READ: Deuteronomy 28-30, Psalm 62, Luke 18, 2 Corinthians 2
Overwhelmed by Evil. I am looking out my window at an Arab city of millions, wondering how on earth the devil’s lies became so strong here. Our work takes my wife and I from Arab city to Arab city, and we are provoked and overwhelmed at the magnitude of lostness, the strength of binding chains. The devil is so good at lying – he twists everything. Every good and pure aspect of life, of thinking and doing has some perversion of the evil one. His lies come at us in unceasing waves, pounding our mind, heart, and soul. We must become adept at recognizing his lies. Often I feel overwhelmed by the devil’s incessant lies.
The only way not to be overwhelmed by the continual (and convincing) lying of the devil is to become an expert in truth. Truth has to be relationally experienced. Theory and intelligence will not protect us from the genius of the devil’s deception – he is too wickedly wise for us. Our only hope is to personally experience truth the person: Jesus. Only by obeying, loving, and clinging to the Truth (God Himself) can we survive the battering of ubiquitous lies (Deut. 30:20).
Overwhelmed by God. In truth, Jesus is constantly intense. At first blush encounters with God in the flesh are more overwhelming than encounters with the devil. God, too, is unreasonable in His expectations and demands. God’s claims about Himself, God’s expectations of us, God’s requirements of obedience, and God’s standards and impossibilities all overwhelm (Luke 18:27). We often feel like the young ruler who cannot possibly live up to the expectation of Jesus and in that discouragement open ourselves up for more of the devil’s trickery as he hisses, “That is right. You cannot possibly have faith, stay pure, remain obedient. You might as well not try.”
Jesus – when we are honest with ourselves about His claims – bursts out in so many passionate directions. We realize that we cannot contain, cannot keep up with, cannot comprehend, cannot even please Him in our own strength. Jesus overwhelms us, and we do not have the capacity to get our head around all that He is, much less obey all He requires of us.
Jesus exhausts and scares us. We, thus, have two choices: We can either run from what overwhelms us, or we can fall down at His feet in the terror of worship. May Jesus help us – when we are overwhelmed with our sin, the devil’s deceit, and God’s impossible requirements – to cast our eyes to the ground and beg for mercy (Luke 18:13).
We just simply can’t do or be what Jesus wants us to do or be. We have tried and failed too many times. May we simply sit at His feet and quietly wait for His help (Ps. 62:1, 5). May we learn He is the source, not so much in the sense of getting supply out of Him (as if He can be reduced to a warehouse where we go for provisions), but more getting into Him, falling into Him, and there finding our supply. The only way I will not be overwhelmed by life, sin, and the evil one is if I am overwhelmed by partaking in the goodness and truth of Jesus.