Resistance

Resistance against evil requires understanding the relationship between the Blood of Christ and our TestimonyDo you sometimes feel defeated as a Christian? Do negative thoughts, feelings and experiences dominate your life? If so, you need help with resistance… the ability to overcome in your spiritual walk. The following passage gives a clear guide as to how this is done:

Then I heard a loud voice in heaven, proclaiming, “Now have come the salvation and the power and the kingdom of our God and the authority of his Messiah, for the accuser of our comrades has been thrown down, who accuses them day and night before our God.  But they have conquered him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, for they did not cling to life even in the face of death.  (Revelation 12:10-11)

Here we read about the victory of the saints, who have been constantly accused by the evil one, but despite this have conquered. There are two parts that together bring victory: the Blood of the Lamb, and the word of testimony. What do these two things mean, and how do they defeat the accuser?

Notice also this scripture, a familiar one:

Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. ( James 4:7-8)

We read a lot about spiritual battle in the New Testament.  Just as resistance fighters in worldly wars have to use tactics and strategies to accomplish their aims, Christians must do the same. In France in World War II, resistance fighters like those pictured above had to use radio communications to send and receive information and to monitor enemy activity. Receiving clear intelligence from good sources was vitally important for survival. Similarly, Ephesians 6 talks about putting on the armour of God, which is made up of mainly defensive weapons.

Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his power. Put on the whole armour of God, so that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For our struggle is not against enemies of blood and flesh, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers of this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. (Ephesians 6:10-12)

Notice this is not a battle out in the open, but on a spiritual level. We are battling against “wiles”, trickery and deceit. This battle has to be fought with spiritual weapons. As Revelation 12:10 says, there is constant accusation and slander, it’s a war of words. For resistance fighters, the battle is about intercepting, blocking  and countering enemy communications.

A difficulty with being a resistance fighter is that there is no army base. Communications are received by radio. In this case, how can we know if the information we are receiving is true? How can we be sure what we are transmitting is accurate information? As Christians we have to know that what we are receiving is of God and if it is in tune with God. That applies when we specifically ask to hear from God, but it also applies with the thoughts, feelings, assumptions, and so on, that play through our minds all the time.

Resistance and Free Will

Resistance fighters are not conscripts. Our battle is one we must choose to participate in. In fact, the choice is the critical part of being a resistance fighter. We have free will, and we have to use it to stand against the lies and tactics of the enemy. God will not force us to resist, and he will not do the resisting for us.

Romans 12:2-3 tells us to “not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your minds.” Our minds are supposed to be renewed so we can discern the will of God, what is good, what is correct, what is right. We have to be trained from the manual (the Bible) so we know what God is like. Then what is not from God stands out easily. This is what happens when we become a Christian and submit our mind to teaching, to training, to discipline, to a complete transformation.

What happens if our minds are not renewed?

Misinformation creates havoc in times of war. The French capitulated to the Germans because they believed a lie: that German victory was inevitable. There was no confidence for a French victory. In order to preserve some semblance of dignity for France, an armistice was quickly signed. But the result was a brutal and draconian occupation. In the same way, Christian defeat often results from a sense of failure and powerlessness. These mental states are enemy tactics that can and should be rejected so we are not defeated in our walk with God.

if we haven’t heard from  mission control for a while we are unsure about troop movements and activity…then it’s easy for the enemy to deceive. Prayer (awake and aware prayer!) and Bible reading are essential to keep communication  lines open and functioning. Without this we are cut off and easily tricked into thinking the physical and mental states we are experiencing are normal, or even from God.

Radio Silence Test

Often Christians don’t understand that the state their minds are functioning in is already compromised. It’s easy to discover for yourself if you are tuned in to the wrong radio channel. Try this test: Set a timer for a few minutes and sit in a quiet place. Choose to stop actively thinking and simply look at an object in the room. Let seeing the object be your only mental activity, without analysing, responding or reacting.

Afterwards, assess what happened. Was there background “radio chatter” that wouldn’t seem to switch off? We think of this as “stream-of-consciousness” or “inner monologue.” But if it is impossible to tune this out and have radio silence, these signals are not from our own free will. That means this is radio chatter from the enemy. If we stop and notice the trend of such chatter we notice it is often distracting, pointless or downright negative.

Enemy Messages

These are some of the typical trends of enemy transmissions:

Shame and Blame: We feel shame, or we notice the shame of others. We feel blamed or focus on blaming others for our problems.

Searching Our History for Causes: There is a constant searching for answers, and this often goes with the shame and blame category. Who hurt me? When did I do wrong? There never seems to be a resolution to these, though we think someday we will “get to the bottom of things” and resolve our issues.

Stirred and Confused Feelings: Emotions rise up and dominate our actions and thoughts. We feel unable to socialise, to forgive, to take action, or suffer from other negative states because heaviness or feelings like depression or anger, or even overwhelming positive feelings, distract and control us.

False and Exaggerated Data: Sometimes we are unable to let go of wrong teaching or concepts, though we try. And other times we tend to exaggerate reality, making mountains out of molehills. Later we might realise our mistake, but tend to repeat this pattern over and over.

Gloomy Predictions: We think the worst will happen, though experience has shown us that this is not often the case. Sometimes our negative thinking brings a bad situation into reality. The opposite of “rose-coloured glasses,” this mental state means we never feel truly joyful.

Urgency, Hastiness, Panic: We cannot relax and enjoy the flow of life with God because we constantly feel under pressure. We undertake activities hastily and then can’t complete them. We hurry to do many things and do them poorly or with symptoms of burnout. We constantly feel stressed. We feel everything is our responsibility.

Confusion, Weariness, Distraction: Though we try to pray and study we can’t seem to understand or learn from our spiritual practices. When we try to pray, read or listen to a sermon we are overcome with tiredness. It seems impossible to make progress and we are often distracted by household and personal matters in the middle of prayer and study.

Illness: We might feel our health problems are normal, that “I’m just a delicate person,” or “these diseases run in my family.” Though you might have many reasons to think health problems are normal, they are not. God offers health and healing, and to think this is not available is to listen to enemy communication rather than the clear messages of scripture.

Clear Intelligence is Essential

We distinguish all kinds of evil. Some evils are easy to spot…outright sin, violence and so on. Just as in a war, if we see tanks and soldiers in the streets we know the war is on our doorstep. But before troops arrive, often a campaign of information comes: leaflet drops, radio transmissions and propaganda, preparing the people to accept the invasion. This is what happened in France. People believed German victory was inevitable…they had heard about the superiority of German tactics and they believed there was  no hope. Propaganda prepared them for defeat. The application for us resistance fighters is this: defeat on the inside prepares us for defeat on a larger scale. Giving ground to propaganda leaves us weakened to attacks and sin. If we are already in a weakened state and unable to draw near to God, we are prone to sins of action and inaction.

In Hebrews 5:13-14 we are told that we need training and practice to be able to distinguish good from evil. When we have been trained and prepared, we are able to not only receive from God and tune in to his ways in every part of our lives, but we are also able to transmit properly, benefitting other Christians and everyone we meet. We will also be confident to approach God for all our requests and petitions, and freely thank and praise him without doubts, as it explains in Philippians 4:4-7.

The Source of Our Victory

So, we have looked at the problem, what is the solution? Just what does it mean to resist? If we have tried and failed in our efforts to resist, there is something missing. In James 4:7-8 we are told to draw near to God, to be cleansed and purified. This means that before our effort to resist the devil there is a missing dimension we need to have. Cleansing and being purified comes from the Blood of the Lamb.

But they have conquered him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony… Revelation 12:11

This is the scripture we started out with. There is no victory possible without Jesus Christ, that is the bottom line. The truth is, the war is already won. We are waiting for the king to sweep into the land and usher in the Kingdom for all to see. But until victory comes to where we are standing, we are still at our posts. We are able to stand because we have the Blood of the Lamb, that means victory on a heaven and earth level and on a personal level. But how does the Blood of Jesus relate directly to personal struggles? It is by the relationship between the Blood of Christ and the word of our testimony.

Declaration

Scripture is clear we have to confess our sins in order to be cleansed of sin, in 1 John 1:9. Confession means making our allegiance clear in heaven and on earth. In confessing we are able to claim the sacrifice of Christ. We can’t be secret resistance fighters with no one knowing which side we are on…otherwise we are lone fighters and on no-one’s side. Jesus said, in Matthew 10:33 that we must acknowledge him, otherwise He will deny us. We have to acknowledge that we know and accept that it is only by his sacrifice that we are set free. Most of the citizens of France in WW II didn’t declare an allegiance. They were neither resistance fighters nor collaborators. We don’t have the alternative to sit on the fence like that. There is only one winning side (…and of course it’s the best side by far!)

When Jesus was before Pontius Pilate, just before his crucifixion, Paul says He “made the good confession.” (1 Timothy 6: 11-14) This was Jesus’ testimony: he stood by his claim, to the point of death, that He is the Son of God. His extraordinary commitment to the truth meant that salvation is available to us. We are told that those saints who conquered the evil one “did not cling to life even in the face of death,” just as Jesus did. (Revelation 12:11)

How are the saints, able to resist to the point of death? This is a question many Christians have. Could I do that? It depends. There is something we have to see that changes everything for us, and makes us permanently committed to resistance. Many French resistance fighters from the war spoke about a “climax of decision.” One fighter spoke of the turning point that brought him to joining the resistance. He saw a friend of his being marched through the streets, bloodied and beaten beyond recognition. He was only able to recognise the man by the hat he was wearing.

For Christians our “climax of decision” is when we see Jesus Christ, not with our eyes, but in our hearts, and acknowledge the reality of who He is, and what He did. He was marched through the streets with a cross on his back, bloodied and beaten beyond recognition. When we see what He has done, as Christians we are forever changed. We know that we will not turn back. Our testimony goes from wavering to certain. We would die for Him, because He died for us. No one can take our confession from us, because it has become part of us.

Having this kind of confession gives us a super weapon of resistance. This weapon can be used at any time and always brings victory. It is a simple statement:

I have decided to follow Jesus.

Whatever our mental state, our health, our struggles in life, we can counter them with this simple statement. In making this confession we are declaring that it doesn’t matter how we feel, it doesn’t matter what happens to us, it doesn’t matter how relentlessly we are accused, we will not falter from the solid ground of our testimony. Jesus is the reason we have life. We present ourselves before the cross and immediately we have victory that no one can take from us.

Ephesians 6:13-17 talks about the armour of God we use, and this armour is part of our testimony. We have the belt of truth, the breastplate of Christ’s righteousness, We have a proclamation of the gospel, we have the faith that God is our deliverer. We have the helmet of assured salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, the Word of God. When we are accused or have thoughts rising up in us, we can pray and ask God to help us to remember scriptures that counter the enemy. Stand on the ground of Jesus, victory, and use the sword of the word, just as Jesus did when he was tempted and accused by the devil in the wilderness.

Periods of Overcoming

In 1 Peter 5:8-10 we are told that there are times of suffering. After a period of struggle God will himself restore, strengthen, support and establish us. We must go through these proving times to sharpen our will to be in alignment with God’s will. It is only by learning to resist that we are making the confession that nothing in heaven or on earth will be allowed to come between us and God. It takes discipline. But we don’t have to do it alone.

In Luke 22:41-43 we see that as Jesus struggled in prayer on the night of his arrest, God sent an angel to strengthen him. Truly, we aren’t aware of how or when we are receiving strength from God. But we are told by Paul in Philippians 4:13 that it is God who strengthens us and allows us to do all things.

We are told in Philippians 2:12-13 that we must work out our salvation. This doesn’t meant that we “earn” salvation, but it does mean we do not passively wait for God to fix us. By resisting the evil one we are inviting God to enter our lives, and to fully establish us in him. We can’t just “sit back and wait for the Yanks to come and win the war.” Our active resistance by using our free will is an essential part of the holiness God requires from this people. It is an essential component, together with the Blood of the Lamb, for Christian victory.

Once our communication lines are cleared out and we are tuned in to God, our mental state should be very different. This scripture in Philippians paints a clear picture of how the mind of a Christian should look:

Finally, beloved, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is pleasing, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence and if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. Philippians 4:8

A clear mind that is actively focused on God and able to receive from him is essential for Christians. If we  consistently are struggling with this, we may need further help than what we can achieve in our own prayer lives. In this case we need deliverance. The Lord can deliver us at any time, and sometimes He does deliver us in his own merciful way. But God has established ministry for specialised areas that Christians need extra help with. He ministers to us through his church, through leadership and teaching, so we are changed and grown, and not going to fall prey to the same problem again. If you believe you are having problems with enemy transmissions, please seek help. The life of a Christian should be full of joy, and not one of defeat!

This message is from a sermon given by Karen Dixon at Victoria Park Christian Centre Chapel on 22 May, 2016. If you would like information about our ministry, our church services, or would to ask questions about deliverance or healing, please use the contact form below.