Satan’s relentlessness

By Elizabeth Prata

I’d mentioned the famous quote from John Calvin as I concluded a recent series on idols and idolatry, that our hearts are idol factories. Our own flesh betrays us constantly. But add to that failure, satan’s pressure of constant temptation. (Idolatry series below)

Is “Trad wife/life” an idol?
What IS idolatry?
How to make an idol: Example, Nehushtan
Idolatry: Did you know of these two false gods?
Idolatry finale, roundup & resources

One must always be vigilant. I’d read a startling thought in Spurstowe’s book The Wiles of Satan. One of satan’s strategies is to tempt us. We know that. But an even wilier strategy is to “cease to tempt, or to feign flight.” Have you ever thought of that? It’s to provoke our pride. We SEEM to have won the battle. We think, ‘Oh great, I’ve got this temptation licked! I got the victory of that sin!’ But no. Just as we release our guard, satan comes back!

We see this satanic relentlessness in the Bible.

Example : The Demon Possessed slave girl. Acts 16:16-18a,

It happened that as we were going to the place of prayer, a slave woman who had a spirit of divination met us, who was bringing great profit to her masters by fortune-telling. She followed Paul and us and cried out repeatedly, saying, “These men are bond-servants of the Most High God, who are proclaiming to you a way of salvation.” Now she continued doing this for many days.

Note that she did this “for many days”. Paul was greatly annoyed, the verse says. In the original Greek, the word greatly annoyed meant “exhausting, depleting grief which results in “piercing fatigue.” “

Satan relentlessly troubles us till we become so exhausted we either give in to the temptation or we destroy our witness with anger or some other un-Christian behavior. Oh, if we all had the same power Paul had to simply banish the demon away! But we don’t.

Example : Satan came to Jesus three times in the wilderness. Luke 4:1-13. Note that satan tempted Jesus in the first place! Satan’s arrogance is such that he thought he could tempt the Sinless One to sin! If satan opposed Jesus in this way, then for certain he and his minions will oppose you and me.

Of course satan couldn’t budge our Messiah, but note how he departed. Not in defeat, but in promise of continuing the battle:

13And so when the devil had finished every temptation, he left Him until an opportune time.

Satan is always prowling. (1 Peter 5:8). He roams to and fro upon the earth, Job 1:8 says. Satan has a God-given access to everything on the earth, and that includes people (wherever God said satan could go or as far as he could go). He tried to get at Job continually, but could not until God allowed satan to get increasing access to him. Job was probably the most perfect man on earth ever (not sinless, but morally upright). And that is why satan wanted him. God put a hedge of protection around Job…until He didn’t. No one on this here earth can expect continual protection from satan.

Our soul is safe if we are truly converted, but our heart can be tempted. When we fall into sin, especially a public sin, then satan, his minions, and the world rejoices, saying “There goes another hypocrite!”

1 Timothy 3:7 speaks of the importance of remaining above reproach for leaders. The reason being a leader’s reputation must glorify God. And he must have a good reputation with those outside the church, so that he will not fall into disgrace and the snare of the devil.

The same is true for us women even though we are not leaders. We must maintain a good reputation. 1 Timothy 5:10, says we should be having a reputation for good works. This is because our reputation is not our own, but of Jesus in us.

Jesus protected Himself through prayer and fasting. One of satan’s tactics is to SEEM to let up on you but he is just biding his time to come at you again. Our own flesh even more so. Don’t let up! I do let up occasionally, to my own shame. But just because we are not being tempted at present, it is likely that the devil’s minion is simply releasing us to our own pride. He always waits for a more opportune time. Do not get snared!

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