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(Part 9)


One of the main aspects of the book of Job is the reality of spiritual warfare. Satan opposes what is of God, and desires to oppress those who are faithful to God.

It is a reality that “the whole world is under the power of the evil one” (1 Jn 5:19b). Just look at how widespread and deeply-rooted the darkness and evil in the world are. And so it is that Satan came to God “from roaming the earth and patrolling it” (Job 1:7b,2:2b). He saw Job, who was “blameless and upright, fearing God and avoiding evil” (Job 1:8b). Such a one was a constant threat to Satan’s dominion of sin and evil. Job then became a target of his attack.

This spiritual warfare is basically between God and Satan. But we are enmeshed in the conflict, whether as forces on either side, or as innocent non-combatants. This war is raging in the heavens and on earth. It is a war for the hearts and souls of men.

Just as Satan’s intent is to oppose anything that is of God, God’s intent is to bring man back to Himself, and ultimately to bring Him to eternal life in heaven. In this, God will accomplish His purpose, using human instruments to do His will. As we respond to His call to be those instruments, then we automatically become enmeshed in spiritual warfare.

Now here is an important reality: God has already won the victory. Jesus broke the hold of Satan by the shedding of his blood on the cross. Jesus, the offspring of Mary, already struck a mortal blow to the head of the serpent (Gen 3:15). But in his death throes, Satan is even more dangerous, as he desperately rages to bring as many as he can to perdition. “But woe to you, earth and sea, for the Devil has come down to you in great fury, for he knows he has but a short time.” (Rev 12:12b).

God is victorious, but at times we seem to be defeated by the enemy. We can already live a victorious Christian life, but there will be times when we will seemingly wallow in defeat, oppression, affliction, hopelessness, helplessness, pain and suffering. This is part of the inscrutable ways of an Almighty God.

Why do such negative aspects of life happen?

First, just like in the case of Job, God does allow Satan to afflict us. But in doing so, God is still in control (Job 1:12,2:6). This is the same case with Jesus. God allowed His own Son to suffer and die. For what purpose? For the mystery of redemption.

Second, God does defend us, but allows us to be defeated, at least temporarily. This is His way of testing our perseverance and persistence, our endurance and doggedness. As we pass each test, God is able to field us into more intense areas of combat.

What is God’s goal in forming us? In spiritual warfare, God seeks unquestioning loyalty and obedience from His soldiers. God desires that we become pure instruments, to be used by Him as He wills, in any way and in every circumstance. God desires to purify us so that the very power of the Holy Spirit can be infused in us and used effectively to overcome the enemy.

As such, we have various virtues to learn and live out.

One, total surrender to God. Our lives belong to God. We must allow God to direct us in the way we are to go.

Two, faithfulness and obedience to our covenant. God has already shown us the way. We must live out our covenant to the fullest. What the Commander-in-Chief says, the army must follow.

Three, unquestioning loyalty that accepts the sufferance of injustice in the world. We do not serve God because of what we can get out of it. We do not stop serving God when it seems we are being unjustly treated and there is no respite. We serve God simply because it is the right thing to do. When Job lost everything, he said, “Naked I came forth from my mother’s womb, and naked shall I go back again. The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord!” (Job 1:21). When next Satan smote him with severe boils all over his body, Job said, “We accept good things from God; and should we not accept evil?” (Job 2:10b).

Four, love for others, including human enemies. Our only enemy is Satan. Those humans who are enemies of God in the world are lost souls, whom we must desire to bring out of the dominion of Satan.

Because CFC-FFL is an evangelistic and missionary community, we are automatically engaged in spiritual warfare. The forces of the enemy are formidable, but we know we are on the winning side. “They will fight with the Lamb, but the Lamb will conquer them, for he is Lord of lords and king of kings, and those with him are called, chosen, and faithful.” (Rev 17:14).

We in CFC-FFL have been called and chosen. If we are also faithful, then we will fully share in the victory of our Lord. But victory is not the only thing we will share in. There too is seeming defeat, as when Jesus hung crucified on the cross, as when Job sat among the ashes with his great suffering.

Know this: when we are afflicted for serving God in this war, then we are on the right track. We are merely facing a formidable enemy, and reaping his deadly blows.

Onward to victory, Christian soldiers!

(December 14, 2009)

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