An evangelist named Peter was holding meetings in Quebec, Canada. He had noticed a young woman named Mary who had been coming to the meetings. There was something different about her, a far-away look in her eyes.
She was thrilled by the things she was learning in the meetings, and when Peter visited with her about them, she indicated her belief in what he had presented, but he could tell there was still something that bothered her. He soon found out it had to do with the state of the dead.
While living in Paris some years earlier, she had met a young man, John, through a friend. John was tall, blond, well-mannered, and muscular. He was respectful and understood her. Like a lot of young girls, she enjoyed the attention that he gave her. She needed someone to love her. He was everything that she ever wanted, and she had fallen in love with him. Their relationship had continued for many years. They were not living together, but she had invited him up to her apartment on many occasions. Yet, she remained pure.
The time came when she moved to Quebec, and John moved with her.
The devil usually uses a man or woman he can work through to create an infatuation between some young man or woman that God wants to use for His service. But as it happened, in this case, he wasn’t able to find that someone, so he had sent her a spirit boyfriend, one of his angels in the form of a human man. At first, she did not know, but she soon learned that John was not a real man, but by then her heart was fully entwined around him.
As Peter studied with Mary, the Spirit of the Lord began to work on her heart, and she wanted salvation. She made a decision and did something that, sadly, very few young people are willing to do. She broke off the relationship. Right then, she and Peter knelt down and prayed, and she committed herself wholly to the Lord.
John came to her that night. He first tried to sweet talk her, and when that did not work, he got upset with her, something he had never done before. In fact, he hit her in the mouth. Still, she decided to go forward and be baptized. He warned her, “Don’t be baptized.”
The day of her baptism came and as she and Peter stepped into the baptismal pool, she said, “He’s here. John is right here in the baptistery with us.” She knew his presence.
“John is here.” As Peter tried to immerse her in the water, a force would hold her up. With all his might, he tried again, and she was pushed back up. Three times he tried to baptize her. The third time, she was lifted right out of the baptistery and was thrown into the audience. Wet and dripping, and not baptized.
I wonder what we might have done. Would we have continued? Mary did. She walked right back into the baptistery and was baptized.
Later, Mary was asked to give her testimony at camp meeting that year, and she agreed to do it. As she was writing, making notes for the testimony, John came and tore it all up. He told her, “If you give that testimony, you will be dead in two weeks.”
Now, you and I have all heard stories like this, and we know when the devil says it, it happens, right? The devil has gotten the world believing that nothing can stop him. But don’t believe everything Satan says. Mary gave her testimony, and she didn’t die in two weeks.
The devil is only as strong as God allows him to be. There’s a protection that God puts around those who seek to do His will. I’m sure Satan would have liked to cause, and would have done anything to bring about, Mary’s death, but day by day, Mary now lives under the protection of the Lord Jesus Christ.
“Get in the right place and God will put His power on you, and combine His divine with our human efforts, and we can work out our salvation with fear and trembling. That is a power that Satan cannot resist or overthrow.” Sermons and Talks, Vol. 1, 59
“God has set bounds that Satan cannot pass. Our most holy faith is this barrier; and if we build ourselves up in the faith, we shall be safe in the keeping of the Mighty One.” Maranatha, 64
Taken from the sermon “How to Overcome the Devil ” by Marshall J. Grosboll