The mad dog of hell



July 31, 2012, 8:41 AM

I took a different route this morning in my walk and came across a yard with a dog who would have had me for breakfast if he could—all bared teeth and saliva and menacing growls.

But the canine was behind a chain-link fence, so after a fractional moment of alarm, I smiled: He could do nothing to me. For all his barking he was restrained. The fence said, “This far and no farther.”

God also says, “Thus far shall you come, and no farther.” He says it to the seas (Job 38:11), but He tells everything in creation the same, including the devil. If Satan is bothering you a little, it is because God is allowing him to bother you a little. (He would have you for breakfast if he could.) If Satan is bothering you a lot, it is because God has allowed him to bother you a lot. But Satan can never go beyond his permission.

And it is all for your good, every scary bit of it. These are the temptations and trials that make us cry out to God. You may not like crying out, but it is good for you. The alternative is usually sinking into stupor.

Satan’s only power is in the bluff. He is a toothless tiger. He can only kill the flesh. Now I suppose you like your flesh and should like to keep it. Nevertheless, we are not promised that. We are promised only what the martyrs were promised who were Nero’s human torches:

“… I will never leave you nor forsake you” (Hebrews 13:5).

Let the mad dog of hell bark all he wants. His power over you is broken and you can resist him any time you want to by the Greater Power that is in you.