Time Out: Weekly quiet times for the youth worker’s soul.
(by Jerry Schmoyer)
When the Jews crossed the Red Sea God opened the waters and they walked through on dried land, but after they matured in the faith God expected more from them. When they got to the Jordan they had to rush down the hill and step into the water while it was still there, trusting God would move it when their feet hit the water. He did and again they walked through on dry land.
If you are in Christian ministry you have probably been a believer for awhile and therefore you are no longer at the Red Sea. You’ve grown beyond that. Now God wants you to commit to obedience no matter what, to step into the rushing water trusting He’ll be with you. If you wait for the waters to part first you’ll never move. Commit to move ahead no matter what – even if it kills you. God allows us to be stretched so our faith muscles will grow.
God uses the attacks of the enemy to give us opportunities for our faith to grow. Some times God allows it, as He did with Job, for our growth and His glory. Other time sin or past events in our lives have given Satan’s forces an opening to attack us. In either case we must move ahead in faith, depending on His power for victory.
Where do we get this kind of strength to withstand whatever we face in life? We can only be strong in Jesus’ strength and power (Ephesians 6:10-18). We are strong “IN” Jesus (Ephesians 6:10-18), not just “from” Jesus. Strength only comes from a close personal relationship and dependence on Him. This is because Jesus has defeated Satan (Eph. 1:20-22; Philippians 2:9-11; Col. 2:15; Heb. 2:14; I John 3:8; Luke 4:18).
In Jesus we have both power (dunamis – Luke 9:1; 24:49; Acts 1:8; 4:33; 6:8 Ephesians 1:18-23; Hebrews 2:14-15) and authority (exousia – Luke 10:1,17-20; Matthew 10:1,8; Mark 3:15; 6:7; I John 4:4). Power comes from the Holy Spirit within (Acts 1:8), authority comes from our relationship as a child of Jesus (John 1:12). A policeman has both authority (badge) and power (gun or club). Both come from a source outside himself, as do ours (Colossians 12:9-10). Satan also has power (Luke 10:19; I Corinthians 15:24; I Peter 3:22) and authority (Luke 4:6; Acts 26:10; I Corinthians 15:24; Ephesians 1:21; 2:2; 3:10; 6:12). Satan and demons have these, also (Revelation 9:3,10,19; Colossians 1:16; 2:10; I Peter 3:22). God’s power and authority is superior to that which Satan and the demons have. Men without Jesus do not have power or authority anywhere near to Satan and his demons, though.
In all areas it is Jesus’ strength, not ours, that gives us victory (Philippians 4:13). God uses opposition and temptation to strengthen and mature our faith. We learn to have victory in Him. God promises to give us power (II Timothy 1:7; II Thessalonians 3:2-3). God is faithful to keep His promise to strengthen us (Numbers 23:19; Philippians 1:4-6; Hebrews 10:22-23). Our part is to use His strength. We are to fight, but in His strength. We must put on the armor God provides and stand in His strength (Ephesians 6:10-18). We are promised what when we resist Satan in God’s strength that Satan will flee (James 4:7; I Peter 5:8-9). Victory is assured when we fight in His might (I Corinthians 15:57; II Corinthians 2:14; I John 5:5). French Painter Emile Ranouf, in a painting called “A Helping Hand,” depicted an old man dressed in fisherman’s garb, seated in boat with little girl beside him. Both have hands on an oar. He is looking down fondly and admiringly at her. Apparently he has told her that she may assist him in rowing the boat, and she feels she is doing a great share of the task. It is easy to see it is his strong, muscular arm doing the work. That’s how it is with us and Jesus! It’s all by His grace!
Therefore we need not fear Satan or his forces (Joshua 1:9; 10:8; 23:9-11; Leviticus 26:8; Exodus 14:13; I Samuel 17:45-47; II Samuel 22:33-35,40-41). They must have God’s approval for all they do (Job 1:6-12; 2:1-7; Luke 4:35). God protects His people (Luke 10:19; II Thessalonians 3:3; Revelation 9:4; I Samuel 18:10-11; 19:9-10). Nothing can get us away from God (Romans 8:38; John 10:29). When we ask, God will put a hedge around us or those we are praying for (Job 1:10; 3:23; Isaiah 5:5). God’s power is greater than Satan’s (Exodus 7:12; 8:18; I Jn 4:4).
Victory over the attacks of the enemy isn’t a once-and-done thing. It is a process, like peeling layers off of an onion. Sometimes progress is very slow. It may seem no progress is being made at all. Then, too, it is certainly possible to loose what you have gained (through sin allowing the openings to be used again). Satan’s forces don’t quit easily, and just because they are defeated or weakened once doesn’t mean it is all over. Often the battle gets worse for awhile. The more they tried to obey and stay close to God, the more opposition and battles the Jews faced when conquering the land. Paul’s thorn in the flesh is an example of this (II Corinthians 12:7-10).
Another example is Nehemiah. When the walls of Jerusalem were in disrepair and no one was making any effort to rebuild them there was calm. But when Nehemiah started encouraging the people to rebuild there was much opposition. Some was external, other internal. Externally Nehemiah faced ridicule (2:19), anger (4:1), criticism (4:2), mockery (4:3), threat of war (4:8), compromise (6:2), and lies being told about him (6:6). The stronger attacks were internal. Satan attacked him within with discouragement (4:10), wanting to quit (4:10), greed (5:1,3,5), and fear (6:10). Nehemiah persevered despite it all and finally the work was completed (6:15) and the enemies of God defeated (6:16).
We, too, will face much resistance and continuing opposition. When we fight against Satan’s kingdom of darkness by being true to God’s kingdom, we must realize the enemy will fight back. Darkness hates the light. But God’s power within us is greater than the enemy’s power against us! Trust Him!
2 Corinthians 2:11, “…in order that Satan might not outwit us. For we are not unaware of his schemes.”
1 John 4:4, “You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world.”
- What difference does it make when you think of your current troubles as attacks of the enemy instead of seeing them just as daily frustrations and difficulties?
- How should you be applying Jesus’ delegated authority and power to your current circumstances?
- How will it help for your to see what you are going through as opportunities to trust God and learn to better fight for victory?
(For more information on this subject contact firstname.lastname@example.org for a free Spiritual Warfare Handbook)
Jerry Schmoyer has been a minister in Pennsylvania for over 25 years and has worked with teenagers for 15 years, ever since I became one myself. He authors the weekly Time Out series here at Life in Student Ministry in hopes to spiritually refresh your soul as you continually pour so much of yourself into students. God bless!
Posted on May 3, 2010