As true Christians we are, or should be, striving to bring the Kingdom of God to the earth. As Christ said in Matthew 6:10, we should be praying at all times for the Kingdom of God to be a reality in the earth as it is in heaven, the spirit realm where God lives. He said: “Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven”. We Christians live in this prayer every moment of our lives, for those who can receive this. To that end, this article will discuss one aspect of this quest that is the defeat of the enemies that oppose its manifestation.
In Psalm 110:1-2 the psalmist David said: “The LORD says to my Lord: Sit at My right hand Until I make Your enemies a footstool for Your feet.” The LORD will stretch forth Your strong scepter from Zion, saying, “Rule in the midst of Your enemies.” He also said:”you shall rule them with a rod of iron, You shall shatter them like earthenware. ” (Psalm 2:9). These verses are, of course, allegorical to us as we war in the Spirit realm, not in the physical realm as David did in ancient Israel. As Paul said: “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places”. (Ephesians 6:10).
So who are these enemies and how do we defeat them. We defeat them with the Word of God. Paul said: “Therefore, take up the full armor of God, so that you will be able to resist in the evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm….And take THE HELMET OF SALVATION, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. (Ephesians 6:6:10, 17).
The Word of God is powerful and able to subdue the enemy.”For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart. And there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are open and laid bare to the eyes of Him with whom we have to do” (Hebrews 4:12-13). So ultimately we defeat the enemy by speaking and living in the Word of God because it can defeat any enemy. John, the beloved Apostle, said: “You are from God, little children, and have overcome them; because greater is He who is in you than he who is in the world” (1 John 4:4).
Sometimes in our daily battles, as we walk with Christ, we encounter difficulties and circumstances and many times we blame ourselves for how we act or react when in fact it is not us that is in the circumstance, but it is really the enemy. Jesus recognized this and expressed it in many parables as recorded in the gospels. In one such parable, the parable of the wheat and the tares, He said:
“The kingdom of heaven may be compared to a man who sowed good seed in his field. “But while his men were sleeping, his enemy came and sowed tares [a weed resembling wheat] among the wheat, and went away. “But when the wheat sprouted and bore grain, then the tares became evident also. “The slaves of the landowner came and said to him, ‘Sir, did you not sow good seed in your field? How [from where] then does it have tares?’ “And he said to them, ‘An enemy has done this!’ The slaves said to him, ‘Do you want us, then, to go and gather them up?’ “But he said, ‘No; for while you are gathering up the tares, you may uproot the wheat with them. ‘Allow both to grow together until the harvest; and in the time of the harvest I will say to the reapers, “First gather up the tares and bind them in bundles to burn them up; but gather the wheat into my barn.” (Matthew 13:24-30).
Many, who do not know the Lord, say how can God allow such evil to exist in the world if He is a loving and caring God? We must realize that, as far as we on earth are concerned, God only sows good seed. It is His (our) enemy that sows evil in the world. Why doesn’t God just destroy the evil? The answer is in the parable, above.
As a wise farmer, God realizes that if he were to set about to destroy the evil he might also destroy the good in the process. The reason for this goes back to the original sinned the Garden of Eden. Adam and Eve sinned and were banished to a world of futility. Because of their sin they inherited a nature that was at once both good and evil (remember they ate from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil). The two natures became hopelessly intermingled. There was no way to separate the two. As God has said: “The [human] heart is more deceitful than all else And is desperately sick; [wicked] Who can understand [know it] it?” (Jeremiah 17:9). This wickedness is the result of the fall. Only through the sacrifice of Christ on the cross are we delivered from this seemingly hopeless state of being.
But separating the natures is a process. Christ’s gift of complete salvation is a continually unfolding event. Although it was accomplished all at once on the cross, it is unfolding in our lives day by day. The evil is defeated incrementally as we walk with Christ and appropriate His provision. How do we defeat this evil that seems to exist in our lives?
The Apostle Paul recognized the sin (evil) that was in His nature and recognized that only Christ could banish it. As he states in Romans 7:”For what I am doing, I do not understand; for I am not practicing what I would like to do, but I am doing the very thing I hate…. For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh; for the willing is present in me, but the doing of the good is not. For the good that I want, I do not do, but I practice the very evil that I do not want. But if I am doing the very thing I do not want, I am no longer the one doing it, but sin which dwells in me. I find then the principle [law] that evil is present in me, the one who wants to do good” (Romans 7:15, 18-21). If God were to have set about to instantly destroy the evil present in Paul he would have had to destroy Paul in the process.
Paul correctly concluded: “Wretched man that I am! Who will set me free from this body of death? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, on the one hand I myself with my mind am serving the law of God, but on the other, with my flesh the law of sin” (Romans 7:24-25).
How then do we vanquish the evil present in all of us. It is through the gift of Jesus Christ but there are keys to fully appropriate His provision. Christ said: “But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you” (Matthew 6:33). We must first, before anything else, seek God and His righteousness and we will receive.
Christ’s many “parables of the Kingdom” illustrate this principle. In response to his disciple’s request of Him on how to pray Jesus said: “So I say to you, ask [keep asking], and it will be given to you; seek, [keep seeking] and you will find; knock, [keep knocking] and it will be opened to you. “For everyone who asks, receives; and he who seeks, finds; and to him who knocks, it will be opened”.
The parable from which this instruction is drawn is Christ’s response to the disciples question ‘Lord teach us to pray’ (Luke 11:1). Christ’s response includes the very important principle of perseverance. He says: “ Then He said to them, “Suppose one of you has a friend, and goes to him at midnight and says to him, ‘Friend, lend me three loaves; for a friend of mine has come to me from a journey, and I have nothing to set before him’; and from inside he answers and says, ‘Do not bother me; the door has already been shut and my children and I are in bed; I cannot get up and give you anything.’ “I tell you, even though he will not get up and give him anything because he is his friend, yet because of his persistence [some translations use shamelessness] he will get up and give him as much as he needs”(Luke 11:5-8).
Does it sometimes seem as if the heavens are closed to your prayer? We pray and pray and do not seem to receive. Christ’s answer is always “keep praying, keep seeking, keep on knocking”; because of your audacious persistence you will eventually receive what you are seeking. The word “shamelessness” is used as a synonym for perseverance since we sometimes must become shameless in our seeking. We are not concerned about how we look or what others think. As foolish as we may look we keep seeking. We will receive in the end.
Christ said: “Now suppose one of you fathers is asked by his son for a fish; he will not give him a snake instead of a fish, will he? “Or if he is asked for an egg, he will not give him a scorpion, will he? “If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask (and keep on asking) Him?” (Luke 11:11-13).
Jesus said to follow Him no matter the cost. “And He summoned the crowd with His disciples, and said to them, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me. For whoever wishes to save his life [soul] will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake and the gospel’s will save it” (Mark 8:34-35; Matthew 16:24; John 12:26). Many will say “but Lord I cannot follow you because my father just died and I must bury him or they will have some other plausible reason not to leave all. To these Jesus’ response is: “Another of the disciples said to Him, “Lord, permit me first to go and bury my father.” But Jesus said to him, “Follow Me, and allow the dead to bury their own dead” (Matthew 8:21-22).
If we want to receive from Him, and rule in the midst of our many enemies, there is NO plausible excuse. The Kingdom of God is not comprised of the politically correct or those who recognize human obligations before Him. It is comprised of seekers who receive because of their utter shamelessness and their hunger for Him and His righteousness. This is the key to the defeat of every enemy of the Kingdom, of which there are many. Sometimes the enemy comes from outside ourselves but more often we are our own worst enemies. Despite what we may consider our shortcomings, our human condition of sickness or sadness or grief, our instructions are so simple a “fool could not err therein”. Seek Him and thereby, through Him, you will make even your worst enemies a footstool for His and your feet. You will ultimately prevail.