Summary: In our fallen world, there is a dark troubled side yet a bright sunny side - which presents to each of us a choice: succumb to Satan's strategy of despair, or, stay on the winning side with Christ our Lord and overcome the world.
KEEP ON THE SUNNY SIDE OF LIFE
To hear Garrison Keillor of Lake Woebegone tell it, there are two sides of life – “a dark, troubled side, and a bright, sunny side”. Says he:
When we do meet up with the darkness and strife of life, the sunny side we also may view – and our goal ought to be: “Keep on the sunny side, always on the sunny side, keep on the sunny side of life. It will help us every day, it will brighten all the way, if we keep on the sunny side of life.”
How did we who were made in the image of God get to the point where we must deal with a dark side? Did our Maker intend it that way? No! But, the presence of evil throughout our world is real. That is the unpleasant truth.
Yet, there’s a far greater truth we must never lose sight of: The Light of Jesus Christ dispels the darkness. In Christ, we shall overcome . . . because Christ has overcome!
And, yes, Satan is real. However, unlike Flip Wilson (“the devil made me do it”), we cannot blame our sinful acts on the Devil. God made us not like robots but as living human beings with freedom of choice. The adage, “You made your bed, now lie in it”, is far more truth than fiction. Each of us is accountable unto God our Maker.
Now, since accountability has been assigned to us individually, it seems to me that we would do well to apply Ben Franklin’s formula to every life situation: “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”
Perhaps like me, you could do a better job of preventing the occurrence of sinful thoughts and actions if you better understood how the author of sin works.
In his apocalyptic vision of our Lord’s inevitable victory over sin and death, the Apostle John’s description of a dramatic event that occurred in heaven tells us a lot about Satan and how he operates– Revelation 12:7-12 . . .
Satan is a war monger!
Prior to the war mentioned here, there had been another war in heaven – basically a war between good and evil. To summarize: All was good until pride got the best of one of God’s angels named Lucifer (Heavenly beings possessed the same freedom of choice with which earthly human beings were endowed).
Lucifer (whose name means “shining one”- noted by Isaiah 14:12) conceived the idea of placing himself on a throne higher than God. This so-called “shining one” became God’s Adversary (“Satan”). and when he tried to execute his plan, he was challenged by the arch-angel Michael and was consequently cast out of heaven.
It was inevitable that Satan would lose the war in heaven: God is good and, therefore, could not allow evil to win in heaven, will not allow evil to win on earth!
The inevitability of the Evil One’s losing the war on earth is clearly seen by John in this vision (Revelation 12:10): “NOW has come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of God, and the power of Christ.” Present tense! Victory is assured!
Satan – alias the Dragon, the Devil, Adversary, Accuser, Serpent, Tempter, Evil One – sought in vain to destroy Jesus during His earthly ministry . . . Satan continued his assault in another cosmic war described here – a war that occurred following the Lord’s resurrection and ascension. Satan did not prevail then . . . never will! Hear this:
Since Satan went so far as to chase our Lord all the way to “Heaven’s Door”, to seek to erase Him from human history, please understand that this same Devil - still at large, roaming the earth to find anyone he can deceive, accuse, put out of commission - will stop at nothing to stop you, me, anyone who speaks the name of Jesus and proudly bears the name Christian!
Too often overlooked as part of Satan’s strategy is his mysterious yet real role of “accuser” before the throne of God – “prosecutor” if you will.
Be aware that Satan is our adversary too, and is there to accuse you and me of wrongdoing, to argue his case (albeit fake) against you, me, and anyone who seeks to do good rather than evil.
With all the good that has been wrought this past week in the wake of that devastating hurricane, Satan still found ways to plant the seed of doubt in some people’s minds about the motives of people who sought to put aside politics and help their neighbors. Satan tempted others to commit crimes.
Satan is like that! He makes a case against people who do good even if he must fake it. On the other hand, thank God! We who have been “washed in the blood of the Lamb” have an Advocate with the Father – our Lord Jesus Christ - who pleads our case on our behalf, sort of like a defense attorney. And you know what? “Our Father will have mercy, and abundantly pardon”!