Going On The Offensive With The Enemy
There are things that are God's responsibility and then there are things that are our responsibility. Salvation for instance - there is a man side to salvation and there is God's side to salvation. We cannot do what God can do; we can only do what we can do, but we do have a responsibility.
Many churches teach that whatever happens to you in life is God's sovereignty and God's preordained plan; whatever happens to you is God's plan. That sounds really beautiful, but it is absolutely false. The Bible is very clear that there is an enemy who is opposing Christians and the Christians have a responsibility to pray.
If God could do everything on His own, why would He instruct us in Matthew 6 how to pray? He tells us to pray that His will be done on earth as it is in heaven. If He could do it on His own why would we need to pray?
There are some things that we can stop and change - and we should. There are some things that you will never stop. If you think you can live in this world without any opposition from the devil, you're wrong. John 16:33 says, "In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world." It would be useless to pray against it. Notice in this verse He says, "take courage for I have overcome the world." That implies that His victory is our victory.
The problem is people get discouraged because of challenges. Challenges are there and I don't welcome them, but you may as well get used to it. Paul said this, "the Holy Spirit tells me that in every city I go, bonds and chains await me." What if Paul would have gotten disenchanted because of opposition? Instead, He kind of just settled in an said, well that's just life.
Deuteronomy the 28th chapter is the chapter where the Lord gave the the curses and the blessings. You'll find from these verses that it is not up to God. He turned responsibility over to mankind.
Deuteronomy 28:1 - "Now it shall be, IF you diligently obey the Lord your God, being careful to do all His commandments which I command you today, (then) the Lord your God will set you high above all the nations of the earth."
Do you know what an "if - then" statement is? They're not just automatic. He's saying if you do this...then I will do this. And it wouldn't do an injustice to say, if not, then not. Let's look at verse 7.
Deuteronomy 28:7 -"The Lord shall cause your enemies who rise up against you to be defeated before you; they will come out against you one way and will flee before you seven ways."
This verse says you will have enemies that rise up against you. Now, is He talking to His own people here? Is He talking to the people He just said He was going to bless? Yes. He said your enemies will rise up against you but the Lord will cause them to be defeated before you. We're not exempt from the enemy's tactics or advances but we are exempt from letting him win and we need to take the offensive.
Acts 13:1-2 - "Now there were at Antioch, in the church that was there, prophets and teachers: Barnabas, and Simeon who was called Niger, and Lucius of Cyrene, and Manaen who had been brought up with Herod the tetrarch, and Saul. 2 While they were ministering to the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, " Set apart for Me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them."
I want to focus on "While they were ministering to the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said." How do you minister to the Lord? By worshipping Him, communing your spirit with His Spirit. The more you minister to Him, the more He can minister to you. These men men knew that. Notice that it also says and fasted. Fasting is part of the Bible and sometimes it's necessary.
This is part of going on the offensive. If you do nothing, nothing will be done. The devil will continue to beat you for the rest of your life as long as you let him. You have to eventually get up and do something.
You can't just sit back and expect everything to go good. It's kind of like my waistline - I keep hoping it will go away, but it's not. It keeps hanging on there every single week. There has to come a point where you get so tired of it, you finally do something about it.
Things won't happen in your life just because God wants them to. They happen when we line ourselves up properly to the Word and Will of God.