Evil has a plan for your life. Evil has schemed against you in your past, is working against you in the present and fully intends to harm you in the future. There may have been times when you have felt the darkness of evil’s presence. And yet in our day to day lives, it is easy to be unaware and oblivious to evil’s intent and existence. Unfortunately, such oblivion does not negate evil’s virulent impact in our lives.
Evil’s plan is to hurt and to harass you…to haunt and to harm you. Evil wants to embitter and enslave you… to damage and degrade you. Evil intends to scare you and scar you… to blame you and to mar you.
Evil is like a shadow that follows us throughout our lives. The shadow of evil’s presence is always there pushing…pulling…poking…prodding.
Evil will recall your failures with messages of shame and blame.
Evil will press you to place pleasure over your purity.
Evil will whisper and whine ways to whittle away your faith.
Evil will lie and deceive in order to distort your beliefs.
While evil’s voice may be subtle and sly, evil’s presence seeks to cast a shadow of darkness on your soul. For the shadow of evil is never content to just follow. No, the shadow of evil is ever bent to engulf you in discouragement and despair. The shadow of evil persistently wars against your soul, seeking ways to control and consume.
The apostle Paul felt the shadow of evil when he said, “Although I want to do good, evil is right there with me.”[i] For even when Paul wanted to “do good”, the shadow of evil was right there with him, pressing on him to do evil. When Paul had sincere motives to follow God and love others, there was evil, pursuing and provoking him to forsake God and follow self. And when the shadow of evil had its way in Paul’s life, the cry of his soul was, “What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me…?”[ii]
Yet, evil’s plan is more than a plan about you. Evil’s plan is ultimately warfare against God. Evil’s plan has been and is still aimed at usurping God’s position and authority.[iii] For Satan, who is the author of evil, uses evil to exalt “himself over everything that is called God or is worshiped, and even sets himself up…to be God”.[iv] Satan hates God and out of his venomous hostility and revenge toward Him attacks the pinnacle of God’s creation…man (which includes you and me). To the extent that God’s rightful position and authority is replaced with people, positions or possessions, then evil’s plan has worked in our lives…for evil exists where God isn’t.
Since Satan first cast the shadow of evil in the Garden, his purpose has been to overshadow God’s glory by the use of evil. He uses evil to kill, steal, slaughter and destroy those who were created in the image of God.[v] He is a murderer, liar, slanderer, sorcerer, masquerader and parasite who is bent on attaching his shadow of evil onto your life. He and his entourage of evil forces have declared war on you.[vi]In other words…
Satan hates you and has an insidious plan for your life!
The word “insidious” means “awaiting a chance to entrap;…developing so gradually as to be well established before becoming apparent"[vii] Satan is insidious. He plans insidiously. His forces of evil have planned against you in insidious ways. His evil plans are often camouflaged, looking for ways to entrap and ensnare. His plans can work so subtly as to be well established in our lives before they become apparent. Evil is brilliant in cloaking its malicious intent with apparent acts of kindness (Jesus betrayed with a kiss; King Saul’s schemes against David[viii]).
Do you recognize how evil has pursued you? Are you aware of how evil has insidiously planned against you? We need to follow Paul’s example and not be unaware of evil’s schemes.[ix] Do you have a hard time identifying the schemes of the evil in your life? Prayerfully consider some of these questions.
- Are there areas in my life where I experience reoccurring fears and anxiety? (Evil inflames fears.) - Are there areas in my life where I experience persistent darkness or depression? - In what areas of my life do I experience consistent shame and guilt? - Are there certain persons or organizations where I experience reoccurring bitterness or contempt? - Are there arenas or relationships in my life where I experience enduring doubt about the goodness of God or His ability to protect me?
While evil must be dealt with in the present, the schemes of evil began in your life when you were a child. Perhaps it even started with you when you were in the womb? How did evil pursue you when you were a child? How about when you were a teen or a young adult? For some find it easy to recognize how evil pursued them, while others do not. Sometimes it’s much more difficult for those who grew up in “good” families to recognize evil’s intrusion. Good homes, good churches, good schools and good neighborhoods are not immune from evil. For those who may have grown up in a Christian home or been involved in a Christian Church, it can be easy to gloss over the impact of evil’s presence.
Listen to an incident that occurred in this man’s life.
“When I was about five or six, I told my mother one evening about a girl who lived near us and who was in my first grade class at school. I thought I loved her, I said. Some day I would marry her, I predicted, and we would live down the street not far away so that I could come home and have dinner every evening. Kind of dumb, huh? …
An evening or two later my mother entertained a group of women in our home. I was in bed trying to go to sleep when I began to hear peals of laughter from downstairs. Wondering what it was all about, I tiptoed to the top of the stairs and began to listen….Suddenly, I hear my mother begin to tell the women what I’d confided to her a few days before. And what made it worse for me was the realization that the mother of the girl I’d talked about was there in the group.
I can’t describe what it did to me to hear my mother telling my secret to those women, especially to that other mother. And the feeling compounded when my mother made a joke of it and everyone joined in even greater laughter. It was as if I’d been stripped of everything. And I remember thinking that night, “I’ll never tell my mother a secret ever again. I wonder if that was the night I decided I’d never tell any woman my secrets. For the only thing sores more than my mother’s voice was the pain of that laughter. I feel a coldness in myself whenever I hear women laugh at a table in a restaurant, or in a corner at a cocktail party. I have this irrational feeling that they’re cackling about something some man said or did.”[x]
The point of the story is not to find fault with the parent. The mom certainly had no intention of hurting her child in sharing the precious perspective and innocent love of her son with her friends. The poignant lesson here is that even when well intentioned words and actions are used, the insidiousness of evil can create harmful and long lasting damage early on in our lives. In this instance, evil’s impact was efficient. Amidst the warmth of a home and laughter of friends, evil struck directly and decisively at the heart of a little boy. Evil surgically sliced into a part of a little boy’s heart and convinced him to make a lifelong vow not to trust. Evil does not have to be obvious to be insidious. Evil may not be not be prolonged, but it is powerful. Evil may not be outwardly visible, but it can be inwardly violent. But know one thing is for sure, evil always seeks to kill relationship.
Indeed, evil always seeks to kill relationship. Evil’s intent is to steal, kill and destroy your relationship with God and others. Evil comes alive when “self” is served and as a result evil separates, divides and fractures relationships. Evil denigrates and degrades. Evil’s baneful existence breeds bigotry, bitterness and abuse. In some cases, evil’s path has been obvious, leaving footprints of fractured and broken relationships. In other scenarios, the impact of evil’s insidious ways subtly sucks the life out of a relationship, leaving a relationship that has daily contact but no real connection of life and heart. If you are in a relationship that is going through the motions and mechanics of life without a real connection of your heart, then ask yourself if evil has had its way. I’m becoming more cognizant of evil’s subtle intrusions in my life and how that has damaged the relationships I care most deeply about.
After reading these reflections on evil, what are you feeling? Are you feeling anxious…heavy…fearful? While we are not to be preoccupied with evil, we dare not be ignorant of its presence or its pursuit in our lives. And yet I assure you, whatever your image is of evil, your image is likely way short of the vileness and hideousness of evil’s true nature.
So, in light of evil’s pursuit and plan for our lives, what should we do? Be assured of this my friend. While evil is persistently present, evil is not pre-eminent. Even though evil is pervasive, it is not permanent. And while evil is powerful, evil but bows and shudders in the God’s presence.
Just as evil plans against us, we should plan against evil. Our plans should include to:
· Reject every kind of evil[xi] · Flee from evil[xii] · Not set our hearts on evil[xiii] · Hate evil[xiv] · Not cover up evil[xv] · be innocent in regards to evil[xvi] · Not imitate evil[xvii] · Overcome evil with good[xviii] · Pray to be delivered from evil[xix]
However, the greatest plan against evil is a plan in which we pursue the light.
We don’t need to fear evil. When you feel the shadow of evil pursuing you, you do not need fear, for God is like a vigilant shepherd. He is will protect you from evil.[xx] You have no need to fear the darkness of evil for evil flees in the presence of light. The essence of evil is darkness, but the essence of God is light. Evil hates light[xxi], for the light exposes evil. Evil fears light and flees from its presence.
While “fear is the anticipation of evil”[xxii], faith is the anticipation of God. So, the greatest plan you can have against evil, is to by faith bring evil into the light. Matter-of –fact, your only hope against evil is to bring the evil you experience in your life into His light. For His light extinguishes darkness. In the presence of Jesus, evil shrieks and scatters. For in His presence, he turns darkness into light.[xxiii]
If we really want to bring the darkness of evil into light, we must be willing to examine our lives for evil’s putrid presence. As you have read this, is there an area in your life where you’ve sensed evil’s presence? Is there an incident from your childhood that seeded successive struggles of self abasement or sensuality? Are there struggles of darkness you’ve been holding in secret? Has evil led you into a lie that you are living from? Perhaps now is the time to get with a friend you can trust and disclose evil’s intent in your life. Perhaps now is the time to render powerless evil’s plan against you by extinguishing its darkness with His healing light.
“For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light (for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness, righteousness and truth)…Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them.[xxiv]