A couple of months ago, I wrote this devotional for a writing contest and since it wasn’t selected to be published, it just sat in a file on my computer. I have thought about sharing it a couple of times, and something always sidetracked me, but today I decided to post it. So, for those like me, who need a gentle reminder about the power of telling the devil to get lost, here you go:
One of my favorite tee-shirts boldly proclaims, “Not Today Satan!” Each day, there are times when this command is on a silent repeat in my brain and others when it is audible.
It might be little things, like when I forget to get gas in my car and I realize it as I head to work with no time to spare. Or, Charley, my goldendoodle, decides to roll around in something stinky outside, requiring an impromptu bath. And, it never fails, just before we travel out of town, one of our cows inevitably gets out of the fence, delaying our trip and requiring immediate fence repair. Farmers with fence struggles can identify! These inconveniences can quickly alter my attitude. These little nuisances can put me in a bad mood so quickly.
There are days, though, when I hear Satan’s quiet whisper, “Laura, do you remember the time when…” The subtle weapons of the devil…shame, regret, fear, doubt…oh, how these thoughts can take over and rob me of joy!
Over the years I have heard that letting go is an art. Books have been written about this skill. When Christians dwell on past sins, we give the devil a dangerous foothold.
So, when the specter of past mistakes presents itself, it is time to claim some promises from God’s word.
Scripture is the weapon we need to ward off these schemes of the devil. Titus 2:14 (NIV) declares, “He gave himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for himself a people that are his very own, eager to do what is good.”
Jesus gave his life to free us from all sin. Christians, we are cleansed. Let’s tell Satan, “NOT TODAY!” We do not have to live in regret, but in the knowledge that we are forgiven. What a beautiful truth!
Paul wrote his letter to the Philippians while in prison. His advice on living the Christian life is timeless. Philippians 4:8 (NIV) states, “Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable – if anything is excellent, or praiseworthy – think about such things.”
Here is a blueprint for our thought-patterns, written by a man enduring suffering far beyond what I can imagine. Paul also wrote, “… But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 3:3-14, NIV). Amen!
So, when that play-list of past mistakes and hurts starts to dominate our thinking, let’s commit to commanding Satan to get behind us! We know that we are forgiven and made new in Christ. Let us declare the following,“We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.” 2 Corinthians 10:5 (NIV)
Lord, thank you for the freedom found in faith in you and for the knowledge that we are cleansed and truly forgiven!
Final thoughts – A couple years ago, I attended a conference in Washington, D.C. and I packed my favorite t-shirt for the trip. I think it was a subconscious way of bolstering myself for the conference. Pictures from an evening of sightseeing make me smile as I think about the message of the shirt juxtaposed with images of our nation’s capitol.
Wow, how we need a giant “Not Today Satan” outcry from us in light of political, cultural and world issues! As I watch the news in the evening, I am constantly reminded of how much this world needs the Heavenly Father. He is the one on the throne and although there are times I don’t understand what is occurring on those political, cultural and international fronts, I rest in the fact that he has his hand on all of it.
Prayers for our country, for those suffering around the world, and especially the people of Ukraine, fighting for their country. May we each put the great deceiver in his place today as we say, “Not Today Satan!”