Breaking the Enemy’s Power
By A.W. Tozer
To be more than a conqueror means that we may have such complete victory that it will eventually break the adversary’s power. It will not only defend us from his attacks but effectively weaken and destroy his strength. This is one of the purposes of temptation.
We can work together with God in destroying evil. Of Joshua’s battles we read that “It was the Lord himself who hardened their hearts to wage war against Israel, so that he might destroy them totally” (Joshua 11:20). It was not enough for Israel to beat them off and be saved from their attacks. God wanted them exterminated.
In like manner, when God allows the enemy to appear in our lives, it is that we may do him irreparable and eternal injury, thus glorifying God! For this purpose, God frequently brings to light in our own lives evils that were concealed, not that they might crush us, but that we might put them out of the way. If not for their discovery and resistance, they might continue to be hidden and some day break out with fatal effectiveness. God allows them to be provoked into action in order to challenge our resistance and lead us into an aggressive and victorious advance against them.
When we find anything in our hearts and lives that seems to threaten our triumph or His work, let us remember this: God has allowed it to confront us so that in His name, we might forever put it aside and render it powerless to injure and oppose us again.
Are we thus fighting the good fight of faith? Are we resisting the devil and rising up for God against those who oppose God? Do we look upon our adversaries and obstacles as things that have come to crush us? Or do we see them as things to be put aside, things that will become tributary to our successes and our Master’s glory? If so, we will be “more than conquerors through Him who loved us.” Then, as Isaiah expressed it, “All who rage against you will surely be ashamed and disgraced; those who oppose you will be as nothing and perish. Though you search for your enemies, you will not find them. Those who wage war against you will be as nothing at all” (Isaiah 41:11-12).
To be more than a conqueror means also that we will have such a victory that the battle will bring us benefits and contribute to our own and the Master’s cause. It is possible, in a certain sense, to take our enemies as prisoners and make them fight in our ranks, or at least to do the menial work of our camp. Similarly, it is possible to get such good out of Satan’s assaults that he will actually, though unintentionally, become our ally. Then, to his eternal chagrin, he will find that he has actually been doing us some real service.
Doubtless, he thought that when he stirred up Pharaoh to murder the little Hebrew children, he was exterminating the race he so feared. But that act brought Moses into Pharaoh’s house and raised up a deliverer for Israel who would destroy Pharaoh. Surely that was being “more than conquerors!” Again, Satan overmatched himself when he instigated Haman to build his lofty gallows and then send forth the decree for Israel’s extermination. He had the misery of seeing Haman hang on those same gallows and Israel utterly delivered.
No doubt he put the Hebrew children into the blazing furnace and Daniel into the den of lions thinking he had destroyed the last remnant of godliness on the earth. But no, these heroes were “more than conquerors!” Not only did they escape their destroyer, but their deliverance led to Nebuchadnezzar’s proclamation that magnified the truth of God through the entire Babylonian empire. In a similar way, Darius was prompted to recognize God throughout all the regions of the still greater Persian empire.
Satan’s most audacious attempt was in the crucifixion of our Lord, and all hell, no doubt, held high jubilee on that dark afternoon when Jesus sank into death. But wait! The cross became the weapon by which Satan’s head was bruised and by which his kingdom will yet be exterminated. God makes him forge the very weapons of his own destruction and hurl thunderbolts that will fall back upon his own head. In like manner, we may thus turn his fiercest assaults to our own advantage and to the glory of our King!
Two things the Christian needs most are the power to believe and the power to suffer, and these two things can be taught to us by the enemy. Not until we are ready to sink beneath the pressure do we often learn the secret of triumph. The Lord lets the devil act as drill sergeant in His army, teaching His children the use of His spiritual weapons. You should, therefore, “consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance” (James 1:2-3).
This indeed is to be “more than conqueror”–learning lessons from the enemy that will fit us for his next assaults. Then we can meet them without fear of defeat. There are some things, though, that cannot be easily learned. Our spiritual senses seem to require the pressure of difficulty and suffering to awaken all their capacities and to constrain us to prove the full resources of heavenly grace. God’s school of faith is always trial, and His school of love is provocation and wrong.
Instead of murmuring against our lot and wondering why we are permitted to be so tried, let us glorify God and put our adversary to shame. This will wring a blessing from Satan’s hateful and hellish hostility, and we shall find after a while that the enemy will be glad to let us alone for his own sake, if not for ours.
This article may not be written by an Apostolic author, but it contains many excellent principles and concepts that can be adapted to most churches. As the old saying goes, “Eat the meat. Throw away the bones.”