Read: John 10:10; Nehemiah 6:1-4; John 8:43-44; Romans 8:1; Romans 8:38-39
Two e-mails came this week. Their messages were quite similar; however, the intent of each was very different. The first one arrived and purported to be sent from a well-known bank. According to what was written, there had been suspicious activity on our account, resulting in its having been frozen. They claimed to have taken this action for our protection. We were to click a link and let them know if we were aware of the transactions that had supposedly been made. There was one very obvious problem with this e-mail right from the get go. We don't have an account at that bank; so, we have no need to listen to anything they might send. Case closed. The second e-mail arrived this morning. It was marked urgent. Once again, we were asked to verify a specific charge. This time, we needed to pay attention because we do have a relationship with this credit card company. They were monitoring and found this particular activity on our card to be unusual. Yes, we had charged that amount, and appreciated their watchfulness. Two e-mails. One wanted to trap us, and the other was monitoring to ensure that we weren't hacked.
As we walk with Jesus day by day, there are two who desire to influence us. The Lord Jesus Christ and the Evil One. When we are born anew, John 3:3, we come into a living relationship with the Savior. He indwells us and lives through us; so, we have every reason to learn His truths and listen to His voice. Because we have now been released from the kingdom of darkness and are now citizens of the kingdom of light, Colossians 1:13, we are no longer under the mastery of Satan. Therefore, if we recognize His lies, we can reject them completely just as I deleted that first e-mail. Perhaps an example from scripture will be encouraging.
The passage we have chosen is from Nehemiah 6:1-4. A bit of background. Nehemiah had left Persia where he was food and wine taster for the king. He was a man on a mission. The walls of Jerusalem needed to be rebuilt for the safety of the city and the wellbeing of its people. They were in ruins when Nehemiah arrived, and he rallied the people to get the job done. He also worked and prayed to help accomplish this much needed work. By the time we get to chapter six, great progress had been made, once again infuriating Israel's enemies. We need to pause for a moment to remember who the real enemy was. Yes, three men are mentioned early on in this chapter, but the real one behind all the tactics of these three men was Satan Himself. The enemy of God Who had opposed God Almighty since man was in the Garden of Eden, Genesis 3. As Jesus stated, Satan was a liar and murderer from the beginning, John 8:43-44. No wonder His tactics are so varied, the devil has been opposing God for a long time, and His tactic to ensnare in chapter 6 was more subtle than at other times in this book. In this case, the men called for a meeting with Nehemiah. A sit down together. Sounds innocent enough; however, Nehemiah was not fooled. His simple response was so good. In verse 3, he boldly said that he was involved in a great work, and it would not be stopped so that Nehemiah and these three could have a meeting. Although the adversary tried several additional times, Nehemiah was not deterred, and the work continued unabated. All because Nehemiah knew that what they were doing was important.
About now, it is easy to think that compared to Nehemiah, we're not doing anything very significant for the Lord. Another lie to be deleted if we are allowing His light to shine through our lives so others will honor Him, Matthew 5:14-16. Satan can't snatch us out of our Father's hand, John 10:27-30; however, when we are ensnared by one of His lies, our work for Jesus can be interrupted. Even so, there is good news. Our Good Shepherd holds out abundant life to us, and it has already begun here on earth, John 10:10. How do we walk in that new life day by day? We remember that because we belong to Jesus, whatever we do can be done to glorify God, 1 Corinthians 10:31, but what about our sins and imperfections?
What about the two different messages we hear when we fall? It is like those two e-mails. One of the sources sought to deceive and harm while the other sought to help and protect. When we sin, one voice we hear condemns us and says that God no longer loves us and that He is finished with us because of our sin. We might even feel that we no longer can live in a manner which brings glory to Jesus. That is the voice of the accuser Who wants to bring discouragement and deception into our lives. There is also a second voice. It is the Lord Who says that, indeed we have sinned. Yet, the blood of Jesus is cleansing us from all unrighteousness, 1 John 1:7. Rather than giving up on serving and living for the Savior, we need to admit our sin, turn away from it and walk in Jesus' forgiveness. After all, the Lord is the One Who lifts us up with the truth that there is now no condemnation for His children, Romans 8:1 and that nothing can separate us from His love, Romans 8:38-39. These are truths to refute the lies. Thoughts to release us from the liar's snare and allow us to walk in the joy of forgiveness, repentance and fruitfulness.
Lord, Satan would like to use lying tactics to ensnare us. Help us recognize them, and help us choose to believe what You say rather than His lies.