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how can we be successfully dealing with evil?

In

dealing with the enemy In the last post we looked at the enemy, names and activities. Now we look at how we deal with the enemy as laid out in the Bible. But from the get-go, let’s ‘call a spade a spade’! Let’s rephrase that – Now we look at dealing with evil. When it’s all said and done, our enemy is evil

Be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power

Finally, be strengthened by the Lord and by His vast strength. Put on the full Armour of God so that you can stand against the tactics [schemes, tricks] of the Devil. For our battle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the world powers of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavens. This is why you must take up the full armour of God, so that you may be able to resist in the evil day, and having prepared everything, to take your stand.” (Ephesians 6:10-13 HCSB)

Accordingly, the Bible.org Series “Ephesians: The Glory of God in the Church” suggests “Ephesians 6:10-20 is perhaps the clearest definition of the spiritual war … It not only assures us that there is a spiritual war, but it warns us that apart from utilizing the weapons which God has provided for us, we are hopelessly underpowered. This passage informs us as to what our divinely weapons are. … these weapons imply the nature of the struggle which we are in. The weapons which God has provided for us are those weapons which best repel the attacks of Satan, and thus we can learn a great deal about the nature of Satan’s opposition from simply considering each of the weapons at our disposal” (page 26) [emphasis mine]

Further, pages 27–32 of the article explain each component of the armour for dealing with evil.

A brief overview of the armour….

Use these links to some brief popup notes on the items of the armour and what to do with them:- [you may need to disable your browser’s pop-up blocker]
Belt of Truth
Breastplate of Righteousness
Gospel of Peace
Shield of faith
Helmet of Salvation
Sword of the Spirit

However, donning the armour of God can feel abstract and can also seem pointless in this era of intellectualism. But from experience, with prayer and practice, I find the significance and value becoming more real even as it was for the Lord Himself
(Isaiah 59:15-17)

Abiding in the vine

Remain in me, and I will remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. dealing with evil from within the vineNeither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me. … If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing …. If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be given you.

This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples. As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love. If you obey my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have obeyed my Father’s commands and remain in his love. I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete. ” (John 15:4-11)

There is inherent protection as well as food for vitality and productivity for any branch well connected in the vine. As I stare into the lushness of this vine and imagine myself abiding in it, the word ‘haven’ comes to mind. How much easier dealing with evil from deep within the vine (Christ). It almost feels as if evil could hardly reach me if at all. See “what’s with the Joy of the Lord?”, another article in this series. Of course, the Lord affords protection from the enemy also by just calling on Him. “The name of the LORD is a strong tower; the righteous run to it and are safe” (Proverbs 18:10)

Dealing with evil by Walking with God

Previously, in “… how then should we live” we found that God wants relationship with His people. To that end He walked and talked with Adam and Eve. Also Enoch and Noah walked with God in a conversational manner. Then, God expressed His desire to dwell among the Israelites and walk among them (Leviticus 26:11-12). So much so the prophet Micah said “And what does the LORD require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God” (Micah 6:8). I can’t see much opportunity for the enemy to attack us whilst we are walking with God. It is no surprise that Satan did not approach Eve and Adam about the fruit while God was with them

Jesus is the perfect example of the impact of the presence of God. Not only specifically during His testing by the enemy but in day-to-day life. He had no trouble dealing with evil in any form

When Satan was tempting Jesus, Jesus remained ‘cool calm and collected’, unphased by any threat oozing from the enemy. Thus, His Spirit of Truth could remind Him of appropriate sword-like verses to cut through the evil plan (Matthew 4:1-10). Moreover, we know that the man Jesus was powered by the Holy Spirit. “… God anointed Jesus … with the Holy Spirit and power, and;… he went around doing good and healing all who were under the power of the devil, because God was with him” (Acts 10:38)

Hmmmm…

Imagine what that would be like, having God with us… Wait… That is exactly what the Lord promised us …… “And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age” (Matthew 28:20b). “God has said, ‘Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.’ So we say with confidence, ‘The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid. What can man do to me?’ ” (Hebrews 13:5b-6). Wow!

Dealing with evil by Praising God

But You are holy, Enthroned in the praises of Israel” (Psalm 22:3 NKJV). Praise is very powerful for dealing with evil. So much so it is both defensive and offensive. It surely offends the enemy whenever we praise the Lord and not him

Two old choruses that declare the enemy can’t hang around when we praise the Lord in the Name of Jesus:-

“In the Name of Jesus”
by Unknown

In the name of Jesus,
In the name of Jesus
We have the victory,

In the name of Jesus,
In the name of Jesus
Demons will have to flee,

When we stand on the name of Jesus
Tell me who can stand before,
In the mighty name of Jesus,
We have the victory.
“Through our God”  by Dale Garratt
© 1979 Scripture in Song

Through our God we shall do valiantly.
It is He who shall tread down the enemy.
We’ll sing and shout His victory.
Christ is King.
For God has won the victory
And set His people free.
His word has slain the enemy.
The earth shall stand and see that (repeat)

Through our God we shall do valiantly.
It is He who shall tread down the enemy.
We’ll sing and shout His victory.
Christ is King, Christ is King, Christ is King

Scripturally, singing praises with others is even more powerful. As they say, there’s power in numbers but more seriously, “For where two or three come together in my name, there am I with them” (Matthew 18:20)

Around 1000 BC King Saul found relief in David playing the lyre … “When the evil spirit … entered Saul, David would take his harp and play. Then the evil spirit would go out of him. And Saul would feel relief. He would feel better again” (1Samuel 16:23 ICB)

Dealing with evil by Controlling our Thoughts

For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.” (2Corinthians 10:3-6)

The spiritual battles and weapons of Ephesians 6 are here related to the strong grip the forces of evil have on our minds. They blur or block our knowledge of God, marring relationship with Him. But they can be demolished by our spiritual weapons of divine power such as the “sword of the Spirit”. The Truth of God’s Word spoken, sung or meditated upon can succeed in dealing with evil falsehoods

We must not allow our self to start imagining things contrary to the Truth. Rather, we need to study the Word so well it starts to live in us (Hebrews 4:12). We take on the mind of Christ (1Corinthians 2:16b) so to speak to transform us (by the renewing of our mind Romans 12:2). Our mind will learn to obey Christ to the utmost and we will no longer conform to the pattern of this world (Romans 12:2)

Therefore, with minds that are alert and fully sober, set your hope on the grace to be brought to you when Jesus Christ is revealed at his coming. As obedient children, do not conform to the evil desires you had when you lived in ignorance. But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; for it is written: “Be holy, because I am holy” (1Peter 1:13-16 NIV 2011). This is the Helmet of Salvation in action

The Name of Jesus

What’s in a name? For some it may be infamy, for others, integrity, for others, it may be kindness or generosity. It depends on the reputation the person has built up in the world around them. For Jesus, it’s more than just a reputation

Paul declared, “Therefore God exalted him [Jesus] to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth….” (Philippians 2:9-11)

Jesus taught with authority, he commanded the elements with authority and so too, evil spirits. He delegated that authority to His disciples. After His ascension they retained the authority in the Name of Jesus. Peter is probably the most well-known example. When he and John were walking to the temple one afternoon they saw a beggar, crippled from birth. Instead of giving the man money as he had asked Peter took him by his right hand and helped him up. As he did so, the man’s feet and ankles became strong and he began to walk and jump

Then, Peter explained to the onlookers, “By faith in the name of Jesus, this man whom you see and know was made strong. It is Jesus’ name and the faith that comes through him that has given this complete healing to him” (Acts 3:16). Imagine taking a crippled beggar by the hand and ‘pulling him’ to his feet! Again, later to the high priests he said “It is by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, … that this man stands before you healed” (Acts 4:10)

Similarly for us

Now, when dealing with evil, we have Jesus’ Word “If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be given you. This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples” (John 15:7-8).

Therefore, as a faith building exercise, let me challenge you to look up the following verses and of course, read them in their context. Ask Holy Spirit to make the Truth clear to you and to help you pray faithfully to show yourself as a disciple of Christ Jesus

Matthew 7:7-12
Matthew 18:19-20
Mark 11:22-25
John 14:12-14
John 15:16
John 16:23-27
James 1:2-8
1John 3:21-24
1John 5:14-15

All these verses have a single 3-letter word in common. Guess what it is.
Hint: don’t ask me!

Conclusion

In short, we see that dealing with evil is most effective if we live as a disciple of Christ in a Christ-like manner. In other words, not by just attending church and a Bible study or being involved in the music or Sunday School or whatever. Like any part of the Disciple’s Life it takes a 24×7 relationship with Creator Father God through His Son, Jesus Christ

To help us develop the lifestyle, we have been given a number of strategies for dealing with evil:-

  • Spiritual Armour
  • Abiding in the Vine
  • Walking with God
  • Praising God
  • Controlling our thoughts
  • The Name of Jesus

In summary, “Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Come near to God and he will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded” (James 4:7-8)

Key Fact – Our God is so Big, so Strong and so Mighty. He is so Awesome. So don’t waste time focussing on anything but our Lord and His Goodness and Grace. Continually remind yourself that He has you covered when you choose to stay close to Him and abide in Christ (‘the vine’)

Certainly, “Every spirit that acknowledges that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God,but every spirit that does not acknowledge Jesus is not from God. This is the spirit of the antichrist, which you have heard is coming and even now is already in the world. You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world
(1John 4:2-4)

just sayin’

Bibliography –

Enemy part 2 coverYou can download an A5 booklet in pdf form containing this post “… the enemy part 2 – dealing with” Click on the image of the cover (left)
[The free Adobe Acrobat Reader can print these A5 pages into a booklet on half-fold A4 paper]

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