Our current Northstar teaching series is on Giants. Giants are not some urban myth or the occasional novelty. They are the problems, pressures, pains, and persecutions we will have to face from time to time in our lives. A giant is anything that distracts us from our focus on God; anything that detours us from our service for God; and anything that drains us of our driving passion for God. More than likely, you or someone in your immediate family is facing a ‘giant’ right now in their life.
The Northstar Teaching series is designed to help us face the giants in our life without hiding, running away or cowering in fear. In this blog article, I want to touch on the giant among giants in our lives; our adversary, the devil.
There’s a devil? Come on…you can’t be serious? Yes… I am very serious, and so should you—since his goal is to see you, me and the rest of humanity fall prey to the giants in our lives. I will admit that whenever I talk about satan, I get a little uneasy. Have you ever attended a church that preached hellfire and brimstone? The plan was to scare people straight into faith by talk of a literal devil who wanted them to burn for all eternity. That’s the polar opposite of the sort of church we envisioned for Northstar. I don’t want to scare people into faith. I want to concentrate more on loving God because God loves us rather than telling people they should love God or else. But, having said that, I will not minimize the devil. The devil is a giant that cannot be ignored.
Have you ever wondered what would happen if Satan took over Panama City. We would probably gravitate to envisioning some post-apocalyptic world based off a movie like Hunger Games, or The Book of Eli. There would be devastation, widespread violence, good people being dragged off into prisons or death, churches closed down and burned, and all reference to religion destroyed and banned. Sound about right?
I believe there would be a slightly different picture. People would be taking cruises over to Shell Island and seeing the dolphin shows at Gulf World. Speeding tickets would be given out on Hathaway Bridge. Kids would be playing baseball on fields all over the city. Mothers would be walking with strollers on clean sidewalks stopping to talk to neighbors. Teens still get sunburned despite a string of admonitions. And churches would be full on Sunday.
I know what you are thinking. It sounds like Satan is in charge right now. I think we need to remember that the devil’s goal is to obscure the main character, Jesus, and he doesn’t need devastation to do that. Satan lost the war on Good Friday and Easter, but has shifted his strategy to a guerrilla struggle.
He wants to be part of the scenery. He then has an easier time of deceiving us, because we are not standing guard against him. Let me ask you, who is easier to assault, someone who has no idea he has an enemy, or someone armed to the teeth and ready for battle because he not only knows he has an enemy but also knows the enemy is on the move, seeking to destroy him? This is how the Bible speaks to us about the devil. The apostle Peter warns us: “Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.” – 1 Peter. 5:8.
Think about it. As you navigate the story that is unfolding in your life, you’ll be quick to find that giants and discouragement can be omnipresent. It seems that the harder you run after God, the harder the devil is going to try to prevent you from getting where you’re going. And all the devil really has to do to trip us up or push us off kilter a little bit, is to find or place some giant(s) in our lives at the most opportune time.
“You’re not very religious.”
“You’re a failure.”
“You can’t handle temptation.”
He’s said it to me and I know that he’s said it to you. And sometimes the giant’s hit is right between the eyes. But, there is a way to handle the giants and the devil. God is the answer and the solution to every giant.
“Yes, I am not very religious. Which is why I need a Savior. But thankfully, Jesus died so that I may become a new creation, void of you and full of the purpose that He has for my life.”
“Yes, I may be a failure, but I am loved unconditionally by a loving God who created the stars and knows the number of hairs on my head. And He’s making me more like Him every day.”
“You’re right. on my own accord, I can’t handle temptation very well. But I am not doing this by myself—I serve the LORD, who is able to do immeasurably more than I could ask or imagine.”
The devil will always try to show you the downside, the giants in your story. Show him who Jesus says you are. “I have given you authority to trample on snakes and scorpions and to overcome all the power of the enemy; nothing will harm you.” – Luke 10:19.