Vultures are pesky creatures. Our home sits at 1,800 feet elevation with a southern view of mountains behind, a valley below and a long-range mountain view to the east. It seemed to be the perfect vantage point for vultures to perch and watch for prey. Their favorite roost was our chimney cap on top of the house. They would make rustling noises constantly and drop nasty fur balls on the back porch. It was rather disgusting. They are the ugliest birds ever created and that’s probably due to the road-kill diet they consume. At our age it is quite disconcerting to see a row of vultures waiting on top of the house every time we returned home! My husband and I began discussing how to get rid of the scoundrels while we were sweeping their fur balls off the porch one day. I did some research on vultures and to my shock, I discovered they have a very special purpose. Their bodies were created to clean up all the toxic waste from dying and decaying animals without being harmed themselves. Because of their intrinsic value to our ecology, they are a protected species with heavy fines and jail time.
I continued to research to see if there was any way to prevent them from roosting on our home. I found a company that attaches a row of 3-4” metal spikes to the top of roofs and chimneys which eliminates any comfortable perching spaces. Within a couple of weeks our house was sending a message to our pesky vultures, “No place to light”! It has been over a year now and we are still vulture free. It feels good and right. We have peace inside and out.
The devil is like the vulture. Jesus defined the purpose of the Devil. “The thief comes only in order to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have and enjoy life, and have it in abundance [to the full, till it overflows].” John 10:10. Satan tries to steal our joy, faith, health, prosperity, well-being and peace. His plan is to kill us and destroy our witness of Jesus, our destiny in Christ, and our purpose in the world and the church. We must give him no place to light!
The devil perches himself, much like the vulture, in high (heavenly) places watching for those who are broken, weak and seemingly helpless. The word of God encourages believers, “Be sober [well balanced and self-disciplined], be alert and cautious at all times. That enemy of yours, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion [fiercely hungry], seeking someone to devour. But resist him, be firm in your faith [against his attack—rooted, established, immovable], knowing that the same experiences of suffering are being experienced by your brothers and sisters throughout the world. [You do not suffer alone].” 1 Peter 5:8-9. Peter gives us clues to victory in this scripture. We are not helpless or hopeless although, our enemy is ruthless, cunning and a vigilant predator who seeks to destroy.
The animal world is well aware of the predator/prey syndrome. The typical mode of operation of a predator is to find the weakest animal, one who is separated from the group, and attack it. The predator will only attack a mature elephant, water buffalo or zebra if there is no other alternative, but they usually do so in groups. Predators lie in wait trying to outsmart their prey by using the element of surprise. They are cunning stalkers who calculate their every move. Animals, fully aware of their prey status, are always on alert. They have warning systems in their herd and the mature will surround the weak to protect them from being devoured.
One of the ways the devil is effective among believers is through his lies. The devil is a liar and therefore uses lies as a way into our mind and heart. If he can dispel a truth of God creating doubt as he did in Adam and Eve, he has a place to light. From that perch, he can continue badgering the mind, will and resolve of the believer. If there is no strong resistance, he can create a stronghold of unbelief. Jesus rebuked the Jewish leaders for their unbelief and called them children of the devil. “You are of your father the devil, and it is your will to practice the desires [which are characteristic] of your father. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth because there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks whatever is natural to him, for he is a liar and the father of lies and half-truths.” John 8:44.
Believers who do not truly know the word of God through continual Bible reading and study are easy pray for the devil. He twists scriptures, and uses emotional pleas of reasoning which are contradictions of the truth. The Word of God illuminated by the Holy Spirit teaches us the will and ways of God. It demonstrates the Kingdom of God through the life of Christ intertwined in both the Old and New Testaments. It teaches morality, the consecrated life, and the power of God working through miracles, signs and wonders.
The Lord God created Adam and placed him in the Garden of Eden. He then instructed him to cultivate it and have dominion over every living thing. God showed him what he could eat and then instructed Adam not to eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. “So the LORD God took the man [He had made] and settled him in the Garden of Eden to cultivate and keep it. And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, ‘You may freely (unconditionally) eat [the fruit] from every tree of the garden; but [only] from the tree of the knowledge (recognition) of good and evil you shall not eat, otherwise on the day that you eat from it, you shall most certainly die [because of your disobedience].’” According to scripture, God gave Adam His instructions before He created Eve. We do not know from the Bible account if Eve received her instruction from the Lord or Adam, whom the Lord made the keeper of the garden.
We do know the serpent approached Eve with his cunning temptation and it appears that Adam was not with her at the time. “Now the serpent was more crafty (subtle, skilled in deceit) than any living creature of the field which the LORD God had made. And the serpent (Satan) said to the woman, ‘Can it really be that God has said, You shall not eat from any tree of the garden?’ And the woman said to the serpent, ‘We may eat fruit from the trees of the garden, except the fruit from the tree which is in the middle of the garden. God said, ‘You shall not eat from it nor touch it, otherwise you will die.’ But the serpent said to the woman, ‘You certainly will not die!’ ‘For God knows that on the day you eat from it your eyes will be opened [that is, you will have greater awareness], and you will be like God, knowing [the difference between] good and evil.’”
The lying serpent enticed Eve by making the fruit appealing to her. Satan told her that the fruit supplied not only food to be enjoyed but it also contained wisdom only God possessed. He convinced her she would not die but she would become wise like God. After she ate the fruit, Eve gave some to Adam and seeing she hadn’t died (immediately), he ate it also. The Jewish tradition from their Talmud explains that Adam was not with Eve during the temptation of the serpent. That explains why he did not contest the serpent’s statements. The Lord held Adam responsible for the fall because Jesus is referred to the second Adam in Scripture. “Therefore, just as sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, so death spread to all people [no one being able to stop it or escape its power], because they all sinned…For by the trespass of the one (Adam), death reigned through the one (Adam)…Romans 5:12-17. “So it is written [in Scripture]; ‘The first MAN, Adam, became a living soul (an individual);’ the last Adam (Christ) became a life-giving spirit [restoring the dead to life].” 1 Corinthians 15:45.
I believe the Lord held Adam accountable because God had told him directly not to eat from the tree and had placed Adam with the full responsibility and authority to keep (guard) the garden and everything in it. While Eve received second hand revelation from Adam, he received the revelation first-hand from the LORD God Himself, but Adam still ate the fruit. Why does this make a difference to us? Biblical truths must be experienced first-hand by the individual, otherwise they are simply someone else’s faith or “opinion”. We cannot survive by standing on someone else’s beliefs. We will be accountable for our own. When true faith is born in us, we can stand against the attacks of the devil. When the Word of God is revelation to our souls, we will not succumb to the lie or the manipulation of half-truths which make people deceived. The Scriptures are clear that it is not the Truth that sets us free, it is the Knowledge of the Truth that sets us free (and keeps us free). “And you shall know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” John 8:32.
The moral and ethical dilemmas facing us in the world today are continually challenging our Christian beliefs. If our faith is not based on revelation we have received directly from the Holy Spirit through the Word of God, we cannot stand for truth. The result is obvious, we will compromise the Word of God and cower to the pressure of others. If we do not truly KNOW God and His Word first hand, we will believe anything.
The Apostle Paul explains the Christian walk in Ephesians, Chapter 4. He admonishes believers to allow God to transform their lives through total consecration and surrender to His will and purpose for us. He lists many areas where our old sin nature must be changed to one of righteous and holy living which can only come by the Holy Spirit’s work in us. Paul uses the Word of God as a tool to instruct us and reveal Biblical truth to us. Paul also teaches by showing us how to deal with the attacks of the devil. “And do not give the devil an opportunity [to lead you into sin by holding a grudge, or nurturing anger, or harboring resentment, or cultivating bitterness]…And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God [but seek to please Him], by whom you were sealed and marked for the day of redemption…let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you along with every kind of malice…” Ephesians 4:27-32. Every fleshly emotion that is unbridled by the Holy Spirit is a perch upon which the enemy can light. Paul confirms that “the knowledge of the truth leads to godliness” in Titus 1:1.
Victors resist the attacks of the enemy, they stand firm in their faith in God, abide in His word and His presence becoming rooted, established in faith and unshakable. They are well aware of the predator/prey syndrome and remain sober by being cautious, self-disciplined and well-balanced in their faith. They know their God and the authority He has given them in heavenly places. They are firmly rooted in a church family which surrounds them, strengthens and encourages them. They are not loners but have become an active part of the body of believers who stand together to defend one another.
We who are believers have been brought out of darkness and placed in the light of Christ Jesus. Living wholly and completely in Christ Jesus places a barrier between us and the enemy. It is in that place we will not be moved and the devil has no place to light!