There Is Trouble Coming Everyday And It Is Too Easy To Blame Satan.
Satan is most often blamed for every trial, stumbling block, difficulty and suffering that befalls us, but such blame fails to take into consideration all the other issues and our own personal responsibilities for our own actions. People are inclined to blame the devil in order to remove their guilt, justify their actions, and ignore their responsibility and/or the things God wants to teach them through their suffering.
Regardless of the various external sources of temptation (The world, our flesh and Satan), the final source is our own sinful nature or the lusts of self-centered desires of our own hearts.
There are two things we should never assume:
(1) That everything evil that happens to us is the result of direct satanic attack. Though Satan is indirectly involved, some of what happens is simply the result of life in a fallen world. For instance, take cancer and other degenerative diseases; probably more than anything else these are the result of Satan’s involvement through a world merchandising system that has promoted an unhealthy diet and lifestyle (highly-processed foods, foods that have lost most of their food value due to depleted soils, pesticides, preservatives, chemicals, high fat and sugar diets, drug and alcohol abuse, obesity, anorexia, etc.).
(2) We should not assume that all our suffering is the product of our own sin or indifference to the Lord. There are many reasons for suffering. Job was a righteous man who walked with God, yet for His own purposes and for Job’s spiritual growth (all testing is ultimately designed for our growth), God allowed Satan to attack him. Paul too was a Godly, spirit-filled man, yet he experienced a thorn in the flesh. It was an affliction God used as a tool in Paul’s life to teach him some important spiritual lessons. The Lord healed all kinds of illness, but a careful study of the NT shows us that only a miniscule portion of these illnesses were actually attributed to Satan or demonic causes. The same can be said of Paul’s epistles. He spoke of Trophimus who was sick, but he never even suggested this was the product of direct satanic attack. Timothy may have been experiencing some kind of stomach difficulty, but Paul’s advice was simply to take a little wine for his problem. No mention of Satan or demons.
A general reading of the epistles puts the emphasis not on the demonic, but on our own responsibility to appropriate our assets in Christ. So while we need to acknowledge Satan’s activity and be on alert, our primary focus needs to be, not on Satan, but on the Lord and our responsibility to grow in Christ. It is often a cop out, pure and simple, for us to blame the devil when what is needed is honest to God personal examination, confession and to learn the spiritual lessons needed.
Someone once asked me, “How will I know if Satan is attacking me directly?” I replied, “Read the Book of Job.” So, like Job, when you lose all of your children, property and are covered with boils…then feel free to claim Satan is attacking you. Otherwise, consider the temptations of the world and your own flesh before passing the blame.
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