Knowing Your Enemy
Jesus said that whenever God reveals His Word to men, Satan comes immediately to take the Word which was sown. Satan has no defense against the Lordship of Jesus, the Name of Jesus or the born-again believer who is walking in faith and acting on the Word of God. Satan has no defense because Jesus said that ALL power has been given unto Him, both in heaven and in earth. Satan has been stripped of his power.
He knows he is defenseless. So in order to stop the revelation of God's Word in the believer, his only tool is to sow deception - something that sounds good and looks good, but is really a wolf in sheep's clothing. He usually does this most successfully in the area of religion. He uses religion to blind and deceive us. He has no defense against our real spiritual weapons, but he can easily defend himself against our carnal, religious traditions.
One of the major deceptions Satan is sowing in the Church today is that our problems, our trials and our temptations are sent to teach and develop us spiritually, physically and in other ways. The very extreme of this says that God is the author of our troubles, or that God is the One Who makes us sick in order to teach us something. This is absolutely against the Word of God. The basic principle of the Christian life is to know that Jesus bore our sin, sickness, disease, sorrow, grief and poverty at Calvary. For Him to put any of this on us now would be a miscarriage of justice. Jesus was made a curse for us so that we can receive the blessing of Abraham (Galatians 3:13-14).
In James 1:8 it says that a double-minded man is unstable in all his ways. If a man is double-minded with God, then he will fail. If he thinks, imagines, assumes or in any way has the idea that God is behind his trouble - either by permission or commission - he will never resist it. The man's double-mindedness in this area will give Satan just the hesitation he needs to defeat him.
How Does God Chastise His Own?
The dictionary defines the word chastisement as punishment by inflicting pain. In this sense of the word Jesus already bore our chastisement - our pain - on the cross.
But the Greek word translated "chastisement" in the New Testament actually means to instruct or to train. So how does God instruct and train us? To clearly understand the answer to this question, we must keep in mind that God, as our heavenly Father, is the Father of our reborn spirit, not our flesh. Therefore, He must instruct and teach us on a spiritual level.
"For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth. If [you] endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not? But if [you are] without chastisement, whereof all are partakers, then are ye bastards, and not sons. Furthermore we have had fathers of our flesh which corrected us, and we gave them reverence: shall we not much rather be in subjection unto the Father of spirits, and live?" (Hebrews 12:6-9).
Jesus said, "That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit" (John 3:6). Our fleshly fathers correct us in the flesh, but God is a spirit and He uses spiritual tools, not carnal tools. He uses spiritual weapons (Hebrews 4:12). How does He do this? With His Word! Jesus said, My Words are spirit. (See John 6:63.)
"Every Scripture is God-breathed - given by His inspiration - and profitable for instruction, for reproof and conviction of sin, for correction of error and discipline in obedience, and for training in righteousness...So that the man of God may be complete and proficient, well-fitted and thoroughly equipped for every good work" (2 Timothy 3:16-17, The Amplified Bible). The Lord chastises His own with the Scriptures. Put yourself in subjection to the Word. The sword of the Spirit - the Word of God - is two-edged. One side trims away our flesh and lusts and the other side sanctifies us.
Let's look at some examples of this. Paul wrote in 2 Corinthians 7:8-9, "For though I made you sorry with a letter, I do not repent, though I did repent: for I perceive that the same epistle hath made you sorry, though it were but for a season. Now I rejoice, not that ye were made sorry, but that ye sorrowed to repentance: for ye were made sorry after a godly manner..." This is the way in which God convicts, brings repentance, chastens His own, and corrects us with His Word. He sent His Word to the church at Corinth, and it hurt so badly they would have preferred to be beaten with a stick! They knew how to handle sickness and disease, but when God reprimanded them with His Word, it cut deep into their spirits and they were repentant. His Word chastens unbelief and purifies the human spirit in such a way that we come out strong - not weak and condemned. Jesus prayed, "Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth" (John 17:17). Proverbs 17:10 in The Amplified Bible says, "A reproof enters deeper into one of understanding than a hundred lashes into a [self-confident] fool."
You know, it seems that some people have an overwhelming desire to believe the worst from God. Some will fight to prove that God afflicted them. Instead, we should refuse to believe that our Heavenly Father would hurt us, even though we may not know all the circumstances. It may look as though He is behind it, but we should refuse to fall for that. We know He sent His Son to die for us, so let's not hesitate for one moment and give Satan the opportunity to move in on us.
We accept Calvary as the sacrifice that paid the price for our total redemption from sin, sickness, poverty and death. We believe that and stand on it. We have certain rights called righteousness in the kingdom of God. Jesus has provided them for us and we should take hold of them with our faith.
Does God Permit Bad Things to Happen to Us?
A loving God doesn't send or even permit death and destruction in His children's lives to instruct them. If these things are happening, there is another reason. In the beginning when God created man, He gave us authority to rule the earth, to have dominion over it, and to subdue it (Genesis 1:26-28). God couldn't interrupt or interfere in man's business after that unless He was invited. He kept His word to Adam, even though He had to swear to His own hurt to keep it.
Did God send the devil in to get Adam? No, He gave Adam authority over the whole situation. It was Adam's decision and responsibility. Adam was the one who gave the devil entrance into man's realm. In the same way, it's not God Who lets the devil influence our lives, it's us. We do it through our words, and also through our actions. Ignorance of God's Word and spiritual principles, which operate whether we understand them or not, opens the door wide to satanic attacks.
God never afflicted any man with disease or anything of the curse. Satan has always been the thief, killer and destroyer. In the Old Testament, when a man stepped out from the protection of the Law, Satan attacked. Man was punished for his mistake through Satan's physical harassment, but God was often able to use it for good to teach and correct him. By doing so, God received the credit for the harassment in error.
Jesus said, All power has been given unto me, both in heaven and on earth. So you go into all the world and preach the gospel. In My Name, cast out [the devil]. (See Matthew 28:18; Mark 16:15-17.) He gave the believer His Name and the commission to use it. There should be no hesitation, nothing dubious about our thinking. We have the authority of the Name of Jesus and the living Word of God. There is no reason why Satan should run over any born-again believer.
"I call heaven and earth to record this day against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live" (Deuteronomy 30:19). The choice is yours: either life or death, blessing or cursing. Jesus said, My words are life. (See John 6:63.) Proverbs 4:20-22 says to attend to the words of God "For they are life unto those that find them, and health to all their flesh."
In order to choose life and blessing you will have to choose the Word of God, for it is life! You will have to become Word-minded instead of trouble-minded, and life-minded instead of death-minded. You will have to become single-minded on the Word of God. When you become Word-minded, you begin to realize that He Who raised Jesus from the dead is residing in you, and He Who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.
John 10:10 is the dividing line between life and death. The thief, Satan, comes only to kill, to steal and to destroy. Jesus came that we might have life and have it more abundantly.
Pray this prayer of confession to acknowledge your decision to choose life and stand on the Word of God:
Today I will be single-minded. I make the decision to choose life and blessing. I decide to win and overcome. Because I've made this decision, I come out on top! I know there are times when I will have to stand and be patient and consistent in the Word of God and I will be - for I know the truth and the truth sets me free. The Word of God says the Holy Spirit dwells within me and He will bear witness with my spirit. He will teach me all things, guide me into all truth and show me those things which are to come. Today I hold up the shield of faith - which quenches all the fiery darts of the wicked one. And today I stand with the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God, for it is life. I have chosen life!
Prayer References: James 1:8; Deuteronomy 30:19; John 8:32; Romans 8:16; John 14:26; Ephesians 6:16-17.