Don’t Allow the Devil to Impact Your Life and Your Marriage – Be Mindful of His Mission
This individual is not going to change. No matter how much you beg, plead, and pray, no matter how “nice” you are, this individual will not change.
I want to be gut-level honest with you. This individual is not going to change. No matter how much you beg, plead, and pray, no matter how “nice” you are, this individual will not change.
No, I am not talking about a husband or a wife. I’m talking about Satan, the serpent of old. I’m talking about the devil.
When Vanessa and I spend time with couples enmeshed in distressed marriages, one of the most overlooked aspects of their troubles is the enemy – the enemy of our souls. Countless men and women have been tricked into thinking that “if only he/she would change,” and there are times when human change is absolutely necessary. But there is another battle that rages beyond the battle of the flesh – and it has been raging for thousands of years. Spiritual warfare is an integral part of the human experience – the flesh has proven to be a suitable and willing partner to the devil. So, the battle rages on!
I will never forget a quote I heard from a movie many years ago.
“The greatest trick the Devil ever pulled was convincing the world he didn’t exist.” So true - just look around!
These days, the devil is more popular than ever. There are images of him running around in a red jumpsuit, brandishing a pitchfork and poking people in their backsides. He’s entrenched in popular music, movies, and video games. He’s been in comedy for a long time – in the 1970s, comedian Flip Wilson’s Geraldine character, a forerunner to Tyler Perry’s Madea – a man dressed in drag - issued this infamous line to big laughs – “The devil made me do it.” Saturday Night Live comedian Dana Carvey’s Church Lady character - yet another man dressed as a woman - uttered the line that people waited for each weekend – “Could it be…Saa-tan?”
More recently, there was a popular television show called Lucifer where the devil became dissatisfied with his life in hell so he abandoned his throne and retired to Los Angeles to drink, carouse, and chase women. That is clearly theologically unsound – the devil is not in hell yet – and his lease will not expire - but that time is coming for him and his angels.
Lest we forget – the devil is NOT God’s opposite or His equal. He is a created being, subject to Jehovah God. God is sovereign and supreme, and He will have the final word. And the word says that the devil and his angels will be relegated to hell and eternal torment. But for now, they continue to wreak havoc.
The Devil is Real
What’s the point in rehashing all of this? The devil is many things – but he is no laughing matter and should not be trivialized. The devil is real.
The Word of God repeatedly calls the devil out in Scripture, warning believers that he has come to kill, steal and destroy. The Apostle Paul urged the Corinthian church not to be ignorant of Satan’s schemes because when we are aware of those schemes and devices, we are better equipped to handle them (2 Corinthians 2:11).
He Is Subtle
When you hear the word demonic, what comes to mind?
Is it some horror movie on Netflix, someone levitating in mid-air, or some scene in sub-Saharan Africa with witch doctors? Is it perhaps a Ouija board or a séance, or any number of other scenarios that do legitimately qualify as evil? It may be, but demonic activity can be both overt and covert. Please don’t forget the words of Genesis 3:1: Now the serpent was more subtle than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said unto the woman, Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden?
The devil has been described in a multiplicity of ways in Scripture – Peter said that he was on the prowl, like a roaring lion seeking whom he may devour. But at the start, hear what was spoken of him, and don’t ignore or underestimate his impact in your life, and your walk, and your marriage, and your family.
I am not one to blame the devil on my own faults and shortcomings – the ultimate responsibility is mine. But I would be remiss if my eyes and ears were not aware of his influence behind the scenes, and his desire to see us fall and fail. Lord knows he has tried. But he has failed – today, Vanessa and I are stronger, wiser, and so much better together.
I am not a theologian, and Christian circles debate on whether a child of God can be possessed. Many say “no,” because true believers in Jesus are sealed by the Holy Spirit until the day of redemption (Ephesians 4:30). How can the Holy Spirit co-exist with evil? It is a logical conclusion – but can anyone truly discount the impact of the devil on so many Christians who are in bondage to feelings and actions that they know are incompatible with the faith they claim?
Sexual immorality and drug addiction are two major portals that the devil uses to enslave people – we must be careful of what we expose ourselves to. Our choices in movies and music matters! The eyes are indeed windows of the soul. When we allow demonic influences in our spirits, we open ourselves up to an invisible world that is just as real as we are. But let’s not forget pride (what’s in it for me?) and idolatry (football season is coming) are sins in God’s eyes too.
How many marriages have fallen apart because couples came to falsely believe that their spouse – who they loved and adored just a few years ago – was now their enemy? JUST US offers you a bit of R&R for the battle: Recognize and Resist.
Recognize. Recognizing that Satan is the real enemy is an essential step to successfully undertake spiritual warfare. Note Ephesians 6:1: For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.
Resist. The devil has been at his deceptions for thousands of years. He is a powerful and crafty being so don’t presume to be his match. That would be prideful. However, Jesus in you is more than his match.
Do not put yourself in position to yield to the modern-world temptations that have compromised the witness of many Christians. Follow James’ sage advice: Submit to the Lord, resist the devil, and he will flee from you (James 4:7).
So many couples turn on each other when their needs and expectations have not been met. We must recognize the devil’s role in our troubles and respond with urgency and intentionality. Let him know that he cannot have this marriage, this home, this family! Say it out loud – submit to Jesus, call on His name, and mean it. Do not allow resentment or an unforgiving spirit to linger in your marriage or in your family – address the issues, lest a root of bitterness take hold.