Sunday, March 20, 2016

Enemies at work...

     “What will you give me to deliver him to you?”  That was the question Judas asked the chief priests.  He knew their jealousy drove them to hate Jesus.  He knew they would pay nicely for someone from Jesus inner circle to help them.  An “innocent enough question” would drive their jealous to the same levels as his greed, and from within and from without, a deal was struck.  Now it was just a matter of waiting for the opportune time.
     Peter reminds us that our enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour (1 Peter 5:8).  Our American culture has taught us to read scripture primarily on an individual level.  And certainly there is a personal diligence we must maintain.  But I believe that if you are called to marriage, then you should also read scripture on a couple level.  What is the Word saying not just to you, but to you and your spouse as you live out being “one flesh.”  With that in mind, how is the devil prowling around your marriage, just as he prowled around waiting to enter into Judas’ heart?
     Certainly, the devil works from within.  Judas’ greed compelled him to continually seek selfish gain, and the devil was able to easily capitalize on that.  Is there some area of your heart that the devil continually circles and prowls around? Maybe it becomes easy for him to justify spending extra time with the secretary when he knows there is an attraction.  Or perhaps she feels it would be easier to hide the credit card than to have another argument over money.  He rationalizes why he deserves to watch pornography on the computer if she is denying him intimately.  She decides the return on career-advancement by isolating herself with work for months-on-end is worth what she loses in time spent with her husband.
     And the devil works from outside, just as he used the chief priests jealousy to apply pressure and keep the situation as volatile as possible.  What outside pressures are hungrily circling your covenant relationship?  Her parents constantly try to insert themselves into her marriage and then expect her to criticize him for “not being willing to accept help.”  A female friend who’s gone through a bad break up wants to meet him alone for lunch to talk because “he’s always been a good listener.”  Friends tell the couple that if they watch the latest sex-driven movie it will spice up their love life.
     Be alert!  It doesn’t matter what form the temptation comes in, or if it comes from within or without.  The devil doesn’t give up.  The enemy is constantly at work.  Looking for weak spots.  Teasing.  Promising.  Lying.  Doing whatever it takes to find susceptibility.  Trying to see at what price you’re willing to sell out your marriage.
     Your marriage is worth far more than any 30 pieces of silver.  Keep it centered in Christ, and help each other keep the devil at bay.

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