Movie trivia time! Who can place this quote:
“Hope. It is the only thing stronger than fear. A little hope is effective.
A lot of hope is dangerous.”
Though spoken by the antagonist character, President Snow, in the Hunger Games series, there’s a seed of truth there. I think we all can agree that fear is a powerful thing. It controls and dictates decisions. It cripples, paralyzes even. No wonder intimidation is a primary weapon of our spiritual enemy. He uses fear like a smokescreen in an attempt to cloud our vision and distort reality. But you see, the devil doesn’t have any real power except what God allows. Whoah, that’s a radical statement. But in Job 2:1-7 and Luke 22:31 (both old and new testaments), we see Satan asking for God’s permission before messing with people. God is in control- that changes everything. I once heard it said that the devil is like a toothless bulldog- he can bark, but he can’t bite.
In the book Spiritual Warfare: fighting the good fight of faith, Brian Brodersen states, “Satan will threaten you…But that is all he can do because ‘greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world’ (1 John 4:4).”
This is our reality. God Most High fights for us. (Some of my favorite verses on that topic are Exodus 14:13-14, Jeremiah 20:11, Psalm 144:1-2, Lamentations 3:58, and Proverbs 23:10-11). The Champion King perfects our faith. He wins. He’s already won.
The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet. Romans 16:20a
The reason the intimidation strategy exists is because, sadly, many Christians give in to fear. But we don’t have to. We have something more powerful than fear- hope. And our hope is this, “Jesus gave his life for our sins, just as God our Father planned, in order to rescue us from this evil world in which we live (Gal 1:4).”
No, despite all these things, overwhelming victory is ours
through Christ, who loved us. Romans 8: 37
I thought I had finished this blog two months ago, but only realized its application (like where it comes alive in my own life) in the last week. Thus, I want to add a few things. I was aware that the devil can spit lies and hurl condemnation, set of smokescreens and act intimidating (like the Wizard of Oz seeming larger than life behind a curtian). And I knew that through Jesus we have the power to stand against that… But how? How do we just not be affected in the midst of a spiritual onslaught? Because as Christians, especially as ‘on mission’ Christians who are pushing back darkness, intimidation will still come and intimidate.
Therefore, put on every piece of God’s armor
so you will be able to resist the enemy in the time of evil.
Then after the battle, you will still be standing firm. Ephesians 6:13
This passage in Ephesians goes on to describe the ‘Armor of God’, in which the only offensive weapon listed is the Word of God. Did you catch that? The Bible is a weapon. Wield it.
Jesus exemplified this battle strategy when he was under spiritual attack (Luke 4). Each time the devil came at him with something, Jesus responded, “No, the Scriptures say…” And get this, each time that was the end of the story. The devil had to move on to a new temptation because he couldn’t refute the Word of God. (By the way, do you think Jesus was referencing biblegateway.com in the desert? He was able to wield the Word because he knew what it said.)
So if the enemy drudges up junk from your past, declare that “there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus” (Romans 8:1). If he makes you feel like there’s some habitual sin you can never be free from, remind yourself (even outloud) that “we are no longer slaves to sin” (Romans 6:6). When you fear you don’t have what it takes, repeat God’s promise that “my grace is sufficient for you” (2 Corinthians 12:9).
Don’t just ‘stand’, stand on the Word of God. It is powerful. It is life. Go in victory.
Though a mighty army surrounds me, my heart will not be afraid.
Even if I am attacked, I will remain confident. Psalm 27:3