The Devil Doesn't Care
“The thief cometh not, but to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.” (John 10:10)
“Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you. Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour:” (I Peter 5:7-8)
Lately as I’ve pondered and prayed over the problems faced by people I care about, these thoughts keep ringing in my mind, so I decided it was time to organize them in a fashion where they could help me, and hopefully encourage someone else as well.
We all face problems, sorrows, valleys, and heartbreaks. That’s a fact of life. Job said that man is born unto trouble, as the sparks fly upward. That’s like saying, “Do I have problems? Do bears live in the woods?”
Life goes through cycles of ups and downs, and the Bible is clear that adversity is a vital and necessary part of the Christian life because it is the tool that God uses to fashion us according to His plan. Marble or granite does not become a priceless sculpture until after it has been chiseled! Coal does not become diamond until it has sustained an enormous amount of pressure for a long period of time, and then it still must be skillfully cut and polished for its beauty to be outwardly visible.
Problems and pressures will probably never be the part of life that we look forward to, but it is always in those times that we do the most growing and maturing, that we really seek the Lord’s face and turn to Him with all our hearts, and when we see God intervene and miraculously answer prayer in the greatest magnitude.
God’s Word tells us the purpose of the tough times: “That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ.” (I Peter 1:7) So if we could see our times of testing from God’s vantage point, we could probably say very honestly and joyfully, “But he knoweth the way that I take: when he hath tried me, I shall come forth as gold.” (Job 23:10)
Look all the way through history and even what the Bible teaches us about eternity past. It all rings true with the fact that God cares and God loves. God is love. I believe it was this fact -- the need to love and be loved that we also experience because we are made in His image -- that prompted God to create mankind. God is love. It was His love that made Him create us with a free will to choose so that we could obey or rebel against His will, because He didn’t want our mechanical cooperation or robot-like submission. He wanted our love, and that must be by choice.
It was God’s love that chose to make the ultimate Sacrifice, the blood of His only begotten Son, so that even our sin, once we had chosen to transgress against Him, could be atoned for. And now, as children of God living in a world of sin where we face it’s consequences every day, God cares. He loves us. He does know exactly what we’re going through, and He has the power to speak peace and calm the storm or to get us safely through the storm, which ever He chooses. He wants us to cling to Him, to need Him, to depend upon Him totally, and to grow closer to Him as we go though the particular trial that we’re facing right now.
I’ve heard people say that they reject God and His salvation because He doesn’t live up to their expectations. “I just don’t believe a loving God could...” “I just can’t accept a God who would...” Some folks foolishly accuse God of all sorts of evil intent and harmful actions. Even some who have professed belief in the past have sunk into bitterness toward Christ and Christians. And believe me, I know that Christians are just forgiven sinners who are very capable of disappointing me, and I’m just as capable of being a disappointment and stumblingblock to someone else, but that doesn’t condemn God, does it?
The irony of it all is that those who reject the plan of a loving God Who gave His all for them on the basis that they think He’s unloving, are, by default, jumping right into the arms and the schemes of God’s adversary, who truly doesn’t care. That’s the real case of jumping out of the frying pan and into the fire.
Are you going to dedicate your life to worship the idol of self, and pattern yourself after the devil, the original rebel? When you turn your heart away from serving God, whether it results from bitterness, pride, disillusionment, or whatever you’re facing, you are giving your servitude over to the devil. I’ve often heard my husband repeat this truth: Our choice is not IF we will serve, but WHOM we will serve. “...Choose you this day whom ye will serve;... but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.” (Joshua 24:15)
Do you know how much the devil is going to care about you if you turn away from God and let your life be devoted to his purposes? “The thief cometh not, but to steal, and to kill, and to destroy:..” (John 10:10) He does have a few things in mind for your future, but none of them are good. The only thing that he cares about your life is how he can use you to break the heart of God, to prevent your life from bringing glory to God and even a make you a reproach, and to cause you to be a stumblingblock in the path of someone else to the same end. He has not the least bit of concern over your desires, your happiness, or what’s left after he’s finished with you.
It is God who promises good things, and God keeps His promise. “...I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.” (John 10:10) I can’t always say I understand what God chooses for me, but I can by faith say, “He doeth all things well.” By faith I’ve decided to accept the truth that God is good and does good, and whether I can see it or not, He always has my good in mind.
Now we’re getting to the good part! The very word ‘Good’ means ‘beneficial, benevolent, blessing, building.’ God is good; He is incapable of being or doing anything but good. He cannot lie, break a promise, do evil or even fail. The Bible assures us that God is good. “Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good.” (Psalm 34:8)
God does good. “Thou art good and doest good; teach me thy statutes.” (Psalm 119:68) God gives good. James 1:17 says, “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.”
God desires or wills or plans good. “And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect will of God.” (Romans 12:2) “For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the Lord, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.” (Jeremiah 29:11)
God means for good and uses for good what others mean for evil and hurt. “But as for you, ye thought evil against me; but God meant it unto good, to bring to pass, as it is this day, to save much people alive.” (Genesis 50:20) God works all things together for good to us. “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.” (Romans 8:28)
God promises and provides good. “...but they that seek the Lord shall not want any good thing.” (Psalm 34:10) There is nothing good for me that is beyond what God can and will do for me. “...no good thing will he withhold from them that walk uprightly.” (Psalm 84:11)
A great preacher said, “Nothing lies beyond the reach of prayer except that which lies beyond the will of God.” It’s abundantly evident that God has good things in store for His own, but the one thing that stands between us and the good that God has planned for us is our sin. “Your iniquities have turned away these things, and your sins have withholden good things from you.” (Jeremiah 5:25) God is good, and we need to trust Him.
Because I’ve accepted the fact that God is good, and He is my Sovereign and Master, I have also decided that God never owes me an explanation. If God reveals the purpose of His doings to me, I’ll praise Him in sight, seeing that God is good. If God chooses to conceal those purposes from me, I’ll still praise Him, and by faith continue to believe and act on the truth that God is good. “God sometimes conceals His purposes so that we will be consoled by His promises.” God is good, and we can trust Him, no matter what we might go through. The Lord is the one Who cares for us, Who sticks closer than a brother, Who laid down His life for us. But friend, the devil just doesn’t care.
And here’s a fact I’m afraid I’ve sometimes overlooked. The devil doesn’t care what he uses to accomplish his purposes, just so he gets what he’s after. The Lord has allowed me the privilege to know hundreds of His choice servants, and most every one I know is under attack right now in some way. The devil is waging war upon their lives more fierce than any they have ever faced. Remember his goal? To steal, kill and destroy. He has destruction in mind, and if one tool won’t work, he will be quite willing to try another.
You know, the devil wants to destroy your home. Sure, he’ll be mighty pleased if he can trip you up in indiscretion and adultery. He’ll gladly throw in some pornography and internet chat-rooms, if that will help. But his purpose is to destroy, so if one approach won’t work, he’ll take any other that will. If promiscuity won’t destroy your marriage, bitterness and unforgiveness will, and the devil still gets what he wants.
Can’t you see how we play right into his hand? If you’re not open to sexual sin, the devil will settle for any inroad he can find, and many of us who carefully guard our lives and reputations concerning moral issues are much too willing to allow the sin of bitterness to destroy the same target, our family relationships.
Right in the middle of God’s instructions concerning marriage, he said, “...and be not bitter against them...” (Colossians 3:19) That command has been ringing in my ears lately, because I’m sure I’ve seen more Christian marriages damaged and destroyed by bitterness than by immorality. The devil’s plan is destruction; the kind of sin he uses to accomplish his purpose is merely a tool. He will be satisfied whether you destroy your marriage by adultery or by bitterness, pride, anger, wrath, malice and unforgiveness. As long as his mission is accomplished, he really doesn’t care.
This carries over into a multitude of issues, but I’m just going to mention one more that is really on my heart. The devil doesn’t care if you quit serving God and obeying His will over disobedience or discouragement, either way he got what he wanted. His focus is not which sin does the trick, even though he’d love to see you rise up in rebellion against God. But the people he is after are not usually susceptible to that approach, and discouragement has a much greater likelihood of succeeding.
You know, self-deprecation is very deceptive, because it can sound as if it has an element of truth. “I’m no good, I hate me, I’m worthless, useless, meaningless...” It spirals quickly downward and out of control, headed right into the devil’s pit, I might add. Because we know that we’re sinners in need of the grace and mercy and strength of God, we can fool ourselves into thinking that it’s okay and even humble or spiritual to head down this road of depression and despair.
But it’s not okay, in fact, it’s very dangerous, and it’s one of the devil’s favorite tricks to play, because he convinces us that it is God and righteousness and truth that is beating us into the ground, while it is actually the lies of the deceiver. The devil really doesn’t care what works to halt your service to God and relationship with Him. He’ll take any avenue that gets him to his desired destination. He’ll walk through any open door he can find.
Someone compassionately pointed out to me that the Holy Spirit never dishes out condemnation and hopelessness. You know, when you’re feeling guilty, it’s natural to assume conviction from the Holy Spirit. But our Comforter and Friend, the precious Holy Spirit of God, always works and woos in a voice that will convict, not condemn. He always points us to the cross and the blood of Christ as a solution, not to our own helplessness and hopelessness as an unsolvable problem.
When your ‘spiritual’ thoughts are ending only in despair with no hope in sight, that’s a good sign that it’s the devil who’s been talking to you, and not the Holy Spirit speaking to your heart. You’ve got to tell him to hit the road, and start singing out the praises of God with so much volume that he doesn’t want to stick around. Sometimes, just singing, just quoting a verse of promise, just smiling as if everything is all right, because you know that it is, since God is in control, is an act of faith, proving that you’re standing on the promises of God and leaning on the everlasting arms.
Don’t let the devil win. He wants to steal your joy, kill your walk with the Lord, and destroy the glory that God should get from your life. If you give in to the lies of the devil that are causing you to drown in despair, he wins, and you will suffer the most tragic loss. The devil’s purpose is destruction; he’s not just out to get you to indulge in some specific sin. He wants to stop you from serving God, walking with God, and joyfully basking in the love and goodness of God. He really doesn’t care what works, as long as it works.
Some time back I talked to a young lady I’ve known for much of her life, who was raised with scriptural standards and convictions. Though she never really got away from that, at one point she thought she might skirt around the edges, and get by with no problem.
One evening she decided to go to a work-related event with unsaved co-workers ‘just this once.’ It seemed harmless enough, but before she returned home, she had been in the wrong place at the wrong time, and was molested. Though she tried to make the right choices from that point for herself and her baby, though her church and family loved and supported her through the trauma, she was clearly down on herself and expected everyone else to be.
I tried to remind her that God loved her, forgave her, and still wanted to use and bless her life in a great way. I reminded her that the devil wanted to keep her from obeying God’s call and fulfilling His plan, but he didn’t really care if he accomplished that task through wickedness or a false sense of worthlessness, just so he gets his way. “Don’t let him win! Don’t miss out on everything God has for you and live in misery.” It was joy to my heart to see a smile on her face again and hear her audibly decide to leave the despair behind and let God’s grace and mercy and forgiveness and cleansing be sufficient for her need. But I know that victory is not permanent, but has to be won again and again on a daily basis.
It’s not news to God that I’m a wicked, worthless good-for-nothing sinner. Though I might surprise myself time and again with how often I have to return to God’s fountain of mercy, I’m beginning to realize that He’s really not surprised, and He doesn’t love me any less. You see, God’s love for me and desire to bless me is not based on my goodness, but His, and His goodness is inexhaustible.
My incapabilites and insufficiencies don’t shock the Lord, either, the way they upset me over and over again. In fact, the Lord likes it when I realize how totally helpless I am on my own, and how urgently I need Him every hour of every day. I’ve stopped feeling bad about it, because I realize that’s the way He wanted it all along!
My insufficiency and God’s all-sufficiency make a perfect match, and the fact that I am beloved and precious in His sight changes the scenario drastically. Once again, I’ll have to operate in faith, and act upon the truth that, because He loves me and has promised to be everything that I need, I am worth more than all the world to Him and I can do all things through Him, because He strengthens me. It doesn’t leave me much room for pride or ‘self-esteem,’ but it sure makes God a lot of room for praise!
I’m going to be a sinner and have to live with this old flesh until I get to Heaven. I don’t ever need to get comfortable with sin; no, much to the contrary, I need to come daily to Him for cleansing and forgiveness. But I do need to get comfortable with the love and mercy and grace of God.
God is good. He’s always good, when I can see it and when I can’t. He’s very, very good -- in fact, neither my vocabulary nor my space could begin to express the goodness of God. There’s just no end to the good things that God wants to do in my life.
The deceiver and destroyer has an agenda that includes me, as well, but I can’t afford to let him have one inch or one breath or one thought or one moment. His only desire is that he wants to steal, kill and destroy all the good that God has poured out upon my life, and he will use any tool that works. The devil really doesn’t care.