Talk About a RIGGED System!

No, that title doesn’t refer to the two-party political system or the stock market or the economy.  I’m talking about something that’s SO rigged it’s jaw-dropping and indeed life-altering.  Literally.  It is undoubtedly GREATLY AFFECTING your life – and not for the better – at this very moment, as we speak.

Whenever I hear someone claiming that something is “rigged”, one word comes to mind:  par-a-noi-a (bup bup bup-bup-bup), par-a-noi-a (bup bup bup-bup-bup, almost like a cheer).  And that turns out to be the case virtually 100% of the time.

But there is an exception.  A big one.  Here’s what I mean.

The system to which the title refers, the system of which I speak, is the world system.  And believe me, it is RIGGED.  Big-time.  Against YOU.  Against me.  Against the whole of humanity.  But this culprit is not acting alone, it has some extremely strong and effective accomplices so let’s discuss those so you can keep them in mind throughout each day so as to enact a successful defense.

Culprit #1 is the devil – also called Satan and originally Lucifer – and all his minions, called demons.  They just carry out the devil’s plans so we’ll just discuss him.

Make no mistake about it, he is the most formidable foe in the history of the universe.  He was originally the second-most-powerful being in the universe, second only to God Himself.  But that wasn’t enough for him.  (Looks like human nature was around even before humans!)  No, he felt the need to be number one, “numero uno”, the “big cheese” as described in Isaiah 14:13-14, which refers both to the king of Babylon (verse 4) and to Satan who empowered him:  “But you [i.e., Satan] said in your heart, I will ascend to heaven; I will raise my throne above the stars of God … I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will make myself like the Most High.”  And Ezekiel 28:13-17 does likewise – referring in part to the king of Tyre (verse 2) but verse 15 makes clear that it’s primarily about Satan – and adds even more color:  “You were in Eden, the garden of God; every precious stone was your covering… and the gold, the workmanship of your settings and sockets, was in you… you were the anointed cherub… You were blameless in your ways from the day you were created, until unrighteousness was found in you… and you sinned; therefore I have cast you as profane from the mountain of God… your heart was lifted up because of your beauty; you corrupted your wisdom by reason of your splendor.  I cast you to the ground.”  It seems clear this is also what Jesus was referring to in Luke 10:18 when He said, “I was watching [speaking directly to the deity of Jesus, much like when He said “before Abraham was, I AM” in John 8:58] Satan fall from heaven like lightning.”  The main phrase here for our purposes is “the anointed cherub” which signifies just how high and lofty and powerful a position he was given before foolishly frittering it all away because of his pride.  And though his “reversal of fortune” was the second-greatest in history (I’ll discuss the first and third in a future post… see item “3.” at the very bottom or top-right of this page to automatically be notified of such), he retained (and retains, to this day) a level of power which is incomprehensible to mere mortal man.

In fact, to put just how much power he has into perspective, here’s one of the most surprising verses in the entire Bible:  Jude 1:9 which says, “But Michael the archangel, when he disputed with the devil and argued about the body of Moses, DID NOT DARE pronounce against him a railing judgment, but said, ‘The Lord rebuke you.’ ”  Is that incredible or what?!  THE MOST POWERFUL of the angels “DID NOT DARE” when it came to the devil.

But he not only has the ability to wreak havoc upon humanity but also the motivation.  In John 8:44 , Jesus Himself confirms that the devil is a “murderer” by nature, “from the beginning”, and also calls him a perennial “liar, and father of lies” and that “there is NO TRUTH in him.”  (How would you like to have THAT as an epitaph.)

And lest you think it’s nothing personal, that this uber-powerful enemy isn’t actively and continually aiming his formidable guns RIGHT AT YOU, the Bible saw that widespread sentiment coming from a mile away and in 1 Peter 5:8 says this:  “Be on the alert [holy hypervigilance, as it were].  YOUR [whose?!] adversary, the devil, prowls about like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.”  Ephesians 6:11 says that he is constantly “scheming” against us.  That’s all he does, that’s the purpose of his very existence, to get as many people as possible to join him in hell for all eternity2 Corinthians 4:4 says that he “has blinded the minds of the unbelieving, that they might not see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.”  Doesn’t get any clearer than that!  Talk about being unmasked and exposed.  ALL the devil wants to do in life is to trip up believers as badly as possible and KEEP unbelievers unbelieving until it’s too late and thus have them spend all eternity with him and his minions in hell versus with God and all believers in heaven.  (Um, I think I’ll opt for the latter, thank you very much.)

So culprit #1, the devil, has the means, motive, and opportunity.

Culprit #2 is the world, the world system itself.  Unfortunately for those of us living in it, the first two culprits are very closely-linked.  Hypocrisy and corruption have been around since the fall of man but have erupted to a whole new level in society in recent years.  Isaiah 14:12 puts it like this:  “How you have fallen from heaven, O star of the morning, son of the dawn!  You have been cut down to the earth, you who have weakened the nations.”  The devil has corrupted entire governments and spiritually polluted entire nations.  Just take a look at the world news on any given day and you’ll see what I mean, what this verse is talking about.  People putting on one face “for the cameras” only to be exposed at some point as being the exact opposite of the perception they painted for others.  But if anyone is surprised by such moments of unmasking, they must not have read 1 John 5:19.  It’s a stunning verse, like getting a bucket of ice thrown on you as was the craze and all the rage (but for a very good purpose) in 2014-15.  It confirms that “the WHOLE WORLD [i.e., system] lies in the power of the EVIL ONE.”  Whoa!  And 1 John 2:16 says, “For ALL that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life, is NOT from the Father but is from the world.”  Double-whoa!  And we just got done discussing what the devil’s intention and plan for mankind is so it’s wise indeed to “be on the alert” for the shenanigans he’s continually trying to pull and also the world system itself.  More below on HOW to do this.

Culprit #3 is a lot more personal, hits much closer to home.  Your flesh.  My flesh.  The flesh.

It’s challenging enough for most people, even most believers, to “withstand the wiles of the devil.”  Then add to that all the lures of the world, of this world system, all the opportunities to stray it’s constantly throwing in our faces and in our way.  But there’s also an “enemy within” – within our very selves.  It’s called the flesh.  Fallen flesh.  Human nature.  Corrupt, despicable, depraved.  And just because a person is transformed by the saving work of Christ and the Holy Spirit and washed with the water of the Word, THAT FLESH DOESN’T GO AWAY.  Nope.  It’s with us ’til our dying day.  We have to deal with it our ENTIRE LIVES!  Even after our essence has been utterly transformed so as to be a “new creature” (2 Corinthians 5:17), it remains ENVELOPED by the flesh until we go to heaven.

And while the devil and the world system certainly doesn’t make things easy, know who’s responsible for EVERY SINGLE TIME you or I have sinned?  James 1:14 is another stunning and eye-opening verse, confirming that “EACH [and every] ONE is tempted when he is carried away by HIS OWN lust.”  And verse 15 adds, “Then when lust has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and when sin is accomplished, it brings forth death.”

I don’t think most have ever really come to terms with just what a beast is living inside them.  But you know who did?  The person who said this:  “For I know that NOTHING GOOD dwells IN ME, that is, in MY FLESH; for the wishing is present in me, but the doing of the good is not.”  Know who said that?  Probably the greatest person ever to have walked the face of the earth other than the Lord Jesus Himself, and that’s the Apostle Paul.

IF THAT WAS TRUE OF THE APOSTLE PAUL (and we have the Holy Spirit’s confirmation that it indeed was), WHAT DOES THAT SAY ABOUT YOU AND ME, about where WE stand?  All I can say is… yikes!  Double-yikes!  TRIPLE-yikes!

But fear not, beloved, for I have GREAT NEWS!  As uber-powerful as the devil and the world system and fallen flesh may be, they can be overcome, and quite EASILY as it turns out.  Here’s HOW!

The first thing to realize is that in the overarching big picture, the devil – and by extension the world system and fallen flesh – has already been defeated, already been dealt a crushing blow.  Literally.  Romans 16:20 says that God “will soon crush Satan under your feet” and that said groundwork has already been fully laid by the completed (“It is FINISHED!” – John 19:30) work of Jesus Christ (a) when He died on the cross as a sacrificial lamb on OUR behalf, to pay the penalty for OUR sins, (b) when during His time in the tomb He wasn’t simply resting but rather “went and made proclamation” to the demons bound in the abyss awaiting the eternal fiery lake of hell, a proclamation of UTTER AND COMPLETE VICTORY and vanquishing and “a mighty triumph o’er his foes” as that great hymn says, and (c) when He rose again from the dead and fulfilled the prophecy of Hosea 13:14 as the front-runner of all future believers as described in 1 Corinthians 15:55 – “O death, where is your victory?  O death, where is your sting?”  (Interestingly, these three points align perfectly with 1 Corinthians 15:3-4, which is the “gospel” referenced in verse 1.)

In other words, the battle has already been won.  By Christ Jesus, on our behalf.  He is already victorious, therefore SO SHOULD WE BE in our daily lives.  But how?  Through faith:  “For whatever is born of God OVERCOMES the world; and this is the VICTORY that has overcome the world – our FAITH.” (1 John 5:4)

Sounds great, but HOW do you and I actually APPROPRIATE faith, where does it come from?

Romans 10:17 couldn’t be ANY clearer:  “So faith comes from hearing, and hearing by the WORD OF GOD.”  The message about Christ in specific as just discussed above and the Bible in general.  THAT is what produces FAITH.  Hearing, i.e., OBEYING the Bible, the Word of God.  And while it’s certainly possible to do so simply by reading the Bible, it’s even easier to do so by studying the Bible – but the BEST and maximizing way is by MEMORIZING the Bible.  And that’s one race you needn’t COMPLETE in order to WIN.  I.e., you don’t have to memorize the WHOLE Bible to be a MASSIVE WINNER, you just need to go down that path, to memorize whatever amount on a REGULAR and preferably systematic (verse-by-verse, book-by-book) basis and trust me, the meditating and obeying WILL follow, because and as the Word itself “performs ITS work IN” you (1 Thessalonians 2:13).  See what I mean?  See the utter LACK, the utter ABSENCE of self-effort?  Put the Bible in your HEAD/MIND (hence the logo at the top-left of this page and throughout this website) and the REST OF YOU (body, emotions, soul) will follow!

Not because of you or me, but in SPITE of us.  Not because of you or me, but because of the BIBLE.

As I always say, salvation and sanctification, the Christian life, always comes down and back to the Bible.  (1 Peter 1:23; Romans 10:17; John 17:17)

And the more you MEMORIZE it, the more capacity you’ll have to meditate on and obey it.  100,000% true, GUARANTEED.

So the key to appropriating in your everyday life the victory which has already been won by Christ’s completed work on Calvary’s cross is faith, which comes from the Bible.  And most of all from memorizing and reciting the Bible.  Let me show you an amazing passage of Scripture.

As I’ve said before, there are countless benefits of Bible memory, and I’ll delve more and more deeply into those in future posts (if you’d like to automatically be notified whenever a new post is published, simply click on the grey “Follow Bible Memory” button in item “3.” below or at the top-right of this page) but want to discuss one of those now.

One of my very favorite things about Bible memory is that it gives the Bible and the Holy Spirit FULL capacity to “go to work” in us.  Fully.  Maximally.  As it “courses through” our entire being, our very essence – mind and therefore soul, emotions, and body.  And one result of this “Bible absorption” is that when I’m reciting or meditating on one passage, the Word itself and the Holy Spirit – the REAL “dynamic duo” – will bring another verse of passage to mind so as to create the full meaning of what they’re conveying.  It’s amazing how one verse – often in the same passage – can totally “light up” and “bring to life” another.

And one of my favorite examples of this – and extremely pertinent to this discussion – is found in 1 John 2.

I quoted verse 16 above (along with 5:19) to show the true nature of the world system.  I dare say verse 15 is among the more familiar ones in all of Scripture, the admonition to “not love the world, nor the things in the world.”  But I want to focus on what immediately precedes that.  1 John 2:13-14.

This is one of those cases that the two verses are in the same passage.  Verse 13 says “I am writing to you, young men, because you have OVERCOME THE EVIL ONE.”  (Told ya it was extremely pertinent! =)

Now look at what verse 14 says.  “I have written to you, young men, because you are strong, and THE WORD OF GOD [Bible!] ABIDES IN YOU, and you have OVERCOME THE EVIL ONE.”

Isn’t that amazing?!  One verse says something, then another verse – either elsewhere in the Bible or in the same passage as here – builds upon it and totally brings it to life!

I’m sure you noticed the DIFFERENCE between those two otherwise-nearly-identical verses/phrasing.  The first one mentions overcoming the evil one.  Then the second one adds the adjective “strong” and the very enlightening phrase “the word of God ABIDES IN YOU“!  Like I say, it ALWAYS comes back to the Bible in general and Bible MEMORY in specific!  What a difference even a single phrase can make.

So HOW can you OVERCOME the rigged system which is pointing its guns directly at you each and every day?  By believing that Christ died on the cross for your sins, was buried, and rose again on the third day just like He (and many Old Testament prophets superintended by the Holy Spirit) said He would.  Then by appropriating that done-deal victory by reading or better yet studying or best of all MEMORIZING the Bible.  And before you faint from pre-exhaustion at just the thought of that, rest assured that as I continue along that path of memorizing verse after verse and book after beautiful book, it is bringing into greater and greater focus a specific METHOD which is making it not just EASY (i.e., no fainting necessary) but FUN!  Stay tuned to this blog and when that has fully come together or at least 95% finalized in my mind’s eye, I will share it here in a future post (or more likely, series of posts) but in the MEANTIME you can just read a verse (at least one or two a day is great for now) of the Bible over and over and over and over and ALOUD (you don’t have to shout or anything, just so your own ears can hear your mouth) and, like the hundreds and probably THOUSANDS of song lyrics you’ve memorized and could probably recite right now, you’ll be walking along the glorious and unparalleled path of Bible memory on a regular, systematic basis before you know it!  And will start to SEE the countless benefits mentioned in this and the previous post.  This will absolutely revolutionize your life, I GUARANTEE IT!
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