“Be self-controlled and ALERT! Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. 1 Peter 5:8 (NIV)
We must always be ALERT! Why? Because Satan IS OUR ONLY ENEMY! Let me show you an example of what I am going to be sharing with you.
“From that time on Jesus began to explain to his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things at the hands of the elders, the chief priests and the teachers of the law, and that he must be killed and on the third day be raised to life.
Peter took him aside and began to rebuked him. “Never, Lord!” he said. “This shall never happen to you!” Jesus turned and said to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to me; you do not have in mind the concerns of God, but merely human concerns.” Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me.” Matthew 16:21-24 (NIV)
We can be affected by Satan! This excerpt from the Bible is a perfect example of what I just said. When Peter heard what Jesus said he instantaneously allowed his emotions to get out of hand! The Scripture reveals that Peter immediately took Jesus aside and rebuked Him. At this point Jesus did not explode at him, nor did he begin to rebuke Peter like Peter had rebuked him! There was none of this “in your face” as we call it. Jesus simply pulled back emotionally, recognized where the attack was coming from and said to Satan not Peter, “Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to me; you do not have in mind the things of God, but the things of men.” Matthew 16:23 (NIV)
Jesus looked at where the attack was coming from – He knew Peter had let down his guard and given Satan room to use him. Our emotions can become an open door in our lives daily – if we aren’t careful. When someone snaps at you, or yells at you, or cuts in front of you while you are driving or etc. Whatever happens be slow to react. Always look behind what has been done or said.
After recognizing who was behind the attack Jesus said: “Get thee behind me Satan!” When he spoke, he was not speaking to Peter, he was dealing with the actual attacker! He was speaking to the one who was behind the whole situation up to that point! In speaking directly to Satan, Jesus took control of the situation for God! Jesus didn’t explode and start arguing with Peter! If Jesus had handled this situation any differently – what could have happened to his growing friendship with Peter? Plus, would Peter have become so upset and hurt it would have affected his growth with God! Be on the alert! Watch your reaction time in tense situations! You don’t have to answer anyone immediately! You don’t want to give Satan more room to make things worse through you – Satan can use our thoughts, our moods, and our emotions against us – be ALERT!
NOW – We are certainly not going to go around and say to just anyone who says something we don’t like, get behind me Satan! How stupid would that be? What we need to do is simply recognize who is behind the situation and control ourselves! Don’t react! That can cause the whole situation to explode! I really think that is what Satan wanted Jesus to do! I can think of many ways God would want us to handle this type of situation. However, that is for another teaching at another time.
Keep in mind, what Jesus did in the temple. He saw what He saw and heard what He heard and did nothing at that moment. In other words, He took time to recognize who was behind the disgrace that was going on in His Father’s House! Jesus wanted to handle this situation perfectly! Therefore, He began by timing himself out and He simply backed away. John tells us in the written Word Jesus went outside the Temple grounds and made a whip out of cords. This took quite a bit of time, because He couldn’t go to Ace Hardware and buy a whip! He not only had to make the whip – He had to find the material to do so! Jesus sat down first and took His time to talk with God about the situation He was in – and ask for direction. We know this because Jesus would have not made a whip on his own! The Apostle John wrote for us in the written Word what Jesus had told the disciples: I do nothing on my own except what my Father tells me to. . .”(John 8:28)
While outside Jesus prayed, and listened for God’s direction in this matter and then went back inside and handled the situation to a tee!
By the way, Jesus did not use the whip on one person! Nor did He strike anyone! He simply carried out God’s instruction by overturning tables and speaking what God told Him to say in the manner God wanted! Basically, what did Jesus do? He bullied the one, who was bullying the one who was bullying Him!
Part Three coming soon . . .