Thomas Brooks has faithfully, firmly guided us through his precious remedies against Satan’s devices. As any good pastor should do, he has taught, rebuked, and corrected us, training us up toward the righteousness we have in Christ.
Along the way, we have discovered something critical during our studies. While Satan is the subject of this book and all the lessons it contains, Jesus is our object in their application. We have learned much about how to discover and avoid our enemy’s schemes. But we have learned much more about our Lord and Savior, our truest of friends.
Our goal, then, is not to dwell on our defeated foe, but to fix our eyes on our conquering King and receive the spiritual victory he won for us.
As he concludes Precious Remedies, Brooks offers ten final helps to that end. We summarize them here.
1. Walk in the word
Generally, we humans chafe against the rules others impose on us. We prefer to make our own way, chart our own course, captain our own souls.
But under Christ’s reign, walking according to his rule is safe, honorable, and sweet. The yoke of his way is easy, its burden is light. Because Jesus is a loving Master, we his loyal servants may delight in his law.
The longest chapter in the Bible, Psalm 119, repeatedly revels in the rule of God. Only a person renewed in grace and transformed through God’s love could speak this way about his Law. Here is merely the first stanza, with its eight mentions of God’s word emphasized.
Blessed are those whose way is blameless,(Psalm 119:1–8, ESV)
who walk in the law of the LORD!
Blessed are those who keep his testimonies,
who seek him with their whole heart,
who also do no wrong,
but walk in his ways!
You have commanded your precepts
to be kept diligently.
Oh that my ways may be steadfast
in keeping your statutes!
Then I shall not be put to shame,
having my eyes fixed on all your commandments.
I will praise you with an upright heart,
when I learn your righteous rules.
I will keep your statutes;
do not utterly forsake me!
A Christian so in step with God’s Law of love is not an easy target for Satan’s rules of self-righteousness.
2. Be careful not to grieve the Holy Spirit.
The Holy Spirit, being a person, experiences emotion. Grief is one of them.
Consider that the Spirit’s primary role toward Christians is to enliven our affections for Jesus. When we ignore or spurn his efforts, then, he grieves over our cold-heartedness.
Our human relationships may serve as guides to remind us of this truth. If our father encourages us to love a sibling more deeply and actively, yet we ignore him, we may grieve him. When our mother expresses concern over our lack of empathy for others, we damage our relationship with her if we don’t change our ways.
Consistent disregard for the Holy Spirit’s promptings toward Christlikeness is a sure path toward decreasing strength against Satan’s attacks.
3. Work toward more heavenly wisdom
The book of Proverbs is worthy of lifelong study as we pursue wisdom. Knowledge unused or misapplied is wasted information. Refer to point one again – following God’s Law is the path to righteousness. Don’t read Proverbs only to gain knowledge. Instead, observe how the writers apply what they know to life as a means of avoiding evil.
4. Resist Satan immediately the first time you are tempted
Note that nowhere in Brooks’s writings has he offered arguing with Satan as a remedy against his devices. We can counter his schemes with God’s truth, but not as a means of dialogue. Immediate resistance is the answer.
Brooks takes us back to the beginning of his book, where we learned that Satan fishes with lures. He baits his hook carefully, according to our weaknesses. And then he waits for his trap to draw us in.
Better to steer clear, walk the narrow path of obedience, and train yourself away from temptation.
5. Work to be filled with the Spirit
In an earlier post we spoke of being filled with the Holy Spirit not as like a cup but as a sailing ship. A cup will overflow, but a sail must continually fill with wind to provide motion to its vessel.
The Holy Spirit always moves in Christ’s direction. So, follow His lead and you will fail to go astray.
Brooks’s quotation of Luther may shock the uninitiated reader. I could not find its source, but it seems fitting for a man who did not find his calling and alcohol mutually exclusive.
6. Stay humble
Our humble Lord Jesus serves as our example here. Even the mighty Son of God did not wage direct war with Satan in his desert temptations. Instead, he answered the accuser’s attacks with the word of God.
7. Keep a strong, close, and constant watch
Reading Brooks’s admonishments about constant watchfulness may cause you to feel exhausted, or even to despair. Who can remain so vigilant all their waking hours?
But remember, you don’t watch alone. You have the Lord Jesus himself with you, and His Holy Spirit within you, defending and guarding you. Your watchfulness is a joint labor with these mighty allies.
Blessed be the LORD, my rock,Psalm 144:1–2, ESV
who trains my hands for war,
and my fingers for battle;
he is my steadfast love and my fortress,
my stronghold and my deliverer,
my shield and he in whom I take refuge,
who subdues peoples under me.
8. Keep up your communion with God
Since then we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.Hebrews 4:14–16, ESV
Is there any greater gift, besides our salvation, than our ability to speak directly to the God of the universe? Don’t waste it.
9. Do not engage Satan in your own strength
As we have written before, only spiritual weapons match against a spiritual enemy.
Brooks draws upon the truth that God’s mercies to us are new every morning. The scripture that teaches us this truth sounds like a praise-filled passage from the Psalms. Yet, it comes to us from the book of Lamentations.
Even while looking upon and mourning the devastation of Israel, the prophet Jeremiah drew strength from God’s endless renewals of grace. We have access to that same bottomless well today as we struggle against sin.
10. Be in much prayer
“The way of prayer is the way to heaven, which is the only path of escape from Satan’s snares.”
These are the last words of advice Thomas Brooks offers his cherished readers toward spiritual victory, after an entire book filled with precious remedies. The rest of this conclusion offers rich thankfulness and encouragement to the flock he tended so well.
And after a journey of several years, these are the last words I will write on this priceless book. This has been a journey of heartfelt labor and unexpected discoveries. I’m thankful for each person who has stayed with me to the end. And I hope these writings will continue to drive you into the timeless wisdom of the English Puritans, and more importantly, toward the endless love of Christ.