Fear No Evil (Book Excerpt)
by Steve Russo
Copyright © 2007
Some of your friends may think this "Satan stuff" is all a big joke. Others may think it's cool to worship the devil.
What about you? Do you believe the devil is for real? Are you clued in that there's a spiritual battle raging all around you?
If you want answers, check out God's Word. The Bible describes the reality of
spiritual warfare in Ephesians 6:12: "For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places."
There is evidence all around us today of this massive spiritual battle. Just look at what is taking place on your campus, in the news, or in the broken families in your neighborhood. The devil is for real, he's our enemy, and he's playing for keeps. He and his troops are viciously attacking the kingdom of God. There will be no cease-fire or temporary truce.
Get a Clue: The Battle Is Real
Even though our struggle is not against flesh and blood, the Enemy still uses people and organizations. Satan has two great allies: the world system and the flesh. Spiritual warfare involves simultaneous action on all battlefronts.
Satan's first ally is the world in which we live. Scripture tells us that the entire world is under the control of Satan (2 Corinthians 4:4; Ephesians 2:2). In this position of power, Satan uses many things of the world to lure us into a hostile position toward God. He makes sure we are bombarded by materialism, sex, and an entire philosophy of life that is opposite to everything God says. Yet those who follow Jesus are warned not to love the world or anything in the world (1 John 2:15).
The other ally of the Enemy is the sinful nature or "the flesh." Basically the flesh is our fallen humanity. When God created human beings, He made them perfect. But when the man and woman—Adam and Even—chose to disobey God, consequences were passed down from that point on, generation to generation. Those consequences include our desires to do things and provide for our needs apart from God. Self becomes the ruler of us—not God, evidenced by adopting attitudes of craving physical pleasure, craving everything we see, and pride in our achievements and possessions (1 John 2:16).
"Craving physical pleasure" is the preoccupation with gratifying physical passions and desires. A great example of this today is our society's incredible overemphasis on sex. Have you noticed how advertisers use sex to sell everything from cars to vitamins? Everywhere we turn we're bombarded with sexually explicit messages on TV, in movies, online, and in music.
Of course, the physical passions aren't always sexual. They can also be an out-of-control desire for food, or a self-sufficient attitude that says, "I don't need God to satisfy my cravings."
The "craving for everything we see" is the unchecked desire to accumulate things. We live in a society that's consumed with "bling." Advertisers tell us we deserve to have their product or way of life, or we should get all we can get now because we're not here for a long time—just a good time. How about the new-car commercials or the ads for the hottest fashions? They're guaranteed to make you feel that what you currently own isn't quite good enough. While there's nothing wrong with admiring nice things, it becomes a problem when it goes from appreciation to a must-have mentality.
The "pride in our achievements and possessions" is being obsessed with your status or importance. Finding your identity in what you do on the football field or how well you sing or even who your family is can be a trap. Isn't it amazing how far people will go to feel important or to gain status?
Let's face it: We all struggle with the desire to serve and please ourselves, to try to live our lives ignoring God (Romans 8:5, 8; Ephesians 2:3). This tendency is still with us even after we become followers of Christ. If we're not careful, these desires can dull us to spiritual things. And remember, you're not alone in these struggles. When the devil tempted Jesus in the wilderness, these were also the areas of attack (Matthew 4:1-11).
Satan may not be directly involved when you are tempted to sin or enticed by the darkness, but he's definitely the inspiration behind it. He has constructed a massive web of evil to lure you away from God. Don't forget, you have the freedom to choose, so choose wisely, seeking advice from God at every turn.
But don't get caught in a trap of the extremes some people have: blaming the devil for everything, and seeing demons everywhere. The result is paranoia about the entire demonic world.
An equally dangerous extreme is not believing that Satan exists. If Satan can get you to believe a lie—like he doesn't exist—then he's able to do what he pleases, and you'll never blame him, fight him, or keep your guard up, watching for his subtle methods. You may have no clue that there's a silent, spiritual battle going on all around you, but that doesn't mean the battle doesn't exist. Be on the alert! Satan's up to no good, and he will do everything in his power to defeat God's plan for your life—even if you don't believe the devil is real.
Decide What You're Going to Do
Once you begin to get the picture about the spiritual battle, you must decide what you're going to do. How are you going to live in the world and stay true to God, choosing His ways rather than giving in to temptation to do things the Enemy's way? And what does it mean to resist the devil?
The battle is real, and we're all involved, like it or not. You're either following Jesus or following Satan as the Commander-in-Chief of your life. There's no in-between (John 8:44; Ephesians 2:2; 1 John 3:8, 5:19). Whose side are you fighting on? You can't remain neutral. You must decide which kingdom you will stand for: light or darkness, right or wrong, heaven or hell, God or Satan.
I'm convinced that teens are the number one target of Satan. Does that surprise you? Scare you? I'm hoping it will motivate and challenge you to seriously consider what we'll be talking about in this book.
Satan already knows what the church needs to be aware of: Teens are not just the future of this nation and the world—they're the present as well. And today, more than ever, I believe God is looking for students who are serious about making a difference.
You may just be dabbling with Satanism and the occult. You may be looking for truth about what you're hearing around school or in the media. Or you may be looking to strengthen your life to stand firm with God against the Enemy. Whatever your situation, this book is for you. We'll be looking at the battle for your mind, Wicca and witchcraft, why evil is so fascinating, how to be a candle in the dark, and much more. And most important of all, you'll find some practical hands-on solutions to help you take a stand against the forces of darkness in the spiritual battle.
Study these pages carefully and apply what you learn. God wants you to be a beacon of light in your home, on your campus, and in your community. Let's prepare for battle!
Fear No Evil by Steve Russo
Copyright © 2007; ISBN 9780764204555
Published by Bethany House Publishers
Used by permission. Unauthorized duplication prohibited.
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