along with us and see where this ride takes us – It’s wilder and more awesome than anything Jack, Sawyer, Kate, John or Hurley could ever have imagined!

Erkle-like Witnessing moments: “Did I do that?!”


Hey, Robert and I have intermittantly been encouraging everyone to share their faith… Greg Stier has put together a pretty good list of ways we DON’T advocate (Check it out):
 
What kind of awkward witnessing moments have you had?

What about this Satan Character?


God created everything.  This would include Satan.  Looking at the timeline presented in the Bible we know that Satan and his bunch of rebels were kicked out of Heaven before the creation of Adam and Eve.  Satan was the best and brightest of the angels.  But he had a flaw.  He wanted to be like God – Really, he wanted to BE God.  This naturally caused a rift between God and Satan, and of course God wins.  With Satan, 1/3 of the angels departed from heaven (we know them now as demons).  If we know that Satan fought against God because he wanted to be like God, we can draw some conclusions.

1.  Satan is not God thus,

2. Satan is not Omnipotent (All Powerful) and,

3. Omniscient (All Knowing) and,

4. Satan is not Omnipresent (Everywhere at once). 

These four simple points cover a lot of area.  Because Satan is not God, he cannot know everything that is or will be, and he cannot be with us all of the time and He can (and will be) defeated!

All of these points are critical to gain understanding of our common opponent.  Satan is an aggressive opponent, and knows how to attack people.  This statement implies a level of omniscience.  However, we have already established that he is not omniscient. So how does he know?  I believe Satan is an excellent observer of human behavior.  Let’s be honest – he has had thousands of years of observations to draw from. 

Observation is a highly effective strategy that is often used in business, sports and war.  People are taught to watch for cues that indicate what people are thinking, how they might respond, when to press, and when to lay back and let it ride.  Anyone’s personal experience is limited to maybe 20 to 30 years of active observation.  Satan, though, has all the years going back to Adam and Eve to draw from.  This gives me reason to believe that while Satan is not omniscient he certainly can provide a very educated guess as to how you will respond to temptation. 

While we are all created uniquely, we all are prone to various kinds of temptations which are not unique.   Our mistakes are not the first of their kind in human history.  This is Satan’s tactical advantage over us.  He knows that while we are unique in our creation, our response to temptation is not.  After thousands of years of observation of personality types, and responses, he knows how to trip a trigger and crawl into your life.  There is hope, though… See 1 Corinthians 10:13 While Satan has millennia of experience tripping people up, God, though the Holy Spirit, has been equally practiced at helping God’s people deal with sin… More on this later.

Everyone has their pressure points.  Do you believe that it is a coincidence that the same issues appear over and over in your own life? I never thought about it until recently.  Then it finally dawned on me:  Satan is real, Satan is clever and Satan is a very astute observer. 

The attacks can be sudden, and from out of nowhere.  There can be long pauses between attacks (demonstrating Satan’s lack of omnipresence).  Rest assured, if you are making an impact for God, if you are beginning to grow in your faith, or beginning in your path towards the truth, you will attract his attention and his ire.  This is where understanding your opponent’s tactics will really help you. 

Satan deals in half truths.  He wants to present you an option that appears to be in the nature of the Bible and God’s word.  This is the trick of Satan. 2 Corinthians 11:14 says that Satan masquerades as an angel of light. Here is an example.  If you are beginning to grow in your faith, then it is fair to say that you are trying to rid yourself of some bad habits.  Stress is a fantastic way to push people back to a default habit or personality trait.  Apply a little stress, and the normal person will revert.   Let me use examples out of my own life. Things like success are a difficult temptation for me because, while I have my moments, I am not a humble guy.  Another example for me is fear of betrayal.  Satan knows my weaknesses, and knows what I need to see in order to feed my arrogance and paranoia.  But this is not limited just to me!   Satan’s desire is for you to revert.  God’s desire is for you to succeed by becoming more like His Son – See Ephesians 5:1-2

Look at these startling statistics.  The Bible mentions Satan over 180 times, Jesus mentions him 100+ times.  Despite that, 60% of believers believe that Satan isn’t a real living being, but rather a symbol of evil.  The greatest achievement of Satan is to have convinced the world that he doesn’t exist.  Not only has he convinced the world but also believers. 

If you are a believer let me boil it down a little more strongly…You are willing to have faith that Christ was born of a virgin, Christ is the son of God, Christ lived without sin, Christ died on the cross for your sin’s, Christ was resurrected, and God created angels, …Do you really think it is so farfetched to believe that Satan is real?! 

Next time, we will look at specific strategies for defeating this very real and active enemy, but as a preview you may want to take a look at the following passages: James 4:4-7; Ephesians 6:10-18 & Romans 6:6-13.

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