“…you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” (Jesus) John 8:32 NIV

          Satan is alive and active on planet earth.

Jesus, Who knew him well, told us he “…comes only to steal, kill, and destroy.” (John 10:10) He causes wars; He slaughters innocents; He destroys all that is good…and he’s doing a very good job of it at the moment. The weight of the world’s sorrow and suffering is so great that only our Father-God can carry it.

But Satan is also “subtle and crafty” (Genesis 3:1), hiding in the dark corners of our hearts and minds.

His is the voice we hear at 3 a.m., hissing, “Suppose this happens…?” or “What are you going to do?” or “You’ll never recover from this” or “You’re all alone, you know.” It’s he who brings up our losses and our failures and our sins, over and over. It’s he who tempts us to doubt the love and goodness of God.

It’s he who tries to steal our joy. For example…

Most of you know I love to ski. My spirit longs to take the mountain trails and run down the hills like I used to, but my aging flesh is weak…and fragile. So, this winter, I’ve been simply taking my skis out and gliding around our 20 acre pasture every day that snow and weather permits.

Last Friday afternoon, the sunshine and bluebird sky beckoned me. I had done most of my chores for the day. Why not? Then, suddenly–opposition.

“It’s too much trouble to change clothes.” (Took me all of 5 minutes.)

“You don’t have time.” (It was only 2 o’clock; I had all afternoon.)

“It’s too warm.” (It was 10 degrees.)

“The snow will stick; you’ll break in.” (The snow underneath was well frozen; the snow on top soft and silky—perfect!)

You see? Lies—all of them—lies. If I had listened to them, I’d have passed up one of the best ski days I’ve enjoyed all winter.

Why does Satan try to steal our joy? Because, as Nehemiah tell us, “the joy of the Lord is our strength.” (Nehemiah 8:10) With it, we can hold up under anything the enemy throws at us. Without it, we are defeated, despairing, helpless as Samson with a haircut.

Remember: Satan seeks to make us “curse God and die,” as Job’s wife declared.

So how do we defeat him? With truth, as Jesus did (Luke 4 ff.): truth of scripture, truth we understand. And by walking that truth out, by pressing in and pressing on, as Jesus did.

Then we will be free, indeed.

FATHER GOD: Help me to know the truth so I can be free. Amen. 

First published in Bozeman Daily Chronicle, March 4, 2018.