Monday, February 15, 2010

Overcoming Evil

I'm about to touch on.... well... a touchy subject.  And I'm probably going to upset a number of people.  I'd apologize for that, but I can only believe what God teaches in His Word and what He does not teach is "breaking curses" or "binding Satan" and I've certainly never heard of anything remotely related to "Christian curses" in Scripture.

Let my start by saying I was in a Christian bookstore the other day and saw a book that touted the "fact" (I use the word loosely) that it could teach the reader how to "break curses" through prayer.  An excerpt from the back cover of the book stated "Is everything you do a struggle? Does a dark cloud seem to hang over your life? Are you trapped by feelings of abandonment and betrayal? Are you immobilized by severe hopelessness?  Does it seem you're unable to receive the blessing of God in your life?"  It then goes on to explain that these are curses and this book can teach you prayers to break these curses.  The first thing that came to my mind was what God told us in I John 4:4 "...because greater is He that is in you, than he that is in the world."  This is a very clear statement.  Greater is He (God) that is in me (as a Christian who has accepted the gift of Salvation) than he that is in the world (Satan and/or his minions).  This is not to say that Satan and his minions cannot influence what happens to us and our lives, look what God allowed in the life of Job.  But Satan can NOT do anything to a Christian that God does not allow.

Oh, boy, and now it sounds like I'm saying we should blame God when things go wrong. SO far from what I'm aiming for.  God allows trials and testings in our lives but He doesn't always tell us why.  When Paul prayed for God to remove the thorn in his flesh, God told him no, but that His grace would be sufficient.  God allows trials and testings and, yes, even sufferings in our lives as Christians, but He never leaves us to bear them alone.  He even tells us in I Corinthians 10:13 "There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it."
That ye may be able to bear it.  God doesn't allow these difficulties in our life to break us or so He can be amused.  But, whenever we come through a difficult time, we often find ourselves to be stronger. Stronger in our beliefs, stronger in our character, stronger in our knowledge of what we can do through Christ "who strengtheneth me."  (you... do remember in a previous post I mentioned that the "-eth" means it's happening now, in the present, right?)

Now, let me go back to this book a moment (no, I'm not going to give you it's name!).  Here's the thing, my pastor has done a series of lessons on how to overcome - or defeat - evil.  The only way to overcome evil is with good.  Unfortunately, since Evil hates good, this generates more evil trying to overcome good.  Which means we have to do more good to overcome evil.... and around we go.  Or so it seems.  So, things like this book that purports to be able to teach you prayers to "defeat curses" and evil and so on seems like a reeeeeally good idea. SO easy.  Just read a book or two and learn how to recite "prayers" and BOOM! you're life is all hunkey-dory!  No more dark clouds, no more struggles, no more feelings of oppression or abandonment or betrayal!

Except, we have to look at this "easy book" through the magnifying lens of Scripture.  What does the Bible have to say about this type of thing?  I John 4:1 says "Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world."  And in II Timothy 4 we find "I charge thee therefore before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and the dead at his appearing and his kingdom; 2 Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine. 3 For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; 4 And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables."

It is a fallacy, a fable to believe that Satan, or indeed ANYone can place a born again, Bible believing, Christ receiving Christian under a curse.  First, we must examine our own lives to see if the reason we're "living under a cloud" or "unable to receive the blessing of God" is because of unconfessed sin in our lives.  God can't bless us if there is sin we haven't honestly, fully confessed and truely repented of.  In that case, of course there's a cloud over our lives.  Of course we're not receiving the blessing of God.  It has nothing whatsoever to do with anyone placing a curse on us. That's a cheap cop out that allows us to shift the blame.  I believe psychologists refer to it as "guilt transferrence."  If we can blame someone else (i.e. Jane Smith cursed my life and that is why.... fill in the blank) we don't have to work to uncover that sin in our life.  We don't have to work on a relationship with our Lord.  Relationships are difficult and just saying a few "curse-breaking prayers" is easy. Right?

Uh huh.

I also knew a woman who had claimed to be a Christian.  I believe she was saved, but I believe she was misled in a lot of areas.  One of those areas was the belief that she (or anyone) could "bind" Satan by simply using Jesus' name.  As in "Satan, I bind you from [insert problem area] in the name of Jesus Christ!"  Really?  I mean, even Jesus Himself didn't do that when He faced Satan directly after His forty days of fasting.  If you recall, what Jesus did was answer each of Satan's temptations with "It is written..."  He fought Satan's evil with Scripture, not "I bind you in the name of myself!" That would have played right into Satan's hands in tempting His pride.  Pastor has told us the best way to fight Satan is to know our Bible.  Know the Scripture verses that will help you resist the temptations he brings your way.  Just remember, Satan knows the Bible better than you.  You don't think so?  Satan quoted to Jesus from the book of Psalm when tempting His pride, except he twisted it.  Just a little.  Just enough that most of us would have said, "hm, well, okay, I think that's what it says" and let it go at that.  Don't let it go.  KNOW. YOUR. SCRIPTURE.  Or Satan will use the same trick on you he used on Eve.... "Yeah, hath God said....?"

Satan will not be bound until the end of time: Rev. 20:1-3 & 14 "1 And I saw an angel come down from heaven, having the key of the bottomless pit and a great chain in his hand. 2 And he laid hold on the dragon, that old serpent, which is the Devil, and Satan, and bound him a thousand years, 3 And cast him into the bottomless pit, and shut him up, and set a seal upon him, that he should deceive the nations no more, till the thousand years should be fulfilled: and after that he must be loosed a little season.  14 And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death."

So, from this we learn that Satan will be bound one day by an angel who has authority from God (the key to the bottomless pit) but only for a (relatively) short time, then he will be loosed again until the final judgement when God casts him into the lake of fire.  Satan knows this; as I pointed out, he knows the Scriptures better than you.  That doesn't mean he believes them.  It does mean he will do his best to confuse things and if that means bringing in false teachers and fable fabricators, he will.  If that means planting the idea in someone's head that he can make a boat-load of money writing books that will convince lazy, gullible people who want to be spoon-fed their "christianity" (no, I left it lower case on purpose) that there is "Christian witchcraft" and "Christian cannibalism" out there and only the author has the knowledge and "spiritual power" to teach you what you need to know in order to "be set free!", he will.

But he'll be laughing all the way to the bank.

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