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From the beginning of time, it has apparently been Satan's intent to overthrow the good creation of God. By temptation, he introduced sin and rebellion into the world, and since then he has worked with evil ingenuity to obstruct God's work of bringing us back to Himself. We are called upon daily, both in our individual lives and in our congregational work, to overcome the devil's obstacles in our path to heaven. Since he does not want us to be saved and go to heaven, we can expect the devil to make things difficult for us. As Peter put it, he "prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour" (1 Pt. 5:8).
In the message of Christ to the saints in Philadelphia, He spoke of the threat of Satan to their well-being, but He also spoke of His power to help them: "I know your works. Behold, I have set before you an open door, which no one is able to shut. I know that you have but little power, and yet you have kept my word and have not denied my name. Behold, I will make those of the synagogue of Satan who say that they are Jews and are not, but lie -- behold, I will make them come and bow down before your feet, and they will learn that I have loved you. Because you have kept my word about patient endurance, I will keep you from the hour of trial that is coming on the whole world, to try those who dwell on the earth. I am coming soon. Hold fast what you have, so that no one may seize your crown" (Rev. 3:8-11). It's a fact that our adversary is a terrible foe. But it's also a fact that God is greater than our adversary (1 Jn. 4:4).
The wonderful, triumphant truth is that we serve a Risen Savior who has overcome every work of Satan. Eventually, God will crush his efforts completely (Rom. 16:20). This week, let's concentrate our minds on the overwhelming victory that we are assured of in Jesus Christ. He never promised us that life in His kingdom would be without resistance; He only promised to help us deal with that resistance by His strength. He said, "I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world" (Jn. 16:33). Yes, we do have an enemy -- but our God is a mighty fortress of safety and security. "If God is for us, who can be against us?" (Rom. 8:31).
Monday: Genesis 3:1-7
Key Idea: Sin entered the world when Adam and Eve yielded to the devil's temptation.
Questions for Family Growth: What lie did the devil present to Eve? Did he really want what was good for Adam and Eve? Why do you think he was trying to get Adam and Eve to disobey God? Did they have to do what the devil said? What are the keys to resisting temptation?
Wisdom for the Day: Proverbs 11:2.
Tuesday: 1 Peter 5:6-11
Key Idea: The devil wants to keep us away from God.
Questions for Family Growth: What kind of animal is the devil compared to in this text? What is an "adversary," and why is that word appropriate for the devil? What can the devil do to try to keep us away from God? What advice does Peter give us in dealing with the devil?
Wisdom for the Day: Proverbs 11:3.
Wednesday: Matthew 4:1-11
Key Idea: Even Jesus was tempted by the devil.
Questions for Family Growth: What three things did the devil try to get Jesus to do? What did Jesus do to overcome these temptations? Do you think Jesus knows how hard it is for us to do the right thing? What does Hb. 4:15,16 say?
Wisdom for the Day: Proverbs 11:4.
Thursday: 1 Corinthians 10:12,13
Key Idea: When faced with temptation, we always have a choice whether to yield to it or not.
Questions for Family Growth: What does it mean when it says that temptation is "common to man"? What does it mean that "God is faithful" to us? What does God always provide for us when we are tempted to sin? How does knowing of God's faithfulness help us to resist temptation?
Wisdom for the Day: Proverbs 11:5.
Friday: Romans 8:31-39
Key Idea: If we choose to be faithful to God, He will defeat the devil for us.
Questions for Family Growth: Can the devil ever pull us away from God against our will? What has God done to prove how much He loves us and how much He can do for us? Do we ever have a problem that is bigger than God? In practical terms, what does it mean to have courage?
Wisdom for the Day: Proverbs 11:6.