READ: Job 34-36, Psalm 11, John 4, Revelation 12

OUTLASTING THE DEVIL

One of the best ways to defeat your enemies is to outlive them. Enemies have a way of self-destructing if you give them enough time–time is always on the side of the righteous. The good news is that we will be standing long after our common enemy and accuser has been thrown into the pit. Revelation 12 reminds us that the devil is both a deceiver and an accuser. Because he knows his time is short, his wrath is great (v. 12).

The devil has no patience because he has limited time. The devil knows that Jesus has won, and thus in a frenzied despair he tries to destroy as many as possible. I picture it as a one-breath frenzy. God has thrown the devil into the deep end of the cosmos’ swimming pool, and he has one breath to do damage. The implication is then that by our patience, we possess our souls. In that frantic death shake, the devil does not have time for long engagements with us. When we hold steady against his lies and attacks, he is compelled to move on to someone more vulnerable. As soon as the devil sees we are not yielding to his accusations and temptations, he despairs and moves on. For sure, he cycles back at a more opportune time, and the battle is rejoined, but one of our surest defenses against a foe stronger than us is to remind him we are protected by a God stronger than he. We do not take lightly this death attack (for it is fierce), yet we know we can outlast it if we hold steady.

Rather than fleeing trouble, we stand against it. “In the Lord, I put my trust, How can you say to my soul flee” (Psalm 11:1)? When we flee in the face of adversity, we put others at risk for we leave vulnerable ones exposed. We need to stand in the gap, slam our Shepherd’s staff down on the bridge like Gandalf, and shout: “YOU SHALL NOT PASS!” When we resist the enemy (outlast him), we save not only ourselves, we save our little ones. Patience is a primary weapon, and patience is not passive. It is impossible to defeat a foe who will not quit, who can endure abuse, who absorbs punishment knowing that every received blow drains the limited supply of the attacker. We stand there, actively absorbing whatever is launched against us, because God has let us understand the arsenal of evil is limited and cannot be replenished. Every dart the enemy throws at us extinguishes a little more of his own life. The more we can absorb, the less he has to hurl at others. What a wonder that our suffering then is a gift to our brothers and sisters around the world.

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