People are not the enemy. Satan is our true enemy.
God commands two thirds of all the cosmic angelic forces, while the devil only commands one third. God has already defeated the devil since the times of eternity with a plan than was greater than Lucifer’s rebellion against God. It’s actually hilarious! The mess we call SIN was contained before it started! God never lost control of the universe. The Great Controversy is a cosmic display of characters. God principle to run the universe is LOVE. The devil’s counter-life-LOVE movement (Fear-SIN) is already defeated and “contained.”
God’s plan to deal with this “temper-tantrum” was put into effect when God created Adam and Eve, during the Great Controversy for the 4.000 years prior to the coming of Jesus, and it was sealed on the cross of Calvary (“It is finished”- ) as a cosmic testimony to the universe, that the devil was actually defeated forever! And after Jesus’ resurrection and ascension to heaven, the great controversy goes on, on a crescendo all the way to the Second Coming of Jesus, followed by the thousands years “vacation” we will take in Heaven, and the triumphal return to a renewed planet earth, capital of the Universe, and the total and absolute vanishing of demonic powers forever and ever!
The greatest, most iconic image of the Great Controversy is the fact that we know the end before it happens. Yeah, there is some intrigue and anxiety going on in the minds of some, on how all this “time of the end prophecies” will play out, but the details are not important, and they are not for us to know. What is important to know is the signs of the times, and the end is secured since the times of eternity. (Ephesians 1)
God is not the cause of anything that is bad. It would totally contradict the nature of His character. But God manages evil. And He is stronger and more powerful that the one who caused evil to happen in this world.
“Neither this man nor his parents sinned,” said Jesus, “BUT THIS HAPPENED SO THAT THE WORKS OF GOD MIGHT BE DISPLAYED IN HIM." (John 9:2-3)
Nothing happens in this world outside of God’s control and His perfect management. God is bigger and greater than the evil forces that cause disasters, disease and chaos on this planet. God has never lost control of anything! Ever! Nothing is an accident in God’s universe! The illusion that if you plan your perfect life you will be able to enjoy it, is a fallacy…. It is an illusion! Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t work. I have known people who have been the best managers of money you have ever met. They calculated everything. They were careful with their investments. They saved money. They made phenomenal moves at the right time and accumulated wealth! They put money aside for rainy days. They did all the right things. And then suddenly they got hit by cancer and they didn’t get to enjoy any of it. True story! Others suffered empty, loveless lives in spite of their “perfect” lives. They feel empty, lonely and suffer of existential meaninglessness. So, money became empty! God may be allowing you to face a painful experience in your life now, for a PURPOSE! You may be the equivalent of the “blind” man with a different condition. And while people around you are questioning if you did something wrong to deserve such curse, or you are questioning yourself, or people are telling you that if you would have done things differently you would not be where you are at… While all the questioning is going on… God is saying… “YOU ARE GOING THROUGH THIS TRIAL, THIS DARK SPOT… I WANT TO DISPLAY MY GREATNESS IN YOUR LIFE.” Imagine that!
There is nothing more humbling than to realize that your perfectly organized life does not make you happy. You can laugh a lot…. Entertain yourself a lot… Please yourself a lot… God created you with a hole in your heart for His PURPOSE. Nothing else will fill it out! Curse only turns into blessing when God takes over, like in the case of the blind man in Jesus’ miracle Blessings turn into curse when you fail to bless the world by giving away what blesses you! What distinguishes you as a follower of God from those who are not, is your blessed life turned upside down to reach people for the kingdom of God. Hell will be intensely populated by good people, religious people, who lived the good life now to please themselves, and somehow forgot to find God’s purpose for their lives.
“Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.” (Romans 12: 21)
Most of us experience evil on a smaller, more personal scale. But for all EVIL attacks, small and huge, the apostle Paul outlined the proper response in Romans 12: 14-21.
He said we are:
1) to ABHOR evil (Rom. 12:9), 2) not to REPAY it with more EVIL (v.17), 3) and not to be overcome by it (v.21).
The true victim of EVIL is goodness… Think about it! The goodness that God designed as part of creation for everyone to enjoy (Gen. 1:4-31) is attacked, shaken up, and terrorized by EVIL.
That’s why it is so surprising that Paul concludes his magnificent expose on GOOD and EVIL by saying that at the end of it all, EVIL becomes a casualty at the hand of its CONQUEROR, which is GOODNESS! (Rom. 12:21). Don’t miss this principle when dealing with your personal anger on any matter!
Evil gets all the headlines, but GOD’S GOODNESS IS STRONGER, and He wants you to use it on His behalf to overcome His and YOUR enemy. This principle gets me going! Why is it so hard to practice it? Why do people keep insisting on destroying those who hurt them? Why do people are so driven to seek vengeance and revenge? It doesn’t work, the Bible says!!!
If you are facing the effects of someone’s EVIL actions I will share with you what healed me when I faced it in my own life. These Scriptures were incredibly helpful: (Prov. 20:22; Matt. 5:38-48; 1 Thess. 5:15; 1 Peter 3:8-17). Do not just be quick to point out EVIL. Anyone can do that! Find a strategy to deal with it! Use God’s strategy!
It takes no effort to seek vengeance against a spouse in a marriage. It takes no effort to seek to destroy someone’s reputation. It takes no effort to pay EVIL with EVIL. All you need is enough toxicity and EVIL in yourself, to drive you to destroy those who did EVIL to you! You can seek revenge in words, statements, accusations, gossip, innuendos, actions and constant obsession with the negativity that hurts you!
To abhor EVIL, not to repay EVIL with more EVIL, and not to be overcome by EVIL requires God’s supernatural power.
Then, to overcome EVIL with GOOD, which is the higher level of spiritual consciousness, is impossible for humans to do, unless their hearts and brains are transformed by the cleansing grace of God Darkness is not REAL. It’s just the absence of LIGHT. Light overcomes darkness very quickly once you bring a light in… GONE!
EVIL is defeated already. Did you know that? Why use a DEFEATED strategy? Why? Every person who pays EVIL with EVIL, in words or actions, is ignorant of God’s character. You can talk about saving lost people or religious truth, until you are blue on the face, but in the end, it is inconsistent with the spirit of God, if your political views drive you to say and act EVIL for EVIL! Every act of vengeance executed by people, simply shows demonic forces in action. Every person who seeks revenge for a hurt suffered is simply giving in to forces that were defeated by God since the times of eternity! Taking things into your own hands is a denial of God’s existence! That’s why Paul said: overcome EVIL, which was defeated at last on the cross of Calvary when Jesus said, “It is finished,” with GOODNESS!
The devil is walking around, tempting people, giving them the toys of life to distract them from God, destroying marriages… encouraging people to pay EVIL with EVIL , which brings instant gratification and fulfillment… well KNOWING that at the end of it all, HELL is his destination. The devil is a suicidal killer! It doesn’t matter if he attracts you with good stuff, such as prosperity, good behavior, angels of light, money, security, morals, religion, sex, success or drugs… in the end his goal is the same for all… DESTRUCTION AND HELL. He wants to die surrounded by an adoring dying crowd!
Let the light of God, His love and His goodness be the marks of your response to EVIL inflicted against you!
“How do I get rid of anger?” “How do I forgive when I hurt so badly?” “How do I move on?” “How do I deal with the wounds of the past, the memories of the past?” “How do I…?” “How do I…?” The list would be very long!
THERE IS ONLY ONE WAY, AND ONE WAY ALONE TO EXPERIENCE LASTING CHANGE, REAL FREEDOM… NOTHING ELSE WORKS, LONG TERM, Friend The “only way” is described in Galatians 5:16-26 - [My comments]
Paul says: “My counsel is this: Live freely, ANIMATED and MOTIVATED by God’s Spirit.”
[The only way to experience true, lasting freedom, love, peace (SHALOM) and wholeness is THE POWER OF THE SPIRIT OF GOD! I wish I could tell you there are some other strategies! The goal is to LIVE FREELY! Why? Because every single emotional, relational and spiritual issue you struggle with, makes you feel like a captive! You feel tortured! You feel like an emotional yo-yo–up and down… One day you feel good, the next day you feel dark… One day you succeed, the next day you fail! What people need is LASTING FREEDOM from the emotional monsters such as ADDICTIONS, COMPULSIONS, INNER STRUGGLES, RELATIONAL CONFLICT, FEAR, ANXIETY, DARKNESS, and the tyranny of the SELF. What’s the only permanent resolution? To be set FREE forever, while being ANIMATED and MOTIVATED, by the Spirit of God!]
[Then comes the RESULT! I love the assertiveness of Paul! If you accept the Spirit of God in your life… THEN!] Paul says: “THEN YOU WON’T FEED THE COMPULSIONS OF SELFISHNESS.”
[What he asserts in this sentence is the fact that when you accept the Spirit of God in your life, YOU WON’T EVEN FEED… THE COMPULSIONS OF SELFISHNESS! Notice the general label he uses to describe ALL your human challenges! Every single emotional and relational problem you face… EVERYONE, falls under this label: THE COMPULSIONS OF SELFISHNESS! Your inability to forgive? Your inability to love? Your inability to stop an addiction? Your inability to focus on God? Your inability to get rid of obsessive materialism? Your inability to be generous? Your need for religion? Your inability to stop being judgmental, critical, racist or negative? Your lack of compassion? Your empty words not backed up by action? All of them are rooted in the same malady: “The compulsions of selfishness!”]
Paul says: “For there is a root of sinful self-interest in us that is at odds with a free spirit, just as the free spirit is incompatible with selfishness. THESE TWO WAYS OF LIFE ARE ANTITHETICAL, so that you cannot live at times one way and at times another way according to how you feel on any given day. Why don’t you CHOOSE to be led by the Spirit and so escape the erratic compulsions of a law-dominated existence?”
[Did you noticed? IT IS A CHOICE! CHOOSE THE SPIRIT OF GOD! The second thing I want you to notice in this statement by the Apostle Paul is: The erratic compulsions of a “law-dominated existence! This is fascinating! How could it be, that the erratic compulsions of a person are the result of a “law-dominated existence?” You see, Friend, NOTHING can control the storms of the soul permanently, except the spirit of God. When you are capable of controlling it by will power, self-control, morals, fear of punishment and behavioral modification (Paul calls it, “law-dominated existence) all you are doing is suppressing the compulsions of your human nature for a little while. They will eventually come up again! They are not permanently gone, they are not uprooted… They are simply suppressed. That’s why “religion” is such a weak solution to the human condition! Only a relationship with God and the presence of the Spirit of God can eradicate the compulsions of your nature!]
[Here are the behavioral evidences of people who refuse to LIVE IN THE FREEDOM THE SPIRIT OF GOD CAN CREATE in your inner life!]
Paul says: “It is obvious what kind of life develops out of trying to get your own way all the time: repetitive, loveless, cheap sex; a stinking accumulation of mental and emotional garbage; frenzied and joyless grabs for happiness; trinket gods; magic-show religion; paranoid loneliness; cutthroat competition; all-consuming-yet-never-satisfied wants; a brutal temper; an impotence to love or be loved; divided homes and divided lives; small-minded and lopsided pursuits; the vicious habit of depersonalizing everyone into a rival; uncontrolled and uncontrollable addictions; ugly parodies of community. I could go on.”
[Here are the behavioral and emotional manifestations of those who CHOOSE to walk by the Spirit of God. It is the Spirit of God that makes the difference in your life.]
Paul says: “But what happens when we live God’s way? He brings gifts into our lives, much the same way that fruit appears in an orchard—things like affection for others, exuberance about life, serenity. We develop a willingness to stick with things, a sense of compassion in the heart, and a conviction that a basic holiness permeates things and people. We find ourselves involved in loyal commitments, not needing to force our way in life, able to marshal and direct our energies wisely.”
[Here is what you must understand, accept and believe if you want to be free permanently! MORALITY, CULTURE, RELIGION, UP-BRINGING, SELF-WILL, POSITIVE THINKING, OPTIMISM won’t ever give you the freedom that the Spirit of God can give you!]
Paul says: “LEGALISM [What is legalism? Legalism is making yourself obey laws, rules and regulations without spiritual energy… Using self-will and will power to make yourself a good, moral and ethical person! Have you ever try to drive a car uphill on an EMPTY tank of gasoline? Have you ever tried to run a marathon, or bike up a hill without energy? That is what legalism is…] IS HELPLESS in bringing this about; [Permanent freedom!] IT ONLY GETS IN THE WAY. [Amazing, uh?] Among those who belong to Christ, everything connected with getting our own way and mindlessly responding to what everyone else calls necessities is killed off for good—crucified.”
[What Paul says here is that “LEGALISM” is just a waste of your time! Legalism and religion always walk together! The sooner you surrender to God, the faster you will experience REAL SPIRITUAL ENERGY that will lead you to lasting freedom! God is the ONLY PERMANENT SOLUTION to our fragmented, broken nature… to the negative emotional compulsions of self… to human anxiety and fear…]
Surrender to the Spirit of God… Ask God to take over in your life… Walk with God… Talk to God… Hear His voice… Learn to HAVE A RELATIONSHIP WITH HIM! He will motivate you, animate you… He will create a power in your brain and emotions that no one, nothing, can ever do!
“This is the word of the LORD…: ‘Not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit,’ says the LORD Almighty.” Zechariah 4:6
Whatever you can take credit for, is not from God! What do you need God for? It is human pride! Pride is faith in yourself! The opposite of pride is faith in God: an unexpected miracle of God.
“In his pride the wicked man does not seek him; in all his thoughts there is no room for God.” (Psalm 10:4 NIV) “God opposes the proud but shows favor to the humble.” (James 4:6 NIV) “First pride, then the crash—the bigger the ego, the harder the fall.” (Proverbs 16:18)
Pride is the root of all sin. Pride is the most serious, and the most subtle, sin. It often is not even recognized as existing. It causes us to turn away from God instead of turning to Him.
All disobedience has pride as its root. All rebellion has pride behind it. All mistreatment of other people is caused by pride: someone putting their self and their feelings above the other person and their feelings. Envy, judgmental, critical attitudes are caused by pride. Self-sufficiency, competitive spirit, fear of losing, are all rooted in pride. Fighting life’s battles on your own, is driven by pride!
Surrender to God! Surrender your personal struggles to Him! Surrender your shame, your guilt! Surrender your self-sufficiency, your will power, your self-discipline!
Whatever is not from God… Whatever does not honor God… Whatever you can produce on your own… IS PRIDE!