The devil wants to rob you of God – and rob God of you! He is a murderer: he kills our joy and robs our lives of significance and true satisfaction. All this time he is lying through his teeth as he tells us that all the garbage he offers is the way to go.
“What does a man get for all the toil and anxious striving with which he labors under the sun? All his days his work is pain and grief; even at night his mind does not rest. This too is meaningless” (Eccl. 2:22-23). The devil kills your sleep – and that pretty well takes care of your joy! He is the quintessential insomniac and wants some company. Solomon essentially tells us that when a rich man lies down and tries to get to sleep, his body reclines but his mind sits up! Well now, Solomon would know, wouldn’t he? Have you ever experienced something like that?
And just what is the rich man worrying about in the wee hours of the morning? He’s wondering how to keep what he has toiled for! What a shock to realize he can’t take it with him. You can’t, you know.
Many a man has toiled all his life and worried his nights away realizing he must leave it all, possibly to people who will squander it away. That’s enough to give anyone sleepless nights! “God gives a man wealth, possessions and honor, so that he lacks nothing his heart desires, but God does not enable him to enjoy them, and a stranger enjoys them instead” (Eccl. 6:2).
That’s frustrating! What am I working my tail off for, when that idiot is going to blow it? the rich man asks himself. So the devil, who is the master thief, spends his sleepless nights thinking how he can rob us of peace of mind, joy in the simple things of life that money can’t buy, and of course rob us of salvation by preventing us from thinking of anything beyond the temporal. Our enemy hopes sensual and passing pleasure will be mistaken for real and lasting joy.
If perchance the devil loses a battle and someone becomes a Christian, he doesn’t give up and leave that new believer alone for the rest of his life. He redoubles his efforts in order to keep the convert “worldly minded” – living, as Paul puts it, after the flesh and not after the Spirit (see Rom. 8:1-13). John, writing his letter to new believers, tells them, “If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him” (1 Jn. 2:15).
It’s not only the secular person without Christ that falls into this trap. The believer is all too often robbed of joy by the devil too. Satan wants to kill any concept that living in a right relationship with God could possibly bring us joy.
When I first heard of Jesus Christ and “conversion” I was doubtful about any joy involved in the whole process. In fact I thought to myself, “If I asked Christ into my life, I bet I will never smile again! Surely being that religious would condemn me to be miserable forever.” I remember asking the girl who led me to Christ, “What will I have to give up if I become a Christian?”
“Only your sin,” she replied. “Surely you can do without all that makes you miserable?”
Well, what do you do with an answer like that? I was thinking that Christ would rob me of joy, whereas it was sin that would do that.
Just as we wouldn’t dream of letting a burglar into our house and saying “help yourself,” so we should resist the devil coming into this “heart house,” helping himself to our joy and satisfaction. Don’t let him do it! “Resist the devil, and he will flee from you” (Jas. 4:7). Satisfaction comes from living rightly before God and pleasing Him, rejecting the devil’s ploys.
Just Between Us Magazine