Have you ever seen a picture of a grin that makes your skin crawl? Like the Grinch on the old cartoon, or Tim Curry in Legend where he plays the devil? Maybe it’s the bad guy in a movie where the actor or actress does a really good job of being over-the-top creepy. Whenever I think of the devil’s grin, I picture one of those that I’ve seen in a movie… and it turns my stomach.
What turns my stomach the most is when it’s me that’s making the devil grin in the first place. You see, I belong to Christ, and I desire to do His work and see His kingdom furthered. We are in a spiritual battle, and if you think that’s creepy or insane, I pray for you because someday you will see that what you have heard from so many others is true. This battle is not with flesh and blood but it is against the devil himself.
“For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.” -Ephesians 6:12
In this battle, those who belong to Christ are attacked at every side. I think that we are attacked more than those who are not Christian because they already belong to Satan. He owns their soul because they have never accepted the free Gift of God (Jesus Christ).
So tonight when I had a spat with my husband, how I react to the conversation has much to say about my true character. It shows who I truly am, and I have to admit that who that is sometimes brings bitter tears to my eyes and tonight was no different. You see, the true test of who we are is not dependant on the good times, but on the bad. It is when we are tested that our true selves make an appearance and what an ugly appearance that can be. That rancid, ugly side of me breaks my heart… because I desire so much to please my Father in Heaven. When I choose myself over Him and retort in anger, or spew out insults… I’m not pleasing Him, I’m distracting from Him. At those moments is when the devil grins because it’s at that moment that I have ceased to be effective for my God.
“Dear friends, I urge you, as aliens and strangers in the world, to abstain from sinful desires, which war against your soul. Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day he visits us.” – 1 Peter 2:11-12
Whether you are a Christian or not, the devil grins at our mistakes. He knows that he can’t have the Christian because it is impossible to take us from the Father’s hand, but he tries to make us stagnant and ineffective for God. If you aren’t a Christian, he’s working on you to keep you from seeing the truth and turning to the only One who can save you. Either way, we can make him smile, and how? God’s word tells us.
“Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For everything in the world—the cravings of sinful man, the lust of his eyes and the boasting of what he has and does—comes not from the Father but from the world.” – 1 John 2:15-16
“It’s what comes out of a person that pollutes: obscenities, lusts, thefts, murders, adulteries, greed, depravity, deceptive dealings, carousing, mean looks, slander, arrogance, foolishness—all these are vomit from the heart. There is the source of your pollution.” – Mark 7:21-23 (The Message)
“And do not bring sorrow to God’s Holy Spirit by the way you live. Remember, he has identified you as his own, guaranteeing that you will be saved on the day of redemption.
Get rid of all bitterness, rage, anger, harsh words, and slander, as well as all types of evil behavior. Instead, be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you.” – Ephesians 4:30-32 (NLT)
The acts of the sinful nature are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like.” – Galatians 5:19-21
The world as an object isn’t bad, it’s the actions of the world (rather the people in it) that are what we need to be aware of. I like the way the Message translation puts it in Mark 7 when it calls it “vomit from the heart”. So when our hearts “vomit” the devil is there grinning from ear to ear. It makes me angry just thinking about it. It is helpful to know that there is victory in Jesus and through Him we can have a success that we cannot obtain on our own.
Let’s pray for each other and let the devil grin NO MORE! Claim victory through Christ, let’s cloth ourselves in His righteousness being saturated in His character through reading His word and through prayer! Encouraging each other to stand firm and to show forth the fruits of the Spirit. Go in peace.
“Therefore, my dear brothers, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.” – 1 Corinthians 15:58
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires. Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit.” – Galatians 5:22-25