There are many good God fearing Christians in the world who have without realizing it, taken their eyes off God, and focused them squarely on the Devil and while they may never consider it to be so, they have in reality raised him to a greater height, a greater prominence and with greater power than God himself.
You yourself have possibly heard these people on television or in pulpits or in the street, talking up a storm, allegedly about Christ and Salvation, but whose main theme is the Devil.
I have heard Christians talking about him as if he were able to overturn the will of God, able to snatch some poor innocent Christian's life out of God's hand and control.
I knew an eighteen year old girl once who was stricken with cancer and her church congregation was stirred up by the ministers to fight the enemy and win back the girl's health, and there are abundant Scriptural references to justify belief in healing and deliverance from evil. What there is not in Scripture however, is teaching that the Devil himself is personally involved in each individual's life, or that he has ability to thwart God's will.
In the sixth chapter of the Gospel of John it is recorded:
And Jesus said unto them, I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst. But I said unto you, That ye also have seen me, and believe not. All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out. For I came down from heaven, not to do mine own will, but the will of him that sent me. And this is the Father's will which hath sent me, that of all which he hath given me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up again at the last day. And this is the will of him that sent me, that every one which seeth the Son, and believeth on him, may have everlasting life: and I will raise him up at the last day. (Verses 35-40)
From these verses we can see that no matter what we may perceive with our eyes, the will of God will not be defeated. When someone dies, it is not because the Devil has defeated God's will. 1 Corinthians 15: 26 states that the last enemy of Christ is death itself.
On the subject of death and resurrection 1 Corinthians Chapter 15 verses 12-22 says:
Now if Christ be preached that he rose from the dead, how say some among you that there is no resurrection of the dead? But if there be no resurrection of the dead, then is Christ not risen: And if Christ be not risen, then is our preaching vain, and your faith is also vain. Yea, and we are found false witnesses of God; because we have testified of God that he raised up Christ: whom he raised not up, if so be that the dead rise not. For if the dead rise not, then is not Christ raised: And if Christ be not raised, your faith is vain; ye are yet in your sins. Then they also which are fallen asleep in Christ are perished.
If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable. But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept. For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.
The proof of Christian faith is not in someone being healed of an illness, even of a terminal one, but that Christ Himself rose from the dead. If some seriously ill person for whom we pray is not healed, but dies, it is not a victory for the Devil, for they are not lost to God but are in his keeping, and will be raised up.
1 Corinthians 15:54 So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory. O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?
Should we not pray for healing?
In Second Samuel Chapter 12 we have the story of King David being chastised for his affair with Bathsheba and conspiring to have her husband killed. Bathsheba was pregnant with David's son. Scripture says that the Lord struck the child with an illness because of David's sin. The child itself was not responsible for its illness and nor was the Devil.
We read that King David prayed and fasted for seven days in the hope that God would not take the child's life. When David was given to know that the child had died, he ceased his prayer and fasting.
Then David arose from the earth, and washed, and anointed himself, and changed his apparel, and came into the house of the LORD, and worshipped: then he came to his own house; and when he required, they set bread before him, and he did eat. Then said his servants unto him, What thing is this that thou hast done? thou didst fast and weep for the child, while it was alive; but when the child was dead, thou didst rise and eat bread. And he said, While the child was yet alive, I fasted and wept: for I said, Who can tell whether GOD will be gracious to me, that the child may live? But now he is dead, wherefore should I fast? can I bring him back again? I shall go to him, but he shall not return to me. (Verses 20-23)
We must remember that Christ has the victory - not the Devil. We must be aware that praying for the graciousness of God to spare a life is Biblical. And furthermore, we must remember that when a believer dies, they have passed out of this mortal realm into the spiritual realm. But no matter whether they live or die, their lives are in the Hand of God and nothing can overpower God and rob him of his victory.
In this article up to this point, God and Christ are mentioned a total of 34 times and 'the Devil' only 7 times, and he is only mentioned at all because he is the subject of the article.
We as Christians must put our focus on Christ and the Father in Heaven - not on the deceiver who would usurp Christ's place in our hearts.
Illness, death, lies and deceit, natural and man-made disasters and all manner of accidents, sorrow and tragedy will continue until the end, but through it all, it is Christ who should remain the focus of our eyes, hearts and thinking, for He is risen from the dead and has won the victory which no man or spiritual force can steal.
Christ, not the Devil should be the focus of our thoughts, words and actions.
Philippians 1:21 - For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.
Romans 14:7-9 - For none of us liveth to himself, and no man dieth to himself. For whether we live, we live unto the Lord; and whether we die, we die unto the Lord: whether we live therefore, or die, we are the Lord's. For to this end Christ both died, and rose, and revived, that he might be Lord both of the dead and living.
M. Wallace Johnson
Articles by M. Wallace Johnson
Introducing M. Wallace Johnson
Holy, Wholly or Holey SERIES
Idols in Ministry SERIES