On Sunday, David Spicer led the worship with the hymn, “A Mighty Fortress is Our God.” It was a great arrangement by him. I had tears on the final verse as the choir sang the descant. Let goods and kindred go, this mortal life also. Yes, Lord, have my life, have everything. The body they may kill: God’s truth abideth still, His kingdom is forever. You will always reign, Lord. Your Kingdom is forever.
It was excellent, David, excellent! You led me in worship. Thank you!
This hymn by Martin Luther highlights the fact that as we grow as disciples we have an enemy that is out to get us. His craft and power are great; and, armed with cruel hate. He does not want us to grow, and he definitely does not want others saved from his kingdom of darkness. He will fight and it is nasty.
We know from Scripture that he fights. We know he is out there fighting around the world. But is he here? Is he fighting us here when there seem to be more hot spots elsewhere?
There seem to be two major schools of thought in the U.S. One claims that Satan is not here or he only comes here periodically. The problems that we encounter in our life are the result of our sin or our weakness. Sure, there are enemies of the Gospel that are out there, but they seem to be more politically minded than satanic.
The other school thinks Satan is around every corner. Maybe not him directly, but at least his demons. If someone is lazy then it is a spirit of laziness that must be cast out. If there is a problem in the church, then there must be a spiritual attack.
I have heard both views and have been around people with these views. Neither view seems to be healthy. Satan is not at work in every problem, but that doesn’t mean that he isn’t involved in some of our problems. Yes, his power is limited, but that doesn’t mean he has no power at all. Yes, my sin and my weaknesses hinder me, but he must enjoy making it harder to overcome them.
Satan must be at work, but how? Are we looking in the wrong places? Are we blaming others for what he is doing? How is he deceiving us? How is he fighting us?
Yes, in Jesus, we have the victory. Yes, Satan’s doom is sure. But he can’t be happy about it. He must be trying to bring others down with him. He must be out there trying to pick a fight.
What is a healthy view of spiritual warfare? How are we to fight him as disciples? Where do you see him at work?
Thankfully, we are given all the tools we need to discern all of these questions. The Holy Spirit is all we need. The Holy Spirit gives us the insight to know the difference between the enemy’s work and our sinful nature. If we ask God, He will provide.
Luther saw the Devil at work, do you?
(The picture is from David Gilbert. Yes his photography is excellent, but it doesn't come close to touching his character.)