In his description of the armor of God, Paul calls the Word of God “a sword of the Spirit” (Ephesians 6:17). The Bible, then, is not just a book; it is a living Word activated by the Holy Spirit. And it is a weapon to use in spiritual warfare. As the writer of Hebrews says, “The word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart” (Hebrews 4:12).
The devil is the father of lies, but the Holy Spirit is the “Spirit of truth” (see John 16:13). And when he speaks the truth through the Scripture he has inspired, the deceptions of the devil are revealed. Think about it. When Jesus himself was tempted by Satan, what weapon did he use? Scripture, of course. Every time the devil offered him something the Father did not intend for him, Jesus countered with a teaching from the Word that showed it would be wrong for him to take the bait (see Matthew 4:1-11). And the devil had to retreat! We, too, can use Scripture against the devil when we are tempted.
There is no way to overstate the power of God’s Word in the heart, mind, and life of a believer. God works in mysterious ways when we hear or read his Word. When we take time to read and meditate on Scripture daily, a supernatural wisdom is imparted into us. When we speak it to the devil, he knows he is getting nowhere with us.
Beyond that, knowing Scripture can keep us from error. As our culture drifts from its Judeo-Christian moorings, it becomes more and more important that we know and obey biblical teaching. It’s the antidote to the devil’s deceptions.
God spoke to every believer through Joshua when he said, “Do not let this Book of the Law depart from your mouth; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful” (Joshua 1:8).
Through the study of Scripture, God will impart within us all the wisdom and strength we need to achieve his will for us. So read Scripture. Meditate on it. And memorize it, especially verses about God’s power and his victory over the devil.
Nicky Cruz, internationally known evangelist and prolific author, turned to Jesus Christ from a life of violence and crime after meeting David Wilkerson in New York City in 1958. The story of his dramatic conversion was told first in The Cross and the Switchblade by David Wilkerson and then later in his own best-selling book Run, Baby, Run.
Today Satan is attempting to get the church off its message of the centrality of Jesus Christ. Satan desires nothing more than to turn God’s people off their message and one way he does this is by riling up Christians over a political issue until it consumes them. When this happens, the issue soon becomes all one can talk about and Jesus is no longer the consuming concern.
There are issues that God’s people must care about, but not to the extreme that the heart is opened up to bitterness and unchristlike activity. We must be able to pray without a disturbed spirit. Jesus insists that we allow nothing to rob us of his peace. Indeed, he commands that we enter and stay in his rest: “God’s promise of entering his rest still stands, so we ought to tremble with fear that some of you might fail to experience it” (Hebrews 4:1, NLT).
This is not a political statement. Rather, it is a warning to Christians not to get entangled in the growing bitterness of today’s politics. The testimony of Jesus is that we can be in this world yet not of it. This means we don’t take part in its spirit or pull. The fact is, this is how we become a testimony of hope in a world without any. When some anxious person asks us, we can answer in faith and confidence, “Jesus is my hope and peace.”
Jesus must remain central in our hearts, minds and activities, not policies or politics. Though those things are important, they can rob us of our central concern, the gospel of Jesus Christ. Our confidence as Christians is that we know all nations will come under the authority of our Lord Jesus.
All around us the world is breaking down. But we see Jesus! We see him in all our present trials. We see him standing with us in our pain, our suffering, our crises, all things.
Most of all, we see Jesus getting all things ready for his coming. Hallelujah!
Paul expressed concern for the church of Jesus Christ when he prayed, “May God reveal to you not just the past greatness of Christ but his present greatness.” Here is his specific prayer: “That you may know what is the hope of His calling … what is the exceeding greatness of His power toward us who believe, according to the working of His mighty power” (Ephesians 1:18-19).
We have a great reverence for Jesus who walked on this earth, turning water into wine, feeding the multitudes and healing the sick. And we believe Jesus can forgive our sins and relieve our guilt. We believe he can provide us with peace and joy and even give us eternal life. But too few of us know Jesus as God of the natural world we live in. We often don’t recognize him as Lord over our everyday affairs, as God of our home, our children and marriage, our job and bills.
When Jesus was called upon to heal his friend Lazarus, he faced limited faith. “When Mary came where Jesus was, and saw Him, she fell down at His feet, saying to Him, ‘Lord, if You had been here, my brother would not have died’” (John 11:32). The passage goes on to show that Mary and her friends had faith only to the point of death. “Some of them said, ‘Could not this Man, who opened the eyes of the blind, also have kept this man from dying?’” (11:37).
It is no wonder there is so much commotion in the lives of so many of us Christians. Why such grieving and mourning? It is because we don’t believe Jesus can resurrect what seems dead. We don’t believe he has a life-giving plan for us or perhaps he is too late. Things are too far gone.
Beloved, Jesus has never been more willing to show his resurrection power than he is right now. It is not enough to love, serve and worship Christ only to the point of hopelessness. Why don’t we trust him when all hope is gone? Scripture says we have been provided the very same energizing, resurrection life that is in Christ: “If the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you” (Romans 8:11).
The Holy Spirit dwells in you to bring forth the present greatness of Christ. Believe in him!
Satan cannot shake or test the faith of any child of God without the Lord’s permission. Simply put, God has a purpose and plan behind every trial that Satan brings to our lives. Jesus gave a warning to the apostle Peter: “Simon, Simon! Indeed, Satan has asked for you, that he may sift you as wheat” (Luke 22:31).
The Word makes it clear that Satan’s main objective is to destroy the faith of those who serve Jesus. But many believers find it astonishing that the Lord granted Satan access to Peter in order to test him.
Most Christians remember Peter’s boast about his own faith: “Lord, I am ready to go with You, both to prison and to death” (22:33). What Peter says here may come across as spiritual boldness, but in truth it represents a fleshly audacity that the scriptures warn against: “Let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall” (1 Corinthians 10:12).
When Peter was questioned about his faith, rather than boldly declaring his allegiance to Jesus, he denied that he knew him. And then, in panic, he ran from the scene of his denial. However, this once fearless disciple, now broken and anguishing over his failure, was never for a moment on his own. Jesus had proclaimed earlier, “I have prayed for you, that your faith should not fail” (Luke 22:32).
This is one of the most encouraging verses in all of Scripture. Jesus was telling Peter here that no matter what he faced, no matter what he would go through — including his denial of Christ — his faith would not fail!
Just as he has done throughout history, Satan demands God’s permission to sift us today. He wants to attack our homes, our marriages, our children, our health, our jobs and careers, our very belief in the Lord. But be assured, God has not forsaken you — and he never will. Indeed, right now he is saying to you, “I will never leave you. Lo, I am with you, even to the end of the world.”
Our society is desperate to find hope and peace in these troubled days. They long to know the truth of Isaiah 26:3: “You will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on You, because he trusts in You.” They will be watching God’s children to see a testimony of his provision and care for his own.
It's interesting to note that the world observes believers who face challenges. They expect us to sing a song in the midst of our hardest times. We see examples of this in the Word of God. Psalm 137 describes Israel’s captivity by the Babylonians, when God’s people had lost everything, including their homeland. Still, their captors wanted to hear the songs of victory that the Israelites were known for.
“By the rivers of Babylon, there we sat down, yea, we wept when we remembered Zion. We hung our harps upon the willows in the midst of it. For there those who carried us away captive asked of us a song, and those who plundered us requested mirth, saying, ‘Sing us one of the songs of Zion!’” (Psalm 137:1-3).
The Israelites were famous for singing songs of victory; their captors insisted, “Sing to us! We have heard about the great victory songs you offer to God so play them for us!” Some might suggest that this demand was made in mockery, but I believe the Babylonians sincerely longed to hear a testimony. Their own religion had left them empty, dry and hopeless.
Likewise, the world demands a song of victory from God’s people today. What they really want to know is, “How are you going to react in this present crisis? We have heard that you think your God is faithful and powerful, but do you trust him in times like these? Does your faith really hold up in times of crisis?”
“He has put a new song in my mouth — praise to our God; many will see it and fear, and will trust in the Lord” (Psalm 40:3). Your tender, loving Father who is touched by the feelings of your infirmities gives you a song no matter what you’re going through.