What Satan and Ads have in Common
It is happening to all of us.
We do some online shopping for something like a pair of sunglasses. We click around for a while, flirt with the idea of buying a pair, but then don’t. Later we log into e-mail and those same sunglasses appear in the sidebar along with similar ones, hoping we click again and buy this time.
The ads distract, tempt, taunt.
The computer algorithms that send the ads don’t have minds. They learn our interests from our clicks. Each click is collected to create a digital footprint that is uniquely ours. In much the same way, Satan can’t read our minds either. He is not omniscient like God.
Satan watches our behavior like the algorithms do.
He observes what we stop to look at, what we scroll and browse….and then he starts chasing us in the same way ads do. Tempting us. Hoping we click again, or eat again, or gossip again, or call that guy or girl again, or watch TV instead of study again.
He chases us like the ads do so he can destroy us.
1 Peter 5:8 says, Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.
Once we are born, Satan aims to keep us from knowing Jesus in the first place. Once that battle is lost, He then tries to keep us from living a fruitful life for God.
In Luke 22:31-32, Jesus tells Simon Peter: “Simon, Simon, Satan has asked to sift all of you as wheat. But I have prayed for you, Simon, that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers.”
We usually picture sifting as the bad stuff falling through, like when we rinse a colander full of strawberries under tap water. Beth Moore taught recently that the reverse is true when sifting wheat. The good stuff falls through and the bad stuff like dirt, pebbles etc. remains.
Satan wants to sift us until nothing good is left.
Don’t be afraid. In Ephesians 6:13-18 we are told that all we have to do is put on the armor of God, stand ready, and pray.The word stand occurs three times!
Therefore take up the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you will be able to stand your ground, and having done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness arrayed, and with your feet fitted with the readiness of the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. And take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. Pray in the Spirit at all times, with every kind of prayer and petition. To this end, stay alert with all perseverance in your prayers for all the saints.
Temptation: Having trouble being distracted with a certain relationship you should not be in?
Lie: That relationship isn’t so bad. Other people don’t know them like you do.
Temptation: Having trouble clicking on images you should not be looking at?
Lie: It’s okay to spend a few minutes looking at those images. They are just pictures. You aren’t hurting anyone.
Temptation: Having trouble consuming foods for all the wrong reasons?
Lie: Comfort food was made for comfort, right?
Satan observes our actions, learns our patterns, then chases us with lies. When you see his “ads” in your peripheral vision, so to speak, stand firm against them.
God promises a way of escape for every temptation.
No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it. (1 Corinthians 10:13)
The escape route usually means us deciding early in the temptation to say, No, I am not texting that person anymore, or clicking on those images, or opening up the pantry door. We put the phone away, delete the app, or take a walk to get out of the house.
In God’s strength, not ours.
Picture Explanation: I get to be married to the man that cooks like this! I also get to walk in a neighborhood that produces picture perfect magnolia blossoms. And I get to welcome a daughter back to Georgia soon. Her last shift in Ohio is now history.
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