Well, it looks like winter has finally arrived in southeast Georgia. I was beginning to worry that the global warming folks could be right. (Now, no letters, please!)
But, there are other reasons that cold weather is a good thing, among them the fact that I just enjoy the noticeable change in seasons. There are also fewer bugs. Well, most bugs; bed bugs, not so much.According to one pest control company in our area, at least two communities in the county have experienced an epidemic of the nuisance. Carole and I have had more than our share, to say the least, our desired "share" being zero, thank you! But, unlike most bugs, cold doesn't touch bed bugs. It takes extreme heat (175-190 degrees Fahrenheit) for an extended period of time to kill them. According to the experts, it's the most effective measure.
Now, sin, like bed bugs, often requires extreme measures to overcome. The devil is persistent. (What an understatement!) And, for us humans, "The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak" (Matthew 26:41). Jesus wanted Peter, James and John to be on their guard against fear in the face of his enemies. They couldn't be prepared if they spent that time in the garden of Gethsemane, catching up on their sleep. Sleep is important, but spiritual preparation is essential.
We're encouraged by Scripture to "be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might" (Ephesians 6:10). The apostle goes on to say, "Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil." Satan is no weakling. It requires every weapon - both offensive and defense - to overcome his efforts to destroy us spiritually and eternally. This battle isn't a child's game. It is a grown-up fight to the death.
God has promised a "way of escape" to help in our endurance (1 Corinthians 10:13). He does this because he is "faithful, and will not let [us] be tempted beyond [our] ability." God wants everyone to be saved and will do his part to help ensure it. But he will not force us to be saved if we're unwilling to do what is required to overcome the devil, who doesn't want anyone to be saved.
Joseph is a great example of one who literally fled from the devil's attack. He knew that giving in to the temptation posed by the seductive efforts of Mrs. Potiphar would be to go directly against God. Joseph wasn't married, but she was. He had been placed in charge of everything in Potiphar's house - everything, that is, except her. To succumb to her would demonstrate unfaithfulness not only to God but to her husband as well. So, like the God-fearing son of Jacob that he was, Joseph "fled and got out of the house" (Genesis 39:12).
Even though the devil is active, strong and persistent and desires our eternal death, we can overcome him if we will follow the instruction of one of the Lord's brothers: "Submit yourselves ... to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you" (James 4:7). When we consider the seriousness of this matter, that's not just a suggestion.
God help us to follow the example of Jesus, who responded to the devil's temptations by saying, "Be gone, Satan! For it is written, 'You shall worship the Lord your God and him only shall you serve' " (Matthew 4:7).