The title of this article sounds a little strange, I admit. Chances are you’ve probably never thought about, much less considered, whether God and the devil have anything in common. The thought never entered my mind until I heard Graham Cooke say it one time. This is what he said – “God and the devil have one thing in common, they are both trying to kill you.” Sounds a bit shocking at first, but when I started to think about it more, I realized there is definitely truth in that statement. However, their motives for doing so are entirely different.
We all know the devil is out to “steal, kill and destroy” any and everyone because that is who he is, according to Jesus. (John 10:10) He is a thief, a liar and a murderer, and always will be. He hates God and all who are made in His image. He seeks ways to wreak as much havoc in our lives as possible. He is not by any means equal to God, for he is a created being, a fallen angel who rebelled against Him and was cast out of heaven. His power is limited. He uses temptation, accusation, and deception to accomplish his twisted purposes for humanity. We actually empower him when we believe, and make agreement, with his lies. He taunts us with fleshly indulgence, beats us down with accusations when we give in to those temptations, and then deceives us into believing we are worthless, inadequate, and despised by God because of our many failures. He especially hates the cross because it refutes every one of his lies.
God, on the other hand, loves us infinitely, intimately, and unconditionally. He is a good Father who wants to bless and give good gifts to His beloved children. He always, always has our best interest at heart. But like a good Father, He must discipline His children. He does so in order to help us become more like Him. He wants to kill our “self life” – the part of us that seeks to call the shots, to make our own decisions and rule our own lives, independent from Him.
Contrary to what many believe, He is not a killjoy, trying to take all the fun out of life. He is not looking over our shoulder, waiting to catch us doing something wrong. He is not angry or vengeful. His chastisement is always because of His great love for us. He does not punish, in the sense that we typically think of punishment. The Apostle John understood this when he said, “There is no fear in love. But perfect love (God’s love) drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect (complete) in love.” (words in parentheses added)
Because of His unfathomable love and desire for intimacy with us, God aims to destroy any and everything that stands in the way of that. He is a jealous lover – it is one of His names – Jealous. (Exodus 34:14) He created us, saved us, and wants all of our affection and devotion. He wants first place in our lives, and He deserves that. I realize more and more how often I fail to recognize when other things creep into my life, crowding Him out, little by little. It is too easy at times to forget that the pleasure of knowing, loving, and being loved by Him is far superior to the inferior pleasures of this world.
The struggle to die to ourselves, to crucify our flesh, is very real and extremely painful. But God, in His extravagant goodness, even made provision for that. His name is the Comforter. The Holy Spirit comforts us and helps us to remember He is always with us, and will never, ever leave us. He is committed to finishing the good work He has begun in us, and because of that, we can trust Him, even when it hurts.