Just for something fun, I have been writing a fantasy book. It’s about an epic battle between good and evil, and, of course, evil is a main character in the story. Thus I wanted to study out how Satan enters people’s hearts and gets a foothold.
Here are some of the Bible characters I looked at, and what their character weakness was —
1. EVE: “I need more.” In the garden of Eden Eve was not content that what she had was enough. She allowed herself to believe that she needed something else.
When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it. Genesis 3
2. JUDAS: “I need to serve my self interest.” We can speculate a lot about what caused Judas to go to the “dark side,” but what we KNOW is that he helped himself to the money bag. He obviously put his self- interest before God.
“he was a thief; as keeper of the money bag, he used to help himself to what was put into it.” John 13:29
3. ANANIAS AND SAPPHIRA: “I want some of this for myself.” This couple was willing to serve and give to God, but they didn’t desire to give everything to him.
Then Peter said, “Ananias, how is it that Satan has so filled your heart that you have lied to the Holy Spirit and have kept for yourself some of the money you received for the land?
4. SIMON THE SORCERER: “I need to exalt myself.” I believe Simon was truly attracted by the gospel, and wanted to follow Jesus. But on some level, he wanted it so people would think more highly of him, so he could think more highly of himself.
The scripture says Simon’s heart was not right. He was FULL of bitterness. Literally, he had the gall of bitterness — he was “bitterly bitter.” He craved the glory that should go to God alone.
When Simon saw that the Spirit was given at the laying on of the apostles’ hands, he offered them money and said, “Give me also this ability so that everyone on whom I lay my hands may receive the Holy Spirit.”
Peter answered: “May your money perish with you, because you thought you could buy the gift of God with money! You have no part or share in this ministry, because your heart is not right before God. . . you are full of bitterness and captive to sin.” Acts 8:16-23
This passage on Simon shows us what is at the root of so much of our sin: bitterness. We are discontent. . . ungrateful, . . . insecure, and this leads to a bad taste in our mouth that we harbor and succor, because we are sure we NEED more.
See what the writer of Hebrews says about bitterness: See to it that no one falls short of the grace of God and that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many. Heb 12:15
Another wording of this is, “Look earnestly, to make sure that there is not any lack in you of the grace of God. “ When we forget how great and all sufficient the grace of God in our lives, we become bitter.
And here is what I realized: I have to be FILLED, sufficed, with Christ every day, or I will have a need that plays out in everything I do.
Only Christ can fill us.
Satan does the opposite. He keeps us empty, BURNING with a need that begins to consume us. We keep stoking the flames that always need more and more fuel.
We get so angry that we have that emptiness, that gnawing pain that we keep trying to assuage. It’s made worse as we look around and see others who seem to have it made, who seem to have it together, and have what they need, while we feel lacking.
The book of James describes this: each person is tempted when they are dragged away by their own evil desire and enticed. In our dead, empty lives, we are excited by that thing we think will make us feel vibrant and alive.
I can sum all of this up in two words: GREED AND NEED. We want more and think we have to have more.
For me, it’s so hard not to focus on what I think I need, instead of what I have in Christ. My prayers can become about all the things I think need to change and happen, instead of thanking God for all I have.
Sometimes it helps me to realize that God doesn’t owe me anything. He doesn’t owe me a comfortable life, a good job, a perfect family, and so on. He loves me and He wants for me to have good things. But it isn’t my right to have them. I am not lacking — far from it. I
Instead, my attitude should be, “But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it. But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that.” I Timothy 6:6-7
In closing, I want to share this story in Time Magazine called, “The Simple Thing that Makes the Happiest People So Happy.” It’s about savoring the moments in life. The writer of the article says,“By taking the time and spending the effort to appreciate the positive, people are able to experience more well-being.” http://time.com/59684/the-simple-thing-that-makes-the-happiest-people-in-the-world-so-happy/
Isn’t this the definition of being content — the ability to satisfy ourselves with the positive?
How does Satan gain a foothold? He tempts us to focus on the negative, to be discontent. He makes us feel as if we have a hole in our life, a hole in our heart. And that imagined hole actually becomes an entryway for Satan, like an opening in the wall of our house that lets vermin in.
Let us focus on what is good. Let us be filled with Christ. He is sufficient. In Him we have every spiritual blessing. Let us fight bitterness, insecurity and discontent. Satan will be left out in the cold.