EVEN THE DEMONS TREMBLE

I have so many ideas as to the next blog entry I’d like to post. I have so many things to talk about. Yet, it’s as if I can’t bring myself to write them down, not because I’m lazy, but because I’m overwhelmed by the urge to share with you a post which I’ve written some moons ago when I still blogged with thoughts.com. I had to let go blogging there, because for some reason, I couldn’t get into my site …

Since I blogged there by first saving my entries as Word documents and then pasting the content into the edit field for the body text of the entry, I still have the content with me today. However, I had to make some amendments to the original to provide for the lapse in time, but here’s what I wrote and what I’d like to share from that time today.

The following story was sent to me in Afrikaans via Whatsapp years ago, and because it made me think of certain passages in Scripture which, in turn, caused me to read other Bible passages with the same theme, I just cannot help sharing it!

Once upon a timelived a Christian old lady who was so poor that she had to rely on the community for donations of food, clothes, and other groceries. The local Christian radio station knew about her circumstances and would regularly ask churches and others who were into charity for donations. It so happened that a devoted atheist heard about it and decided to trick the old lady. He called the radio station, asked them for her residential address, and requested his secretary to purchase some groceries and food and then to deliver it to the old lady with the following instruction:- “If the old lady enquires about the identity of the donor, tell her that it was sent to her by the devil.” Arriving at the old lady’s residence, the secretary could tell from its appearance that its inhabitant was severely poor, so she wasn’t surprised when the donation was received with great joy and gratitude. However, she was surprised when the old lady started to pack all the groceries away without enquiring about the identity of the donor.

After a few moments, the atheist’s secretary asked the old lady if she was curious to hear who sent her all these groceries, to which the old lady responded (wisely and calmly):- “No, child, that doesn’t matter, because even the devil obeys God’s orders just because God has spoken.”

Having read this story, I remembered something in the Bible about the devils fearing and trembling, and I also remembered that it was somewhere in the book of James, but I wasn’t sure of the context of this verse. So I typed in “James 1” and read this book until I found what I was looking for:

“Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble.” (James 2:19)

The apostle James wrote this in the context of faith without works, making the point that it doesn’t help to confess with your tongue that you believe in God when your deeds don’t show it, so it means nothing if your brother or sister is hungry or needy, and you say, “God bless you” without even attempting to do something about his/her situation.

This verse, in turn, reminded me of Something Jesus said to the seventy people whom he sent to minister to the Jews in His name after their return when they reported to Him that the devils are subject to them when they did something in His name:

“I beheld Satan as lightning fall from heaven. Behold, I give unto you power to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy: and nothing shall by any means hurt you. Notwithstanding in this rejoice not, that the spirits are subject unto you; but rather rejoice, because your names are written in heaven.” (Luke 10:18-20)

Now, the reader has to understand one thing very clearly, which is that, if the story about the poor lady and the atheist is true, then neither the atheist nor his secretary in the story as told above is the devil, ok?It should not be our aim to make those who are in the world and who refuse to believe in Christ the object of our struggles with their arguments and the things they say and do to us in the name of liberation, freedom or reason. God loves the world (John 3:16), and not only did Jesus atone on the cross for the sins of those who believe in him, but also for the sins of the whole world! However, Satan is described as the Prince of this world (John 12:31; 14:30; 16:11), and Paul wrote that it is this way with the minds of those people because the god of this world has blinded their minds (II Corinthians 4:3-4).

It is for this reason that we are told in at least two New Testament passages that the war of Christians are not against people, neither are their weapons of warfare the same as the weapons of the world.

“For though we walk in the flesh (live in the world), we do not war after the flesh (wage war as the world does). For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal (or the weapons of the world), but mighty through God (or they have divine power) to the pulling down of (or demolish) strong holds; Casting down imaginations (arguments or reasonings) and every high thing (or pretention) that exalteth itself (sets itself up) against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of (make it obedient to) Christ.” (II Corinthians 10:3-5)

The following points are made very clear by the apostle Paul as we read this passage concerning the weapons of Christians:

1. People who are in Christ do not wage war in the same manner as those who are in the world, or else our warfare is carnal (fleshly) and cannot please God.
2. The weapons of our warfare are NOT carnal or typically human and/or secular, but are mighty or powerful only through God.
3. We have to use our spiritual weapons to demolish strong holds.
4. Our weapons have to cast down any argument or pretention which seems to exalt itself against the knowledge of God. An example of such an argument or pretencion can be found in Isaiah 14:13-14 where Satan’s attitude towards God while he was in heaven is addressed.
5. We have to imprison every thought, in other words, subject each thought in such a way that it is obedient to Christ.

Elsewhere, Paul wrote:

“Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.” (Ephesians 6:11-12)

Here, Paul makes it very clear that we do not wrestle against people, but against things that can’t be seen or observed in the physical realm.

It’s hard to do so, especially if the things said and done to you make you feel the painful sting that often accompanies mockery and rejection, but at least, the following can and does serve as comfort:

“If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you. If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you. Remember the word that I said unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord. If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you; if they have kept my saying, they will keep yours also. But all these things will they do unto you for my name’s sake, because they know not him that sent me.” (John 15:18-21)

In conclusion, I’d like to add that, if the atheists secretary asked the old lady in our story if she would have accepted a donation of groceries if she knew that the devil was the donor, then she could have responded that every good and perfect gift comes from the Father:

“Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.” (James 1:17)

Wow! So it is indeed true that even the devil has to submit to God! I also find it hilarious that God can use people with ill intentions to accomplish His will, even if they mean to do evil!

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