The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full (John 10:10)
This is a very familiar passage and one of Jesus’ best known quotes. Satan is out to take whatever he can get from us and he will use every trick he can to achieve his objectives. He is clever and crafty and he lies to us constantly.
Not one of us hasn’t fallen into his traps at one time or another, but getting mad at the devil doesn’t destroy his influence in our lives. The Bible has a lot to say about how to overcome the devil and essentially it says to be exactly the opposite of what he is.
When we think of spiritual warfare, we imagine something which involves aggression, hostility and combativeness.
God, however, is thinking of something entirely different for us. Romans 12 tells us how to fight the good fight:
- Love sincerely, Hate only evil, hold fast to what is good
- Be committed to one another
- Honour one another
- Keep serving the Lord enthusiastically
- Be hopeful and joyful
- Endure difficulties with patience
- Pray regularly and consistently
- Share with one another – be hospitable
- Be a blessing to those who have wronged you
- Share in the joy of others and if someone is hurting, ache with them
- Live alongside one another amicably
- Don’t think of anyone as too low for you to get alongside them
- Whenever you are able to, live in harmony with everyone
- Don’t get anyone back for what they have done
God gave me a good example of this principle in action (some of the details have been changed to maintain anonymity).
Some time ago a close friend of mine called Linda was organising a trip for some people that we knew. They were going to go away skiing and although I wanted to go with them, I hadn’t been invited. I was embarrassed and a little hurt because Linda and I were good friends and yet it seemed she was inviting everyone else except me.
I wanted to feel sorry for myself and sulk. I also was tempted to avoid her – ice her out, but around that time I heard teaching on this principle and God challenged me to do something good for her. Well I definitely didn’t want to at all, but I went out and bought her some ski goggles. The thing is, when I gave them to her, all those feelings of self-pity and ill-will towards her had gone completely. I was able to wish her a good trip and mean it.
God didn’t tell me to do that for her benefit, it was for me so that I would be free from the devil’s temptation to hold a grudge against her.
Satan will hate it if you are good when you want to act bad. Don’t sink to his level, combat him by rising above.
Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good. Rom 12: 21