The enemy wants to trap you, steal your property and destroy your giftings. Stand firm, resist and he will flee.
“Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is within you, whom you have [received as a gift] from God, and that you are not your own [property]?” (1 Corinthians 6:19)
There was once a woman who had some property to sell. The property was good and had been well taken care of. An influential politician was extremely interested in the property and was prepared to stop at nothing to acquire it. Upon meeting the woman to discuss a sale, the politician showed no interest in her whatsoever, refusing to shake her hand or even look her in the eye. He ignored her presence and spoke over the top of her. She knew she meant nothing to him but could not understand why her property seemed so significant to him. He knew something she didn’t. That the property was far more valuable than she thought.
In his eagerness to acquire it, the politician insisted that she meet him and his representative to sign over the property. They demanded that she attended the meeting at a secret location without representation of her own. Given the powerful position of the politician, it was deemed unnecessary for her to need any witnesses or legal representation.
She was led to a remote location to finalize the deal and noticed that doors were being sealed behind her. The politician’s representative assured her that this was for security reasons, given the high profile of the politician. She was repeatedly assured that these unusual steps were not being taken on her account, for she was of no significance, but on account of the prominent politician. Finally, on entering a dark room, the woman realized that the goal of the politician was in fact to ensnare her, to steal her property and then to dispense with her altogether! She turned and fled, running as fast as she could until she was safely out in the light once more.
As she fled, she was aware of God speaking to her with three clear messages:
“You are not your own property. You belong to Me and have been bought with the highest price. You are far more significant and valuable than you realize”
”The enemy wants to trap you, steal your property and destroy your giftings. Stand firm, resist and he will flee.”
“The enemy wants you without representation. He wants to lure you away from Jesus your Advocate.”
Just like the woman in the parable, we all often fail to see that we are far more significant than we realize, and that our ‘property’ is extremely valuable. By “property” I don’t mean your house or car or anything else you own, but you! 1 Corinthians 6: 19-20 explains:
“Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is within you, whom you have [received as a gift] from God, and that you are not your own [property]? You were bought with a price [you were actually purchased with the precious blood of Jesus and made His own]. So then, honor and glorify God with your body.” (1 Corinthians 6: 19-20, Amplified Bible)
We are God’s cherished property! Not in the sense that he owns and controls us as one might a car or a pet, but in the sense that he has assumed responsibility for us (if we have offered our lives to him). We are part of his eternal family, his heirs and heiresses. He has set us free from the laws of sin and death and has adopted us into his eternal family forever. You and I are so valuable to God that he came to die in our place, paying the ultimate price for us. As a result, we belong to him and his Holy Spirit lives in us, as we see in the passage above.
This is true for every Christian. Some of us tend to think less of ourselves than we should. We underestimate our value, not just here in the world but in God’s eternal plan! Jesus repeatedly demonstrated through his teaching and interactions that every person is of intrinsic value to God, planned and meant to be, with an eternal purpose and destiny.
As Pierre Teilhard de Chardin once said, we are not human beings having a spiritual experience, but rather spiritual beings having a human experience. The spiritual realm is where we will see who we really are! You and I are not just physical entities struggling with the daily grind here on earth, but glorious eternal beings who bear the image of God! As C. S. Lewis said, you have never talked with a mere mortal! It is so easy to forget this on our earthly walk. Our enemy, who knows our true worth and sees what we will become, will do everything he can to convince us that we lack worth and hold no significance whatsoever. He will do all he can to keep us low, to take us out, to convince us that we are nobodies. He often uses people to accomplish this, even Christians or those we call family! Why? Because his goal is to rob us of the abundant life God planned for us.
Jesus described him as a thief:
“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” (John 10:10)
The thief’s work abounds in our world. Suicide rates have increased alarmingly along with depression and loneliness. There is a war on for our souls. We might mean nothing to him, as the woman in the story above meant nothing to the politician, but our “property”, our very souls, our eternal salvation means everything. The last thing our enemy wants is for souls to be saved, encouraged and set free. So many unwittingly assist him in his work in our world today. For this reason, 1 Peter 5: 8 says
“Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.”
His goal is to trap you into believing that you are worth nothing and to steal the joy, the gifts and the life God intended for you. Yet the Bible promises that if you stand firm, he will flee.
“Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.” (James 4:7)
Are you trapped by feelings of worthlessness or loneliness? Have your dreams been stolen? Be aware of the spiritual realm. Be aware that your soul is precious and there is one seeking to keep you down. And be aware that our God has the victory over it all.
1 Corinthians 15: 57 says, “..thanks be to God, who gives us the victory [as conquerors] through our Lord Jesus Christ.”
And, 1 John 5: 4 “For everyone born of God overcomes the world. This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith.”
Read that again my friend. “Everyone born of God overcomes the world.” The world’s got nothing on you! That is a promise from God himself. The scripture does not say that everyone born of God might overcome the world. It is specific. If you are a Christ follower you will overcome, because your Father in heaven has already done that himself. If a father has already overcome an obstacle in his family’s life, the family don’t need to worry about it! You are a conqueror, not because of anything you can do, but because your Father in heaven conquered all! Recognize that and own it! The discouragers, the naysayers and those whom the enemy uses to reject you may not know who you are, but God does! And so should you! 1 John 4:4 declares that “He who is in you, is greater than he who is in the world.”
I once went through a situation with someone who wounded me emotionally several times within a short period of time. As a result, the perfectly together, confident woman that I was, became entrapped by feelings of rejection and worthlessness which caused me to question everything about myself and second guess all of my interactions with others. Finally, some prayer warrior friends prayed into this emotional wound. As I felt God’s power touch me, the toxic power of the lies I believed about myself disintegrated and blew away like dust! My heavenly Father, the conqueror, dealt with it and removed the sting of pain from my heart. The whole event lost its power over me and I was able to think of it without any strong emotion at all. I was totally free of the toxicity I had been feeling which had seeped into my soul and polluted every part of my being.
But the story doesn’t end there. The enemy, who is not a good loser, was not finished. Just a week after being set free, an opportunity arose with an enticing twist. I suddenly found that I was in a position to defend myself and rebuke the person who had so wounded me, when I was unexpectedly handed the power in the relationship. I almost took the bait, because I am still a work in progress and a fallen human who is working towards grace. My sinful nature lit up inside at the thought of retaliation, until my Father graciously stepped in and revealed to me that it was a trap.
Remember the third warning from the parable above?
“The enemy wants you without representation. He wants to lure you away from Jesus your Advocate.”
There are many ways in which the enemy wants to lure us away. In my case, the temptation to retaliate was the bait. Rather than pausing and taking time to bring it before my holy representative, I very nearly succumbed to the desire to strike back as I took my eyes off him for a moment. My hurt remained healed, but I grew an ugliness inside that felt delight at the thought of having some power over the person who had hurt me. The gift God had given me so nearly defiled.
Sin is ugly. Power is enticing. Thankfully, God spoke firmly to me and I was appalled when I realized how close I had come to stepping away from the One who had not only set me free, but been my own Advocate before the Father over the wrongdoing in my own life.
Jesus is our heavenly lawyer who has redeemed us, because our own sin is no less than those who sin against us! “O Lord, you are my lawyer! Plead my case! For you have redeemed my life.” (Lamentations 3: 58)
“My dear children, I write this to you so that you will not sin. But if anybody does sin, we have an advocate with the Father—Jesus Christ, the Righteous One.” (1 John 2: 1)
“And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate to be with you always, the Spirit of truth..” ( John 14:16-17)
How we need to remember our own sin and cling to our heavenly Advocate. How we need to bring everything before him and not allow ourselves to be lured away by the temptation of fleeting power, retaliation, or seemingly harmless actions. How we need to honour the gifts of healing and freedom he gives and not abuse his work in our lives and situations. Ephesians 4: 30-32 says it well:
“And do not bring sorrow to God’s Holy Spirit by the way you live. Remember, he has identified you as his own, guaranteeing that you will be saved on the day of redemption. Get rid of all bitterness, rage, anger, harsh words, and slander, as well as all types of evil behavior. Instead, be kind to each other, tender-hearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you.”
We must be on our guard not only against being trapped and enticed away by the power of sin, but also against naively wandering into enemy territory alone without others watching our back. Our enemy is a persuasive and influential liar, much like the politician in the parable. He not only lies about not needing our Advocate, but also whispers that we don’t need one another. Independence is fashionable right now, but God made us for community. Hebrews 3:13 says that we must “exhort” (urge, encourage and press) one another every day, so that we are not hardened by the deceitfulness of sin, (or, if I may add, foolishly drawn away).
Finally, as well as wanting you without representation, the enemy misrepresents himself, as the politician did in the story, proudly declaring that it was because of his own importance that the meeting with the woman should take place in a secret location, without the need for her to have a representative. The Bible says that Satan masquerades as an angel of light (2 Corinthians 11:14) and is full of pride and self importance (Isaiah 14: 12-15)
Has the enemy whispered that he is enough for you? Better than anything else you need? He is false. Any sense of power and security you get from a sinful path (a path that is contrary to God’s principles for living), is false. He has done his work well in a world where pride and self importance has affected every aspect of humanity, as traditional values are disintegrating, and people pursue power and independence in their quest to put self first.
There is power in Jesus, our Advocate’s name. There is power to overcome and dissolve any power that holds you. The power to forgive and set you free. The power to overcome any trap or temptation that has been set for you. The power to show you your true value because you have been bought and paid for with a very high price.
You are no mere mortal. You bear the image of God and belong to the King of kings. You are a royal, holy being, an incredible, beautiful spiritual being having a temporary human experience. You are a conqueror who belongs to a royal priesthood, a heavenly family where you are an heir with Jesus Christ himself and where you have been blessed with every spiritual blessing in Christ.
Prayer: Father forgive me for failing to see the value that you have given me. Thank you that I am so valuable that you paid the highest price possible for me by dying in my place, so that I could belong to your eternal family. Thank you that you have overcome the world and conquered all that would seek to entrap me or destroy me. Help me to stand firm and to resist the enemy, and never to defile the gift of grace and forgiveness you have given me. Help me to remember my true worth and to live a life that is honouring to you, my dear advocate and Lord. In Jesus Name, Amen.