How many Christians out there feel broken? How many of you are discouraged by the situations around you? How many daily sit face to face, knee to knee, toe to toe with their past and all the guilt and shame it brings? How many feel like they’re living life, but not to the fullest?
I have been there. Multiple times. Multiple times this week.
I know in my core that this is not the life God has intended for me or for you. God reminded me of this by reminding me of a song I hadn’t heard for probably more than fifteen years. The words go:
“I went to the enemy’s camp, an I took back what he stole from me.”
That’s a bold move! Can you imagine walking into someone’s home, your enemy’s home nonetheless, declaring they have something of yours and you will now be taking ownership of it? But this is what God has us do. In fact, he had an entire nation do this to multiple other nations. When the Israelites went into the Promise Land, there were already many other inhabiting it. Still, God said it was theirs for the taking. Multiple times in Deuteronomy and Joshua God commanded Joshua to “be strong and courageous” for he knew to have all that God planned for them it was going to take some guts.
I believe we can break this bold verse down into three parts.
First, we need to identify our enemy.
“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.”
Initially, I wasn’t going to write on this. The bible is clear as to who our real enemy is. Though in true enemy fashion, satan loves to muddy our vision so that we may be confused as to who our enemy truly is. While in the midst of struggle and conflict it maybe easy to mistake, but our enemy isn’t our ex. It’s not our mother in law, nor is it our frienmy. Neither is it our boss or neighbor. It’s not even our president or other nations. While we may find these people difficult, even be persecuted by them, they are ultimately not our biggest enemy. I think its appropriate to say, as we ourselves are flesh and blood, we are also not our own enemies. Our bodies may fail and be riddled by disease. Our mind may betray and cause mental illness. But I don’t believe we are our real enemy either.
Satan is king of evil. When Adam and Eve fell, evil entered the world. Due to our humanity, we live in this fallen, finite state where people do evil and bodies fail. To fight against ourselves and others is not addressing the root issue.
And that’s what the devil wants. If we’re busy starting unnecessary wars we will never be focused on the real fight at hand. This is shown in 1 Kings 22. Ahab started an unnecessary war. Despite warnings from God, he was killed in the war because he wasn’t focused on his real enemy that had lead him away from God.
We can’t get frustrated with God for not giving us a win over battles we make up. He did not call us to fight against others nor ourselves so therefore he is under no obligation to give us victory over the battles we instigate.
If we refuse to be deceived as to who our enemy is, we will know which camp to boldly march into so that we might claim what is rightfully ours.
Second, we should recognize that we already have the victory and all that comes with it.
“Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loves us.”
A conqueror in and of itself sounds pretty good to me. But what is “more than conquerors” supposed to mean? I believe it means we have the victory before the battle is over. Furthermore, I believe we have victory before the battle even started. Therefore, I believe it also means we should live victorious.
In John 10:10 it says, “the theif comes to kill, steal, and destroy, but I come that you may have life more abundantly.” The Greek word used for “life” in this verse is “zoë” which refers to the eternal life of God. So Jesus is promising us life as God has it.
Let me repeat that. Through Jesus we obtain life as God would have it.
Let’s take a minute to meditate on how God’s life is. Clearly, it is eternal: it is the definition of zoë. That is the ultimate victory. The grave no longer has a hold on us. The devil is defeated. The war has been won. But as grand as that is, I don’t believe God stops there. When we have the holy spirit inside of us, we also obtain the fruits of the spirit which are “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self control.” (Galatians 5:22-23) God didn’t sentence us to an eternity of misery, hate, loneliness, and sadness. On the contrary. God gave us life to the fullest, most divine sense of the word.
God gave us the victory of zoë. Before we have even reached eternity, we have it. We are more than conquerors. Before we have even obtained the fullness of life, we have it. We are more than conquerors.
Lastly, we should live victorious and reclaim what is rightfully ours.
“Behold, I have given you authority to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall hurt you.”
“The spirit of God, who raised Jesus from the dead, lives in you. And just as God raised Christ Jesus from the dead, he will give life to your mortal bodies by this same spirit living within you.”
Through Christ, we have power and authority. The devil might have power, but he has no authority unless we give it to him.
In 1 Peter 5:8 it says, “be sober and vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks around like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.” I want you to take not of the word “may.” When we say “may I do something,” we are proclaiming we indeed have the ability to do what we are asking, but we are asking permission to do so. The devil cannot devour you or even simply steal your joy or peace or any other of the fruits given to you by God without your permission to do you. The devil only can take what you give him. As co heirs with Christ, we have the victory, power, and authority over the devil. Don’t give that up!
That being said, I understand it’s easier said than done. But God didn’t give us a one time victory. His life, his victory, is everlasting! We can still boldly march into the enemy’s camp and take what belongs to us. We can take back our love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, and self control. We have the authority. “For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self discipline.” 2 Timothy 1:7
Let’s go out and take back what is rightfully ours. Don’t waste one more day in darkness suffocating by self pity, discouragement, shame, or distress. We were bought freedom, power, authority, and life by the blood of Christ. To leave our God given fruits in the camp of the enemy is not only a disservice to ourselves, but it’s a dishonor to God and all he has done for us. Yell from the rooftops, “satan, get under my feet!” And step into the abundant life God has for you.