Greetings, I am Sis. M; nice to meet you all! I have joined the Messengers of Light team, and by God’s grace, I will be heading out the Army of Youth posts. Please feel free to leave any feedback on the posts in the comment sections below. Thanks; may God be with you all! Now, let’s prayerfully enter into our study!
The Web of satan
One day, I went to the orchard to spend some time with God. There is a special apple tree that I like to climb in and sit down, “under His shadow with great delight”. On this particular day, I went to the tree and noticed that there was a web in my way of the various branches that I was seeking to grasp. Nevertheless, by God’s grace, I didn’t let that deter me. I quickly brushed off the web and, made my way up the tree.
Later on, the Lord revealed to me an object lesson about this experience. Often, satan will seek to entangle us in his web, to keep us from the various branches of God’s work. The enemy of our souls knows that he has but a little time, and he is doing all that he can to prevent us from finishing the work.
“I have been shown that the youth of today have no true sense of their great danger. There are many of the young whom God would accept as laborers in the various branches of His work, but Satan steps in and so entangles them in his web that they become estranged from God and powerless in His work.” AH p. 81
Dear youth, do you sense your danger? Have you been allured from the path of holiness? Are you familiar with the various branches of God’s work and the purpose for them all?
“God’s purpose in giving the third angel’s message to the world is to prepare a people to stand true to Him during the investigative judgment. This is the purpose for which we establish and maintain our publishing houses, our schools, our sanitariums, hygienic restaurants, treatment rooms, and food factories. This is our purpose in carrying forward every line of work in the cause.” MS 27, 1907
In the quote above, we see some of the various branches of God’s work. Do you gather why satan seeks to divert our attention from the finishing work? You probably guessed it: satan does not want a people prepared to stand true to God during the investigative judgment. Only by being prepared to stand can we gain the necessary experience God wants us to have with Him. Working together with God, in the various branches of His work, can help us to know Him as a close, intimate, and personal Friend.
“It is in working to spread the good news of salvation that we are brought near to the Saviour.” DA p. 339
Unfortunately, satan does not want us to be a friend of God. He knows that “Without a personal acquaintance with Christ, and continual communion we are at the mercy of the enemy, and shall do his bidding in the end.” DA p. 324
So what does the devil do? He steps in and seeks to entangle us is his web. He seeks to distract us from the finishing work, so that he can prevent us from knowing God as a person. And on the contrary, satan can also push us towards the complete opposite extreme. That devil constantly tries to get us to go either to the right or to the left:
“It is satan’s studied plan to push persons from one extreme to the other” AH p. 432. Not only does satan try to keep many from God’s work completely, but he also seeks for others to be involved in the work without knowing God, without truly being converted. Now, that’s tricky!
You remember when Jesus said, “Many will say to Me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Thy name? and in Thy name have cast out devils? And in Thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you…” Matthew 7:23?
Although it is essential to be involved in the various branches of God’s work, we must not neglect to establish an intimate relationship with the Master worker, and maintain it. God wants us to take Him with us to the publishing house, or school, or sanitarium, or hygienic restaurant, or treatment room, or food factory, or any other line of work He has called us to.
We can literally invite our Heavenly Father to be with us in everything that we do. God has given us the opportunity to talk with Him constantly, about things that concern our actual lives. What a privilege!
Sadly though, in ceasing to obtain this privilege, satan (who was once named Lucifer) failed. He once did many wonderful works, and was united in closest ties to the Son of God.
“There was a time when Satan was in harmony with God, and it was his joy to execute the divine commands. His heart was filled with love and joy in serving his Creator, until he began to think that his wisdom was not derived from God.” Truth About Angels, p. 31
As a result, one who was deeply in the work is now the furthest from it. The relationship he once had wasn’t maintained. He no longer spoke with God about his thoughts, or sought to know God’s thoughts; and bring his thoughts in harmony with the infinite One.
Therefore, we can gather that it is not enough to just enter into an experience with God; this experience must be maintained. We must be converted daily, and have our thoughts constantly with Christ, and our sweetest thoughts to be of Christ. It is too late for the prince of darkness. However, there is still opportunity for you and I!
We need not follow in the steps of Lucifer, but of Jesus. “His followers are to…live as He lived, and work and He worked, because they depend on Him as the great Master Worker…Though apparent impossibilities obstruct their way, by His grace they are to go forward.” DA p. 679
Instead of being hindered by satan’s web, estranged from God and powerless in His work,
“It is His purpose that the highest influence in the universe, emanating from the source of all power, shall be theirs. They are to have power to resist evil, power that neither earth, nor death, nor hell can master, power that will enable them to overcome as Christ overcame.” Ibid
Now, if we would only tap into this power Source. Oh Father, we have not known Thee as we ought!
We have not known Thee as we ought,
Nor learned Thy wisdom, grace and power;
The things of earth have filled our thought,
And trifles of this passing hour.
Lord, give us light Thy truth to see,
And make us wise in knowing Thee.
We have not feared Thee as we ought,
Nor bowed beneath Thine awesome eye,
Nor guarded deed and word and thought,
Remembering that God was nigh.
Lord, give us faith to know Thee near,
And grant the grace of holy fear.
We have not loved Thee as we ought,
Nor cared that we are loved by Thee;
Thy presence we have coldly sought,
And feebly longed Thy face to see.
Lord, give a pure and loving heart
To feel and know the love Thou art.
We have not served Thee as we ought,
Alas, the duties left undone,
The work with little fervor wrought,
The battles lost or scarcely won!
Lord, give the zeal, and give the might,
For Thee to toil, and Thee to fight.
When shall we know Thee as we ought,
And fear and love and serve aright?
When shall we, out of trial brought,
Be perfect in the land of light?
Lord, may we day by day prepare—
To see Thy face and serve Thee there.
Brothers and sisters, may we truly sense our need, and cry out like Peter (when he was on the Sea of Galilee), and say “Lord, save me”.
Although satan is our enemy, and he has his web laid in waiting, our greatest enemy is self. Nevertheless, when we unite with Jesus, His grace can subdue the selfishness that is inherent in the natural heart, and we can withstand the agencies of evil from within and from without.
“This union with Christ, once formed, must be maintained. Christ said, ‘Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in Me.’ This is no casual touch, no off-and-on connection…The life you have received from Me can be preserved only by continual communion. Without Me you cannot overcome one sin, or resist one temptation.” DA p. 676
There are many temptations out there, in diet, dress, music, and associations that may pull at some answering chord within. In fact, there are temptations even on the web (on facebook, tweeter, instagram). In whatever form they come, temptations are designed to keep us from Christ, and the finishing work He is seeking to do in our hearts.
“Satan is a sharp and persevering workman. He knows just how to entrap the unwary, and it is an alarming fact that but few succeed in escaping from his wiles. They see no danger and do not guard against his devices. He prompts them to fasten their affections upon one another without seeking wisdom of God or of those whom He has sent to warn, reprove, and counsel.” AH p. 81
Although our arched foe is on our tracks, there is a God in heaven, who can help us from being trapped! Jesus is the Branch that we can grasp, to enter into a higher experience with Him. In the quote from Adventist Home, there are three practical things that we can do today to escape the wiles of satan, and maintain a connection with our Best Friend, Jesus.
1. See the danger
“What will ye that I shall do unto you?…Lord, that our eyes may be opened.” Matthew 20: 32, 33
Often times we do things without seeing the danger. Or maybe we do sense some danger and are only thinking of ourselves, and not how our decisions affect those around us; especially God.
“Few give thought to the suffering [the danger!] that sin has caused our Creator…Every departure from the right, every deed of cruelty, every failure of humanity to reach His ideal, brings grief to Him.” Ed p. 263
Imagine; it brings our Heavenly Father deep sorrow when we don’t reach our full potential. Oh, it pains Him when we enter into satan’s web and wither away. The King of kings longs for our fellowship. He loves us with such paternal affection! “…what shall account for the great love wherewith He has loved us? We cannot understand it, but we can know it true in our experience.” DA p. 327
Prayerfully, our consciences are being quickened, and we are beginning to see folly in its true light. By Gods grace, let us look and live and enter into this experience today! “So long as the soul is united to Christ, there is no danger that it will wither or decay.” DA p.676
Thought Question: How can you enter into this experience today?
2. Guard against satan’s devices
A device is something made for a particular purpose. While God is seeking to prepare us to stand, satan’s purpose is to prepare us to fall. Can you think of some devices that satan is using in your life to cause you to fall? How can you rise up again? “For a just man falleth seven times, and riseth up again.” Proverbs 24: 16
God has given us shields to guard against satan’s devices, that can help us rise up again if we fall (while it is yet day), and can moreover – keep us from falling!“… taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked” Ephesians 6:16. By having faith in God, and believing in His word, we can put up a guard against the enemy.
For example: When satan sought to tempt Jesus, what did He say? “It is written”. Our Saviour’s faith in God’s word guarded Him. We must learn to live by this same faith; faith in the Person whose word it is. Faith is the victory!
The expression of words reacts on the thoughts. Therefore if we express God’s words, the more we can believe them to be true, for they are true! When tempted, try saying aloud a scripture.
On the contrary, if we express idle words and give utterance to them we can be deceived by our own words. Another practical guard we can put up against satan’s devices, is to watch well our words. By God’s grace may our words be true and faithful.
“We have a right to say, In the strength of Jesus Christ I will be a conqueror. I will not be overcome by satan’s devices.” 2MR p.345
Another shield to help us to keep the faith is to guard our associations. If we link up with someone who isn’t living a Christian life, we can lose our fervor for spiritual things. “Can two walk together, except they be agreed?” Amos 3:3
The following quote gives light on what happens when companions are unequally yoked. “Once they felt it a privilege to speak of their joy and hope; but soon thy become unwilling to make this a subject of conversation, knowing that the one with whom they have linked their destiny takes no interest in these things. Thus satan insidiously weaves about them a web of skepticism, and faith in the precious truth dies out of the heart. It is satan’s studied effort to secure the youth in sin; for then he is sure of the man…As an angel of light he comes to the youth with his specious devices, and too often succeeds in winning them, step by step, from the path of duty.” MYP p.454
Dear youth, the influence that you surround yourself with is critical, and can determine if you will rise in moral worth, or sink to a low level. “Be not deceived: evil communications corrupt good manners.” 1 Corinthians 15:33.
With every relationship that we find ourselves in, whether with an associate, a friend, or even a family member we must insure that Jesus takes first place in our hearts. “Closer than father, mother, brother, friend, or lover is the Lord our Saviour.” DA p. 327
Looking at the life of Jesus we see that sometimes the enemy induces someone near and dear to us as a means to constrain us also from our Father’s business and the various branches of His work. “They [the sons of Joseph] decided that He [Jesus] must be persuaded or constrained to cease this manner of labor, and they induced Mary to unite with them, thinking that through His love for her they might prevail upon Him…” DA p. 321
With that in mind we must determine that even if someone we love decides not to follow Jesus we must not turn back. “Though none go with me, still I will follow…no turning back, no turning back.”
Our last shield that we will share is a shield that can help guard us from a thousand perils. Any ideas? “Chaste simplicity in dress, when united with modesty of demeanor, will go far toward surrounding a young woman with that atmosphere of sacred reserve which will be to her a shield from a thousand perils.” MYP p. 344
Praise the Lord, for His practical counsel. Now, that leads us to our next point.
3. Seek wisdom
The Bible says, “If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God…and it shall be given.” Often times we question God, versus asking Him the right questions. Asking God to give us wisdom is a right question. He can give us wisdom as it pertains to all aspects of our lives, and especially on what to fasten our affections on. Colossians 3:2 says, “Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth.”
In order to do this, we must be willing for Jesus to prune us like a plant. “The pruning will cause pain, but it is the Father who applies the knife…There are branches trailing upon the ground; these must be cut loose from the earthly supports to which their tendrils are fastening. They are to reach heavenward, and find their support in God.” DA p. 677
Another avenue that God seeks to give us wisdom in is through His messengers – “those whom He has sent to warn, reprove, and counsel.” AH p.81. It is written, “With the ancient is wisdom; and in length of days understanding.” Job 12:12. If we lack wisdom, we can also seek counsel from those who have experience in the faith; and who, moreover, echo the words of God.
Prayerfully, as we enter into this 3-step process, we can weave for ourselves a web of habits, which (once formed) will task the strength to break! His grace is sufficient!
Let us pray:
Heavenly Father, thank You for Your compassion, patience, goodness, grace, mercy, and love. Although we often coldly seek You, and only pause for a moment in Your presence, You still patiently wait to enter our hearts. Please forgive us, and help us to see Jesus as One to be desired; and not take such love for granted any longer. May we come in personal contact with You today, and learn how to be a better friend. Father, please help us not only to enter into this experience, but also to maintain it. Help us to consistently spend time with You, and take You with us as we go about our daily duties. Please, help us not to enter in satan’s web, and be kept from the finishing work. Deliver us from evil, and help us to surrender all of the worldly attachments that we may have, so that we can go forward and not backward. Lord, save us! In Jesus name, amen.
For Additional Resources: We highly recommend the How to Live series. These precious volumes contain wisdom that can help one establish and maintain a relationship with God.
We also invite you to fill out a “What’s in your hand” worksheet. The information submitted will be used as a resource contact list, that will assist with the various branches of God’s finishing work. Maranatha!