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Fight Your Devils

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Fight Your Devils

In His time on Earth, Jesus regularly encountered evil spirits, and He came out on top every time. So, what can we learn about how to combat evil spirits by studying the actions of Jesus?
Luke 4:1-17 tells us the story of Jesus’ temptation in the wilderness. Immediately after Jesus was baptized, the Holy Spirit led Him to the wilderness where He was attacked by the devil. Jesus faced forty days of temptation by the devil, fasting all the while and feeling the pangs of hunger. The devil urged Jesus to turn a stone into bread. Jesus, anchored in Scripture, resisted, affirming that life transcends mere sustenance. The devil then showed Him all the world’s kingdoms, offering Jesus dominion in exchange for worship, but Jesus again appealed to Scripture, declaring sole allegiance to God. The devil then took Jesus to Jerusalem’s pinnacle, urging a daring leap, citing angelic protection. Jesus rejected this test, emphasizing unwavering trust in God. Frustrated, the devil withdrew, biding time for the next opportune moment.
Jesus responded to the temptations of the devil with Scripture, and so should we. Respond to the satan’s attacks with the Truth of Scripture.
Christians dominate the science of archeology because their confidence in the accuracy of the Bible leads them to prove its reliability. Over time, dust and debris accumulate on the ground. By digging beneath that accumulation, archeologists can uncover history, and for hundreds of years the discoveries made by archeologists have proven the accuracy of the Bible. In fact, there has never been a single archeological discovery that has disproven or contradicted the claims of the Bible. If historians or scientists ever make a discovery that contradicts a Biblical claim, just wait. Their discoveries will someday be disproven.
Perhaps the most beneficial archeological discovery of our lifetime was the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls. These scrolls were discovered in the 1940s, and they are 2000 years old. They are 1000 years older than the oldest Biblical manuscripts we had before their discovery. You would assume that in that 1000-year period selfish, power-hungry, or flawed copiers would have changed details in the Bible, but that is not the case. The Dead Sea Scrolls confirmed the accuracy of the Bible. They also confirmed that the Bible is not only true, but it is alive. There’s nothing else like the Bible. Nothing comes close. So trust it. Memorize it. Use it.
There’s another story of an encounter with a devil in Luke 4:31-44. In this story, Jesus does more than use the Word, He shows that He is the Word: In a Galilean town called Capernaum, Jesus often taught in the synagogue where He regularly left the locals astounded by His teaching. On one occasion, a man possessed by an evil spirit shouted when he recognized Jesus. Undeterred by the demonic outburst, Jesus rebuked the spirit, commanding its silence and expulsion from the afflicted man. To the astonishment of the onlookers, the demon, in a dramatic display, convulsed the man before exiting, leaving him unharmed. The eyewitnesses marveled at the authority displayed in Jesus’ words, acknowledging even the obedience of evil spirits to His command.
Why did Jesus encounter so many devils while it seems that we so rarely come in contact with them? I see two reasons:
  1. The fact that we don’t recognize evil spirits doesn’t mean they don’t exist.
We find what we look for. Jesus tells us to watch out for evil spirits. If we’re not watching for evil spirits, we won’t recognize them when they attack.
For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places.
Even if we have not found evil spirits, we’ve found something much more important. God tells us that if we will look for Him, we will find Him.
If you look for me wholeheartedly, you will find me.
Throughout history, people have convinced themselves gods are real, that coincidences were miracles, and that common sense was a god talking. They found gods everywhere, but not today. That’s not what people search for. Today, most people are naturalists.
Most people today don’t invite demon possession like first-century supernaturalists did. I’m guessing not many of us have used a Ouija board lately, but even those who have probably did it skeptically. You saw it as cardboard and plastic, or simply a superstition. However, the truth is that opening yourself up to unknown supernatural things can be extremely dangerous. That habit was common in Jesus’ time, and it led to a lot of demon possession.
Unfortunately, we primarily struggle with a different issue today. Today, we see ourselves as “enlightened.” Naturalists are most tempted to worship themselves. As a result, our demons are usually physical. They don’t open us up to demon possession like worshiping other gods does. They keep us from searching for God at all.
A second reason that we encounter evil spirits less often is a good one.
  1. The growth of Christianity has hindered the satan’s ability to freely attack.
If we believe the Holy Spirit lives in us, we are His temple. God’s presence goes with us, and as we spread, He spreads. What does that mean for evil spirits? They’re running out of room. There are fewer places for them to hide.
The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness can never extinguish it.
The Holy Spirit extinguishes darkness, and it can’t fight back. It’s helpless against God’s light. If we are children of the light, if His unlimited power lives in us, we can never think of ourselves as victims. If you’re a Christian, you’re not a victim. You are a victor.
The Spirit who lives in you is greater than the spirit who lives in the world.
When you face your devils, you’ve been given every weapon you need to turn the battlefield into a mission field. Jesus turned His wilderness experience into a testimony of the power of God’s Word. Let God use your story for His glory.
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