The enemy, the accuser of the brethren, the father of lies, the prince of the power of the air, he is trying with all he has to keep you from living that full rich life the Lord gave to you. John 10:10 tells us,
The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.
But what God has given you, no one can take away, even God won’t take them away (Romans 11:29). When God is with you, no one can stand against you (Romans 8:31). No weapon formed against Him can succeed (Isaiah 54:17)! He does not want you to know your identity in Christ, because if you do, you will be too powerful for him. You will know something that he doesn’t, you are victorious, you are an overcomer and he is the loser, defeated. He cannot oppress you, he cannot even touch you (1 John 5:18).
Believer, you are victorious! That victory is not because of you, it is because of Jesus. It is God who fights, God who wins, and God who gives us the victory. Let’s talk about the end of the story, not the end for us, but the end for the enemy. 1 Corinthians 15:50-58 reads,
I tell you this, brothers: flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable. 51 Behold! I tell you a mystery. We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, 52 in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we shall be changed. 53 For this perishable body must put on the imperishable, and this mortal body must put on immortality. 54 When the perishable puts on the imperishable, and the mortal puts on immortality, then shall come to pass the saying that is written:
“Death is swallowed up in victory.”
55 “O death, where is your victory?
O death, where is your sting?”
56 The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. 57 But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.
58 Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain.
No matter what Satan does, he cannot win. But you are in the Lord and He is in you, you are protected and you share in His victory. Death will not hurt you; it will merely change you from a perishable body to an imperishable body, from corruptible earth to incorruptible eternity with God face to face forever.
Let’s read a little more of the end of Satan’s story and see that he loses. Revelation 20:1-3 and 7-10
Then I saw an angel coming down from heaven, holding in his hand the key to the bottomless pit and a great chain. 2 And he seized the dragon, that ancient serpent, who is the devil and Satan, and bound him for a thousand years, 3 and threw him into the pit, and shut it and sealed it over him, so that he might not deceive the nations any longer, until the thousand years were ended. After that he must be released for a little while.
7 And when the thousand years are ended, Satan will be released from his prison 8 and will come out to deceive the nations that are at the four corners of the earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them for battle; their number is like the sand of the sea. 9 And they marched up over the broad plain of the earth and surrounded the camp of the saints and the beloved city, but fire came down from heaven and consumed them,10 and the devil who had deceived them was thrown into the lake of fire and sulfur where the beast and the false prophet were, and they will be tormented day and night forever and ever.
You might have questions about that thousand years, it is in the Bible and I encourage you to read about it, it is a period of time when some of the dead in Christ, the martyrs and those who lived through the Great Tribulation reign with Christ in Heaven before the rest of the people, are resurrected and face the Judgement throne (Revelation 20:4-10). But that is not the focus of this devotional. So I don’t want to go off to that very interesting and important information right now.
The devil doesn’t believe the end of the story and he doesn’t want you to know it because he doesn’t want to lose anymore souls to the kingdom of God. If you walk in the power of your victory, he loses. He is terrified of you and your impact on God’s kingdom, so he fights, since he can’t touch you, he throws fiery arrows at you, he does his utmost to keep you inoperative and defeated.
Believer, you do not have to live a defeated life. The enemy has no power over you, except what you allow. He is very good at making you believe the lies he accuses you of. That is one reason you need to understand who you are in Christ. The more you know about who you are to God, the more you will stand and walk in the victorious abundant life, He has given you. The more you know who God is, the more you will trust that He is able, nothing is impossible for Him, and nothing can snatch you out of His hand (Ephesians 3:20, Luke 1:37, John 10:29).
Being human, we want to know what we can do to fight the enemy. We will start here, what is it you can do to live in victory? You have to be dressed for battle and you have to know who you are fighting. I don’t mean know them the way you know your friend, just know where to point the weapons. Ephesians 6:10-18 reads,
Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. 11 Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. 12 For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. 13 Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm. 14 Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, 15 and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace. 16 In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one; 17 and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, 18 praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end, keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints,
I have previously done a study on each piece of the Armor of God and what it means for you. In the end, every piece of the armor is Jesus and is only possible with Him. This passage tells us first that we are to be strong in the Lord, not strong in ourselves, but in the Lord, depending on Him, allowing Him to be our strength. If our strength is our own, then we cannot win and are defeated already. How are we strong? We put on the whole armor of God so that we can stand against the enemy. Notice it doesn’t say fight, it says stand against. In fact, Paul says stand four times in these verses. Then it reminds us, we are not fighting people, non-believers, the lost or one another; we are wrestling against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. This passage says whole armor twice. Paul reiterates that we need every piece of it, the belt of truth, breastplate of righteousness, shoes of the gospel of peace, the shield of faith, helmet of salvation, and the sword which is the word of God. While people love to point out that the only defensive weapon on the armor is the sword, that is not entirely true. The shield is both offensive or and defensive as we use it to both protect ourselves from those fiery darts of lies and accusation, but also defensively to push against the enemy. And what is it we do with the word of God? We pray at all times with all prayer and supplication.
Now that we are dressed and standing and praying, what do we do? James 4:5-10 says,
Or do you suppose it is to no purpose that the Scripture says, “He yearns jealously over the spirit that he has made to dwell in us”? 6 But he gives more grace. Therefore it says, “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.” 7 Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. 8 Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. 9 Be wretched and mourn and weep. Let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to gloom. 10 Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will exalt you.
James doesn’t say freak out because God doesn’t care that you’re having a tough time. God yearns jealously over the spirit He made to dwell in us. He is in us and He loves us very much. So we submit, we let God be the doer, the fighter and the decision-maker; we let God be God by bowing down to Him. Then James tell us to resist the devil. He didn’t say fight, he says resist. Keep standing firm in the truth, in your righteousness, in the Gospel, with faith, the Word, and prayer and the devil will flee from you. He will run away like a dog with his tail between his legs. Fleeing is the opposite of standing firm. We don’t have to fight, we stand firm in Jesus Christ. We leave sin behind us and remember who we are in Jesus and submit to the Lord. Get this picture, that our bowing down to God, our most prostrate position before the Lord, is standing too firm and tall for the enemy to try and fight. Our most humble posture before God allows God to lift us up into a position that the devil is so terrified of, he flees.
Does that mean we will live a life free of suffering? Nope. Does it mean the devil won’t keep trying? Nope, he will keep trying, he will keep looking for the moments of pride, sin, and fear to attack us with. Jesus encouraged us this way in John 16:26-28 and 33
In that day you will ask in my name, and I do not say to you that I will ask the Father on your behalf; 27 for the Father himself loves you, because you have loved me and have believed that I came from God. 28 I came from the Father and have come into the world, and now I am leaving the world and going to the Father.”
I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.”
Do you know how many times some version of “Ask and it will be given” is in the Bible? In the New Testament alone, I counted eleven times. That doesn’t include other verses which promise God’s presence with you, provision for you, or power to do anything for you. Even before Jesus said, “It is finished” on the cross, God’s plan of salvation was already done because He had already sent His Word (Jesus) forth and He already knew that He would accomplish His purpose. Jesus is the Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end; He created the world, He saved the world, and He will and has already completed the war and given us a new and eternal home. Isaiah 55 is a powerful and encouraging chapter, I encourage you to take the time to read it, verse 11 reads,
so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth;
it shall not return to me empty,
but it shall accomplish that which I purpose,
and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it.
God does not fail. If He wants it done, it will be done. He succeeds. The wonderful news is, the reason, we only have to stand firm, to resist as we bow down in submission to God is that He is fighting for us. Exodus 14:14 is one of my favorite verses. It reads,
The Lord will fight for you, and you have only to be silent.
Deuteronomy 1:29-30 says,
Then I said to you, ‘Do not be in dread or afraid of them. 30 The Lord your God who goes before you will himself fight for you, just as he did for you in Egypt before your eyes, 31 and in the wilderness, where you have seen how the Lord your God carried you, as a man carries his son, all the way that you went until you came to this place.’
And Deuteronomy 3:22 says,
You shall not fear them, for it is the Lord your God who fights for you.
Is submission to God always easy? How often do we let our pride stand in the way of allowing God the glory for our victory? But allowing God to fight as we stand firm in Him is like a parade, the kind they used to have where the armies marched with the banner of the nation they fought for flying over them. The banner we hold high is Christ and the world sees it and His fame goes out and gives people the choice to come to Him. 2 Corinthians 2:14-17 reads,
But thanks be to God, who in Christ always leads us in triumphal procession, and through us spreads the fragrance of the knowledge of him everywhere. 15 For we are the aroma of Christ to God among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing, 16 to one a fragrance from death to death, to the other a fragrance from life to life. Who is sufficient for these things? 17 For we are not, like so many, peddlers of God's word, but as men of sincerity, as commissioned by God, in the sight of God we speak in Christ.
Beloved, I pray that you understand that you do not have to walk in defeat. You are victorious because Jesus is victorious. You only have to stand firm in Him, in who He is and who He says you are, no more and no less.