Friday, April 22, 2011
Satan's Evil for God's Glory
1 Peter 4:12,13 Beloved, do not think it strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened to you; but rejoice to the extent that you partake of Christ’s sufferings, that when His glory is revealed, you may also be glad with exceeding joy
I’ve been thinking a lot about trials lately; more specifically, how our trials not only strengthen us in the Lord, but also bring glory to Him.
Lately, it seems as though I have been experiencing trial after trial. I know it is so easy for us to get discouraged if we don’t keep our focus on the Lord. I admit, there were times when I felt such oppression that I just wanted to give up, and throw in the towel, but then I remembered the old life that I came out of....the pit of despair that the Lord rescued me from, and the "years that the locust had eaten," and I knew that I would rather suffer this affliction in the arms of my loving Heavenly Father than to escape these trials apart from Him.
When we’re being tried, it’s so easy to become despondent and dejected. I know that even with all of the supernatural strength the Lord has given me to endure these trials, at the heart of it, I am still so frail and weak, and need the shoulders of my loving Father to cry on. More than anything, though, I want to please my Father. I want to hear Him say "Well done, thou good and faithful servant." I know that surrenduring my trials to please the Lord would glorify Him more than anything, so I have been thinking about how I may glorify God through these trials
Rom. 8:28 And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose
We know that Satan is the author of confusion. He is the one who brings affliction upon us...God just allows it to happen. Remember in the book of Job, when Satan challenged God, and said:
Job 1:10 Have you not made a hedge around him, around his household, and around all that he has on every side?
When God allowed the hedge to be brought down, Satan attacked Job. God didn’t afflict Job...that was Satan. It’s the same with us, because whenever we are going through trials, it is not God who is afflicting us, but Satan.
Rom. 8:28 says that all things work together for good....this also includes trials. I think it is so easy for us to lose sight of this truth. Even though Satan is turning up the heat on us, and causing evil in our lives, all of his scheming and evil are actually working together for good....for the glory of God in our lives.
God is sovereign, which means that He is in complete control of everything. Even when Satan works evil in this world, this evil is ultimately in God’s control, and it will eventually work out for His glory.
The book of Isaiah touched beautifully upon this truth, as it describes the final culmination of all human experience, and how even God's judgment, and the fate of the wicked, will bring glory and honor to His name
Isaiah 5:15,16 People shall be brought down, Each man shall be humbled, And the eyes of the lofty shall be humbled. But the Lord of hosts shall be exalted in judgement, And God who is holy shall be exalted in righteousness
In the end, at the culmination of all history and time, God WILL be glorified. What remains to be seen is just HOW He will be glorified. Either we can humble ourselves, and repent, and allow God to be glorified through our lives, or we can remain rebellious, and incur the righteous judgement of God, and He will glorify Himself that way. Either way, God will be glorified.
I know that my past did not glorify God. I know that I did things that were an abomination to Him, and I know that I was deceived by this world, the enemy, and myself in so many ways. Even so, God brought me to a place of repentance, and now, even my sordid past is a testimony to God’s goodness and mercy. Even all of the darkness of my past, and all of the spiritual bondage, God is using for His glory, because I humbled myself.
Gal. 6:7 Do not be deceived. God is not mocked, for whatsoever a man sows, he shall also reap.
In my studies, I encountered this passage:
1 Cor. 5:4,5 In the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, when you are gathered together, along with my spirit, with the power of our Lord Jesus Christ, deliver such a one (believer) to Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that his spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus
This verse gives the spiritual justification of ex-communicating members from fellowship. Paul is telling the Corinthians to "deliver (the believer) to Satan for the destruction of the flesh."
When a person is outside of God’s grace, he becomes vulnerable to destruction by Satan. I like this verse because it talks about how when a person is ex-communicated from the body of Christ, that Satan can employ all sorts of evil towards that person, but this evil is ultimately working itself out for God’s glory, because ultimately it will bring that person back into the grace of God.
What Satan intended for evil here actually worked out for God’s good, and in the end, God was glorified because of it....and the person was also redeemed from the destruction of the flesh.
I think it’s so easy to get discouraged when we are going through fiery trials...when God takes down the hedge, and allows Satan to work his evil in our lives, because we don’t know what will become of it all, and it doesn’t seem to make sense...but it makes sense to God.
I think this is such an awesome way to glorify God....by rejoicing through the trials, and trusting God for the outcome. What irritates Satan more than our being strong in Christ, is our thanking Christ for his evil, and the pain that he inflicts in our lives. Not thanking God for evil, but just acknowledging that this evil will eventually be used for His good. Doing this basically relinquishes control of this evil from the devil to the Lord.
I think that when we praise God through the trials, we are basically acknowledging that Satan basically has no control, and that whatever he does can be a tool in God’s hands. Satan will afflict us whether we are glorify God or not, but it seems to me that when we acknowledge God’s sovereignity, we are giving Satan a little less power over our lives.
May God help us all to withstand the fiery darts of the enemy, and to give Him glory even through our sufferings.