I went to church for years and never heard about the devil. It's not fun talking about him, and I don't ever want to put too much focus on him. But the truth is, we have an enemy.
First Peter 5:8b (ESV) says, "Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour." If we're going to defeat our enemy, it's important for us to believe in the power and authority we have in Christ.
There are so many Christians who seem to be going through their daily lives just hoping they can make it through the day. They go from one problem or crisis to the next, and they lack a confident, bold faith in God that can keep them stable and full of His peace and joy in the difficult circumstances of life.
The good news is, God doesn't want us to live in the emergency room of life all the time. He wants us to get to the point where we know what to do to have a great life and take responsibility for ourselves, trusting we can do whatever we need to do through the strength we have in Christ (Phil. 4:13). This means we know who we are in Christ and how to walk in the authority we have as believers in Jesus.
John 10:10b tells us Jesus gave His life so we can "have life and have it abundantly." When we accept Christ as our Savior, we receive the assurance of eternal life, but we also become joint heirs with Christ (Rom. 8:17) and are entitled to have everything He is and everything He has: grace, peace, righteousness, joy, power and authority over the enemy.
It's important to understand that the devil has power, but we have power and authority in Christ (Matt. 10:1). Our enemy only has the authority we give him, and many times, we give him the ability to attack us through ignorance. That's why we need to know how he operates and quickly recognize when he's coming against us.
For example, the devil hates anyone who is trying to do any good in the world, so when I'm tempted to be selfish and complain, it's not God working in my life.
James 1:13b (ESV) says, "God cannot be tempted with evil, and he himself tempts no one." James 1:17a (NKJV) later adds, "Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights."
First Peter 5:9a (AMPC) says to "withstand him; be firm in faith [against his onset—rooted, established, strong, immovable, and determined]." In other words, be proactive and resist the devil immediately when temptation comes.
Don't wait to see how bad things will get or how much you can get away with before you get in trouble. Be firm in your faith at all times. God has a plan for your life, and walking in the authority you have in Christ is an important part of experiencing His will for you.
The Word of God is an offensive weapon in our warfare against the enemy. It has the power to renew our mind, heal our brokenness and change our lives! The Word contains God's wisdom and the direction we need for every problem we face. It's God's love letter to us, our instruction book for life and reveals all of God's promises to us as His children.
The power and authority in God's Word equip you to go after the devil—he hates the Word and must bow down to it. But we must approach the Word with the attitude, "With God's help, I'm going to do what it says." That's the key to operating in the authority we have in Christ.
Make it a priority to spend time with God and study the Word. Go for quality, not quantity; meditate on Scripture so you really get it deep down in your heart. Make a predetermined decision to apply what you learn to your life. Pray and ask the Holy Spirit to help you, and He will show you how to obey the Word in your daily life.
Remember that in Christ, you have everything you need to enjoy your life and have abundant life. God has equipped you to stand up to whatever comes against you. Through the power and authority you have in Christ, you can remain stable, full of peace and joy, and advance God's kingdom in the earth at all times. That's God's plan for you!
Joyce Meyer is a New York Times' best-selling author and founder of Joyce Meyer Ministries Inc. She has authored more than 100 books, including Battlefield of the Mind and Living a Life You Love (Hachette). She hosts the Enjoying Everyday Life radio and TV programs, which air on hundreds of stations worldwide. For more information, visit joycemeyer.org.
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