JESUS said in John 10:10,  "The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full." I think a lot of people assume that if they ignore the Devil he will ignore them. That could not be further from the truth. What is true is that the Devil feels no sympathy for anyone. He is the epitome of evil, all the time and his three pronged attack on humanity is to steal, kill and destroy.

            THE Devil wants to rob us of our dignity, identity and confidence. He does this by reminding us, almost continually, of our sin. John wrote in Revelation 12:10, "...The accuser of our brothers, who accuses them before our God day and night, has been hurled down." Night and day Satan is accusing us. He wins only when we listen to these accusations and not the Lord who offers life through His forgiveness. The Devil also wants to kill our joy and hope. If we are not trusting in God we can fall prey to these lies that we are no good and not worthy of living a better life. Finally the Devil seeks to destroy us by tempting us with sin and ultimately separation for God. Again, Jesus offers us live and life more abundantly. A good life here on Earth and everlasting life in Heaven.

            WITH this being the Devil goals for you and I we must understand that he wants us to live in fear because of our sins. Right after Adam and Eve sinned in the garden of Eden they were flooded with fears. What was God going to do to them now that they had disobeyed Him? But God came looking for them anyway, not to scold them but to remain in relationship with them. And what did the first couple do? They hid from Him, just like so many of us have done and even do now from time to time. I believe this is why people run from God and or refuse to acknowledge His existence. They act like He isn't real so they won't have to answer to Him for their sin. But what if god doesn't want you to hide from him or act like He doesn't exist? What if He wanted to be your friend? But for that to happen He'd have to get rid of our fear of punishment. Jesus' blood, that will remove it, God decided. "Now if I can just get them to believe me." In I John 4:18 it says, "There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love." The more I trust in Jesus blood for my forgiveness the more I know I do not need to live in fear because of my sin. Jesus paid it all.

            FEAR brings shame, which is another thing the Devil wants us to live with. Adam said to God in Genesis 3:10, "...I heard you in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid." Few things lead us down the wrong path (away from God) like shame. It ruins our confidence, causing us to sin more. Because shame and nakedness are related, when we sin, we become exposed and need to cover up. We usually do this with lies. When we walk in shame we stay the same or get worse. God's forgiveness sets us free.   FINALLY, the Devil wants us to live in pain from the sins of others. Jesus addressed this when He taught the disciples how to pray. He said in Matthew 6:12, "Forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors." One little girl, years ago heard the king James version where it says, for us our trespasses and we forgive those who trespass against us. She got confused and said, "For give us our trash baskets and those who put trash in our baskets." That is a pretty insightful error.

            JUST as we hurt ourselves when we sin, we can be hurt by the sins of others. The power of forgiveness is our only answer. If we don't forgive it's like we're carrying big rocks around weighing us down and restricting us. It's natural to be angry, bitter or resentful when other people, (especially those we trusted) have hurt us. What is hard to do and yet is so necessary is to forgive them in order to walk in freedom of what they've done.

            FORGIVENESS is the answer for Fear, shame and pain. We must learn to accept and embrace God's complete and absolute forgiveness for our sins and then we must forgive ourselves as well. After that, we must forgive others completely and absolutely. It's the only way to live free of the Devil's plans to steal, kill and destroy us. Jesus came so we could experience life and life more abundantly. Freedom from the Devil comes with it.