READ: Ecclesiastes 1, Luke 20, Revelation 12
The devil on earth is like a man-eating shark that has thrust itself onto a crowded beach. Ferocious, deadly, powerful, but limited: not omnipresent and running out of oxygen. A fish cannot live on land. Revelation 12:12 assures us that though the devil comes against us in great wrath, “he knows his time is short.” The devil is a frantic shark; he knows he is doomed and thus in fury wants to destroy anyone within reach. The safest thing we can do then, the best way to overcome the devil, is to stay out of his vicinity and let him thrash himself to death. We do this by staying under and trusting in the blood of the lamb, by proclaiming the victory of Jesus, and by dying to death so we might live life.
Trusting. “They overcame him by the blood of the Lamb” (v. 11). Essentially we don’t overcome the devil; Jesus does. The great power encounters of God are not as minimal as healings, destruction of enemies, or miraculous provision. The majestic signs and wonders of God are these: Incarnation, Crucifixion, and Resurrection. This is where the cosmic battle is fought and won, and none of these encounters have anything to do with us. Jesus defeats the devil. We overcome by staying under the blood. Foolish is the one who goes to war with the devil. Wise is the one who shelters under the blood of Jesus. We trust Jesus to fight for us, to rebuke devils, and to triumph over evil.
Proclaiming. “They overcame him by the word of their testimony” (v. 11). The active participation required of us in battling the devil is our praise of Jesus. The devil is absolutely terrified at the presence of Jesus, so we chase the devil away by ushering the presence of Jesus in. When God’s people extol His name and ascribe worth to the Lamb, we are striking hammer blows onto Satan’s head, thrusting spears into his heart. We fight the devil by essentially ignoring him and magnifying Jesus. As we exalt and magnify Jesus, the devil shrivels up in frustrated agony. The proclamation of Jesus’ worth is all the more powerful when it costs us something. When we are sick or suffering, poor or abandoned, and continue to verbally proclaim Jesus, it is like we are dropping spiritual nuclear bombs in hell.
Dying. “They overcame him by not loving their lives unto death” (v. 11). Joseph Tson told his communist torturers: “Your supreme weapon is killing, my supreme weapon is dying.” When Christians die well, we hack off the dragon’s head. Physical death for the gospel is only efficacious if it is built on a life of dying to self. When we deny ourselves, we confess our Lord. When we hold Jesus more precious than life itself, we become a powerful threat to the devil. He often tries to remove us from this earth but only succeeds in promoting us to glory. It is good to go home.