“And if a man also strive for masteries, yet is he not crowned, except he strive lawfully.”
(II Timothy 2:5)
There is a common misconception among many Christians that if something happens than it “must have been the will of God.” But nothing could be farther from the truth! God’s eternal purpose will be fulfilled according to His Word, but His will, much of the time, is not.
God said in His Word that He is not willing that any should perish, and yet the majority of people will die and go to hell (Matthew 7:13-14). Why is this? It is important that we understand that Satan is the god of this world system (II Corinthians 4:4), and that he must be forced to relinquish authority. His mission is to steal, to kill and to destroy, and if he is not forcibly subdued, he will not stop; it is that simple.
“Well, what do you mean, brother?” “God is God!” “He is sovereign!”
Well, yes He is sovereign, but in His sovereignty He has delegated authority to us, His church (Luke 10:18-19, Mark 13:34). It is through faith that we subdue principalities and powers (demonic spirits), and it is through faith that we obtain God’s promises (Hebrews 11:33).
Jesus never said that it would be easy, but we must settle it deep in our hearts that we are going to persevere and win, no matter what the cost or how difficult things seem to get. He has called us to be soldiers, and has given us the earth to subdue for His purposes.
God sent Moses to the children of Israel to free them from the hand of Pharaoh, yet it was not an easy process for the Israelites. Satan attacked the Israelites at the time of Moses’ birth, laying upon them hard bondage (Exodus 1:8-14). But eighty years later, as soon as God began to move Moses into position, the enemy pulled out all the stops; if things were difficult before, they were now grueling and unbearable (Exodus 5:4-18). Satan knew that the time of their deliverance was at hand, and he made their lives a living hell in anticipation of the event. He did this to wear them out, and it worked. But was God responsible for these attacks? No, God sent Moses as a deliverer!
When Jesus was born, the Messiah had arrived; but there was anything but peace on earth as hundreds of babies and young children were slaughtered (Matthew 2:16-18). Did God “allow” this, or somehow condone it? Was this the will of God? No, my friend, but we must understand that we are in a battle, and we are deep in enemy territory.
Perhaps one of the most tragic but compelling examples of this principle can be found in our last century as Biblical prophecy continues to be fulfilled. God began gathering the Jewish people out of all the nations wherein they had been scattered for 2,000 years, and was calling them home to the land of Israel (Ezekiel 37:1-14, Luke 21:24). The nation of Israel was about to be reborn in fulfillment of scripture, but was this transition easy?
Satan knew about the promise of God throughout the scriptures and he would do everything possible to stop it from coming to pass. He would stir up a man named Adolf Hitler, and attempt to wipe the Jews off the face of the earth before God’s promise could come to pass. Satan failed in his attempt, but millions died in gas chambers and on the battlefield; the suffering was immeasurable.
We must not let the weariness of yesterday to keep us out of the promise of God for today. When things get difficult, and the pressure intense, we may ask ourselves, “What are we doing wrong?” But many times it is because we are doing something right! We must judge in our own hearts (I John 3:21).
Jesus cried out in the Garden of Gethsemane, “Father, if there be any other way!” (Matthew 26:39) But there was no other way; if there were another way, Jesus would have known it, and God would have simply “taken care of it,” like so many people think that He can just do.
We must understand that God Himself must operate in a “lawful” manner. Even the devil knows this, and that is why Jesus had to go to the cross.
The Lord spoke to me several years ago and said, “Did you know that there is no one in heaven or earth that is not subject to authority?” I asked Him how could that be, as the Father is greater than all, and He gives not account of any of His matters (John 10:29, Job 33:13). He said to me, “I have made myself accountable to my Word, and to my covenant!” (Psalm 138:2, Hebrews 6:13)
Someone might say, “But God’s not legalistic, He gives grace, and understands what I’m going through!” That’s true, but the devil is legalistic, and he will tear up everything that is not founded on the Word of God (Matthew 7:24-27); he will take advantage of every legal “loophole” to bring destruction and hardship.
God’s principles work to our advantage when we believe and do things according to His Word, but they become a curse to the wicked, and to those who are disobedient and stumble at the Word (I Peter 2:8). The scriptures declare that God cannot be mocked, and that whatsoever a man sows, he also will reap (Galatians 6:7).
As the nations of the earth are being shaken in preparation for the greatest event in the history of mankind (Hebrews 10:37), let us take refuge through faith on that which cannot be moved or shaken (Hebrews 12:26-28); our faith, firmly fixed upon the Promises of God!