Above All Things!
This morning I felt the shiver of impending disaster. I am currently under attack by the enemy. While it is good to understand what is taking place we must not allow the problems of this world to infringe on the Glory of Christ Jesus. He must always be raised up above all else.
Note from Kip…
It’s not all wine and roses, folks.
Our enemy the devil will do all he can to derail us. If we are paying attention then we will be able to identify when he is doing it.
What Satan wants us to do is to panic and focus not on Jesus, but the problems. This accomplishes the one thing that he wants most, to distract us from Jesus and the guidance of our Lord and savior. If our eye is on our issues, then ‘the issue’ is our eyes.
What is first?
He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation.
For everything was created by him, in heaven and on earth, the visible and the invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities — all things have been created through him and for him.
He is before all things, and by him all things hold together.
He is also the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, so that he might come to have first place in everything.
For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, and through him to reconcile everything to himself, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross.
Colossians 1:15-20 (CSB)
Jesus is first
As a matter of fact, He also is last and in the middle.
“He is before all things, and by him all things hold together.” He is the reason we are here. He is the reason for our being. He is our head as we are His church. We are His body. Being in Him and He in us is above all things.
Satan will use anything within his grasp to attack us. These attacks are really His attempt to draw our focus away from Jesus.
When we are fixed on Christ, we are doing exactly what the enemy hates. He doesn’t want to see the believer placing their trust in Jesus. Just as sin is an abomination to God, devotion to God is the last thing that Satan wants to see.
The enemy’s reaction to our faith and trust in Jesus is to do all that he can to introduce doubt and fear.
Therefore, submit to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.
Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you.
Cleanse your hands, sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded.
James 4:7-10 (CSB)
How do we resist such an onslaught?
There are three elements that must be considered in this passage. Resistance is just the leading comment. If we expect to see the enemy flee, we have to pay attention to all of this
So often you see just verse seven quoted, but there is more to this resistance than the resistance it’s self.
Resistance: If we try to take on the devil in our own strength we are going to fail. While Satan isn’t all powerful, us standing alone without being fortified by the grace and power of Christ Jesus, does nothing more than simply present ourselves as a sitting duck for the Devil to pick off at random.
Remain in me, and I in you. Just as a branch is unable to produce fruit by itself unless it remains on the vine, neither can you unless you remain in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. The one who remains in me and I in him produces much fruit, because you can do nothing without me.
John 15:4-5 (CSB)
You, I, we do not have the power within us to stand against the attacks of the devil. We must be fully fitted with the armor of God and reliant on the power of Christ Jesus in our lives in order to overcome the enemy.
So if we try to go it alone without Jesus by our side we are defenseless and in horrible jeopardy of defeat. ‘You can do nothing without me‘ Jesus tells us!
Drawing near to God: Scripture and prayer are the quickest means to draw close to God. His Word is the vehicle by which He speaks most often.
Engaging in prayer and divulging those doubts and fears isn’t an exercise for God to be informed of our plight, it is our acknowledgement of our incapacity to disarm the enemy and realization that God is the only harbor of hope that we have.
The Lord knows our needs. Prayer simply tells Him we know the outcome is in His hands and not the enemy.
We know failure is going to be the result in our own strength. Praying and surrender of the problem to His provision, acknowledges His supreme authority in us and the situation.
For this reason God highly exalted him and gave him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee will bow — in heaven and on earth and under the earth — and every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
Philippians 2:9-11 (CSB)
‘Jesus Christ is Lord‘!
We throw that word Lord around so much that I think we forget what it means to declare Him Lord. The Lord is ‘the master’. Saying that Jesus is Lord states unequivocally that He has sovereignty over us. It acknowledges He has ‘all authority’.
Jesus came near and said to them, “All authority has been given to me in heaven and on earth.
Matthew 28:18 (CSB)
Drawing near to God involves acknowledgment of who we are and who God is. James tells us in addition to resisting by the power of Christ, we must draw near the Lord. Doing this involves so many things from placing complete faith and trust in Him, loving Him, loving others, surrender and obedience.
James also underscores another component of this, resistance.
Repentance: The very end of that passage James says, “Cleanse your hands, sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded“.
If we are feeling the barbs of the Devil inflicting damage to us, then there is a extremely high likelihood that we have strayed away from the path the Lord has put before us.
This could be any number of different things, but the point is Satan is relentless in his attacks upon God’s people. He HATES US! He hates what we stand for, who we serve, and everything we do to serve the King of Kings.
If we are feeling the attack then we have allowed him access past our armor. We have opened up a venerability through which he can lodge an arrow.
Cleansing of ourselves, our hearts and that wound is necessary. We do that by repenting. By saying,
“God, I have been wrong and not fully trusted you as my way point, I’ve managed to put myself in this position and I’m turning around and going to follow you. I hear your voice calling and I am responding!
Forgive me for taking my eyes off you and your Glory.
Expose any sin in my life and allow me to confess it to you Lord, for you are Lord and in you is life, the life I surrender to you”
It doesn’t required those exact words. The point is to acknowledge our failure to follow him for whatever reason that may be. Then turn away from it and commit to following Christ Jesus as Lord of your life.
When fully equipped with the Armor of God, we should be impervious to the attacks of Satan. If we are feeling the heat then there is little doubt that we have failed to be obedient in some manner and must end this double mindedness.
Then that devil will flee. Hope is restored, grace does it’s perfect work in us, as we rest the outcomes in the hands of our redeemer, master, and Lord.
I lift my eyes toward the mountains. Where will my help come from?
My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth.
He will not allow your foot to slip; your Protector will not slumber.
Indeed, the Protector of Israel does not slumber or sleep.
The Lord protects you; the Lord is a shelter right by your side.
The sun will not strike you by day or the moon by night.
The Lord will protect you from all harm; he will protect your life.
The Lord will protect your coming and going both now and forever.
Psalms 121 (CSB)
Always, always, always remember, ‘Greater is He that is in you, than He that is in the world!’
Jesus is Lord, He is “Above All Things“!