How to Overcome Evil
How to overcome evil in your world
When Jimmy Bakker, the television evangelist, found himself in prison, he may have felt the heat of spiritual warfare, but truth be told, he was already in it and being used by the enemy long before.
From his book, “I was Wrong”, he recounts his error, I began to study the Scriptures in depth while in prison, something I am embarrassed and ashamed to admit that I rarely took time to do during the hectic years of constant building and ministering at PTL, I was very distressed at what I discovered. I realized that for years I helped propagate an impostor, not a true gospel, but another gospel – a gospel that stated “God wants you to be rich!”
Jimmy had been sentenced to 45 years and a $500 000 fine for mail fraud, wire fraud and conspiracy. Once living like a rock star, he had hit rock bottom; coincidently, one of the places where God hangs out! At his lowest point, one day a prison guard came to announce that he had a visitor; Billy Graham, at the height of his popularity had taken time out of his busy schedule to see him! Not only that, but he had greeted him with his arms open wide. Wow, he said it was like Jesus himself had visited.
For years Jimmy had been serving his own agenda, not God’s, and it took humiliation to get his attention focussed back on God. If we walk humbly with God searching the scriptures every day, constantly lining ourselves up with His words then hopefully we won’t stray too far from His standards. The more we are walking away from God’s path, the more pride and confidence we have in ourselves. As my husband says, ‘allow God to talk us down, so He doesn’t have to take us down.’
Jesus said, “Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it”.
The devil and his demons use many devices to lure us along the broad way, away from God: desire, deception, distraction and disappointment are just a few!
Desire: “It feels so good, it must be right”. Not everything that is pleasurable is right in God’s eyes. Have a chat to King David and Bathsheba, and after losing a child, they’ll tell you the heartache of this.
Deception: “I’m building this for God”. Really? Does He want you to backstab others to get that ministry off the ground? If you can’t do it without backstabbing, then it’s probably not from God. Just ask Absalom how effective his schmoozing was as he tried to take the Kingdom from his own father, King David. He was slain as he got ‘caught up’ in a tree, hmm, not that effective. He would have been better off being a King’s son helping out where he could.
Distraction: “I just need to do this, before I commit to…” God wants you where you are now. Period. Not after you clean yourself up, have your kids, get your house, buy your car, or take your holiday. At times we can be like Jimmy Bakker, thinking we are walking along God’s path, but slowly over time we are straying from God. King Solomon with 700 wives and 300 concubines was a classic example of getting distracted after starting so well!
Disappointment: “I’m tired of waiting, I’ll have to do it myself.” Sometimes we can run ahead of God, and take matters into our own hands. Sarah and Abraham gave themselves a whole lot of grief when they used Hagar to have a child. Yes, “hope deferred makes the heart sick”, but clinging to God in these times is called faith, and that’s what pleases God! “Without faith, it’s impossible to please God.”
I feel the heat of the spiritual battle when my flesh rises and I’m tempted to do wrong by giving in to sin (bad stuff), but then God helps me to overcome the sin by His Spirit (also called His Helper). We need to be aware that forces of evil are prowling around like a lion, looking for someone to devour; recognising this is the first step to winning the spirtual battle. So how do we overcome the powers of this dark world, and the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms?
God asks us to live by the Spirit, we know we are doing this when the result is a life full of love, joy, peace, patience, goodness, kindness, faithfulness and self-control. To get more of the above, we dig deep and ask God to fill us with His Holy Spirit, and the result will be good fruit. And our good fruit will help to nourish our friends, neighbours and all within our influence.
This does not mean that we will live a stress-free, abundant life all the time! By no means, God says that trouble will come,
“Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you”.
On the other hand, we can lead a life that consistently gives into the desires of the flesh with gay abandon. These acts of the flesh are; sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery, idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. (that’s from the Bible, in Galatians 5) If we behave continually in this type of lifestyle, then we’ll bring nothing but destruction into the lives of others.
The forces of evil are strong though, how can us mere mortals possibly win this fight when our fleshly nature hanker’s after passions and desires, even to the point of consuming and devouring each other?
We need a new nature, a new heart that will fight this flesh. We can actually ask God for this, because He said, “I will give you a new heart, and I will put a new spirit in you. I will take out your stony, stubborn heart and give you a tender, responsive heart. And I will put my Spirit in you so that you will follow my decrees and be careful to obey my regulations.” That’s from Ezekiel 36. So we just need to ask God to help us! Yay! I don’t need to do this on my own.
Furthermore, to help us in the battle, we need make like a Scout, and be prepared:
Be prepared. You’re up against far more than you can handle on your own. … God’s Word is an indispensable weapon. In the same way, prayer is essential in this ongoing warfare. Pray hard and long. Pray for your brothers and sisters. Keep your eyes open. Keep each other’s spirits up so that no one falls behind or drops out. (Ephesians 6)
Just like any good soldier, we need to be trained! So reading God’s word, praying, gathering around like-minded people are all weapons in the armory that we can use!
Go in God, Soldier!
Marching…hut hut hut hut hut hut hut…(think Blues Brothers final scene)
As I struggle up from my last defeat, and advance towards God’s next assignment…
Kudos to Nathan Reid from GIA for the pictures in this post![/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]