Last week we examined the wealth of God and we saw that not only is God extremely rich, but that He desires for us to have riches as well. We also learned that the wealth of the wicked ultimately finds its way into our pockets, and that it is God by His grace and favor that causes us to succeed and prosper in everything that we do as our lives are orchestrated and guided by Him.
Today we will be continuing this theme by seeing how we can keep the blessings which God has given to us (both financially and otherwise) and we will examine some of the most common roadblocks and pitfalls that the enemy uses to try and rob us of what God has given.
I’m sure we have all heard stories at one time or another of famous or wealthy people who had lost their entire fortunes through a bad business deal, gambling, or other scenario. The world will call it misfortune or bad luck, but the truth is that there is a deeper cause behind everything; there is a spiritual root to everything that is physical. One of the most valuable spiritual truths that I have ever learned is that before anything can take hold physically, it must first take hold spiritually. Before a person can be healed physically, they must first receive healing spiritually. Before a person can be blessed physically, they must first receive blessing spiritually. Without the spiritual foundation the physical will crumble and fall away, because there is no root, no solid ground to stand on.
The enemy, Satan knows this truth as well, and he is clever enough to know that the real point of attack is not the physical, but the spiritual. Let’s explore this concept further in Ephesians 6:12:
“For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.”
Something to take note of here is that the Greek root word for “wrestle” in this verse is pallo which means “to vibrate, or cause to tremble”. The enemy will try to cause us to vibrate and tremble – in other words, to not be at peace and rest in Christ. He does this using a clearly defined method in the Bible, and the great news is that he only has one single method by which to operate and once we are made aware of his method, he has no other way to work against us! So let’s now take a closer look at this, starting with 2nd Corinthians 11:2-4:
“For I am jealous over you with godly jealousy: for I have espoused you to one husband, that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ.
But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtlety, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ.
For if he that comes preaches another Jesus, whom we have not preached, or if you receive another spirit, which you have not received, or another gospel, which you have not accepted, you might well bear with him.”
Believe it or not my friends, God considers us to be spiritually “married” to Him, and the covenant which we are in right now with God is very much like a typical marriage covenant between a man and a woman today. We are to be presented as chaste virgins to Christ. That word chaste means stainless (pure, no sin) which is accomplished no other way than by faith in Christ Jesus alone. The word also means refraining from intercourse with another. This is referring to spiritual purity and faithfulness – in other words, having no idols. Look at verses 3 and 4 to see a clear picture of this. Satan tricked and lied to Eve and her mind became “corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ.” She had everything that she needed already because she had a right relationship with God, but through Satan’s lies and trickery, she began to think that she was lacking something, when the truth was that she had everything… but because she believed the lie of Satan instead of the truth of God, she actually cut herself off from God and the consequence was very costly.
Verse 4 explains this even more thoroughly… anyone who preaches another Jesus … or if you receive another spirit. These are two separate things but they have the same deadly results. You may have noticed that there are many pastors and leaders today that preach a different Jesus than the one in the Bible. They preach a Jesus that must be satisfied through law-keeping or a Jesus that is harsh and demanding. The truth is that the Jesus of the Bible bore the punishment for your sins so that you would be able to receive all the benefits of God’s limitless grace simply by believing on and accepting Christ. Anyone who preaches a Jesus of laws is misrepresenting God and bringing people into a bondage that will lead to Hell.
Now to “receive another spirit” is an equally cunning trap of the enemy. This is a trap of distraction, where basically a person does hear about Jesus, but honestly they are more pleased with some other pleasure and can’t be bothered with Jesus in their life. In each of these cases, another spirit has usurped Jesus, and is a deadly distraction. This is how the enemy ultimately works.
You see my friends, the Bible describes Satan as a liar, thief and murderer (John 8:44 and John 10:10), and this is how he operates in our lives as well.
First he will try to lie to us. Now if we are well-grounded in the truth of scripture, things will never progress beyond this point. However, if we are like Eve and become deceived and believe the lies of the enemy, then he will move on to step two.
He will then steal from us. Once we believe a lie of Satan, it will open the door for him to be able to rob us of something. It could be our health, our finances, our time – anything we have believed a lie about. And after he has stolen from us, it is only a matter of time before he moves on to step three.
He murders. Satan’s ultimate goal is to kill each of us before we are able to receive Christ. If we believe His lies and allow him to steal from us he certainly will continue to steal from us until even our very lives are taken away. This is why it is so important to be grounded and saturated in the truth of scripture, so that Satan is stopped at step 1 and is never able to deceive us to begin with. This gives meaning to the verse in Hosea 4:6 in which God states that His people are destroyed for lack of knowledge.
Now at the beginning of this study, I mentioned that we would see how to keep the blessings of God and not be robbed by the enemy. Since we now plainly see his methodology, now let’s look at why this affects us. Turn to Proverbs 5:1-14:
“My son, attend to my wisdom, and bow your ear to my understanding:
That you may regard discretion, and that your lips may keep knowledge.
For the lips of a strange woman drop as an honeycomb, and her mouth is smoother than oil:
But her end is bitter as wormwood, sharp as a two-edged sword.
Her feet go down to death; her steps take hold on hell.
Lest you should ponder the path of life, her ways are moveable, that you can not know them.
Hear me now therefore, O you children, and depart not from the words of my mouth.
Remove your way far from her, and come not near the door of her house:
Lest you give your honor to others, and your years to the cruel:
Lest strangers be filled with your wealth; and your labors be in the house of a stranger;
And you mourn at the last, when your flesh and your body are consumed,
And say, How have I hated instruction, and my heart despised reproof;
And have not obeyed the voice of my teachers, nor inclined my ear to them that instructed me!
I was almost in all evil in the middle of the congregation and assembly.”
Many people read these verses and immediately think of fornication and adultery; and there is that aspect to it. But remember what we learned earlier , that God sees His relationship with us as a spiritual marriage. These verses are primarily speaking of our relationship towards God. This is made even more clear when we realize that the term “strange woman” used in these verses is the Hebrew word zur, which means “one who turns aside”.
So when we put all of this information together, we can see that even though these verses are using a gender term such as “strange woman”, really it can apply to anything. What these verses are actually communicating is the danger of anything that turns us aside from Jesus. In other words: distractions from the enemy or the world itself, or even ourselves. Some examples of “strange women” in the Bible are the pot of stew and hunger that caused Esau to sell his birthright in Genesis 25:29-34, the woman Bathsheba which caused David to lust, fornicate with and murder her husband in 2nd Samuel 11:2-16, and the 30 pieces of silver that Judas betrayed Jesus for in Luke 22:1-6.
Strange woman can be anything that distract us from Jesus. Just like Eve, Satan will try to lie to us and make us think that we need something other than Jesus to be happy or fulfilled. He will tell us, you will never be happy unless you have that new Mercedes. You will never be truly happy until you find your soul mate. You will never be fulfilled until you have that new computer.
And there are people in the world who are spending all of their time, energy resources and concentration on chasing these things, only to find out at the end that only Jesus Christ can truly satisfy.
Look at verse 3, the lips of a strange woman are as sweet as a honeycomb. Whatever the enemy is trying to distract us with will be enticing. To be a good trap it needs to be attractive and desirable. It will be something that we want; something that plays to our emotions and weaknesses. However in verse 4, we see that the end is as bitter as wormwood, which in the Bible is representative of curses. Just as we saw earlier, the result of believing a lie of the enemy and chasing after a distraction, is to be robbed. Furthermore in verse 5 we see that the final end of being robbed, is death and hell.
In verse 8, we are counseled to stay far away from distractions because even playing around with them or toying with them has led to many people being caught and ensnared.
Verses 9 through 14 are the consequences and final lament of someone who was robbed and ensnared by the enemy. In verse 9 we see that the person’s honor is taken away, they are now shamed and brought low. Then is verse 10 we see that they are brought to poverty (they have now become the wicked whose wealth is brought to someone else – as we learned last week). Furthermore in verse 11, we see that even their flesh and body is consumed (their health will be robbed).
Now keep in mind that it is not God doing any of this! This is all a result of someone who believes the lie of the enemy due to ignorance (will-full or otherwise) of the truth of scripture.
God is not a thief. In-fact He wants to guard us from the thieves, but He can only lead us down safe paths if we actually follow Him.
So the question becomes how then do we remain safe? 1St Peter 5:6-8 tells us the answer:
“Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time:
Casting all your care on him; for he cares for you.
Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walks about, seeking whom he may devour:”
Verse 6 tells us to remain humble in the simplest sense under God’s mighty hand. Remember that He is indeed mighty, and not only mighty but in verse 7 we are reminded that He does care for us; and that is the reason why we can throw all of our cares upon Him. Now that word “cares” is the Greek word merimna, which means “anxiety and care through the idea of distractions”. So we are actually being instructed to release all of our distractions to Christ and submit to His authority. By doing this we will remain at peace, knowing that God is our supplier and we will not be running around from thing to thing wasting our time and resources following whatever the enemy sends our way.
Notice that verse 8 says that the enemy is seeking whom he may devour. He can not just devour anyone he wants to, there is a qualification there, and the qualification is found in the previous two verses as we have just seen.
So in closing, I encourage you my dear friends, stay focused on Jesus, cast your cares, anxieties and distractions upon Jesus, let your cares be engulfed by Him, and the enemy will have no opportunity to rob you of anything. Jesus Himself, will cause you to keep every blessing, and you stay safe under His mighty hand.