I was in traffic a few days ago, sitting at a stoplight, and I looked at the car in the lane next to me. On the back windshield of the car, smack dab in the middle, was a large Christian fish symbol, but on top of the fish were horns, and on the bottom of the fish were feet, and in the middle were the letters, “SATAN.”
It jarred me, because I’ve never seen such a blatant promotion of Satan on a car before. I’ve seen various bumper stickers, but the combination of the word SATAN and the Christian symbol for Jesus was particularly arresting.
I pointed it out to my daughter who sat next to me in the front seat, and she leaned forward to see what the driver looked like. Without thinking, she wanted to know what a follower of Satan looked like…and actually, so did I. We couldn’t really see…it was a man, but before we could get a good glimpse, the left-turn signal appeared, and he drove away. I prayed for him, knowing that he was truly lost.
This morning, I was reading my Bible, and came across this scripture:
…with gentleness, correcting those who are in opposition, if perhaps God may grant them repentance, leading to the knowledge of the truth, and they may come to their senses, and escape from the snare of the devil, having been held captive by him, to do his will. (2 Timothy 2:25-26)
I thought about the man in the car. He is captive and utterly unaware of it. He has no knowledge of the truth, and in fact, has lost his senses.
One of my downfalls as a Christian is that I tend to be judgmental. Even my children have told me this. I do it without thinking. And I’m quite sure when I glanced over at the occupant in the car, and wanted to know what he looked like, I was really wanting to underline my already established mindset as to what one of “those kind of people” look like.
I need to change my mindset, and see this poor individual as a helpless captive. He has unwittingly fallen into the devil’s snare, and will still be held captive until God, and God alone, grants him repentance. Repentance will bring him to the knowledge of the truth, and as Jesus has told us, the truth will set him free.
And it isn’t merely chains that holds these people captive. They are behind virtual fortresses of evil. Look at what Paul says:
For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh, for the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh, but divinely powerful for the destruction of fortresses. (2 Corinthians 10:3-4)
I looked up the direct translation from the Greek of these two verses, and the word “fortresses” is translated as”bulwarks” from the Greek. The definition of “bulwark” is “a wall or embankment raised as a defensive fortification.” Think about it. If people were merely in the devil’s chains, they could still hear the word of God. They could still see the light of Christ within a Christian who may be witnessing to them. But if they have a literal wall or embankment between themselves and the rest of the world, they are truly unable to hear or see the truth. How like Satan to isolate them, and close them off completely.
But we, as Christians, have the weapons of warfare, divinely powerful for the destruction of these fortresses. We can break through these walls with prayer. But first we (especially I) must look upon these people with compassion, and not judgment.
Wherever we go today, let’s imagine the walls around the people we see. This is not to say that everyone is bound, but many are. Let’s look at them. Really look at them. The captivity of many of them is very apparent. Then let’s ask the Lord to give us a vision of what they would look like set free. How their faces would change, their posture, their very essence. Then let’s pray with our weapons of warfare, that God would grant them repentance, so that they can be set free.
Let’s get out into the world today, break down some walls, and do some destruction of Satan’s dirty work for the sake of the kingdom of God.