And the devil, who deceived them, was thrown into the lake of burning sulfur, where the beast and the false prophet had been thrown. They WILL be tormented day and night for ever and ever.
Ladies, I hope you’ve noticed our Heavenly focus every Friday. Each week, we’ve looked at the promises God has made…. The “I will” statements that He spoke throughout His Word. He is a faithful God, and He keeps His promises. Some of those promises, though, won’t be completely fulfilled until Jesus returns and claims His Bride. Just so we’re clear, that is US! So, we may live in a fallen world where sin and death reign temporarily. But, as our focus verse teaches, there WILL come a day when Jesus will come again, take back the authority temporarily given to Satan, and throw him into fire where he will be tormented for eternity. That’s cause for some Friday celebration. I can look forward to that day with joyful anticipation.
Every Friday, though, I aim to loudly and clearly share that we don’t have to wait for Heaven to live fully in the promises God has made about Heaven. 1 Peter 2:9 says that we ARE a royal priesthood and we HAVE BEEN called from darkness into light. We may live surrounded by darkness because of what the world seems to be right now. But, we do not have to live IN that darkness. God has called us into light.
In Acts 16, Paul and Silas were in prison. They’ve been beaten and chained for speaking about Jesus. Honestly, I can’t imagine the horrid conditions they were living in, the pain they were experiencing, or the cruelty they were receiving. But, Paul and Silas rejoiced. They sang hymns together and worshiped Jesus despite circumstances.
Why would they do this?
How could they celebrate?
I am completely confident in my answer, and I’m certain it is the answer we also must apply to our lives here and now. Paul and Silas could celebrate while being oppressed in every way, because they knew Jesus who IS freedom. They didn’t have to wait to BE free, because freedom resided IN them. Paul and Silas refused to live in frustration because of temporary conditions. They decided to live immediately in the future joy that had been promised. We can do that too.
The simple truth is that Jesus defeated every bit of sin and death on the cross. It is finished! However, we live in an in between time. We know Jesus won. But, Satan has been allowed to rule with temptation, sin, sickness, and death for a little while longer. The consequences can be so frustrating, painful, and defeating. Our determination to rest in Jesus and rise above these emotions could lead to unshakeable joy here and now.
Before you begin your day, please read Revelation 12, verses 1 through 10. Symbols and imagery abound, but I believe you’ll notice the victory of Jesus over the dragon (Satan) and the war that broke out in the heavenlies afterward. Verse 10 is one of my favorite verses, because it demonstrates that we get to participate in Christ’s victory. “He (the dragon) was defeated by the blood of the lamb AND the word of their testimony.” The eternal victory was won at the cross. Now, each and every time we cooperate with Jesus in the middle of this messy world, follow Him obediently to hope and healing, and TELL others about Christ’s work in our life, our testimony is a defeat to Satan. I’m just competitive enough to find great satisfaction in that.
So, hold on to Jesus for dear life, sister. Resist the urge to settle into defeat here and the feelings that you have to wait for Heaven to live in true victory. He WILL win the las battle, and He will guide you to victory in every battle leading up to it. He will do it, because He said so.
Further Reading: John 14:30; 1 Corinthians 15:57; Hebrew 2:14-15
Father God, We confess that we desperately need YOU to fill our hearts and lives completely. We desire victory in every day! We want to be like Paul and Silas who experienced joy and victory simply because they recognized that YOU chose to save, redeem, and restore them through the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus. As we wait for the day that You WILL return to take us home, we’re asking that you give us the strength to live like the champions we are IN YOU. Because You won the battle at the cross, we get to win in our daily challenges. Thank you for the provision of light in a dark world and victory even in our defeats.