Saturday, September 26, 2009

God's Army - People of a Different Spirit / Moving in the Opposite Spirit - How Jesus Defeated Satan

I could not decide which would be a more appropriate title for this piece, so I decided to call it both. Either title will do. I believe that God is looking for people who are like Joshua and Caleb - people of a different spirit - people who will go against the current, against the spirit of this world. They will be like their master Jesus who moved in the opposite spirit, laid down His life , and thus defeated Satan, These are the people that will make up God's End time army.

In the Kingdom of God many things work in the reverse. The more we give, the more we receive. The more we hang on to what we have, the faster we lose it. We overcome evil with good. Getting down will get us up - the greatest in the kingdom of God are the servants and slaves. We bless when we are cursed. We rejoice when we are persecuted. We praise God when the situation around us appears hopeless. We humble ourselves when others around us are proud.

Not only are God's ways different from man's ways, moving in the opposite spirit is what defeats the devil and breaks his power and dominion over us and over those around us. When Paul and Silas sang praises to God in the inner prison, God sent an earthquake which not only set them free but also set the other prisoners free. The devil wanted them bound and to feel depressed and defeated but they moved in the opposite spirit and got the victory for themselves and for others who were similarly bound with them.

There is a very interesting verse in Hebrews that I believe holds the key to understanding how Jesus defeated the devil, and it is the key for us in spiritual warfare. No, it is not about binding and losing. It is not about discerning and naming the principalities and powers. All that is important. But perhaps more imporant than any of the other dynamics of spiritual warfare is the heart and spirit of the person engaged in the battle - the one whom God uses, the one upon whom He clothes with His power and anointing .. one who like his master, empties himself in sacrificial love for others.

In Heb.2:14 we read that Jesus came in the flesh and as a man He died and by His death He destroyed the devil who holds the power of death. see Col.2:15, 1Jn.3:8, Jn.12:31, Matt.28:18. When I first read Heb.2:14 I was puzzled. I had always been taught that Jesus triumphed over the devil by His resurrection. I asked the Lord how He destroyed the devil by His death. The Lord showed me the following :

1. God rules and reigns in heaven. In heaven there is only one will - all the angels submit to God and do His will. Ps.103:20-21

2. But 1Jn.5:19 tells us the whole world is under the control of the devil. How did that happen? Gen.1:26-28 and Heb.2:6-8 tells us that God gave Adam dominion over all creation and put all things under his feet. Instead of listening and submitting to God, Adam listened and followed the suggestion of the devil. Whenever and whoever we listen and submit or yield to, we give that person authority over us.Rom.6:16. Thus Adam gave Satan authority not only over himself but also over all that God had put under his authority ie. all of creation. Luke4:5-6.

3. The same thing happens every time we sin / move out of God's will - we don't realise it but we are actually submitting to the devil's desire rather than to God's. By following the devil's suggestions we are giving the devil authority over us.Eph.2:1-3. When we don't repent he gains a foothold in us.Eph.4:26-27.

4. There is no one who has ever submitted himself to God and obeyed Him fully. Every person alive has at some point or other given the devil authority over his life. Thus the world is under the control of the evil one.

5. If there was one man who could obey God fully and not submit to the devil, that man would have authority over the devil. If that man submitted to God, then that man would bring back God's rule over every place and everything he owned / within his sphere of dominion.

6. The devil's rule and authority over men was unbroken until Jesus came in the flesh. As a man, although He was subject to all the trials and testings, temptation and suffering, weaknesses and limitations that we encounter (Heb.4:15), nevertheless He did not give in to the devil but submitted Himself fully to the Father.Philip.2:5-8.

7. At the point of His greatest test, Jesus did not love His life so much as to shrink from Calvary. No matter what the devil threw at Him, He did not assert His rights or save Himself or preserve Himself. Although He had the right and the power to do so He did not retaliate against those who persecuted Him. He moved in the opposite spirit. He obeyed and submitted to God fully even to the point of death. Luke22:42, Philip.2:5-11. In this way Jesus defeated the devil.

Contrary to popular belief, I don't think the devil wanted to kill Jesus. Instead all he was trying to do was to get Jesus to save Himself and preserve His natural life and so move out of the Father's will. Not only that, if Jesus saved Himself, there would be no redemption for us. When Jesus said "Not My will but Yours be done", He knew what the Father's will was - that He would lay down His life for others. The key to His victory is in Jn.14:30-31, "The prince of this world has no hold on Me...because I love the Father and do exactly what My Father has commanded Me."

8. Rev.12:11 tells us we overcome the devil in the same way -"and they loved not their lives even unto death". Heb.2:15 tells us that we are held in slavery/bondage by the devil by our fear of death. What is this fear of death? It is the fear of loosing our lives, the fear of loosing all that we love, all that we count precious to us. It is the fear of losing our rights, our reputation, our comfort, our independence, our individualism, our selves, etc. The fear of death or the fear of loosing ourselves leads us to preserve ourselves. We know naturally how to preserve our comfort, our reputation, our rights, our independence, our individualism, ourselves, our lives. In every situation our natural reaction is to save ourselves, but that is how we remain under bondage. "He who saves his life will lose it. He who loses his life for My sake will save it."Luke9:23-24.

So long as we keep preserving ourselves, the devil has got us in bondage and we forfeit ourselves of the abundant and victorious life that God promised to give us. We naturally want to have both : we naturally want the best of both worlds - We want to have God's promises and blessings but we are not ready to give up what this world can offer; we still want some part of this world and its comforts and pleasures. But the Lord says we can't have it both ways. God's ways and the ways of this world don't mix. The natural and the spiritual are contrary to one another.

When Jesus said to follow Him, He meant just that - just as He denied Himself and went to the cross we are to follow Him to the cross so that just as through the cross He was resurrected by the power of God and exalted to glory, we too in dying to ourselves would be saved by the power of God and experience His victory. Death to self would restore us to the place of dominion where we reign with Christ. Rev.2:26-27, Rev.3:21. We follow Him through Calvary to the resurrection and to be seated with Him in the heavenly places. When we allow His death to work in us, we are released from bondage. Heb.2:15. Otherwise scriptures like Heb.2:15, Jn.10:10, 2Cor.5:17, Eph.2:6, etc. remain only positional truth and not experiential truth ie. a reality in our experience.

9. 2Chron.16:9 says that the eyes of the Lord run to and fro over all the earth to show Himself strong on behalf of those whose hearts are fully committed to Him. God is looking for people who will believe Him for great things and give their lives to see it happen. Such people are what we can describe as "kingdom people". They will live and they will die to see the kingdom of God established on earth. That is their one passion - to see King Jesus exalted on earth. All their time, energy and talents are channeled towards that one consuming desire. Like Jesus they will live lives that go against the current of this world. They will be like Joshua and Caleb - people of a different spirit. That is what it will take to overcome the devil and win this world for Christ - people who move in the opposite spirit, against the current of this world.

1 Jn.3:16 says, "This is how we perceive the love of God - Jesus Christ laid down His life for us; and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren" - this includes those who are not presently our brothers in the Lord but who will be as a result of our laying down our lives to see them come into the kingdom. Jesus said, "As the Father has sent me, so send I you" Jn.20:21

10. We are to deny ourselves in relation to the will of God. There is no virtue in self-denial itself. In every situation we choose God's will and choose to please God rather than self. Matt.26:39. Like Jesus, we do so out of love for the Father.

God will not override our wills. The will to deny ourselves and lay down our lives has to come from within us as we are moved by the love of God; but the strength to do this comes from abiding in Christ (just as Jesus abided in His Father). As we spend time worshipping the Lord and delighting in Him we are renewed in our spirit and denying self and living for Him then becomes a joy even in the midst of trials. As we are united with Him we are seated with Him the heavenly places above the devil and we can then exercise authority over the devil. As we abide in Christ, we bring God's rule back on earth - over every place and everything God has given to us eg. our homes, our workplaces, our nation, etc. and every place we claim for Him in His name. Ps.2:8.

Perhaps nothing illustrates this principle of dying to self for others (and thereby overcoming the enemy) more than a story I read that was told by Hal Oxley. In the 2nd world war, many soldiers gave their lives to save the lives of others. Hal Oxley was an officer in the British army. He fought against Gen.Rommel in the desert in North Africa. He tells us of a time when together with other officers they were commanding a force of 20,000 British soldiers. Their orders were to capture a fortress that had between 40,000 to 50,000 German soldiers inside. The fortress was surrounded by rows of barbed wire with booby traps of explosives hanging on them. Anyone who tried to cut through the barbed wire would set off the explosives and be killed instantly. The way to get through the barbed wire was to use what they called "bangalore torpedos". Some engineers would get close to the barbed wire in the dark and they would carefully push a bangalore torpedo into the wire. From behind the sand dune they would plunge the detonator and the bangalore torpedo would explode and make a big hole in the barbed wire.

Unfortunately, they did not have any bangalore torpedos with them. They had to capture the fortress by a certain time. It was an impossible situation. The officers got together and decided that some of the soldiers would have to voluntarily give up their lives so that the others would be able to achieve their objective. They came up with a plan. They would ask for 6 volunteers. The first 2 would run up to the barbed wire together and throw themselves on the wire. They would be killed instantly. Then the second two would use their dead bodies as a bridge to run up and throw themselves on the wire. They too would die. The third two would do the same. This would clear a bridge which the troops could get through.

The officers formed a company of 210 men and gathered them behind a sand dune. About 10 minutes before they were to go into action, they told them the plan. They explained that when they gave the command they wanted 6 volunteers to step forward. Then they called them to attention and gave the command, "Alright, 6 volunteers step forward." Immediately the whole company of 210 men stepped forward one step. There was no hesitation. They decided they would die for the others. The officers had to pick out 6 men at random. They carried out their plan and it worked. A large hole was blown in the wire. The 6 men died. The troops got past the barbed wire and fought their way into the fortress. Two days later they captured the fortress.

The 6 soldiers knew they would die instantly. Whatever it was that motivated them, one thing is certain - they counted that/those things more valuable than their own lives. Jesus loved us more than He loved Himself. It's a question of what or who we value or love more - our ambitions, our comforts or God. God is not calling us to prove our love for Him by going and drinking cyanide down. That's stupid. That's what the cults do. But God is calling us to die to our selves so that we will live for Him. We can't live for ourselves and live for God at the same time. It's one or the other. "He died for all that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for Him who died for them and rose again." 2 Cor.5:15. Will we die to our selves and live for Him ?

Like the story above, I believe God is looking for "6 volunteers". In every sphere, God is looking for a small band of men and women who will be willing to step forward to be the pioneers. They will lay down their lives and pave the way for the bigger army that God is raising to get through enemy lines to dispossess the enemy of what they have taken from the sons of Adam, and take it back for God's kingdom. May the love of God and the vision of His kingdom so burn in our hearts that we will count nothing else more valuable than stepping forward to this calling.

1 comment:

  1. WOW! What an amazing post. I needed to hear this today. Thank you for listening to God and posting this.