“David said about him:’‘I saw the Lord always before me. Because he is at my right hand, I will not be shaken. Therefore my heart is glad and my tongue rejoices; my body also will rest in hope, because you will not abandon me to the realm of the dead, you will not let your holy one see decay. You have made known to me the paths of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence (Acts 2:25-28).”
There are a lot of ways to ruin our lives today. One that comes to mind is becoming too involved with that new bugaboo, the Internet.
Don’t get me wrong. I love the blessings of the Internet. As an educator, the access it provides to knowledge is wonderful.
However, the dangers are there, too. This isn’t a novel concept. Just a quick surf will reveal that.
How ruinous are its possibilities? One Newsweek article discusses 10 ways that Facebook can ruin your life. The most recent postings of one website, based on a book called “13 Ways to Ruin Your Life” discuss the ravaging effects of pornography on marriage.
Another website discusses the people and things that have ruined the goodness of the Internet. It mentions(somewhat ‘tongue-in-cheek) 13 -year-old boys, 16-year-old girls, Fox News, Twitter and Wikipedia. For the most part, I couldn’t agree more.
There’s one person that just loves the Internet. Many people don’t believe that he exists. Many people of the Christian faith know full well he does. His name is Satan.
Satan is a poweful fallen angel whose purpose is to thwart God and make the lives of humans miserable, especially those people who call themselves believers.
Eons ago Satan set his sites on a person of the ancient world called Job. God pointed out to Satan that Job was quite a man, one of immense integrity.
Satan, as he is wont to do, contested God’s point and bet that Job’s goodness wouldn’t last if all his riches and prosperity were destroyed. God took Satan up on his bet and allowed Satan to cause havoc with Job.
Satan killed his kids, took away his riches, and destroyed his health. Surely, Job would relent and fall away from God, just as Satan did. In fact, Job’s wife encouraged Job to do just that (Job 1:1-2:9).
Satan used enemies, bad weather and disease to lay waste to Job’s life back in ancient times. Today, while he still uses these things, he has added on important weapon: the Internet.
Satan is using the Net to wreck our lives as believers. And once we stumble through wrongful participation in its wiles, he piles on, adding guilt, numbed emotions and depression.
People today are in a fix because of Satan’s attempts to use the Internet to ruin them. Believers are not immune at all to the destruction it causes.
While Satan would like to keep us in the throes of woe due to our illicit use of the Internet, the good news is that God has provided a way out of its vise. In fact, the means he has provided means “good news”. It’s called the gospel of Jesus Christ.
The Bible relates this good news. Indeed, th gospel writer Mark begins his book this way: “The beginning of the good news about Jesus the Messiah, the Son of God…(Mark 1:1).” What is this good news?
The good news is that God may not be pleased with us due to our sinfulness, but He is pleased with His Son. Indeed, right after God made this public, Satan came in and tried to use his versions of the Internet to tempt Jesus and cause God NOT to be pleased with Him.
Satan’s plan didn’t work. Jesus passed the test (Mark 1:9-12).
After his successful thwarting of Satan, Jesus Himself begin to spread this good news. He was the way to salvation from the curse of Satan. Mark record this:
“After John was put in prison, Jesus went into Galilee, proclaiming the good news of God. ‘The time has come,’ he said. ‘The kingdom of God has come near. Repent and believe the good news (Mark 1:14,15)!’ ‘”
As the perfect representative of mankind before the Father, we have access to God through Jesus Christ. Jesus didn’t leave the good news at proclamation, however. He did something else. He took practical steps to heal those whose lives had been damaged by Satan, seemingly irreparably.
“They (Jesus and his disciples) went to Capernaum, and when the Sabbath came, Jesus went into the synagogue and began to teach. The people were amazed at his teaching, because he taught them as one who had authority, not as the teachers of the law. Just then a man in their synagogue who was possessed by an impure spirit cried out, ‘What do you want with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are—the Holy One of God!’
‘Be quiet!’ said Jesus sternly. ‘Come out of him!’ The impure spirit shook the man violently and came out of him with a shriek.
The people were all so amazed that they asked each other, ‘What is this? A new teaching—and with authority! He even gives orders to impure spirits and they obey him.’ News about him spread quickly over the whole region of Galilee (Mark 1:21-28).”
Jesus has authority over Satan. He commands impure spirits. As a result, we don’t have to succumb to them.
In fact, we don’t even have to fight them, at least not on our own. General Jesus is there to command them away. We just have to avail ourselves of His presence.
Job somehow knew this good news before it was culminated in Jesus Christ. Instead of ditching God because of all his suffering, Job rebuked his wife. Here’s what the Bible records:
“He replied, ‘You are talking like a foolish woman. Shall we accept good from God, and not trouble?’ In all this, Job did not sin in what he said (Job 2:10).
The apostle Peter brought further good news after Jesus was resurrected. He told the people of his day, and us, how to be saved from our corrupt generations. When told of the good news, the people of his day asked Peter what they should do.
Peter told of the Holy Spirit’s availability to them. He said, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off—for all whom the Lord our God will call (Acts 2:38).”
We’ve been forgiven of our sins through Jesus Christ, the perfect One. In addition, the same authority and power Jesus had to contest and defeat Satan and his impure spirits is now available to us through His Holy Spirit.
The Internet or any other addiction need not enslave us. We have a new boss. Satan is out and Jesus is in, with all the power and authority that comes with Him.
Now that’s good news to me.