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Written by Kimberley Payne. Originally published on Medium.

Can we claim “The devil made me do it”?

Lightning over water
Photo by Johannes Plenio on Unsplash

Since childhood I believed in God. And I believed in Satan.

Who is Satan?

Satan. Father of lies. Beelzebul. Enemy. Demon. Devil. Deceiver. Lucifer. He is referred to by all these names (and more) throughout the Bible.

Most people are familiar with his actions in the garden of Eden. However, he was a created being before then. He started out as an angel of God, a cherub, named Lucifer. He was exceedingly beautiful. But he became prideful because of this. He wanted the glory and honour that belonged to God. He wanted to be worshipped. He wanted to be God.

His pride caused him to rebel and he was thrown from heaven down to earth. Jesus said, “I saw Satan like lightning from heaven” (Luke 10:18 NIV) 

His name changed from Lucifer, which means “morning star” to Satan which means “adversary”. His story is told in Ezekiel 28 and Isaiah 14.

What does Satan want?

As the enemy of God, he is the enemy of all God loves. His goal is to turn us away from God. He is an accuser and a tempter. We see his influences throughout the world and our godless society.

The good news

Satan is not the opposite of God. They are not equal and opposing powers. God is all-powerful, present everywhere, and all-knowing. Satan is not. 

He cannot read our thoughts. He is a created being that is limited in what he knows, where he goes, and what he can do. His existence depends upon God. At the end of time he will be thrown into the lake of fire forever.

As a born-again Christian, we cannot be possessed by Satan. When we are born again, the Holy Spirit enters into us. Satan and God cannot share the same space.

However, Satan is evil, crafty, and deceitful. Although he cannot possess us, he can deceive us, tempt us, influence us. There is a real battle that goes on in our hearts and minds and the struggle between good and evil.

The Bible warns us about him:

Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. (Ephesians 6:11 NIV)

Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. (1 Peter 5:8 NIV)

Although his power is great and shouldn’t be underestimated, be encouraged knowing his power is limited by God. God has placed a fence around each believer protecting us from Satan. 

We know that those who are born of God do not sin, but the one who was born of God protects them, and the evil one does not touch them (1 John 5:18 ESV).

Satan has no power over us unless we allow it.

Discover what Pentecost means, why it’s so important, and why it offers us a re-birthday.

A little background

Pentecost means ‘fifty’. It’s celebrated 50 days after Easter Sunday and is the fulfilment of earlier promises. John records Jesus’ own words at his ascension: ‘And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate, to be with you forever. This is the Spirit of truth.’ (John 14:16-17).

The timing is also significant. In adopting the name, early Christians followed the example of Greek-speaking Jews who used Pentecost as an alternative name for their holiday – the Feast of Weeks. Leviticus 23:16 decreed that this festival be celebrated 50 days from the end of Passover. This Jewish celebration is known by other names too, including: the Feast of Harvest, and the Day of First-fruits. In England, Pentecost is also known as Whitsun and Whitsunday, probably derived from ‘white Sunday’ in recognition of the white baptism clothes worn by the recently baptized.

But what happened?

The Book of Acts tells us: ‘When the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place. And suddenly from heaven there came a sound like the rush of a violent wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting. Divided tongues, as of fire, appeared among them, and a tongue rested on each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other languages, as the Spirit gave them ability.’ (Acts 2.1-4).

Both wind and fire are notable symbols of the Holy Spirit. His activity that day transformed those present. To put it mildly, the event caused a stir. The disciples were so overflowing with the Holy Spirit that they attracted a crowd. They began to speak in tongues and, miraculously, people in the crowd understood them, each hearing in their own language. Perhaps, not surprisingly, some said that the disciples were drunk.

What next?

Peter spoke. This was the same Peter who had made a catalogue of mistakes before finally denying Jesus three times and running off to weep, then hide. But it was also a vastly changed Peter. He challenged the crowd head on. The power of his message converted 3,000 people that very day.

The church’s birthday

Because of Peter and his powerful message, Pentecost marks the establishment of Christianity for many believers. It’s the birthday of the church. Of course, its foundation stone is Jesus, but this was the day that the baton was passed to his disciples. They became the first apostles, initially carrying the Christian message to the crowd, but then going on as Jesus had ordained: ‘you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.’ (Acts 1.8).

Questions and doubts

Even after Jesus appeared in person following his resurrection there were doubters, and I don’t just mean (doubting) Thomas. When Jesus appeared to him a week after he’d appeared to his other disciples, Thomas saw the crucifixion wounds for himself. It seems more than pure chance that this arch-doubter gave the first recorded declaration of Jesus’ divinity. He said of Jesus, ‘My Lord and my God!’ (John 20.28).

Lots of people – including Christians – have doubts and questions they really want explained. Alpha provides a great opportunity – face to face and online – and it’s available worldwide.

Alpha is a series of free sessions that explore the Christian faith in a completely open way. Several sessions explore the role and activities of the Holy Spirit and there’s a special time for renewal and/or inviting him into our lives. It’s a great (re)launching pad – rather like a personal re-birthday – our own mini-Pentecost. For more about Alpha:


Pentecost is a time of celebration. Through Jesus, the Holy Spirit is available to all of us all the time. We only need to ask and be open to him. If we are, we too will be empowered and can more fully participate in Jesus’great commission – ‘Go therefore and make disciples of all nations.’ (Matthew 28.19).

We should always remember that our testimony is worth sharing. When we tell others all that God has done for us through Jesus and the power of his Holy Spirit, we are not simply sharing our story. We may be setting someone on the pathway that leads to eternal life. And that’s definitely worth doing.

Unless otherwise stated, Scripture quotations taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version® Anglicized, NIV® Copyright © 1979, 1984, 2011 by
Biblica, Inc.®Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

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So what of the American dream?  What of the purpose driven life, and the best life now?  We are constantly bombarded with advertising that dangles digital carrots in front of our noses to coerce our hard earned dollars out of our grasp and into theirs.  Materialism has become the god of today’s societies and even China’s new generation’s pursuit of wealth rivals that of anywhere in the world.

So what of it?  What is life’s purpose?  Co-founder of Apple, Steve Jobs, was worth $7 billion when he passed away, yet on his death bed he lamented, “At this moment, lying on the bed, sick and remembering all my life, I realize that all my recognition and wealth that I have is meaningless in the face of imminent death.”

Today we ride in a car or truck, tomorrow we ride in a hearse.  Today we sleep in a comfortable bed, tomorrow we sleep in a casket.  Today we are sheltered by a roof, tomorrow we are covered with dirt.  Everything on the earth is temporal.

Lion's head with shadow of Christ
The Lion of Judah

We all belong to God.  “The life of mortals is like grass, they flourish like a flower of the field; the wind blows over it and it is gone, and its place remembers it no more.” Psalm 103:15-16.  The late Reverend Billy Graham said that the one thing that surprised him about life was the brevity of it.  The Psalmist wrote, “Show me, Lord, my life’s end and the number of my days; let me know how fleeting my life is.” Psalm 39:4.

In the short span of time we have upon this earth, it is prudent to consider all that we are and the realization that our Creator has provided wisdom through his word, so that we can make the most of our lives.  The words of Jesus resonate through the ages and captivate the focus of the wise, “What good will it be for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul?  Or what can a man give in exchange for their soul?” Mathew 16:26.

The apostle Paul wrote in his first letter to the church at Thessalonica, what I believe is good advice for those who wish to live as Christians ought to live.  In the fourth chapter, he wrote, “It is God’s will that you should be sanctified: that you should avoid sexual immorality; that each of you should control his own body in a way that is holy and honorable,” 1 Thessalonians 4:3-4.  He goes on to say that we should not take advantage of each other, but be honest in our dealings, treating each other with love.  “Make it your ambition to lead a quiet life, to mind your own business and to work with your hands, just as we told you, so that your daily life may win the respect of outsiders and so that you will not be dependent on anybody.” 1 Thessalonians 4:11-12.

We must clean our hearts and minds of ungodly things that lead to sin.  Don’t let things occupy your heart that lead to evil.  Pornography, internet images, advertising, greed and lust.  Fill your mind with the word of God by spending time in scripture daily.  Displace carnal thoughts with spiritual wisdom.  “Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable – if anything is excellent or praiseworthy – think about such things.” Philippians 4:8.

The finitude of life is a reality we all sooner or later must come to terms with.  When we contemplate life, we simply cannot escape how fleeting and fragile it is and how quickly it passes by.  The apostle James aptly put it this way, “What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes.” James 4:14.

Our time on earth may be short but it doesn’t have to be meaningless.  We have a brief window of opportunity to make a difference in the lives of others, to lift up the downtrodden, to feed the hungry, comfort the weak and clothe the poor.  Christ calls upon us to serve him and do his work in the world, and blessed are those who do that work!

Eternal life in heaven is the reward for those who believe in Jesus Christ and his resurrection.  He is the eternal God.  If he wasn’t, he could not offer eternal life.  Then the gospel would not be good news since, “If only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are of all people most to be pitied.” 1 Corinthians 15:9.

Yes, our life on earth is brief.  Yes, our life on earth is fragile.  Yes, our life on earth is frail.  But it is just the beginning of our existence.  It is but a drop in an ocean of eternity.

Clinton Bezan is a compelling and authentic Christian voice and published author proclaiming the truth of the Bible as God’s word and the gospel of Jesus Christ. His unique appreciation and passion for Christ are evident in his answer to God’s call to write.

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