One of the most amazing, astounding, perplexing and comforting scriptures is found in 1 John 4:4, “You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them [evil spirits], because the One who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world.” The “them” John is referencing impact our lives as injustices, hatred, dissention, selfishness and pride (just to name a few) – evil that also attacks us personally. But John states plainly, “If anyone acknowledges that Jesus is the Son of God, God lives in him and he in God.” (1 Jn 4:15) So, if God is in us through the Holy Spirit, and evil is on the outside of us, why does it so often feel like evil has the upper hand?
Satan was originally the archangel, Lucifer, whose beauty and pride had him proclaim that he would be like God. His heart-condition resulted in his expulsion from Heaven, along with his name change. Now, as then, his desire is to be God, and one of his methods is to counterfeit every good thing of God. Unfortunately, that includes the indwelling of people. Fortunately for believers in Christ, the Spirit of the Lord already occupies that space. So, his attack against believers often comes upon our minds, where he attempts to negatively influence our thoughts with lies that seem to be true.
Isaiah says of God in 26:3, “You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in You.” This requires intentionality on two levels that most of us miss. First, we must trust God (Proverbs 3:5-6); and then, we must be diligent in monitoring our thoughts so that what is not of God is not even entertained — taking captive our thoughts to make them obedient to Christ (2 Cor 10:5). Either of these endeavors is huge to the point of overwhelming by itself, much less tackling both. But, failure with either permits opportunistic evil to squeeze through cracks caused by the lies we’ve believed, wounds from our past, sin we’ve not addressed, and unforgiveness we’ve harbored for pain and offense. Attempting to address these issues on our own is more than difficult. It is impossible.
Ironically, this is actually the best news we could receive, because, “What is impossible for man is possible with God.” (Luke 18:27) We don’t have to beg Him to come and perform this HUGE work as He is already present, in us. He swings into action in His mighty power on our behalves when we cry out as David did, “Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.” (Ps 139:23-24) This is the work the Lord delights to do. He is faithful to expose those things He wants us to address, show us how to do it, and anoint us with His power for the job.
The incredible, mind-boggling revelation is that believers have a concealed-carry permit for a Power, Who is a Person, Who surpasses all known power, whether atomic, nuclear, or any force of nature. Do we truly grasp the grace of God to equip us with Himself? Do our daily attitudes and actions reflect that we are taking full advantage of it?