“Ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of Him who hath called you out of darkness into His marvelous light.”
I Peter 2:9
Those who live up to the high standard of this calling have an enemy to meet—Satan, the destroyer! One very important thing to keep in mind is that time is running out. Jesus is in the Most Holy Place of the heavenly sanctuary, and very soon He will stand up and say, “He that is unjust, let him be unjust still: and he which is filthy, let him be filthy still: and he that is righteous, let him be righteous still: and he that is holy, let him be holy still.” Revelation 22:11.
If Jesus stood up today, how would you be affected by those words? Is there something that you are holding onto, that which you are not willing to confess or repent? Remember, when these words are spoken, it will be over and forever too late.
“Too late will sinners realize that they have sold their birthright. The crown that they might have had shines upon the brow of another. The inheritance which they might have had is lost. Beware how you trifle with temptation. Beware how you boast of your strength. Christ is your everlasting strength; confide in God, lay hold of His strength, and He will bring you off conqueror and you will wear the crown of victory.” In Heavenly Places, 362.
“When Jesus rises up in the Most Holy Place, lays off His mediatorial robes, and clothes Himself with the garments of vengeance, the mandate will go forth.” Reflecting Christ, 312.
Satan is an expert at causing many people to forget this, keeping their minds busy on minor things. Don’t forget! Your eternal life is at stake. Don’t get sidetracked—there is no second chance.
Ellen White states, “We all need to study as never before the parable of the ten virgins. Five of them were wise, and five were foolish. The wise took oil in their vessels with their lamps. This is the holy oil represented in Zechariah [Zechariah 4:11–14 quoted]. This representation is of the highest consequence to those who claim to know the truth. But if we do not practise [sic] the truth, we have not received the holy oil, which the two golden pipes empty out of themselves. The oil is received into vessels prepared for the oil. It is the Holy Spirit in the heart which works by love and purifies the soul.” “Ellen G. White Comments,” The Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 4, 1179.
We are told that those who profess to believe, but who are not practicing the truth, have not received the oil, the Holy Spirit. This is a very serious condition. A person’s lifestyle shows evidence whether or not the Holy Spirit is working in his/her life.
“God is dishonored when we do not receive the communications that He sends us. Thus we refuse the golden oil which He would pour into our souls to be communicated to those in darkness.” The Review and Herald, February 3, 1903.
Receiving something is accepting it. Many read and/or hear the truth, but it is not received into the heart and life, causing God to be dishonored. Knowing God’s word and choosing not to follow it places that person under the control of another spirit, which is a violation of the very first commandment, which says, “Thou shalt have no other gods before Me.” Exodus 20:3.
Self becomes a god when God’s word is pushed aside and you do whatever you please. When the stomach rules over reason, over the word of God, it becomes a god.
God is dishonored when the communications He sends through the Spirit of Prophecy are not received or practiced. For instance, we are told that, “Cheese should never be introduced into the stomach.” Counsels on Diet and Foods, 368. But, since eating cheese is not a test of fellowship, many will eat it anyway.
Tea, coffee, tobacco and alcohol are called sinful indulgences. (See Selected Messages, Book 3, 287.) Many feel that since they enjoy those things, why should they stop using them?
Mrs. White wrote “that the time will soon come when there will be no safety in using eggs, milk, cream, or butter, because disease in animals is increasing in proportion to the increase of wickedness among men.” Counsels on Diet and Foods, 349. It is past that time, but people prefer to satisfy their own cravings over God’s communications to His people. In this decision, they choose their own craving as their god and dishonor the God of heaven. When the heart is so blinded that we do not want to hear any warnings, God is dishonored.
Satan is quenching the light that God has given to us. Read carefully the following and notice how many times the word light is mentioned and how important it is that we understand.
“Satan is working with all his hellish power to quench that light which should burn brightly in the soul and shine forth in good works. The words of God to Zechariah show from whence the holy golden oil comes, and its bright light which the Lord kindles in the chambers of the soul gives light through good works to the world. Satan will work to quench the light God has for every soul, by casting his shadow across the pathway to intercept every ray of heavenly light. He knows that his time is short.” “Ellen G. White Comments,” The Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 4, 1179. (Emphasis supplied.)
“What is light? It is piety, goodness, truth, mercy, love; it is the revealing of the truth in the character and life. … God has made provision through the death of His beloved Son, that every soul may be thoroughly furnished unto every good work. Every soul is to be a bright and shining light, showing forth the praises of Him who has called us out of darkness into His marvelous light.” Christian Service, 21.
“It [light] is piety, goodness, truth, mercy, love; it is the revealing of the truth in the character and life.” Ibid. Those not revealing or living the truth, are sitting in darkness under the shadow of Satan, allowing the light that God has given to be quenched or smothered. We are all to be light bearers.
“It was by receiving of His life that His disciples could become light bearers. The life of Christ in the soul, His love revealed in the character, would make them the light of the world.” Thoughts from the Mount of Blessing, 39.
The last thing Satan wants is for God’s love to be revealed in your character. But God says, “Ye are our epistle written in our hearts, known and read of all men: Forasmuch as ye are manifestly declared to be the epistle of Christ ministered by us, written not with ink, but with the Spirit of the living God; not in tables of stone, but in fleshly tables of the heart.” II Corinthians 3:2, 3.
Satan’s goal is to prevent or “intercept every ray of heavenly light”—that heavenly character trait—from shining through us to others, whether it be mercy, love or truth. These are the shining lights.
“They cherish hereditary and cultivated traits of character that misrepresent Christ, while professedly His disciples … .” “Ellen G. White Comments,” The Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 4, 1179. To cherish something, we must know what it is! Each of us will know by our own actions if we are allowing Satan’s shadow to cover God’s character traits. Let’s think about this for a moment.
The first fruit of the Holy Spirit is love. In I Corinthians 13:4–8 Paul tells us the meaning of love.
It is that heavenly influence, the light that touches everyone around you, that the devil attempts to quench. A careful reflection makes it possible to recognize the shadows that cover or quench God’s characteristics in you!
- Love suffers long (patient) – it drives away all impatience. Allowing a shadow/cloud cover, it causes an atmosphere of impatience.
- Love is kind (friendly) – no room for unkindness. But let a shadow cover it and there is an atmosphere of unfriendliness.
- Love envies not (jealousy) – agape love banishes all jealousy. This love is what Satan is “working with hellish power” to quench.
- Love vaunts not itself (boasts) – agape love allows no boasting or self-assertion but produces a spirit of humility.
- Love is not puffed up (pride) – agape love makes no place in the heart for pride.
- Love does not behave itself unseemly – agape love makes no room for recklessness, foolishness or rashness.
- Love seeks not its own – self is dead, selfishness is unknown.
- Love is not provoked – agape love banishes all anger and wrath.
- Love takes no account of evil – brooding over so-called “wrongs” will be no more and there will be found no bitterness in the heart.
- Love beareth all things – complaining will never be heard.
- Love believeth all things – mistrust will not destroy fellowship.
- Love hopeth all things – despair, anxiety, despondency disappear.
- Love endureth all things – patience will be developed.
These are the lights that Satan hates to see shining through us.
How do we let Satan’s shadow cover these lights or smother and quench them?
- When we allow impatience to take over – that is Satan’s shadow.
- When we are discontent – that is another shadow.
- When we carry around sadness and gloom – these are shadows.
The devil loves to cast his shadow upon God’s children so others will not be blessed and so they will receive the brunt, shock or stress of their impatience, their discontentment, their sadness and gloom. Have you ever walked into a room occupied by an angry or discontented person? The atmosphere is thick and terrible—you can feel the negativity in the air and it is not a pleasant place to be. No one enjoys being around a person covered by a shadow or cloud.
Impatience and discontentment are just some of the temptations that the devil does not want you to resist.
“Unless there is a possibility of yielding, temptation is no temptation. Temptation is resisted when man is powerfully influenced to do a wrong action; and, knowing that he can do it, resists, by faith, with a firm hold upon divine power.” The Youth’s Instructor, July 20, 1899.
In this world of trials and suffering, it is a continual battle to resist the temptation of anger, discontentment, and impatience that all come from the devil. He wants to quench that light so that his character will be reflected.
The apostle Peter fell under the temptation of Satan (see Matthew 16:21–24).
“The impression which his [Peter’s] words would make was directly opposed to that which Christ desired to make on the minds of His followers, and the Saviour was moved to utter one of the sternest rebukes that ever fell from His lips: ‘Get thee behind Me, Satan: thou art an offense unto Me: for thou savorest not the things that be of God, but those that be of men’ [Matthew 16:23].
“Satan was trying to discourage Jesus, and turn Him from His mission; and Peter, in his blind love, was giving voice to the temptation. The prince of evil was the author of the thought. His instigation was behind that impulsive appeal.” The Desire of Ages, 415, 416.
Never give voice to that temptation; don’t yield to it. Did you know that you give glory to the devil by:
- voicing your anger
- voicing your impatience
- voicing your discontentment?
We just saw that Satan was trying to discourage Jesus through Peter. The prince of evil was the author of that thought,
- the author of that anger
- the author of the discontentment
- the author of the impatience.
The devil continues to do the same thing today with each one of us by his temptations.
The prince of evil is the author of impatience, discontentment and whatever else does not glorify God. Choose not to yield to anger or anything else leveled at you, do not be blind and never give voice or action to any of these temptations, but at that very moment, send up a prayer for help. “Blessed is the man that endureth temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love Him.” James 1:12.
“The words of Christ were spoken, not to Peter, but to the one who was trying to separate him from his Redeemer. ‘Get thee behind Me, Satan.’ No longer interpose between Me and My erring servant.” The Desire of Ages, 416.
Voicing or acting on temptation allows the devil to separate you from God, placing a shadow or cloud over the heavenly light, which is to touch others. The light is quenched! If he can keep you separated and unchanged in character, he will have accomplished the destruction of your soul.
The danger is that right now is the day of salvation. Right now Jesus is in the Most Holy Place of the heavenly sanctuary mediating for you and me, and when He stands up, either your character is made up of heavenly light from God or made up of the clouds and shadows of death. At that time, all light will have been quenched, and whatever character you have will remain with you for eternity. Jesus will say, “He that is unjust, let him be unjust still: and he which is filthy, let him be filthy still: and he that is righteous, let him be righteous still: and he that is holy, let him be holy still.” Revelation 22:11. It will be over! If you are caught in the devil’s net at that time because you have allowed him to quench the light, you will have lost the battle.
Learn to recognize these shadows before it is too late. Learn to recognize your weakness where you can be tempted so you will not give voice or action to it. Guard the light and cherish those heavenly characteristics that God has given to you and display piety, goodness, truth, mercy, and love so that others can see God’s love in you.
“Hearts that respond to the influence of the Holy Spirit are the channels through which God’s blessing flows. Were those who served God removed from the earth, and His Spirit withdrawn from among men, this world would be left to desolation and destruction, the fruit of Satan’s dominion. Though the wicked know it not, they owe even the blessings of this life to the presence, in the world, of God’s people whom they despise and oppress. But if Christians are such in name only, they are like the salt that has lost its savor. They have no influence for good in the world. Through their misrepresentation of God they are worse than unbelievers.” Christian Service, 22.
Start each day with the song in your heart, “This little light of mine, I’m going to let it shine … .” Jesus said, “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.” Matthew 5:16.
Another trick Satan has in his attempt to quench the light, is to bring to mind all of the thorns in your life so you can give voice and action to them.
“Many, walking along the path of life, dwell upon their mistakes and failures and disappointments, and their hearts are filled with grief and discouragement. While I [Ellen White] was in Europe, a sister who had been doing this, and who was in deep distress, wrote to me, asking for some word of encouragement. The night after I had read her letter I dreamed that I was in a garden, and one who seemed to be the owner of the garden was conducting me through its paths. I was gathering the flowers and enjoying their fragrance, when this sister, who had been walking by my side, called my attention to some unsightly briers that were impeding her way. There she was mourning and grieving. She was not walking in the pathway, following the guide, but was walking among the briers and thorns. ‘Oh,’ she mourned, ‘is it not a pity that this beautiful garden is spoiled with thorns?’ Then the guide said, ‘Let the thorns alone, for they will only wound you. Gather the roses, the lilies, and the pinks.’ ” Steps to Christ, 116, 117.
“We should not allow the perplexities and worries of everyday life to fret the mind and cloud the brow. If we do we shall always have something to vex and annoy. We should not indulge a solicitude that only frets and wears us, but does not help us to bear trials.” Ibid., 122.
“It is Satan’s constant effort to keep the attention diverted from the Saviour and thus prevent the union and communion of the soul with Christ. The pleasures of the world, life’s cares and perplexities and sorrows, the faults of others, or your own faults and imperfections—to any or all of these he will seek to divert the mind.” Ibid., 71.
Satan works with hellish power to put those shadows upon you, for he knows very well his time is running out and the more he can discourage the more he can destroy.
“Trials patiently borne, blessings gratefully received, meekness, kindness, mercy, and love, habitually exhibited, are the lights that shine forth in the character before the world, revealing the contrast with the darkness that comes of the selfishness of the natural heart.” Conflict and Courage, 59.
“Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.” James 4:7.
“If they cherish hereditary and cultivated traits of character that misrepresent Christ, while professedly His disciples, they are represented by the man coming to the gospel feast without having on the wedding garment, and by the foolish virgins which had no oil in their vessels with their lamps.” “Ellen G. White Comments,” The Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 4, 1179.
If we nourish and train any characteristic, any shadow, that misrepresents Christ, we are represented by the man who came to the wedding feast without having on the wedding garment, and also by the foolish virgins who had no oil in their vessels with their lamps. “The wedding garment represents the character which all must possess who shall be accounted fit guests for the wedding.” Christ’s Object Lessons, 307.
“And when the king came in to see the guests, he saw there a man which had not on a wedding garment.” Matthew 22:11. We have allowed Satan to quench the light from God, the wedding garment has been removed, and we are in citizen’s clothing. Satan is trying to hide that character under his shadows. That is what he is working with hellish power to extinguish—to quench!
“The truth is to be planted in the heart. It is to control the mind and regulate the affections. The whole character must be stamped with the divine utterances. Every jot and tittle of the word of God is to be brought into the daily practice.” Ibid., 314.
We are to be in harmony with God’s great standard—which is His character. “The gospel of Christ is the law exemplified in character.” Manuscript Releases, vol. 1, 48.
Christ’s character in us, which is the hope of the Christian, is to bruise the serpent’s head. “And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.” Genesis 3:15.
This amazing prophecy includes each one of us, for it is this character that bruises the serpent’s head. Jesus “was charged with an embassage of mercy, sent of the Father at a crisis when rebellion had overspread the world, in order that man should not perish, but have everlasting life through faith in the Son of God. Through Christ they were to bruise the serpent’s head, and gain eternal life.” Lift Him Up, 197. It is God’s people, who fully represent Him in character in the last days, who are to bruise the serpent’s head!
“Shall we not bruise Satan under our feet? I beseech of you, Come up where the living waters flow.” The Review and Herald, March 11, 1890. Are you living the truth?
“The great rebel against God is leading his armies to the conflict; but let the followers of Christ bear in mind the fact that he can bruise only the heel, while those who are loyal to Christ by their fidelity and piety shall bruise the head of the serpent.” The Signs of the Times, November 14, 1895.
What an honor, what a privilege to be able to bruise the head of Satan! Is it any wonder he puts all of his hellish power into his temptations? He does not want you to bruise his head!
Walk in the light and identify any shadow that Satan has on you—your soul and the souls of those around you are in danger. Live the truth unquenched by Satan’s hellish shadow and be amongst those who will bruise the serpent’s head.
Judy Hallingstad is part of the LandMarks team. She can be contacted by email at: firstname.lastname@example.org.