Standing Your Ground

There comes a time in your life when you finally face the devil and say with bravado, ‘You will not hurt me with this any more’. It is not by your own strength you can do this, to have the bold determination to confront your abuser. No, it is by the Lord’s strength that you can overcome.

“The Lord gives strength to his people; the Lord blesses his people with peace.”

Psalm 29:11

This does not mean when we face opposition from flesh and blood we retaliate by giving them back what they give us. Fire cannot be defeated by using fire; it is conquered by water, it’s opposite. In the same way, hate cannot be repaid with hate. It must be fought with love. Jesus presented at least two examples of this. The first was when, while on the cross, He asked God the Father to forgive those who had nailed Him to the cross. Even though they had Him arrested, beaten, and nailed to a cursed tree to die, He still loved them.

The second example can be found a few chapters before the first takes place:

“You have heard that it was said, ‘Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth’. But I tell you, do not resist an evil person. If anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to them the other cheek also. And if anyone wants to sue you and take your shirt, hand over your coat as well. If anyone forces you to go one mile, go with them two miles. Give to the one who asks you, and do not turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you.

You have heard that is was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy’. But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? And if you greet only your own people, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.”

Matthew 5:38-44

Dear friends, it is not those who are of flesh and blood that are our enemies. It is the evil of the spiritual realm: the devil and his demons. Do not underestimate them; they’ve had centuries of practice in scheming, torturing, and other malicious acts. We, on the other hand, only live a few decades. One of the devil’s tactics is finding that thing that makes you miserable, like loneliness or guilt over long forgiven things. Once he finds it, he will continue to use it over and over again. Why? Because he knows it works, he’s found his present weapon of choice.

This is why we must take a stand, and the only way we can do that is if we ask the Lord to help us overcome. Jesus knows the devil and his ways. He knows how to fight him; He’s defeated him several times before. We must understand, though, that Jesus won’t intercede until we ask Him to. If He intercedes before, we learn nothing. We won’t learn that we can lean on Him for strength. We won’t learn that we can have confidence in who we are as children of God. We won’t learn what the devil’s attacks look like and thus recognize them in the future. Jesus is training us the same time He is protecting us. Eventually, we’ll reach that point when we trust so fully in the Lord’s abilities and love that we stand up and shout, “Enough! Jesus is my King and I will not be bullied in such a way anymore!” This is the moment when we’re victorious, when we become more than conquerors.

“Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? As it is written:

‘For your sake we face death all day long; we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.’

No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

Romans 8:35-39

Rise, brothers and sisters, and know the peace Christ gives. Do not let the devil bully you any more.

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