When we fail to factor in the spiritual side of life, we also fail to acknowledge the influence of evil. Many people choose to believe in God, but not the devil. The subject of heaven is palatable, but hell is often inconceivable. Believe it or not, we have a Savior in heaven, and an enemy in hell. Satan is the enemy of our homes, instigating, agitating, deceiving and destroying “by any means necessary.”
I know, it is difficult to understand the connection between hell, domestic violence and abuse. However, they are related in many ways. This is not to say that one who abuses or commits violence is evil, however, abuse, violence, rape, murder, theft, and the like are akin to evil doing. Certainly our Lord Jesus isn’t the influence behind such actions. Therefore, there must be another source.
“For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood ( man), but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places (demons).”
“I like your Christ, I do not like your Christians.
Your Christians are so unlike your Christ.”
— Mahatma Gandhi
The “blame game” is nothing new.
It began in the Garden of Eden – deeply rooted in satanic influence. It is a convenient way of transferring the responsibility of an error to another person, circumstances or whatever fits the situation, or offense. In Genesis chapter 3, Adam and Eve disobeyed God – sinned, and blamed one another. Adam lamented to God, “It was that woman you gave me.” Eve blamed the serpent, “The serpent deceived me.” The serpent, well, he could care less who blamed him, mission accomplished. He was already ejected from Heaven with a sealed fate – hell. It didn’t matter to him at all.
It is easy to shift the blame in another direction when found to be at fault. Numerous inmates have blamed a horrible childhood for the rape and murders they have committed. As they testify, “My mother didn’t love me,” “My daddy beat me,” or, “We grew up poor” – none of these excuses negate personal responsibility. It is true that some ugly things can happen to us in life; nonetheless, injustice does not excuse ungodly behavior. It is a natural inclination for mankind to try to wiggle out of a sticky situation by blame shifting – we learned this in childhood. In many situations, it doesn’t matter who takes the weight – Momma, Daddy, or better yet, “The devil made me do it!”
But here’s the truth of the matter. Satan can only influence our thoughts, actions, and many of the decisions that we make in life. He does not have absolute control over mankind, however, because he has studied each one of us, he knows which buttons lie exposed, and can be pushed under the right circumstances. The devil can only influence what is already within our hearts. He took advantage of curiosity in the Garden of Eden to capture Eve’s attention – she gazed upon the beautiful forbidden fruit – listened to the wrong voice, and found herself caught in the scheme of the devil. Eve exercised her free will, and the devil capitalized on her freedom of choice – hence – The Fall.
It isn’t that the devil can manipulate humans like a puppeteer by jerking our intellectual and emotion strings as he so desires. No, he knows mankind just as well as God does, and he knows how to recognize our faults and weaknesses, but he is limited as to what he can do in the life of a true child of God. Satan watches and prowls around the earth to find the chink in the armor of God’s children, causing a stumbling, and seeking to destroy (Job 2:1-10; 1 Peter 5:8). I am sure that he hates the fact that a child of God can confess his faults to God, repent, and go in another direction – forgiven for the offense. And this is the very reason that the devil is relentless in his search to find one who is not on guard (1 Corinthians 10:12; Ephesians 6:18; 1 Peter 5:8).
In Luke 22:31, Jesus informed Simon Peter that Satan wanted to prove that he could find that chink in Peter’s armor. During the Last Supper, (The Lord’s Supper), the disciples disputed amongst themselves about who was the “greatest.” It was Peter that Satan had his eye on at this time:
“And the Lord said, Simon, Simon, behold, Satan hath desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat:”
The New American Standard Bible (NASB), states that “Satan has demanded permission…”
Satan does not have absolute control over mankind as previously stated. He must “ask” for permission, and in some cases he may “demand” permission to “test the sons of men” (Ecclesiastes 3:18). We will elaborate on this point later on. When Satan set his sights on Peter to cause him to stumble, Peter himself was “the wheat, his self-confidence the chaff.” Peter had a worldly ambition to be the “greatest” among the disciples of Jesus, but he soon found himself denying our Lord, not once, but three times. It was Peter’s ambition that Satan focused on, and caused him to fall. Praise is to God, Peter repented, and he was restored.
When it comes to domestic violence and abuse, it is the contents of our hearts that Satan utilizes to wreck havoc. If one is prone to anger, and violence – this is what the devil will exploit. How? He will instigate situations that will cause a child of God much grief and heartache. One such way is via relationships. You meet a man that claims to love God deeply, and everything seems just peachy in the beginning. Once the honeymoon is over, and sometimes long before then, the abuse and violence commences. In this case, the devil knows when we are at our weakest, and long for companionship. When we run ahead of God, and seek to eliminate our loneliness on our own, we find nothing but trouble. If we are impatient, and do not exercise our faith that God will bring us a mate, in His own time, Satan will be more than happy to send you a substitute – a delusion.
THE DEVIL’S ADVOCATE
If you ever watched the movie, The Devil’s Advocate,” you will get a real sense of what this post is about – the influence of evil. The first time I watched it, I got through it. I concluded that it was a bit too satanic for my taste, and I decided not to watch it again even though I owned it. Well, I watched it on television last night, and it was great timing for this subject. My eyes were opened to the subtle tactics of the devil. Truth can be found just about anywhere. There is a lot of truth in this movie.
Satan (John Milton) – feeds on the vanity of a hot shot lawyer from Florida. If there ever was a man whose heart was filled with pride over his “win-win” career, it was Kevin Lomax – he never lost a case. In fact, he stated near the end of the movie, “I always win, that’s what I do.” The reality is Kevin won cases for guilty clients – he knew their guilt – fought for their freedom in spite of – for money and fame. Kevin was also a lawyer who cheated to win his cases. He confessed to Satan that he had spent the “last five years” listening to jury deliberations through the men’s room wall. So what does Satan see in Kevin? The devil, Satan, Lucifer, saw a chance to set Kevin up for destruction. In fact, he planned to completely destroy his life, and drive his wife to insanity and suicide. It wasn’t until his life had fallen apart that Kevin realized that he was dealing with something much bigger than himself.
The Bible says in Ephesians 6:12, “…our wrestling is not against flesh and blood…” In the movie, Satan was disguised as a successful lawyer, intelligent, and capable of giving Kevin anything he desired. Outwardly, he appeared to be someone that admired Kevin’s ambition, and wanted to promote him. Inwardly, he was an angel of light (Matthew 4:9), befriending Kevin – setting him up for destruction.
While grooming Kevin for success, Satan stated to him, “Pressure changes everything.” At first, everything was going well with the move to New York. Kevin and his wife were raised in country life, and the lure of the Big Apple was very exciting – at first. As the demonic influences started to take over their lives, Kevin’s wife, Mary Anne, was going downhill fast. But Kevin was on the fast track, and he sacrificed the welfare of his wife for power and wealth. He even told Satan that he didn’t want to end up “hating his wife if she got well.” Kevin felt that if he backed off from the big case that he was working on, and his wife suddenly became normal again, he would hate her because she would have caused him to miss his chance at a huge stroke to his ego.
As the story progressed, Mary Anne was committed to an asylum, and eventually killed herself. When Kevin’s mother confessed that John Milton (Satan) was his father, Kevin confronted him. For years, Satan was watching Kevin’s life for an opportunity to have his son become a part of his hellish family. The vanity in Kevin’s heart would be the entrance key for Milton to trap him in a life of luxury and success.
During the confrontation, Satan (Milton), confessed, “I set the stage; you pulled the strings – free will.” He also told Kevin, “Maybe it was your time to lose.” Kevin was full of self-love and Satan used that attribute to wreck his life. In fact, Satan stated, “Vanity is my favorite sin.”
With the death of his wife, guilt began to set in as Satan reminded him that he tried to tell Kevin to “take care of his wife.” Of course, it was a set up from the beginning, for Satan knew that the desire to win such a huge case couldn’t be passed over. Kevin placed his wife’s welfare on the back burner, and in the end, the guilt caused him to take his own life. Satan smugly stated, “Love is overrated.”
And of course, Satan tried to discredit God in the end. He said that God was a “prankster” that liked to watch our trials for “amusement.” He also called God a “sadist,” but of himself, a “humanist.” These next statements are very timely for our day, “I’m peaking now!” And, “It’s my time now!” In addition to these declarations, Satan offered Kevin even more of the world that he controlled – run the law firm, more acquittals (of the guilty), and be a part of his family by having intercourse with his step-sister, a demon. Satan’s ultimate use for Kevin was to impregnate his step-sister, and she would give birth to the “Anti-Christ.” Kevin chose to shoot himself in the head.
In the end, all the aforementioned was played out in Kevin’s mind while in the men’s restroom. He was about to acquit a guilty man of child molestation charges, but after all that he experienced from the glimpse of his future, he chose to “do the right thing.” He fired himself as the child molesters’ attorney even in the face of being disbarred. He walked away from the trial with his wife, and turned down the deal the devil offered him – or so he thought. The newspaper reporter hounded him for a story, and was given a final “OK,” when once again, the devil appealed to Kevin’s vanity – the lure of fame. The face of the reporter changed into Milton’s face – another body, another opportunity to pursue Kevin. The devil never quits. We are in a spiritual battle that most everyone ignores. There was no bedroom in Milton’s penthouse apartment – Satan never sleeps.
THE DEVIL’S ADVOCATE MOVIE SUMMARY
If your spiritual minds and hearts are open to truth, you will not dismiss the story line as “just a movie.” There is a lot of truth in this movie as to how Satan operates in the lives of mankind. He is not running around in a red suit with a pitch fork. Oh sure, he would love for us to believe this lie, that way he can subtlety continue to bring destruction to our lives while we blame God.
Satan instigates murders for he was a murderer from the beginning, John 8:44. He wasn’t always the evil being that he is, for God made him a perfect spirit being whose pride lifted him up to the point of desiring the position of God. Satan was a free moral agent, and therefore used his free will to rebel against God, started a war, lost the war in heaven, and was cast down to the earth:
“Your heart was lifted up because of your beauty;
You corrupted your wisdom by reason of your splendor.
I cast you to the ground;
I put you before kings,
That they may see you.”
(See also: Luke 10:18; Isaiah 14:12)
DOMESTIC VIOLENCE AND SATANIC INFLUENCE
Satan hates humanity, and seeks every day relentlessly to destroy us – by “any means necessary.” If he can cause a fight between husbands and wives, he will do it. He studies humanity as previously stated, and uses what lies within our hearts and characters against us. If you are prone to anger, you better believe Satan will orchestrate situations that will keep you in anger mode. You will hate your employer for making your work days difficult, but look behind the scenes. Just because your employer goes to a house of worship on Sunday, it does not mean that his or heart is with God.
If a violent and abusive person is being influenced by Satan, you will not be able to change that person. Only faith in God, accepting Jesus Christ, and repentance will make a difference. Not many Christians acknowledge the presence of evil, for they feel like that is “giving the devil too much play.” Personally, we don’t give Satan and his schemes enough thought. For if we did, we could look at a situation much deeper, and use the correct spiritual weapons to combat the warfare:
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. Therefore 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.
Ephesians chapter 6
Warfare… but not as we’ve known it
“Often we think we are being attacked by the enemy and blame things on him when in fact what is happening is that we have exposed ourselves to attack by doing things from our carnal nature instead of remaining hidden and protected in Christ.”
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