Previous posts in the Live Alive series can be found here.
God's love is so great! Corrie Ten Boom, a woman of remarkable faith who survived the concentration camps during WWII, is quoted as saying, "No pit is so deep, that God's love is not deeper still." Make no mistake, you are 100% disqualified for membership in the family of God. Nothing you can do can put you back in His good graces. The nicest person you know and the most heinous criminal you can think of are all in the same condition before their Maker; He will call each one of us individually to account, and we will not be able to defend ourselves. Our only hope is to grab on to the way He offers through Jesus back into His family, made possible by a depth of love none of us can fully comprehend! Those who take God up on His offer are made alive and become quite serious about His love. Living under the umbrella of that love gives them comfort, confidence, and compassion, making them live more alive than they did before. But it's not always a walk in the park! Which brings me to something else about alive people:
Alive people know they have an enemy
and that they are still in his territory.
Whenever you ally yourself with someone, not only do you enjoy the benefits of that relationship, you also take on their enemies. God's enemy is that serpent, referred to throughout Scripture as the devil, satan, or the evil one. For whatever reason, Jesus coming and dying and rising again was just 'phase one' of the defeat of this enemy. Jesus will be coming back for operation final destruction, when the time is right. For now, the Lord, in His wisdom, has let the evil one still rule here on earth. As such, those who believe in the Lord and enter His love also enter into battle.
Welcome to the war, friends!
It's kind of a relief to know, right? I mean, don't you have moments every day where you think, Man, it sure doesn't seem like the world is the way it should be. We can do better that this. Or, I keep trying and I just can't seem to get myself together. I should be able to do better. There is a desire deep inside of us for righteousness, goodness, for life to triumph over death - and we sure don't see that happening around us or in us. That is because the battle is raging!
Peter admonishes us:
Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. I Peter 5:8
And Jesus said:
[The devil] was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks out of his own character, for he is a liar and the father of lies. John 8:44
Living the alive life, however, means that we do not fear this enemy. His defeat is certain! Living the alive life also means we stay on our guard: sober-minded and watchful. His desire to trip up God's children is strong - he is murderous and still speaking lies!
In Ephesians Paul says, and give no opportunity to the devil. (4:27) How do we do this?
- Remember our new identity: we are children of God, no longer slaves to the evil one.
- Rely on the Spirit to fight our spiritual battles, not ourselves.
- Practice, practice, practice! Practice recognizing when the evil one is actively trying to destroy you and practice telling him where to go.
Dear ones, if you belong to God you have the Strength within you to resist the devil. You do not need to fear this enemy because you are alive in Christ. You can be on guard against his schemes in your life because you are alive in Christ! Being tempted isn't a sign that you're failing - even Jesus was tempted. Temptation is an opportunity to live alive by leaning wholly on God for your identity, worth, strength, and hope. He will rise up to protect and defend you! The enemy cannot win.
Fight on in faith!