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October 24, 2021 | Doug Sauder
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“He who has been born of God keeps himself, and the wicked one does not touch him.”—1 John 5:18 (NKJV)
This devotional is going to tread on some unfamiliar ground. Not from the standpoint that its subject isn’t familiar to the Scriptures, but unfamiliar in the sense that you don’t hear this topic frequently addressed in a devotional format. As the proceeding passage indicates, I’m referring to “the wicked one.”
We have an enemy, a malevolent being opposed to God and all He stands for—including us. He is known by a variety of names and titles: Satan, Lucifer, the devil, the adversary, the dragon, the father of lies, etc. Here, John refers to him as “the wicked one,” and in keeping with the devotions of the past couple of days, there’s a definitive relationship in existence between him and us. Here’s the relationship that exists: The wicked one “does not touch” us.
Wait a second! How can you say the devil can’t touch us? What about Job? What about Paul? Or what about every Christian who’s been affected by spiritual warfare? Wasn’t the wicked one able to touch God’s people in all these instances?
There’s an important nuance we need to understand when it comes to the original Greek word John uses here for “touch.” It doesn’t mean touch in the sense of contact, but refers to touch in the sense of manipulation. By way of illustration, imagine the difference between me touching your arm and me grabbing your arm and flailing it around against your will. That’s the difference described here.
At times, God does allow our lives to encounter the influences of the wicked one. He does so in order to strengthen and develop our spiritual muscles. But it rests on the surface of our being. He does not allow our enemy to manipulate or control us beyond our own will; he isn’t permitted to “touch” us in such a way.
Our Heavenly Father has drawn a line of protection as it relates to the wicked one and us; a line that the wicked one is not allowed to cross. This relationship has been established for our utmost good. Again, there are times when the devil is permitted to impact our lives for the purpose of strengthening our faith. In such moments, we dig deep, we cling close, and we lean into our Lord’s loving arms in unprecedented ways.
But even in such seasons of Satan’s wolfish attacks, there’s a limit to what he can do as we remain under the protective watch of our Good Shepherd.
DIG: How is and isn’t Satan allowed to touch God’s people?
DISCOVER: When have you experienced such attacks?
DO: Reflect on the different ways this passage can serve as encouragement during times of spiritual attack.
Pastor Dan Hickling serves our online community, also known as the Calvary Chapel Online Campus. He and his wife Becky have been married for 22 years and have two children, Lauren and Danny. Both Dan and Becky have been part of the CCFL church family for 22 years and have served in full time ministry for 20 of those years.