I cherish the rare occasions when James attentively shops with me. I feel so loved when he does something he’d rather not because he knows it makes me happy, however brief the window of opportunity may be! All the other times, I simply model my purchases when I get home, and he gives a thumbs up to the keepers. He accepts the risk of my going alone, or even more dangerous, with my mall-loving daughter, as the price of his freedom.
When I think about the man-woman dynamics of shopping, it always brings to mind a story I once heard about a husband whose wife had a shoe problem. Before a certain retail excursion, they strategized ways she could avoid temptation. When she came home with yet another pair of new shoes, he implored, “What happened?!?! I thought we talked about this, and if you were tempted to more shoes, you were supposed to speak straight to the devil and order, ‘Get thee behind me Satan!’”
“Well, I did that,” she timidly replied, head tilted low so she didn’t have to make eye contact. “And when I did, he said they looked great from behind, too!”
Ha! I love that joke!
When Jesus spoke those words, though, it was no joke at all.
In Matthew chapter sixteen, Jesus begins to reveal to His disciples His coming betrayal, death, and resurrection (verse 21). Impetuous Peter rebukes Him, arguing that what He foretells cannot possibly be true: “Far be it from You, Lord; this shall not happen to You!” (verse 22). Instead of agreeing, Jesus admonishes Peter, demanding, “Get behind Me, Satan! You are an offense to Me, for you are not mindful of the things of God, but the things of men” (verse 23).
How many times might Jesus say the same thing to us because we are not mindful of the things of God but the things of men?
There is so much we can learn from this passage:
- Even when our intentions are good, if they’re not God, they’re not good.
- Satan twists everything.
- We must verbally confront and command Satan to his rightful place, behind Christ Jesus.
- Anything of Satan is an offense to Christ, and as we have the same mind as Christ, should be an offense to us.
- We are to be mindful of the things of God, having God thoughts.
- Satan is capable only of being mindful of man, so if our thoughts are human only, then we are not exhibiting the mind of Christ.
Even as I write this blog I need its message! I’m getting baptized tonight, which will be last night when you read this. In the sermon my pastor preached about knowing your divine transaction (see A Divine Transaction), I had a heart-jump-out-of-the-chest experience with the Holy Spirit where He clearly prompted me to step forward after the message to be baptized. Mind you, I was baptized when I was nine and first repeated the sinner’s prayer those many years ago, but since the divine transaction through which the Lord by His grace brought true transformation (however slow and seemingly minor at times), the Holy Spirit has repeatedly pressed on my heart to be baptized as an adult. Out of pure pride of what others would think and whether I’d be able to articulate an explanation, I’ve disobeyed. Until now. And I can tell in my spirit, it’s a big deal, because Satan’s big mouth hasn’t shut up ever since!
Jesus spoke directly to Satan and told Him what for, and as His disciples, He’s given us the authority to do the same thing: “And I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven” (verse 19).
It’s time to confront the devil OUT LOUD, tell him where to go, and then stick our fingers in our ears, because he’s not going to go quietly. He will spew, and argue, and reason, and plant doubts, and do whatever he can to derail our obedience to the Lord, especially when the Lord’s plan is salvation and deliverance in order to further the kingdom of heaven. The devil’s M.O. is to get us to go against God and therefore keep us separated from Him or cause us to be useless to His purposes, and when we resist, he throws an eternal tantrum, manipulating until he wears us down or we shut him up.
Satan’s been trying to wear me down, and it’s time I shut him up.
I declare right now: “Get thee behind me Satan!”
What about you? Do you need to tell Satan where to go right now? Do it!
Let’s bind the mouth of Satan and loose lips of praise, and in so doing, drown out all other voices but the Lord’s. And let’s do what He says, knowing He has a perfect and powerful plan in play that is not just for His glory but our good.
Thank You, Lord, for the keys to the kingdom. Holy Spirit, help us to apply the truth of scripture and empower us to obey, no matter how simple, silly, or significant, as we become more wholly Yours today.