They write from all corners of the globe, Satan’s power very real and immediate. I know this power. I have felt it too, the crushing weight of evil. I have seen the violent fear, the burning hatred in the eyes of the woman whose broken body housed a demon.
I have witnessed, too, the greater power in the name of Jesus as she learned to pray, and her husband to pray for her. I have experienced the power of Jesus transforming my fear, His love in me rising in anger at the demonic bully who tight-clenched the jaws of his victim so she could not at first whisper the name of Jesus. Anger now at the same bully who keeps us tight-bound in the jaws of a lie.
It’s not been more than a few days since I again felt fear at the power of Satan. A dream. A run of nights disrupted with the urgent call to pray. An unshakeable fear as I entered into battle.
Fear . . . until the Mighty Lion roared and freed me with the truth. Satan’s head has been crushed! He and his hordes have been disarmed, their final weapon taken away. His power lies now in the strength of deception. As long as we believe that his final weapon, death, is loaded and dangerous, he has us by the throat, cold fingers of fear squeezing tight.
But when we lay it all down and pick up our cross, choosing to die instead of running from death, we find that the weapon which was once pointed fiercely against us now works for us. Through Christ, death has become a door out of our tiny cramped space of terror into the wide open space of infinite love that exists within God.
The knowing of this doesn’t set us free. We have to enter to see, experience to understand. The freedom comes in the laying it all down.
When we’re open about our weaknesses, Satan can’t hold them over our heads anymore. Our tight clinging to reputation and self-image dies, and with it the fear of death by exposure.
We can learn to receive every day from God, knowing that no matter what it holds, it is His perfect will for us in that moment, His gracious gift of exactly what we need (if not exactly what we think we want!). In dying out of our own plans and dreams and into His better ones, we die, then, out of the anxiety of tight control and into the freedom of contentment and joy.
And in the moments of fear when we struggle to lay it all down, this truth remains. Satan is only an angel, a strong and powerful being, but not God. The Spirit of God Himself lives in us, the One who marks us as God’s own and keeps us safe in the truth. The power of Almighty God surrounds and holds us, shielding us until the consummation of our salvation. And the One who experienced first hand the power of the devil in the desert and the garden sits now in the presence of our Father, having taken our weak flesh through death into glory. (Does he still pray as He prayed for Simon, that our faith may not fail?) Jesus sits now, Satan and all his hosts under his feet and hundreds of thousands of angels at his command. And this truth remains: in laying it all down, we do not die into an unknown, but into union with this powerful and loving God.
“Since the children have flesh and blood, he too shared in their humanity so that through death he might destroy him who holds the power of death, that is the devil, and free those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear of death.” (Heb 2:14-15)
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