The Spiritual Realities
Do you know that there is a struggle going on for your destiny? Are you aware that that a real Enemy and his demons are bent on your destruction? Yes, it is true! In our age, many of us, even Christians, dismiss the Devil as a relic of medieval superstitions. Yes, we know that there are ‘natural’ causes for sickness – bacterial and viral infections, for example. We know that weather patterns develop from air currents that sweep across open oceans. And yet, we must not completely discount the idea that there are beings bent on our destruction, motivated by hatred for God and good!
In Zechariah, there is this passage which lets us get a startling glimpse into the spiritual realm where a battle for good and evil is ongoing. “Then the angel showed me Jeshua the high priest standing before the angel of the Lord. The Accuser, Satan, was there at the angel’s right hand, making accusations against Jeshua. And the Lord said to Satan, “I, the Lord, reject your accusations, Satan. Yes, the Lord, who has chosen Jerusalem, rebukes you. This man is like a burning stick that has been snatched from the fire.” (Zechariah 3:1-2, NLT) It is a picture much like a court, with the high priest, Jeshua, advocating for the people of God and alongside of him, Satan is accusing them, marking out their sins. God speaks to Satan and rejects his accusations. He sees what Satan is pointing to, the filthy sins of the people, but says that He will provide cleansing for those sins. Later in the same passage, He tells the high priest that He will send a Deliverer for His people.
John saw visions of the great conflict of good and evil and wrote them down in the picture language of the Revelation. Like Zechariah, John sees a terrible struggle but matches it with a promise of victory. “And there was war in heaven. Michael and his angels fought against the dragon, and the dragon and his angels fought back. But he was not strong enough, and they lost their place in heaven. The great dragon was hurled down—that ancient serpent called the devil, or Satan, who leads the whole world astray. He was hurled to the earth, and his angels with him. Then I heard a loud voice in heaven say: “Now have come the salvation and the power and the kingdom of our God, and the authority of his Christ. For the accuser of our brothers, who accuses them before our God day and night, has been hurled down. They overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony; they did not love their lives so much as to shrink from death.” (Revelation 12:7-11, NIV)
So what do we do with such insight? Should we cower in fear? Should we assign every difficulty to the realm of demons?
No, we will not fear, for the Lord is our Advocate and the promise is this: “You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world.” (1 John 4:4, NIV) Our security is found, not in our ability to be good, nor is it assured by our impeccable behavior; if that were even possible. We stand in faith, given God’s promise and hope, because of Christ who has defeated Satan at the Cross.
Nor, should we become foolish and blame the Devil for every problem. Some of those things that oppose God are rooted in ‘the World.’ The systems of this present Age are corrupt and they often are used in the support of evil. Government and authority, for example, are God’s plan, but when persons who are evil are in places of power, people suffer. Economic systems can be abused to enrich those who are already rich, oppressing the poor. Then, too, we know that some of the evil that we struggle against is rooted in ‘the sinful nature.’ The Curse of sin entered this creation and we are born into sin, left to ourselves we are rebels against good. Only Christ Jesus can deliver us and by the power of the Spirit restore us to godliness.
That said, we are unwise to ignore the unseen reality of the Devil. Paul counsels us to “Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.” (Ephesians 6:11-12, NIV) Christian, you are not a victim! Walk in wisdom. Live in faith. Let the Spirit rule your life and you will find the Devil’s efforts futile in your destruction.
Our word from the Word comes from Jesus. After He sent out preachers to talk of God’s rule, they returned full of joy in their new-found ability to defeat evil. May His word to them encourage us in two ways – to continue to resist evil and to exult in His blessed promise of salvation. “They joyfully reported to him, “Lord, even the demons obey us when we use your name!” “Yes,” he told them, “I saw Satan fall from heaven like lightning! Look, I have given you authority over all the power of the enemy, and you can walk among snakes and scorpions and crush them. Nothing will injure you. But don’t rejoice because evil spirits obey you; rejoice because your names are registered in heaven.” (Luke 10:17-20, NLT)
Father, we humbly thank you for the gift of Christ,
Of His victory, and for the assurance we know in world full of evil.
Hold us close, let us hear Your voice urging us on in the fight.
Make us holy, so full of the Spirit, that evil loses its attraction and traction!
May your Kingdom come, Your will be done,
On earth as it is in Heaven.
For the glory of Christ in Whose Name we pray.