An enemy has invaded many parts of North America. We first encountered it in a park in Maine. Its name? The Asiatic Bittersweet. And true to its name, it is far from being sweet. Rather, it is quite bitter! Just ask the hundreds of park rangers who spend literally thousands of hours every year trying to eradicate it!
Why do they worry about it, you ask? After all, the plant is beautiful!
The problem is that this exotic vine is quite invasive, so invasive that it strangles the life from any native vegetation in its path, trees included, and spreads so fast that even the speed of light cannot match its speed!
Or so it seems . . .
Pulling or cutting this vine is quite ineffective, as its remaining roots will multiply thousandfold. This vine truly believes it is the king of nature and that no one will ever be able to stop it.
Similarly, the evil one has a similar ambition. His, though, includes not only the subjection of the world, but of the entire universe as well! And he, too, firmly believes that no one can stop him. It is quite fascinating how his ambition came to be. The prophet Isaiah gave us a glimpse of his original rebellion: “You said in your heart, I will ascend to heaven, I will rise my throne above the stars of God.”(Isaiah 14: 13a NIV)
Alluding to the king of Babylon, Isaiah was referring here to the one we now call the evil one. Originally though, his name was Lucifer, or “morningstar, son of dawn” (Verse 12b). You see, Lucifer originally occupied a high position in heaven. However this was not enough for him. He wanted more. He desired to not only “be” God, but to be far above the Eternal One Himself! Wasn’t he, after all, “the Morningstar”?
What? You never thought about this before? Check out the following Bible verses:
“I will sit enthroned on the mount of assembly, on the mount of assembly; on the utmost heights of the sacred mountain I will ascend above the tops of the clouds; I will make myself like the Most High.” (Isaiah 14: 13b, 14)
Pride is clearly what motivates him, total control is his goal, as he clearly declared it while tempting Jesus in the desert: “‘All this I will give you’, he said ‘if you will bow down and worship me.'” (Matthew 4:9 NIV)
Lucifer truly wants to be revered as God himself, or, as the Asiatic Bittersweet would say: “I want to be the rooster of the farm”! Or is it “I want to be the alpha of the pack”? (This is what happens when one wants to be in control. Even popular sayings get changed!)
What is Satan’s argument? In his opinion, he deserves to be above God Himself. But just like the Asiatic Bittersweet insists that nothing will stand in its way, that everything “will be assimilated”, the only thing that Satan has to show for his efforts is a trail of destruction and broken, empty lives.
The evil one will do anything in his power, even subtle maneuvering, to receive such worship. After all, anyone who destroys his life through drugs, sex, pride, avarice . . . isn’t he indirectly or directly, (depending on your way of looking at things), worshipping the one who used to be called Lucifer? Isn’t such a person putting more credence to the one who is tempting him than in the Almighty One Himself? Only too late do we realize that it is not to our advantage to fall into these temptations. In fact, the only purpose it serves is to help Satan obtain the worship he craves. Isn’t he the one who has on his heart “To steal, and kill and destroy” (John 10:10 NIV)?
How unlike the One we call our Saviour, Jesus the Christ who has “Come that they have life, and have it to the full (Same verse as the one mentioned before).
Why am I pulling up all that Asiatic Bittersweet if instead of eradicating it, it promotes its invasion? That’s the million dollar question we all have to ask ourselves. After all, we either promote God’s Kingdom, or we promote the kingdom of the evil one. There are no other alternatives.
(To access the entire “Hell’s Tactics” devotional series, please click here.)