One of the greatest promises of God to Christians in the atonement of Jesus Christ, is the promise of deliverance from our enemy the devil.
The bible teaches us that the devil’s mission is to steal, kill, and destroy God’s creation, and that he especially targets those who put their faith in Christ and who seek to live for God’s Kingdom mission (John 10:10). Jesus, however, tells us that when the Son makes you free, you are truly free (John 8:36). As Christians we have been given the supernatural ability to flee temptation, avoid sin, and resist every attack from the enemy (James 4:7). The problem is that this ability is not automatic. It is also our responsibility to use the weapons of warfare He has given us against the schemes of the devil (Ephesians 6:11).
As I was reading in the book of Joshua recently, I noticed a great theme concerning God’s deliverance from our enemies that stands out so clearly. God, through Joshua, had fulfilled His promise to the Israelites by taking them into the promised land. They had moved through, conquering all of the major strongholds, and settling the new territory. However, as the book begins to recount the settlement process, some disturbing realities start to emerge:
But the Jebusites, the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the people of Judah could not drive out, so the Jebusites dwell with the people of Judah at Jerusalem to this day. (Joshua 15:63)
However, they did not drive out the Canaanites who lived in Gezer, so the Canaanites have lived in the midst of Ephraim to this day but have been made to do forced labor. (Joshua 16:10)
Yet the people of Manasseh could not take possession of those cities, but the Canaanites persisted in dwelling in that land. Now when the people of Israel grew strong, they put the Canaanites to forced labor, but did not utterly drive them out. (Joshua 17:12-13)
As Israel moved into the promised land, and though they fought the biggest strongholds in their territory, once they possessed the land, they began to tolerate the presence of the enemy in their lives.
As I was making notes of these things, the Holy Spirit impressed upon me that we can never be fully delivered from our enemy – free of their influence and interference – if we allow them space in the land of our inheritance!
You cannot ignore their existence and presence, or worse, try to make them into servants or tools. In the sense of our spiritual enemy, this is witchcraft! We must go to war to drive them out.
This is exactly what Joshua tells the Israelites:
Then Joshua said to the house of Joseph, to Ephraim and Manasseh, “You are a numerous people and have great power. You shall not have one allotment only, but the hill country shall be yours, for though it is a forest, you shall clear it and possess it to its farthest borders. For you shall drive out the Canaanites, though they have chariots of iron, and though they are strong.” (Joshua 17:17-18)
By the Lord’s indwelling presence in our lives, we have power to overcome our enemy, and we must put Him to flight. We cannot ignore him. We cannot pretend that the spiritual battle around us in not real simply because 21st century rationalism wants it to be so. We must actively resist.
If we are to be 100% committed to Christ, we must never tolerate the intrusion of sin and temptation into our lives: neglect of the Bible and prayer, viewing trashy forms of entertainment, spreading gossip, creating disunity, viewing porn or engaging in sexual immorality, etc. This list could go on and on.
On top of that, in our overly spiritual culture and our own pursuits of spiritual reality, we cannot claim to be children of Christ, but still turn to the enemy to serve us – horoscopes, psychics, ouija boards, or other forms of divination to seek answers. We can’t engage in new age practices like “sending good vibes” and other pagan worship practices. We must seek Christ alone, and pray to Him to meet all of our needs.
It is time for Christians to draw a line in the spiritual sand and take a stand to protect our promise and inheritance in Christ. We are stronger than the enemy, and when we step up, he cannot win, but it requires that we engage in the battle!
Here is the call: Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you (James 4:7).
- Where does the enemy hold little strongholds in your life?
- How can you go to battle today to chase him out of your God-given territory.