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Apprehending the adversary

The word apprehend means to become aware of and also to arrest or seize. Our adversary, the devil, is walking to and fro seeking whom he may devour. It is crucial to be aware of his devices.
Instead of arresting him, we often allow him in our lives. Paul stated that the church at Corinth was not ignorant (lacking knowledge or awareness in general; uneducated) of the devices of Satan, but I’m afraid that the church today chooses to be ignorant. As children, we would sing a song, “The devil is a sly old fox. If I could catch him, I would put him in a box. Lock the door and throw away the key. For all the tricks he has played on me.” As adults, we entertain his lies and do his bidding.
So, how do we apprehend the adversary? John 8:44 proclaims, “Ye are of [your] father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar and the father of it.” Satan speaks, and when we choose to listen and take what he says to heart, we give him access into our lives. Everything that proceeds out of Satan’s mouth is a very convincing lie. To stop Satan from gaining ground, we must turn a deaf ear to him. Ephesians 4:27 says, “Neither give place to the devil.”
Christians must not allow Satan to penetrate their mind, and he is always seeking avenues in which to do just that. Satan is useless on the outside looking in, but he demolishes and dismantles from the inside. Conventional methods to bring down a tall building are primitive: wrecking balls, dynamite, or dismantling with external cranes. The building is gutted from within and lowered down by cranes floor by floor. This process creates less mess and is not as noticeable. Satan does not want to be viewed as the one dismantling. He can’t be obvious. He works behind the scenes.
In John 10:10, Jesus said, “The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have [it] more abundantly.” Satan has three objectives: steal, kill, destroy. Jesus came to give abundant life. Jesus offers us life, joy, peace, and contentment, but Satan offers pleasure for a moment preceded by death. The wages of sin is death.
Satan can carry these detrimental acts out without being noticed. The Bible says in 2 Corinthians 11:3, “But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ.” Subtle means fine or delicate in meaning or intent; difficult to perceive or understand; hard to notice; delicate requiring mental sharpness and penetration. Satan can often slip in and out undetected, but we as children of God must be aware of him and his antics. The Holy Spirit will lead us into all truth!
We live in difficult days, and you can find adversity, hatred, confusion, and division on every corner. You guessed it: Satan is behind it all. Once Jesus returns, he will be chained forever in Hell, but until then, we must apprehend him in our personal lives. You may be thinking, “How can I apprehend one that is as powerful as Satan?” That is just it! You can’t, but the Holy Ghost that lives within us can. Every time we choose to follow the leadership of the Holy Ghost and do what is holy, we are seizing Satan. Walking in the Spirit of the Lord prevents Satan from being able to work. When we walk in the flesh and allow our flesh to do what it wants, we are giving access to Satan. It is much easier to allow Satan in our lives, homes, families, and marriages, but it is far more difficult to remove him. He is the crouching tiger and the hidden dragon waiting for you to crack the door. He will then pounce. The great dragon was cast out of heaven and those on earth were given a warning. He has great wrath because he knows he has a short time to work.
As Satan tries to engage you in the chaos and confusion of this world, look to Jesus, author and finisher of our faith. Let’s bind Satan with our faith, hope, and trust that we place in our Heavenly Father! Do not be filled with anxiety and fear. God is faithful and He will deliver!
(Brandon Young is Pastor of Harmony Free Will Baptist Church, Hampton.)