Exalting Ourselves*

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Years ago some kind soul sent me a book on the devil. It was rather dated, from the 1960s I believe, complete with little caricature drawings of Satan as our adversary. I’m ashamed to admit my first thought was, I know plenty about spiritual warfare; this looks juvenile. I was put off by the outdated style and comic drawings of the devil as a horned figure, something from Halloween. I’m very grateful to say that just as I was getting ready to toss it out, Jesus said to me, There’s something in here for you. So I opened the book and began to read.

The author was making a claim that our enemy has a secret hold in each one of us, an access point from within. That got my attention; we’d been dealing with a great deal of spiritual attack, and I was eager for new tools that would gain us a more lasting victory. The author went on to say that this trap door, this inside access the devil has in every person is the Self. Part of me knew it was true, so I read on.

Satan’s fall was brought about because he chose to exalt himself over God:

How you are fallen from heaven,
O shining star, son of the morning!
You have been thrown down to the earth,
you who destroyed the nations of the world.
For you said to yourself,
“I will ascend to heaven and set my throne above God’s stars. …
I will climb to the highest heavens
and be like the Most High.” (Isaiah 14:12–14 NLT)

Later, he found in mankind something of the same weakness, stubbornness, and self-centeredness, that he successfully leveraged to have us follow his lead: we chose to disobey God and reach for what we want, and so we exalted ourselves over our Creator Father. We replaced God with Self on the throne of our life. The author of the little book I was sent went on to explain that the devil doesn’t particularly care what your personal sins are, how he gets you to stumble; what he delights in is this internal access he has, the precious Self. For while we entertain the Self, pamper it, let it have its way, we crowd out the life of God. 

*From John Eldredge’s new book, Get Your Life Back and Ransomed Heart Ministries.

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