Sunday, February 15, 2009



When it comes to deciphering the whereabouts of the devil and his demons, you don't have to go much further than the all-pervasive world of pride. Pride is certainly one of the best, if not primary, themes of the Evil One.

You can check it out in the Garden of Eden. The first thing the devil did is to make the woman doubt what God said. "Now the serpent was more cunning than any beast of the field which the LORD God has made. And he said to the woman, 'Has God indeed said, 'You shall not eat of every tree of the garden?" (Gen. 3:1) Then the devil changes and contradicts the words of God. He said God said, "But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die." (Gen. 2:17). "And the serpent said to the woman, 'You will not surely die." (Gen. 3:4)

Finally, the devil lied to the woman. He said, "For God knows that in the day you eat of it your eyes will be opened and you will be like God, knowing good and evil." (Gen. 3:5) Note how this was in the mind of the devil from the very beginning. You can actually be like the Most High God.

The devil's final temptation of Eve is the most powerful one because it was how Satan himself fell, wanting to be equal with God. Eve tried to become a god herself by her rebellion against the One True God.

This is the goal of so many popular teachings today: YOU CAN BE LIKE GOD. In fact, you can BE GOD. This desire to be gods is demonic because Lucifer himself said, "I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God; I will also sit on the mount of the congregation on the farthest sides of the north; I will ascend above the heights of the clouds, I will be like the Most High." (Isa. 14:12-15)

The close connection between pride and the work of the devil can be found in writings of Peter and James. In I Peter 5:5-9, Peter says: You younger men, likewise, be subject to your elders; and all of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, for GOD IS OPPOSED TO THE PROUD, BUT GIVES GRACE TO THE HUMBLE. Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you at the proper time, casting all your anxiety on Him, because He cares for you. Be of sober spirit, be on the alert your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. But resist him.

In James 4:6-10, James says: But He gives a greater grace Therefore it says, "GOD IS OPPOSED TO THE PROUD, BUT GIVES GRACE TO THE HUMBLE." Submit therefore to God Resist the devil and he will flee from you. Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Be miserable and mourn and weep; let your laughter be turned into mourning and your joy to gloom. Humble yourselves in the presence of the Lord, and He will exalt you.

Jesus used a phrase on three different occasions that compared the acts of humbling yourself and exalting yourself in pride. One was when He was listing out the wretchedness of the religious leadership. Another was when Jesus said it's important not to take the seats of honor at a banquet or assembly, but allow others to seat you there. And then when the righteous Pharisee was praying next to the tax collector, let's listen in: To some who were confident of their own righteousness and looked down on everybody else, Jesus told this parable: "Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee stood up and prayed about himself: 'God, I thank you that I am not like other men-robbers, evildoers, adulterers-or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week and give a tenth of all I get.'

"But the tax collector stood at a distance. He would not even look up to heaven, but beat his breast and said, 'God, have mercy on me, a sinner.' "I tell you that this man, rather than the other, went home justified before God." Then Jesus repeats this saying: "For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted."

You can count on it! If you exalt yourself, you will be humbled. And if you humble yourself, you will be exalted. Now who is it that is doing the exalting and humbling. Well, it's you, however by doing either exalting or humbling you are inviting a third party to come along with you.

Here's how it works. Both humbling and exalting yourself foundationally is before God. When you lift yourself up, you will not receive God's vote of justification. We see this in the comparison of the Pharisee and the tax collector. But if you humble yourself as the tax collector, Jesus says "I tell you that this man, rather than the other, went home justified before God."

But there is something else here. If you humble yourself before God, then God is on your team. So it stands to reason that when you exalt yourself, you invite the vote and partnership of self-exaltation of the ultimate pride-seeker, the Devil. Do you want to call on the devil's help? Exalt yourself and fill up with pride. Do you want to call on God's help? Humble yourself and fill yourself up with God, Himself, in Jesus.

I love the words of President Lincoln that apply here: At the close of a scientific convention in Washington, the members called upon the President. One of them said: "Mr. President, we trust during this time of trial in which the nation is engaged, God is on our side, and will give us victory." The noble Lincoln replied: "Sir, my concern is not whether God is on our side. My great concern is to be on God's side. For God is always right!"

Remember, God is opposed to the proud and gives grace to the humble. So, which do you want: God's opposition or God's grace?



In the last session we saw the direct connection between demonization and insanity. Today I want to examine the connection between demonization and your everyday life. There's one part of the body that is arguably the most uncontrollable of all. It's the tongue! In one of the earliest books written in the New Testament, James, like Proverbs of the Old Testament gives an extremely practical and challenging perspective on the tongue. In the third chapter James demonstrates the power of the tongue-the power to bring on depression or to encourage great contentment.

James offers 5 descriptors of the tongue: FIRST-The tongue is inconsequential, yet most important of all. For we all stumble in many ways. If anyone does not stumble in what he says, he is a perfect man, able to bridle the whole body as well. Now if we put the bits into the horses' mouths so that they will obey us, we direct their entire body as well. Look at the ships also, though they are so great and are driven by strong winds, are still directed by a very small rudder wherever the inclination of the pilot desires. So also the tongue is a small part of the body, and yet it boasts of great things.

SECOND-The tongue is influential. See how great a forest is set aflame by such a small fire.

THIRD-The tongue is inflammable. And the tongue is a fire, the very world of iniquity; the tongue is set among our members as that which defiles the entire body, and sets on fire the course of our life, and is set on fire by gehenna. Gehenna is the cursed garbarge pit just outside of Jerusalem. It was the place where babies were once sacrificed to Moloch. Jesus used gehenna to denote a place where people who are worthless deserve to live. Here James says that the tongue can be in such a state of pollution that it is as if it is set on fire by the cursed pit of gehenna.

FOURTH-The tongue is insubordinate. For every species of beasts and birds, of reptiles and creatures of the sea, is tamed and has been tamed by the human race. But no one can tame the tongue; it is a restless evil and full of deadly poison.

FIFTH-The tongue is inconsistent. With it we bless our Lord and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in the likeness of God; from the same mouth come both blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not to be this way. Does a fountain send out from the same opening both fresh and bitter water? Can a fig tree, my brethren, produce olives, or a vine produce figs? Nor can salt water produce fresh.

James pictures two possible sources that energize and empower the tongue-earthly wisdom and heavenly wisdom. He defines each very specifically. Let's look at heavenly wisdom first. James says: But the wisdom from above is first pure peaceable, gentle, reasonable, full of mercy and good fruits, unwavering, without hypocrisy. And the seed whose fruit is righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace. Only in peace is the fruit of righteousness found-a tongue tied to heavenly wisdom is a seed sown in peace that will produce a Jesus-kind of lifestyle.

Now, let's check out earthly wisdom. James says: But if you have bitter jealousy [sharp & cutting words] and selfish ambition in your heart [divisive, factious, all about their own self-interest], do not be arrogant and so lie against the truth. This wisdom is not that which comes down from above, but is earthly, natural, demonic. For where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there is disorder and every evil thing.

NOTE that "bitter jealousy" and "selfish ambition in your heart" become an earthly, putrid fountain for earthly wisdom. Then, note the flow out of this dirty fountain: · Earthly-limited to this planet-nothing from heaven. · Natural-soulish-the best humanity can do. · Demonic-from the pit of the most worthless place-gehenna!

THEN NOTE that an additional flow from this sort of fountain is "disorder" (restless confusion) and "every evil thing" (worthlessness-good-for-nothingness). Keep in mind that the ultimate flow from this fountain of earthly wisdom is a tongue that is out of control and dangerous, therefore it can destroy people!

The best of earthly and natural wisdom without God is wide open for demonic harassment, influence and control. Your tongue is the place of distribution of this earthly, natural and demonic wisdom.

So, a tongue-check is always in order to decipher what evil may be lurking in your heart. A tongue-check is really a heart-check! To tame your tongue, you must learn to love heavenly wisdom and learn to live by it. These are the Kingdom principles Jesus came to teach us how to live best. You sort of take on the role of being a gardener, learning to love the real productive plants and hate the weeds that threaten them. Maybe the lesson is that you must become tongue-tied; your tongue works best when tied to the heavenly wisdom under the control of Jesus. Oh, and note that the knot that ties the tongue is meekness-a quiet, controlled confidence in Him. James says: Who among you is wise and understanding? Let him show by his good behavior his deeds in the gentleness (or meekness) of wisdom.

Check it out for yourself. Check your heart by checking out your tongue!