Never underestimate an opponent.
That was a lesson I learned early in my athletic career. The easiest way to get your hind-end kicked was to assume that you were going to win simply because you were better. History is lined with the stories of upset victories and every one of those upsets occurred because the favorite was either overconfident or deceived.
Both attitudes will eventually lead to defeat. Have you ever heard of Goliath? He was superior to the little shepherd boy in every measure except for the one that really mattered. David was committed to victory while Goliath was focused more on his own abilities. It is hard to defeat a prepared, focused, and committed opponent.
We, those who carry the Name of Christ are on the verge of squandering a game that we never should have lost. In the battle of the ages the American church has greatly underestimated the skill set of our opponent. Even though we were warned in Scripture that we were “not to be ignorant of his devices,” we have been. Failing to comprehend the seriousness of the battle we have given into apathy. What has caused our unwillingness to “earnestly contend for the faith?”
Even though the Bible clearly spells out the game plan of “our adversary” we have failed to taken him and “his devices” seriously. We are losing the battle, not because we are not well equipped, but because we are oblivious to how diabolical and how committed our opponent truly is.
Satan, Diablo, the Devil, is a worthy opponent. He is so powerful, and so effective, that he has been able to convince most of the Christian world that he doesn’t really exist. For those who DO believe in Satanus, America’s Christian leadership has tricked us into thinking that the Devil is nothing more than a personal agitator who designs are set on making individual life miserable.
The Devil, the tell us, is after your health, or your finances, or out to “steal your joy”, as if he was nothing more than a supernatural mosquito whose main goal was to keep the individual Christian from living a comfortable life. The Devil is real, they told us, but they sold us a Walt Disney version of the fallen cherub…you know what I mean…red tail, horns, pitchfork…a comic-book character who comes out of hiding around Halloween.
Our failure to understand his purpose, his power, and his techniques have left once-great, once-Christian America gasping for breath. While the Church sat around and counted our blessings, the enemy of our souls was raiding our houses destroying everything good. As long as he could keep us focused on ourselves we would miss the greater battle that was raging around us. Satan was not after “our stuff.” He had his sights set on control of the world.
We have underestimated the dark side. Satan has pulled a reverse David and Goliath on the Church because we have lost focus of what he was really after. The battle we are engaged in is a battle for the world. Yes, it is partly a personal battle, but it is more importunately, a corporate battle. The battle is against the two seeds. The seed of the serpent and the seed of the woman…found in Genesis 3. Most dumbed-down Christians STILL do not understand it.
Imagine with me how GOOD Jehovah must be. He is the Creator and Giver of life. The Bible teaches us that He was perfect in every way and that our “eyes have not seen, nor our ears heard, neither has it entered into our hearts, what God has in store for those who love Him.” Our feeble minds cannot even conceive of how vast and complete His goodness is. Real Christians serve a Real “all powerful” God.
But my high school science classes taught me about Newton’s law and that “for every action there is an equal and OPPOSITE reaction.” If God is ALL good, how deep and how dark must the dark side be? Christ conquered all of that darkness, but the prayer He taught us to pray states “thy Kingdom come, thy will be done ON EARTH as it is in Heaven.” The earth is not yet perfected…and will not be until His coming…but in the meantime he adjured us to “Occupy, Til I come.”
Occupy is an action verb. It connotes the idea that someone else is intent on taking over. Help me out here, if the battle has been won why did He command us to hold the ground? Could it be that the “adversary” is not yet under His feet? Could it be that “God’s team” was placed here to actively oppose the evil one?
Look around America. Think back to the days of Father Knows Best and ask yourself what has happened to 1950’s America? Could it be that while we were fighting a cartoon-character opponent, the Devil and his minions were actively at work fighting to pull off the greatest coup in the history of the world? Could it be that his greatest strength was convincing us that he was not really very strong?
Focus your eyes for a moment on every major institution that influences the culture and name for me ONE the Christians are in charge of? Media, Education, Finances, Entertainment, Government, Family, even the Church has fallen into the hands of the enemy. While Christians have been dressing up like the Devil to celebrate Halloween, the Devil has been eating all of the candy out of our sacks. Our churches have lied to us. They have taught us to look to the coming Kingdom while ignoring the one right in front of us.
Just a warning. You ain’t seen nothin’ yet. The darkness spreads through deception. So much of what we see, hear, and are taught simply is not true. Lies rule the day and Satan is the father of them.
If, as Jesus said, “all power has been given unto me both in heaven and earth” what would it look like if His disciples actually lived as if HE was supposed to be in control? What if HIS people occupied those gates of power?
I John 3:8 says “For this purpose was the Son of man manifested that he might destroy the works of the Devil.” What if He meant it? What if the Devil really WAS a defeated foe? What if our job was to “go into all of the world…and teach all that He commanded us?” What if God’s people are supposed to put the Devil under the feet of the Lord?
What if what we did here on earth really mattered HERE ON EARTH? What if the Devil was a defeated foe HERE AND NOW? What if Jesus was counting on us to help build His Kingdom ON EARTH? What if the Lord was waiting on us to act?
What if we really believed that Jesus was King of Kings HERE AND NOW?
What if the gates of hell really could not prevail against His church? What if HIS CHURCH was His plan to conquer the darkness? What if we stopped under-estimating the Devil and started conquering him?
If the Church actually believed Jesus controlled “all power in Heaven and on earth” would it change the way we responded?
What would it look like if Christians were actually in control?