Friday, August 9, 2013

The Attack Of Satan

Don't be afraid of what  you are about to suffer. Look, the Devil is about to throw some of you into prison to test you, and you will have affliction for 10 days. Be faithful until death, and I will give you the crown of life.  (Revelation 2:10)

Before we were made alive by the grace of God through faith in Jesus Christ, we were not at war. We were at peace in a lost world because we were on Satan's side. So, while there was a war raging, we were behind the lines. The moment we put our faith in Christ, we changed sides in the battle. The moment we changed sides, we became the target of Satan. We are now at war, and we will forever be at war until our Lord returns to defeat our enemy.

We battle the siege of our sinful nature and the siege of a world dominated by the Devil. Sometimes, though, it is more than a siege. Sometimes God allows the Devil to mount a full frontal assault. The church in Smyrna was about to experience one of those frontal assaults, "the devil is about to throw some of you into prison."  

Notice five specific things in this attack that apply to us:

1.  God allows the attack - "the Devil is about to throw some of you into prison" - We are never promised absence of war, only victory in the end.

2.  God uses the attack - "to test you" - Satan means it for evil, God means it to test our faith.  We can never be what we want to be in or for Christ apart from testing (James 1)

3.  God limits the attack - "you will have affliction for 10 days" - God limited the Devil's assault on Job, and He limits it on us. He will not allow us to be tested beyond what we can endure in Him. So, there is never an excuse to fail to fight the battle. He will put more on us that we can handle alone, but He will never allow more to happen to us that we cannot handle in Him.

4. God defines the response of the faithful - "Be faithful unto death," - We must endure the battle in faith. Popular spiritual warfare says we go out and sling the Devil down with our Scriptures and brave proclamations. It is true that we fight the Devil with the Word of God. It is true that, in Jesus' name, we can cast him out. It is also true that there are times when we cannot cast him out. There are times when we must be faithful to Christ in the middle of the onslaught like a warrior kneeling down with his shield held above his head as the enemy beats on him with a war hammer.

5. God limits the reward - "and I will give you the crown of life." - We will not lose the war. It is already won in Christ, but sometimes we lose the individual battles because we do not believe. The victor's reward is not given to those who give up, but to those who endure.

We are at war. Sometimes it is worse than a siege. It is a full frontal assault. But all of it is in the hands of our Lord, Jesus Christ. Will you respond in faith. Will you endure in faith. Victory is ours. Do not surrender. Do not doubt.