Taming Dragons: The Crisis of Compromise Part 2

Taming Dragons: The Crisis of Compromise Part 2

Continued from last week.

So far, I’ve used objects that have no volition of their own. Obviously, neither a flame nor a sheet of paper has the ability to want companionship. Nor do bacteria have a conscious desire to do us harm. However, the enemies of our souls—led and empowered by Satan—do have volition. And it’s that volition that causes the decay in our spiritual life, and which can have repercussions for our physical existence. According to 1 Peter 5:8, our enemy is prowling around like a lion, looking for someone to devour.

“Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour (1 Peter 5:8).”

Our battle, then, is not against material, unconscious enemies against which we can affect a defeat and expect it to remain defeated. It is more akin to standing in a nest of vipers and thinking that killing one will render the others harmless. Not so; this enemy of ours wants to destroy our souls (Ephesians 6:12)!

Photo courtesy of Jean Wimmerlin on Unsplash

Let’s look now at how the Bible portrays Satan.

  •   He is a created being; thus we know that he is not equal to God.

“You were blameless in your ways from the day you were created until unrighteousness was found in you” (Ezekiel 28:15).

  •   God will use even Satan, to His purpose.

“The Lord works out everything for His own ends—even the wicked for the day of disaster” (Proverbs 16:4).

  •   Satan defies God and is incapable of truth.

You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father’s desire. He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies” (John 8:44).

  •   God grants Satan limited power.  Although we may not understand why, we do know that Satan can attack even the elect.

“Then the LORD said to Satan, ‘Have you considered my servant Job? There is no one on earth like him; he is blameless and upright, a man who fears God and shuns evil.’

‘Does Job fear God for nothing?’ Satan replied. ‘Have you not put a hedge around him and his household and everything he has? You have blessed the work of his hands, so that his flocks and herds are spread throughout the land. But stretch out your hand and strike everything he has, and he will surely curse you to your face.’

“The LORD said to Satan, ‘Very well, then, everything he has is in your hands, but on the man himself do not lay a finger.’ Then Satan went out from the presence of the LORD” (Job 1:8-12).

  •   If there’s one thing that the dragon does not want you to know, it is that he was defeated at the cross.

“That power is like the working of His mighty strength, which he exerted in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms, far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every title that can be given, not only in the present age but also in the one to come. And God placed all things under his feet and appointed him to be the head over everything for the church, which is his body, the fullness of him who fills everything in every way” (Ephesians 1:20-23).

  •   Satan is always seeking an opportune time to tempt us.

“When the devil had finished all this tempting, he left him until an opportune time” (Luke 4:13).

  •   The dragon has but one purpose.

“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full”  (John 10:10).

  •   To that end, Satan will twist anything, including God’s very word, to achieve his own ends.

“Now the serpent was more crafty than any of the wild animals the LORD God had made. He said to the woman, ‘Did God really say, “You must not eat from any tree in the garden”?’

The woman said to the serpent, ‘We may eat fruit from the trees in the garden, but God did say, “You must not eat fruit from the tree that is in the middle of the garden, and you must not touch it, or you will die.”’

“‘You will not surely die,’ the serpent said to the woman. ‘for God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened and you will be like God, knowing good and evil’” (Genesis 3:1-5).

 

[bctt tweet=”When we actively listen to the lies of the enemy, we are in essence denying that we know God. — Susannah Wollman” username=”suziwollman”]

 

  •   Satan is the ruler of those who are separated from Christ.

“As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, in 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. All 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” (Ephesians 2:1-3).

  •   He also rules a hierarchy of demons.

“Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For 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” (Ephesians 6:10-12).

I’ve heard people calling Satan a “toothless lion.” I’ve sung songs that flippantly tell Satan to “sit on a tack.” I’ve not believed what the Word of God tells me about this dragon, for if I did, I would have been more sober about our very worthy adversary. Yet, God does not laugh at Satan’s activity, as though it were some freak show. He is not amused when we do not heed His warnings, and unless we wake up and begin to fight the good fight, our own dragon will swallow us whole while those who watch laugh and marvel.

We have but little chance—in fact, none at all—in defeating the devil, unless we heed the word spoken to us through James and John.

Therefore, submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts…Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and He will lift you up” (James 4:7-10, emphasis mine).

“And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, and they did not love their lives to the death” (Revelation 12:11, emphasis mine).

Next week we’ll look at The Song of Dragons.

Until then, press in to God. His peace belongs to His children!

Taming Dragons: The Crisis of Compromise Part 2

The Nature of Compromise—Taming Dragons Series Part 1

About the Series

I firmly believe that Jesus is returning soon. All I have to do is look around and see the actualization of what Paul warned us about in 1 Thessalonians 2:3 that says, “Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first.” Look up with hope, for He has promised us:  “when these things begin to take place, straighten up and lift up your heads, because your redemption is drawing near.”

The Nature of Dragons

When I was a child, I would watch “Our Gang” with great delight. Those of you who are too young to have seen the TV show can still relate to the scene I describe. Two little boys are sitting in a wagon to which they have harnessed a pet goat. Ingenious as these little guys are, they have rigged a long pole to dangle a carrot in front of the goat. When they lower the carrot, the goat goes forward, always and forever to be deprived of his reward. To stop, all they need do is just raise the carrot above the goat’s eye level and—out of sight, out of mind—the animal immediately stops. We tend to think stupid goat, until we realize that we who have considered ourselves sheep sometimes look an awful lot like the goat. Why is that?

Dragons dangle carrots, too.

The chief Dragon has spent millennia studying the behavior of human beings. And it’s his long study that enables him to hitch us to a wagon. Then, without even realizing it, we are following after a goal we never intended to pursue, and our minds are so caught up in it that we don’t even recognize the motivation that drives us. And, beloved, you are no different than the rest of us!

Let’s look at the nature of the dragon. First, it is ever and always a liar (we’ll get to that in Chapter Four). Then, it is corrupt through and through. The nature of the dragon is such that camouflage is, as it were, the skin in which it lives. These things are important to know if we hope to avoid entrapment.

 

John the beloved disciple gives us perhaps the most vivid description. “And I saw an angel coming down out of heaven, having the key to the Abyss and holding in his hand a great chain. He seized the dragon, that ancient serpent, who is the devil, or Satan, and bound him for a thousand years. He threw him into the Abyss and locked and sealed it over him, to keep him from deceiving the nations anymore until the thousand years were ended. After that, he must be  set free for a short time” (Revelation 20:2-3, emphasis mine). According to John’s vision, all doubt about the dragon’s identity is removed. And his purpose—to deceive the nations—is also plainly revealed. Deception may well be the most significant aspect of the dragon’s nature. His first encounter with man was to lie about God, and this is still his modus operandi today.
Few would argue with me when I say that our nation is in a downward moral swing. Click To Tweet We have churches today that cater to the itching ears of people all over the country. This is a prophesied event linked to the end times. 2 Timothy 4:3 says: “For the time will come when 
men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear” (emphasis mine).

There is a movement among the churches called ecumenism, which is to bring all religions together so that all may worship together. The problems with that are legion, and many books have been written on the subject. Suffice it to say that there can be no coming together because there is only one God, the God of Christ, who is Christ Himself. All other so-called gods are false, lies from the pit of hell, and what fellowship has righteousness with unrighteousness? Or how can dark remain with light (2 Corinthians 6:14)?

Marriage has been redefined to include same-sex couples, denying that the reason for marriage is not so that the world will recognize the union of two people, but that children might be holy (1 Corinthians 7:14). God established the order in Genesis, saying “For this reason shall a man leave his mother and a woman her home, and the two shall become one flesh” (Genesis 2:24, emphasis mine).

Things which are evil are called good, and things which are good are called evil (Isaiah 5:20). The Ten Commandments are removed from public view, Bible reading in public is not tolerated (not to mention speaking the name of Christ), and children are taught the fundamentals of Islam in so-called world religion classes while Christianity is minimized or eliminated altogether, despite its importance in the development of the West.

America did not slide into moral decay all at once, just as tooth decay happens slowly, over time. Did you know that sugar doesn’t cause decay in your teeth? Well, actually, that might be splitting hairs. [bctt tweet=”The human mouth is filled with microorganisms; so filled, in fact, that they outnumber the billions of people on the earth.” username=”suziwollman”]

Since bacteria are organisms just like we are, they consume “food” and excrete  “waste.” (Yes, I know that the analogy is disgusting; nevertheless, stick with me here.)

Tooth decay is more properly called demineralization. When acid (the waste the bacteria form) is allowed to remain on the teeth, a “hole” in the wall of the enamel begins to form. Immediately. Although we can’t actually sterilize our mouths, we can resist the decay process by not allowing the bacteria to form colonies. Limiting the amount of time that sugars remain in our mouths and cleaning promptly and thoroughly after consuming sugars and starches can keep the bacteria from doing their work.

Lesser Poland St. Catherine of Siena

Here’s how this analogy relates to our study of compromise. You can easily see that if you could eliminate all traces of sugars and starches you consume, bacteria—although they would still be present—would have minimal impact on your teeth. Demonic spirits, like bacteria, live with us and will have greater or lesser impact on our lives depending on how we choose to combat them. (Please notice that I did not say they live in you. I believe that if we could actually see the demons at work around us, we would have a bad time of it not to panic. You may have seen movies where the demons [or gargoyles, or whatever] are visible 
and the panic that ensues!) This is, of course, an oversimplification of the problem, but it will suffice for our purposes.
I’ve often used the nature of objects to explain holiness. If you hold a piece of paper over a burning flame, the flame will consume the paper. Why is that? Because it is the nature of paper and fire to behave this way. Even if the flame and the paper “wanted” to be together, it would not be possible without changing the nature of one or the other. God is said to be a 

Photo courtesy of Antony Xia on Unsplash

consuming fire (Hebrews 12:29). He is holy; we are unholy (until we belong to Christ). Uncovered as we are without Christ, we could not enter the Holy of Holies, where God dwells, without being utterly consumed, because holiness consumes unholiness. Holiness is an absolute, and thus cannot change. However, our fallen nature can be changed if we allow the Holy Spirit to convict us of our sin (that which makes us unholy), and ask God to make Jesus’ righteousness our own. At the moment of conversion, we die to our old nature and are reborn with a whole new nature (2 Corinthians 5:17). Something very real takes place here, not something symbolic. For the holiness of God is a very real thing, and if the salvation experience were only symbolic, we would still be consumed in God’s presence. Symbolic salvation would have little value for eternity.

Continued next week…

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