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The Purpose-Driven Strife

We know that we are of God, and that the whole world lies in the power of the evil one.
–1 John 5:19

It was the “father of modern acting,” Konstantin Stanislavski, who once said, “There are no small parts, only small actors.” I tried to comfort myself with those words many years ago when I had a bit part in the legendary television program “Dallas.” My part was to be a businessman talking to another businessman in the background while two of the main characters, Bobby Ewing and Cliff Barnes, were in the forefront carrying on a dialogue. The assistant director told me, “When the director says ‘action,’ you are to talk to your fellow businessman”–here is the difference between a major star and a bit player–“but don’t actually talk. Just mouth the words so you don’t interfere with the filming.” The scene took about twenty seconds. Afterwards, the assistant director came up and said, “Thank you–we will send you a check in the mail.”

That day, I was part of a drama. It was a conflict that had begun many years earlier between the Ewing and Barnes families, and the show would go on for years afterwards; I just had a bit part. You and I are in a drama as well. It began long before we were born, and it will continue long after we are dead. But unlike the fictional drama that I was a part of, this drama is very real. It is a conflict between the two most powerful beings in the universe, and it is being played out on the front page of every newspaper and in the hidden recesses of every human heart. You will never understand the problems you face every day until you understand this eternal conflict that is going on between God and Satan.

Many people today turn Satan into a comic book character who runs around with a pitchfork poking people in the backside. Satan loves for people to think of him in that way. After all, who needs to be afraid of a comic book character? But the fact is, Satan is very real, and he is a very powerful adversary. In 1 Peter 5:8 the apostle did not describe Satan as a comical figure but as “a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.” In order to avoid becoming spiritual roadkill, we have to understand our adversary. J. Dwight Pentecost put it this way: “No military commander could expect to be victorious in battle unless he understood his enemy. Should he prepare for an attack by land and ignore the possibility that the enemy might approach by air or by sea, he would open the way to defeat. Or should he prepare for a land and sea attack and ignore the possibility of an attack through the air, he would certainly jeopardize the campaign. No individual can be victorious against the adversary of our souls unless he understands . . . his philosophy, his methods of operation, his methods of temptation.” This week as we continue our series on spiritual warfare, we are going to unmask our adversary. We are going to talk about this conflict that began between God and Satan many years ago, and we are going to discover exactly what it is Satan is trying to do in your life and my life today.

Today’s devotion is excerpted from “The Purpose-Driven Strife” by Dr. Robert Jeffress, 2010.

J. Dwight Pentecost, “Your Adversary The Devil” (Grand Rapids, MI: Kregel, 1997), 9.

Scripture quotations taken from the (NASB®) New American Standard Bible®, Copyright © 1960, 1971, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission. All rights reserved.


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