desire to gain knowledge. Just like the Boko Haram group doesn’t attack students in Quranic schools, the devil doesn’t bother with those who do his will, who choose to remain ignorant of God.
He is angry with those who have the guts to search for the truth about God. So don’t be surprised when you encounter all kinds of discouragement when you try to become a more knowledgeable Christian. Know it’s the old serpent, doing his best to deter you.
Before we proceed further you must know this: you have the Almighty God on your side who has already won the victory for you through Jesus! You are more than a conqueror! Therefore no weapon formed against you shall prosper. No matter how hard the enemy howls at you, you will prevail. Greater is HE who is in us than he that is in the world. You are a winner even before the battle begins.
So how does the enemy try to discourage you from pursuing godly knowledge and living as God commands? We will use examples in the Bible to see how.
In the book of Ezra, we read of the return of the Israelites back from exile in Persia. As expected the people set about re-building their homes and nothing happened. But when they realised they needed to re-build the temple of God, then all their enemies came around! Why? Because these enemies knew that the strength of Israel laid in their belief in God. And their dedication to re-building a temple to enthrone God and worship HIM meant God would protect them. This would of course make it difficult for their enemies to overthrow them.
In Ezra 4:1-4, the first thing they did was to attempt to deceive them. They pretended they were their friends and wanted to help the Israelites re-build the temple also. But the Israelites knew their real intention and refused their offer, which was in reality a ploy to sabotage their efforts. How do we know that? Well when these enemies realised they had been out-smarted, they resorted to fear, threats, lies and intimidation to prevent the re-building of the temple. If they really wanted to help like they initially said, they wouldn't have been such pests!
But the Israelites prevailed eventually because they realised the importance of their task. They were too determined to be distracted. They were intent on fulfilling the purpose of God in their lives and so they persisted with courage, determination and trust in God as well as the knowledge of God.
Our Lord Jesus also encountered similar distractions from the devil. He was tempted in the wilderness after his fasting to forfeit his purpose. The devil offered Him money, honour, glory of the world if only He would bow down and worship him. But our Lord Jesus resisted him. Even when Simon Peter, His disciple tried to prevent Him from His coming death, Jesus rebuked him, calling Peter, Satan.
Why did Jesus call Simon Peter Satan? Because He knew the devil was using the fear and genuine concern of Peter to discourage Jesus. This was in direct conflict with God’s purpose which was for Jesus to die for the world.
In the same way dear friends, we will be enticed by many to leave the pursuit of God. We will be enticed by things that appear more interesting and appealing.
This will come from people who supposedly care about us. And when they cannot entice you to abandon your search for godly knowledge and living, they will threaten you. You will be threaten with loneliness, with misunderstandings, with abandonment, with rejection, with loss, with lies and pain. There will be a cost for your decision to stay focused on the purpose of God for your life. There will be a cost for searching for the truth of God and knowledge.
But once again, remember you have victory in Christ and His grace is sufficient for you! God is on your side and if you will hold on and remain committed to the knowledge of God’s truth and love, you will triumph!