How we handle all the stuff that comes against us has everything to do with how happy we are. Something had to come against that happy little one‐year old to cause her to start cutting at age fourteen. Something had to come against that happy little four‐year old to cause him, at age thirty‐two, to depend on anti‐psychotics just to function.
Although I'm sure it happens, I've never met an adult who talked about having any training from his or her parents on how to effectively deal with resistance. I certainly taught my kids very little about overcoming opposition—other than what they maybe saw me demonstrate in my own life.
It is my goal in this series to take the mystery out of the stuff that comes against us, so it no longer controls us.
A couple of days ago we talked about the resistance we can (and should) avoid. Yesterday, we began to discuss the resistance we can't always avoid—where it comes from and how we overcome it.
4. The fourth source of unavoidable resistance is from the devil. We have complete control over direct interference from the devil—when the devil comes directly against us in a one‐on‐one assault. But we don't have as much control when Satan interferes with us indirectly through other people. Let me explain.
Then the seventy returned with joy, saying, “Lord, even the demons are subject to us in Your name.” And He said to them, “I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven. Behold, I give you the authority to trample on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall by any means hurt you. Nevertheless do not rejoice in this, that the spirits are subject to you, but rather rejoice because your names are written in heaven.” (Luke 10:17–20 NKJV)
Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. (James 4:7 NKJV)
It is very clear from these verses (and others) that we can not only successfully resist the devil in a direct assault against us, but that we have authority over all his power as it pertains to us personally.
But I have rebuked the devil, resisted the devil, bound the devil, and just screamed at the devil until I was blue in the face, only to watch him go ahead and do his business. Of course this may sound very strange to you, if you've never before considered controlling Satan's power. But if you have, your results may have been similar to mine.
So what gives? There is a very fine line, when it comes to the devil, regarding whether he takes the beating or you do.
A group of Jews was traveling from town to town casting out evil spirits. They tried to use the name of the Lord Jesus in their incantation, saying, “I command you in the name of Jesus, whom Paul preaches, to come out!” Seven sons of Sceva, a leading priest, were doing this. But one time when they tried it, the evil spirit replied, “I know Jesus, and I know Paul, but who are you?” Then the man with the evil spirit leaped on them, overpowered them, and attacked them with such violence that they fled from the house, naked and battered. (Acts 19:13–16 NLT)
First of all, remember that the power to resist the devil in not in your words. The devil is not afraid of your words, He's afraid of the power behind your words; he is afraid of Jesus. Satan is not afraid of you. But he is terrified of Jesus.
If Satan sees you and doesn't identify you with Jesus, then your words mean nothing. But if Satan sees you and identifies you with Jesus, then your words are not just your words, but instead carry the full authority of Jesus. Does this make sense?
In other words, if the only one the devil sees when he sees you is just you, then you're in for a beating. But if your words smell like Jesus, then Satan has no choice but to flee.
This is so very important; let me illustrate it in another way. While you are sitting at a red light on Halstead Street in Chicago, if a police officer walks up to your car and taps on your window with his ID, are you going to cooperate with him or accelerate through the signal? Because you understand his authority you know that if you run you will be running from the entire CPD; so you do what he says. But it would be a different story if you were approached by a kid wearing a police costume. Just like you, the devil only responds to true authority, not just somebody acting the part.
Another aspect in overcoming direct threats from the devil is to listen to God for specific instructions before starting to make declarations. When Jesus was dealing with the resistance coming against people, He was very specific in His declarations. He didn't command all storms to cease; He only commanded the one affecting the people around Him. He didn't heal all blind eyes—just those in front of Him.
Even if you have Jesus written all over you, sometimes you may be attempting to throw the devil out of one room, when he's living in another—and you won't have good results. Whenever something obvious comes against me, I just throw it out in Jesus' name. But if I don't get an immediate result, I ask God for specific instructions.
If you know exactly what the devil is up to in your life, then stop it in Jesus' name. But if the situation does not improve quickly, then ask God, “What do You want me to say to this…?” And then listen for an answer. If you have pain in your lower back and it doesn't leave on your command, then ask God what's going on. Maybe He will tell you to speak to nerve endings rather than muscles. (For a practical example of what I'm talking about go to this article.)
Remember, it is not natural for us to think of bossing the devil around, but God has given us that authority. And if we ask God to do what He has assigned to us… we'll just get nowhere but frustrated.
When Satan interferes with us indirectly through other people, we have a completely different set of challenges. Who's to say a government drone won't drop a bomb on your house, thinking you are part of a terrorist cell? Who's to say a biker gang won't choose to spend the night at your farmhouse?
Of course, I'm being silly. If you have the time there's certainly nothing wrong with declaring that no lawsuit form against you, no tax audit form against you, no thieves come against your property, no drug dealers move into your neighborhood, no fire start in you electrical system, no… but you will quickly run out of day. Hey, I've done all this stuff and then some.
It is easy to become almost paranoid about who or what Satan is going to send your way next. But remember, the devil has been trying to take you out from the time you were still in your mother's womb. And you're still here, aren't you? So don't let the threats steal your joy. God loves you.
God loves you beyond anything you can think or imagine. Yes, it is your responsibility to “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour (1 Peter 5:8 NKJV).” But God loves you, and “He shall give His angels charge over you, to keep you in all your ways (Psalm 91:11 NKJV).”
So take charge, where He has given you authority. And stay in His presence. He is your refuge and your fortress (see Psalm 91:2).
Have a good weekend,