Jump Start # 2441
James 4:7 “Submit therefore to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you.”
I was thinking about this verse the other day. There are times when I just want to be alone. I don’t want any interruptions. I don’t want to talk on the phone. I don’t want to deal with emails. I just want to unplug from the world for a while. Those are great times to reflect, connect and mediate upon the holy Lord. You can’t really do that well when the TV is on, or, when you are in a room full of talking people. Too many distractions.
As I write this Jump Start I am in one of those places. There is a little community in Southern Ohio where I am preaching this week. The country side is beautiful. The people are grand. The church is small, but I love coming to this place. One of the things that is helpful to me is that where I stay there is no cell reception. Zero. No bars. If I drive into town, it’s back to civilization. But out here in the farming community, it’s peaceful and quiet and it’s good to let all the technology go for a while. It would be wonderful if every teen had to spend a week out here. There is life without technology. The farmers are bringing in the corn, there is a freshness to the air, and there are probably more cows than people in this area. Quietness, thinking, reflecting, observing, is something that many have never experienced. We have noise all around us. From the moment we are up, to the moment our eyes close, the TV’s on, the music is playing and we are texting or talking to someone constantly.
Now, you might wonder what all of this has to do with our verse today? How does spending some time out in the country connect with resisting the devil and seeing him flee from you? This week I’ve not heard any sirens. Traffic isn’t a problem. The world just seems to move slower and simpler out here in the country. It’s peaceful. You see God’s beauty everywhere. The colors. The sounds of nature. The rolling hillsides. It’s as if this is God’s canvas and each morning He presents a new picture. You miss some of this in the city. Traffic, stores, hustle and bustle, houses, buildings, it’s hard to see God’s canvas. But in this picturesque oasis, the Gospel needs to be preached. That’s why I’m here this week. It would be wonderful to find a place like this that we could post a sign, “Satan-free.” But no place like that exists, at least not on this planet.
Why does Satan bother us so? Why doesn’t he leave us alone? Why doesn’t he just go after those who do not care about Christ? Why is he always trying to trip us up? Why does he always have to ruin something that is good? When Satan flees, why does he come back? Just leave me alone is what I want to shout to the devil. You are not welcome or wanted. I don’t care about you. I don’t think about you. I’m not interested in you. I don’t like you. I will never like you. I will not be your friend. I will never be your friend. Just leave me alone.
But, he won’t. He comes with thoughts that are not good. He comes with attitudes that are not nice. He comes giving us a judgmental spirit that is cruel. He pushes our egos until pride rises to the top. He creates a thirst for material things that is twisted and out of perspective. He opens the door to fears which allows worry to spring up. He gives us a thirst for gossip. He makes lying so easy. He makes lust so available. Why doesn’t the devil just leave us alone?
There is but one answer and that is because we are created in the image of God and he does not want to go to Hell alone. He’s attacked Christ and failed. All he has left is to go after the people of God. And, he does. He introduces problems in our congregations. He pulls marriages apart. He gets us turning on each other and he smiles when we walk away from Jesus.
You have something and Satan wants it. He’ll break every rule, bend every truth and violate every command to get you to his side. He wants your soul. He’ll not leave you alone until you leave this planet. He’ll chase you, discourage you and confuse you. Put up your hand and fight back and he’ll flee, but it will be just for a short while. He’ll be back. He’s always coming back. He’s there waiting for you at work. He’s at home looking for you. He’s in the church building. And, yes, even in peaceful and quiet places out in the country, Satan is there.
This sounds like a no-hope situation. It sounds like a losing battle. But, it’s not. The victory is in Christ. Keep walking with the Lord and one day you’ll walk out of this room and into the arms of the Savior and then you’ll be done with Satan. He can’t go where you are headed. Be strong. Be faithful. Satan can’t stand goodness, so be good. He can’t stand righteousness, so be righteous. He can’t stand the word of God, so fill yourself up to the brim with God’s word. He can’t stand hope, so hold on to it. And, more than anything else, he can’t stand the Lord. And, you and I cling to the Lord with all of our might.
I like peaceful, quiet settings. It’s good for the heart. It’s good to slow down and reflect. It’s good to remember what really matters in life.
Begone, Satan. It won’t be much longer and we’ll be troubled by you no more. And, it won’t be much longer until your troubles, O Satan, will just begin!