Thursday, April 23, 2015

The Great Battle and the Opiate of the Masses

The past two weeks we have looked at different parts of the war between Satan and God. Revelation 12:1-17 specifically talks about how God thwarted Satan's plans to harm his son Jesus, how Satan rose up and the angels fought him, and how he was cast to the earth, bringing 1/3 of the angels with him. Then in Revelation 13:1-10 we saw representations of an "unholy trinity" being introduced. The first beast representing a counterfeit Jesus, looking like he was slain but still being alive.

This war has been going on for all of history. Revelation gives us a glimpse into the spiritual realm, where the span of time is condensed into the major acts of aggression and God's success against them. When seen through this perspective, the events of earth are by-products of the events of Heaven and the war Satan is waging against it.

One of the by-products we see is Satan attacking God's people (Revelation 13:7). Paul McFarthing discussed some of the ways Satan goes about it. You can listen again here. The most obvious way being open opposition to the church and its people. Any time there is a world view bent on destroying the blessings and generosity of God's people, you can point the source back to Satan's desire to overthrow God's kingdom and rule.

Another way he fights is less obvious and that is through the comfortable life. I call it here the "opiate of the masses" as a play on Marx's dislike of religion. This is a powerful opiate. We can easily be lulled into seeking success, making plans, investing money, and putting all our focus on this. This is the great god of our age: a comfortable and well planned retirement! Now, I've harped on about this in two of my posts and I can hear in my head some people thinking "You're not practicing what you preach!" and it's true! This is why I know you have the same problem. If you don't, then you trust God a lot more than I do and I need to learn from you! I'm not saying that you have to dump your 401k and become a hermit, I'm saying that we need to contemplate why we need a lot of money to live in this world. We need to meditate on what we're really putting our trust in for our future. For me, this is the most difficult, because I would love to say I trust God completely in this area, but one of my goals is to retire comfortably.

The final way he makes war on the saints is through an even more subtle path. If we aren't to trust in our money then are we to trust in our poverty? If we aren't to trust in the plans of men are we to trust in ourselves? I ask these questions because there are a myriad of ways that seem right and noble, but none of them are the way God has set up. All other ways are the ways Satan has set up. The bible plainly states "I am the way, the truth and the life, no one comes to the father except through me." (John 14:6). This simple statement holds within it this startling implication: anything that isn't Jesus is a way that was set up long, long ago as a method to get God's people (and anyone else) to stray away.

We are easily duped because we are very simple. God knows just how simple we are and makes the right way very simple too.

Follow Jesus and you will win this ancient war, because we know how it all ends.

1. What small thing can you change today to follow Jesus more fully? Maybe ways you can simplify your life now so you don't need to retire with a large home? Meditate on how you can cut out what isn't honoring God, like do we need the latest smart-phone?
2. Do you feel particularly aware of any of these "ways" that Satan makes war on us? Meditate on Ephesians 6:10-18, considering how you can put on the full armor of God.
3. Pray that we all begin to trust more and more in Jesus.

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