The Decisive Blow

1:40 PM This morning we had Becky’s blood drawn in South Boston. It hardly seems possible that it was 16 months ago that she had her surgery and exactly 12 months ago this week that she was taking her third chemo treatment at UNC. To say that these past 16 months have been intense would be an understatement. To say they have been easy would be a downright lie. Baptists aren’t supposed to believe in spiritual warfare. But it exists. And it’s another reason why I love to read the Gospels. They show me that real demons constantly harassed Jesus, especially when they realized He could fight back (by quoting Scripture and commanding them to go away).

The Gospels allow me to see that discouragement is not always psychological in nature. No, I don’t think we should indiscriminately charge the Devil with all of our problems. We must be careful to assume our share of the responsibility. But extreme spiritual warfare does exist. And when we face it, I think we must focus on the cross. At Calvary, Satan tried to destroy Jesus. But that’s when the decisive blow against the devil and his forces was delivered. When Jesus said, “It is finished,” He meant it. The devil’s stranglehold on us has been broken. The Lord has bruised the serpent’s head. God defanged Satan at the cross. I’d give anything to have a before and after picture showing Satan’s face when he discovered that Jesus had won the victory at Golgotha. Being so deeply involved in kingdom work, Becky and I realize how hugely demanding ministry is. We constantly realize the potential impact of sin to ruin relationships. The challenge is to trust when there is no apparent change or relief. I know in my own life, the greatest joy and the greatest pain comes in working with the hurting. Discouragement tries to demolish hope, but the Lord reminds us that the battle is already won. His Spirit works courage in us.

I am so so thankful today for the Gospels. They help me to assess my own life wisely and biblically. As I go through the day, I am encouraged:

Stop and look around you. Realize that you are one of the privileged in the world who can say they are living their dream. Don’t lose sight of the fact that “It is finished.” Jesus and you are in this together. And because you’re in this together, you can come before His throne and pour out your heart. Enjoy the peace and serenity that He provides. Be anxious for nothing. Christus Victor is still at work in your life.

(From Dave Black Online. Used by permission. David Alan Black is author of Energion titles The Jesus Paradigm, Christian Archy, and Why Four Gospels?.)