Matthew R. Perry

Two Main Designs the Devil Has Upon Men

In Devotional on February 16, 2007 at 2:46 pm

Recently, I was reading one of my favorite Puritan authors John Bunyan and his work Heart’s Ease in Heart Trouble.  Bunyan, most known for his Pilgrim’s Progress (a book every Christian must read), writes on Jesus’ statement in John 14:1, “Let not your hearts be troubled.”  This condition is something we must battle against, especially when an enemy seeks to steal and kill and destroy (John 10:10).

But I was especially captured by what Bunyan wrote concerning the devil:

Two main designs the devil hath upon men:  The one is, if possibly, by all imaginable sleights, temptations, and enticements, he may keep men in a course of ungodliness, to hinder them from coming to Christ by faith and repentance, to deter them from His holy ways.  And when he cannot prosper in this, but that unsearchable, rich, free grace takes hold of some poor souls, and they are snatched out of the devil’s hands, their captivity led captive by that mighty Redeemer, than all the devil’s labor is to hinder their comfort, and to interrupt their peace, and to make their way to heaven as hard and uncomfortable to them as possible, pursuing them with all dejecting and heart-troubling temptations. 

How many of us are experiencing right now the devil’s hindering our comfort and interrupting our peace?   We must first consider if there is some unconfessed sin in our hearts and minds.  Psalm 66:18 tells us that:

    If I had cherished iniquity in my heart,

        the Lord would not have listened.

With this, we see that when the home of our hearts is troubled, it is because we have let the devil in the front door.

Next, we engage in some active warfare.  Jesus says, “Let not your hearts be troubled.”  How do we get past this?  “You believe in God, believe also in me” (John 14:1).  Faith in Christ allays all anxieties and doubts and strengthens one with an unassailable joy in the One who triumphs over our circumstances.

After watching the recently-released movie Luther, there is a scene in which Martin Luther (played to near perfection by Joseph Fiennes) is preaching to his congregation.  He confesses to his congregation that the devil reminds him of his sins and his worthiness of hell.  Then he says, “When the devil reminds you of how you deserve hell, you say to him, ‘Yes, I do deserve that fate, but what of it?  I have one who stands in my behalf and His name is Jesus Christ who purchased heaven for me by His blood for my sins.”  When I saw and heard that scene, I said, “Woo!  Glory!  Preach it, Dr. Luther!” 

Jesus Christ offers ease to the heart for the trouble of the heart.  Many times, all we need to do is recall the promises of God and the redemptive work of Christ and that will cure what ails us.

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