Resisting to Bloodshed

Here’s the bad news: Satan is out to get you. To destroy you. He wants very much to rip away your salvation, to crush your spiritual potential, and to leave you empty and ruined by the wayside of life.

Here’s the good news: He can’t. You and I are safe in our Father’s hands. We are Christ’s sheep, and He promises, “My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of My Father’s hand” (John 10:29).

More bad news: Just because Satan can’t attack our salvation directly doesn’t mean he can’t convince us to give it up. After 6,000 years of antagonizing the human race, Satan has an impressive repertoire of ways to leave us distracted, discouraged, and disillusioned about the path we’re on. At every opportunity, he’s going to bombard us with everything he can to get us to walk away from God’s calling of our own accord. He wants us to be too tired, too focused elsewhere, too resentful, too doubtful, too bitter to continue seeking the Kingdom of God.

More good news: That’s a fight he can only win if we let him.

Last month, we went one week without eating leaven—a week designed to teach us about taking the sin out of our lives, about being aware of all the ways our adversary tries to sneak it in without us noticing, and about replacing that sin with God’s righteousness.

It’s also a week that teaches us about resisting.

Being aware of Satan’s tactics doesn’t make us impervious to them. The Bible is full of admonitions to actively oppose him. Peter warns, “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. Resist him, steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same sufferings are experienced by your brotherhood in the world” (1 Peter 5:8-9).

Resisting isn’t a passive thing. We don’t resist by simply “not giving in.” We resist by pushing back. Planting our feet on God’s truth and shoving our enemy backward.

Paul tells us, “Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places” (Ephesians 6:11-12). Wrestling doesn’t mean “sitting there and taking it.” It means grappling with our opponent and refusing to surrender. It means stepping onto the mat with every intention of winning.

Not that it’ll be easy. Not that we’re capable of winning that fight without God’s mercy and grace. This is a battle that requires us to always be on guard, “lest Satan should take advantage of us; for we are not ignorant of his devices” (2 Corinthians 2:11).

Quick physics question for you: Two empty, identical clay flower pots fall from two equally high ledges at the same exact moment (no doubt due to the shameless machinations of a cat). When they hit the ground, one pot shatters immediately while the other bounces off the ground.

Which pot hit the ground harder?

Common sense would suggest the first pot. After all, it hit the ground so hard that it shattered! But common sense would be wrong.

You’re probably familiar with Newton’s third law of motion: “For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction.” In our little flower pot scenario, that means that when the flower pots hit the ground, the ground hit back. As gravity did its work, the pots applied more and more force to the ground, which applied it right back to the pots. For the first pot, the stress was too much. It shattered, and both it and the ground stopped pushing so hard. But the pot that bounced actually absorbed (and applied) the most force—enough to bounce back into the air.

Satan would like to shatter you. He wants to break you like that flower pot—which means he’s going to ratchet up the pressure every chance he gets, hoping you’ll crack.

But here’s the thing: We only shatter if we give up. If we stop pushing back. And no one understands that better than Jesus Christ, who “was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin” (Hebrews 4:15). We can be certain that Satan used every weapon in his arsenal to take a swing at the Son of God, but none of it worked. Satan hit Jesus with everything he had, and Jesus pushed right back. Satan was standing in between Christ and His goal, and Christ refused to give in—which is why we in turn may “come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need” (Hebrews 4:16).

And we will have times of need. We’ll have moments where the battle is too much for us, when we falter and stumble—but through the grace and mercy of God, we can find the strength to get back on our feet and keep resisting.

For consider Him who endured such hostility from sinners against Himself, lest you become weary and discouraged in your souls. You have not yet resisted to bloodshed, striving against sin. And you have forgotten the exhortation which speaks to you as to sons:

“My son, do not despise the chastening of the Lord,
Nor be discouraged when you are rebuked by Him;
For whom the Lord loves He chastens,
And scourges every son whom He receives.”

If you endure chastening, God deals with you as with sons; for what son is there whom a father does not chasten?

(Hebrews 12:3-7)

We are the children of God. Our Father is shaping us in His perfect image, allowing us to endure the trials we need to build the character He requires in us. Meanwhile, our enemy is hoping those same trials will shatter us.

Resist.

Resist now; resist all the way to bloodshed if that’s what God allows. That’s what Christ did. He strove against sin until His last breath, paving the way for us and opening the door to salvation. Now He stands as our High Priest, sympathizing with our weaknesses and providing the strength we need as we journey toward the Kingdom.

In this life, Satan is never going to stop pushing.

Keep pushing back.

Until next time,
Jeremy

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