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How Can I Know If I Am Running Toward The Devil?
"To God the people limp, to the devil they run." - Encyclopedia Of Sermon Illustrations
The opposite should be the case. People should be running to God and limping toward or resisting the devil and his evil influences.
Sad to say, many of God's people are in this pitiful state today. When it comes to drawing closer to the Lord and His Holy Word and Spirit, they are limping - "taking their good ole time," or else kicking and putting up a fight the entire way. However, when it comes to gratifying the flesh...following the ways of the world...or indulging in compromising, worldly, and ungodly practices, they are running with all of their might.
This is an abomination!
How can anyone profess to know and love the Lord Jesus and be found running toward the things of this world, the flesh, and the devil which are considered the enemies of God?
The Apostle James loudly and clearly utters a sharp rebuke to all churches that we may be "sound in the faith" -
James 4:4 says - "Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God."
Notice that he did not allow for any exceptions in his rebuke.
It doesn't matter how many sermons we may have preached...how many years we have served on the Mission field or taught Sunday School...what kind of position we have in the Church...what kind of mighty exploits or miracles we have seen in our lives and ministries...how much we have suffered for the Gospel's sake...or how much money we have given for the Lord's kingdom work.
At this moment, we are either in the category of those who are running toward God or those who are running toward the devil.
We are either -
...resisting the devil - the world and the flesh included - or limping to God, while indulging in sin
...friends or enemies of God
...counted among those who make up the Pure Bride of Christ or we are simply Unfaithful Adulterers and Adulteresses.
A pertinent question we must ask ourselves at this point is - How do I know if I am running toward the devil? What are some indications of this in my life?
The Scriptures depict six general warning signs.
1. Unholy Conversation
Job 15:5 says - "For thy mouth uttereth thine iniquity, and thou choosest the tongue of the crafty."
Malachi 3:13 says - "Your words have been stout against Me, saith the LORD. Yet ye say, What have we spoken so much against Thee?"
Your "mouth uttereth thine iniquity" every time that you hold to opinions or beliefs that are dishonorable and shameful to God and His Holy Word and, resultantly, seek to justify any wrongdoing in your life - while living under the pretense of being a true Christian.
You "choosest the tongue of the crafty" whenever you speak with a certain intention and design - hoping to cover-up sin in your life.
Both of these practices cause you to move in the direction of the devil.
Also, when your words are "stout" against the Lord - when you criticize the ways and providences of God, while proudly defending and justifying your reasons for being upset with it all - the same result happens.
2. Unholy Curiosity
Jeremiah 2:36 says - "Why gaddest thou about so much to change thy way? thou also shalt be ashamed of Egypt, as thou wast ashamed of Assyria."
Jeremiah 14:10 says - "Thus saith the LORD unto this people, Thus have they loved to wander, they have not restrained their feet..."
Proverbs 2:13 says - "Who leave the paths of uprightness, to walk in the ways of darkness."
"Leaving the paths of uprightness"..."loving to wander"..."gadding about to change your ways" - all depict an "Unholy Curiosity," stirred up by the devil himself to drive you to the place of "darkness" where he resides.
Instead of being at rest in having the Lord Jesus as your one and only confidence and trust, you find yourself always unsatisfied - looking for someone or something "tangible" on which to lean or in whom to confide.
3. Unholy Appetites
Job 15:16 says - "...drinketh iniquity like water."
Job 20:12 says - "Though wickedness be sweet in his mouth, though he hide it under his tongue."
Job 34:7 says - "What man ...drinketh up scorning like water?"
Proverbs 4:17 says - "For they eat the bread of wickedness, and drink the wine of violence."
Proverbs 9:17 says - "Stolen waters are sweet, and bread eaten in secret is pleasant."
Proverbs 19:28 says - "An ungodly witness scorneth judgment: and the mouth of the wicked devoureth iniquity."
Proverbs 20:17 says - "Bread of deceit is sweet to a man..."
"Drink iniquity like water," "drink up scorning like water," "eat the bread of wickedness," "drink the wine of violence," "devour iniquity," partake of the "bread of deceit," drink "sweet, stolen waters," and eat "bread eaten in secret" - these are all the activities of the ungodly who take pleasure in sin.
You may not do as the heathen in indulging in forbidden pleasures per se. Yours may be a more indirect form of indulgence by viewing sinful acts on TV or over a movie screen. Or you may listen to conversation over the radio that is irreverent and reproachful to God.
Whichever form to which you subject yourself, you become a partaker of wickedness through it all. It is as if you are actually consuming "iniquity," "violence," "deceit," and "scorning" as food for your soul every time that you expose yourself to these types of amusement.
Having an "Unholy Appetite" for impure and ungodly entertainment is a sure indication that you are running toward the devil at breakneck speed.
4. Unholy Fellowship
Psalm 26:4 says - "...sat with vain persons...go in with dissemblers."
Psalm 50:18 says - "When thou sawest a thief, then thou consentedst with him, and hast been partaker with adulterers."
Job 34:8 says - "Which goeth in company with the workers of iniquity, and walketh with wicked men."
Proverbs 4:14 says - "Enter not into the path of the wicked, and go not in the way of evil men."
Proverbs 13:20 says - "...a companion of fools shall be destroyed."
Being found among "vain persons" and "dissemblers" who are hypocrites who conceal their real character and intentions and are wholly addicted to foolishness...Associating with adulterers - not rebuking them for their evil practices but going along with their evil ways...Entertaining and advocating the same views and opinions contrary to God and His Holy Laws as the "workers of iniquity"...Falling in with sinners...Being attached to or imitating the ways of the foolish - All of these practices draw you closer to the devil and away from God.
5. Unholy Principles
Deuteronomy 29:19 says - "And it come to pass, when he heareth the words of this curse, that he bless himself in his heart, saying, I shall have peace, though I walk in the imagination of mine heart, to add drunkenness to thirst."
Job 36:21 says - "Take heed, regard not iniquity: for this hast thou chosen rather than affliction."
Proverbs 14:9 says - "Fools make a mock at sin..."
Hosea 7:3 says - "They made the king glad with their wickedness, and the princes with their lies."
You are running toward the devil whenever you -
...indulge in all kinds of sinful gratifications and yet flatter yourself - saying that all is well between you and God
...escape troubles and evade any kind of sufferings for Christ's name's sake by assenting and agreeing with the evil all around you
...make the sins of others a laughing matter
...please the leadership over you - employer, spouse, parent - by conforming to their wicked desires; such as, to lie, slander, or go along with their vulgar stories or language.
6. Unholy Affections
Proverbs 1:22 says - "How long, ye simple ones, will ye love simplicity..."
Proverbs 2:14 says - "Who rejoice to do evil, and delight in the frowardness of the wicked."
Proverbs 10:23 says - "It is as sport to a fool to do mischief..."
Romans 1:32 says - "Who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them."
What you love is a sure indication of which direction you are moving - toward God or toward Satan.
Sinners are seduced and deceived into taking pleasure in the very thing that is killing them - Sin! Wickedness is their delight. It is a laughing matter - even in spite of all the warnings of judgment to come from the Lord.
Whenever you have an "Unholy Affection" toward a particular sin - whereby no clarion calls of warning seem to shake you from your delight in it - you are dangerously running toward the devil.
How important it is to stop everything at this time and take inventory of your life!
To which direction are you headed spiritually?
Are you moving toward God or toward the devil?
It is to one or the other. It cannot be both.
Is there an area which the Holy Spirit pinpointed in this message where you need to make some necessary changes in direction?
Do it today.
Don't put it off.
God's grace is waiting for you right now to enable you to make the turn.
Be real with God and yourself.
Don't deceive yourself any longer.
May God Bless His Word.