There was an advertisement I saw in the paper. The Devil was putting his tools up for sale. There was an address so I went out to look at all of his tools. When I got there they were all laid out for inspection. Each had a tag with a price marked on it. You would never know that these tools could be used for such vile purposes. Dude had a lot of tools!
Here are the first tools I saw: There was a gun with a tag that said, “Hatred, $900, causes so much destruction in people’s lives” There was a knife with a tag that said, “Envy, $700, cuts deep” There was a razor blade with a tag that said, “Jealousy, $700, creates such a deep wound” There was a magazine with a plain brown covering tagged, “Lust, $400, really hurts relationships!” There was a simple level with a tag that said, “Pride, $600, I like this one because people think that pride is on the level….even though it always comes before the fall” There was a screwdriver with a tag that said, “Lying, $500, puts the screws to everyone.”
But set apart from the rest were three tools that were REALLY WELL WORN, much more than any of the others and they were PRICED REALLY HIGH. “What are the names of those tools?” I asked. “Those,” the Devil replied, “are TEMPTATION, DISAPPOINTMENT and DISCOURAGEMENT.”
There was a pry bar labeled, “Temptation, $8000, everyone falls for this” There was a Mallet with a tag that read, “Disappointment, $7000, this is easy to use because almost everyone falls for it! There was a hammer with a tag that said, “Discouragement, $7000, works almost every time!”
“Why have you priced these so high?”, I said. “Because TEMPTATION is more useful to me than all the others. I can pry open and get inside a person’s heart with that when I can’t get near him with any other tools. It’s so worn because I use it on almost everyone, hardly anyone knows it belongs to me. And these other two, DISAPPOINTMENT and DISCOURAGEMENT, the same thing, once I pry open their heart with TEMPTATION–I got ’em cornered–I can hit them with DISAPPOINTMENT and DISCOURAGEMENT and they’re mine!”
Even the most successful, spiritually mature people face temptations, disappointment and discouragement. The challenge is to honestly face these things without fooling ourselves and giving up! What we need to do is acknowledge our need for help, get help from others and apply God’s wisdom in the midst of problems.
2 Corinthians 2:10-11 (TNIV)
10 Anyone you forgive, I also forgive. And what I have forgiven–if there was anything to forgive–I have forgiven in the sight of Christ for your sake, 11 in order that Satan might not outwit us. For we are not unaware of his schemes.
We live in a world in which there is a spiritual battle. Satan and his minions are in a battle to deceive us, lead us astray, lead us away from God and if we aren’t careful, we will fall for his schemes. The first thing we can do is to put on the armor of God.
Ephesians 6:11-17 (TNIV)
11 Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. 12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. 13 Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.
14 Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, 15 and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. 16 In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17 Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.
- Put on the Belt of truth. Study Scripture so that Satan cannot deceive you.
- Put on the Breastplate of righteousness. Ask God for the ability to resist Satan’s temptations.
- Put on Shoes that are ready to spread the gospel. Ask God to give you an opportunity to tell unbelievers about Jesus.
- Use the Shield of faith. Ask God to increase your faith in him.
- Put on the Helmet of salvation. Continually remind yourself that Jesus has saved you from your sins.
- Wield the Sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God. Ask the Spirit to help you understand the Bible’s message. 1
1 Adapted from the LAB Commentary