More than vengeance - More than conquerors!
Continuing on with our past two devotions, overcoming and vengeance, I have one more thing to add.
When you overcome, not only do you take vengeance on the demon that had you bound, but you overcome an entire team or class of demons. The affect of this is that others are also set free. You have acquired spiritual authority to set others free. You may not even see this in your lifetime. We have personally experienced this, and have seen people on the other side of the world set free, people with whom we never had very much contact.
Notice the result after all the tribulation in the Book of Revelation is spiritual authority and the healing of nations (or Gentiles, i.e. the unsaved).
"Then I saw an angel coming down from heaven, having the key to the bottomless pit and a great chain in his hand. He laid hold of the dragon, that serpent of old, who is the Devil and Satan, and bound him for a thousand years; and he cast him into the bottomless pit, and shut him up, and set a seal on him, so that he should deceive the nations (Gentiles or unsaved) no more till the thousand years were finished. But after these things he must be released for a little while" (Revelation 20:1-3).
"And he showed me a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding from the throne of God and of the Lamb. In the middle of its street, and on either side of the river, was the tree of life, which bore twelve fruits, each tree yielding its fruit every month. The leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations(Gentiles or unsaved)" (Revelation 22:1,2).
Jesus defeated Satan at the Cross, but now it is up to us to administer that defeat and finalize it. "His intent was that now, through the church, the manifold wisdom of God should be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly realms" (Ephesians 3:10).
Our suffering has to do with finalizing that defeat on Satan. "Now I rejoice in what was suffered for you, and I fill up in my flesh what is still lacking in regard to Christ's afflictions, for the sake of his body, which is the church" (Colossians 1:24).
Our share of His suffering is not the same as His share, but ours is nevertheless redemptive. There is still something lacking in His suffering regarding men and women who are still in bondage. Jesus has done His part; He was the only one qualified to suffer for our salvation. However, there is still something lacking in His suffering regarding men and women who are still in bondage. There is a human part to be done, and it consists of more than just saying prayers.
Our suffering is not the real thing; it is only the shadow of the real thing. Psalm 23 calls it the valley of the shadow of death. Shadows cant hurt, but they can cause fear. Psalm 23 goes on to say that we need not fear for He is with us, and that this path is the path of righteousness chosen by God and not by Satan. It says further that our table is spread in the presence of our enemy, we are anointed of God and our cup runs over for the blessing of others. I am not diminishing the fact that some go through some pretty terrible things in life and that suffering is not painful and real. I am simply saying that Jesus took our suffering. He suffered for us so that we would not have to take the full force of it.
Why is our suffering not the real thing? Look at Revelation Chapters 4 and 5. At the throne, John saw the Lamb who was the only one worthy to take the Scroll, which Zechariah describes as the curse (Zechariah 5:3). Then the Scroll unrolls and explosions take place (the catastrophes in the Book of Revelation). We feel the shadow of our curses, the explosions, and they feel like the real thing. But the Lamb is holding the Scroll and the explosions hit Him. When we shine the light into the shadow, we see the Lamb bleeding for our curse and saying to us, "Will you accept the shadow of this as the key to unlock the prisons for those who are bound? I promise it will not hurt you. Will you do this for Me?"
Jesus became poor so we could be rich. Yet look at the poor people in your realm of influence. Someone has to accept the shadow of being poor as the final key to unlock his or her prison.
Suffering gives us authority for ministry. "Blessed is the man who endures temptation; for when he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him" (James 1:12). "Crowns" stand for authority. "Life" is what we are dispensing to the lost world. We gain the authority to bring the lost to God.
Perhaps we could name this teaching "Saved by a Shadow."
When I experience this type of suffering, I am truly content and at peace (most of the time) because His presence is heavier during this time than ever before. There is something about going through this and then hearing His heart of love toward people that comforts me and makes me know not to be afraid no matter what happens. After all, we only have a few more years to be poor, but those people who do not get saved, well