“The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet. The grace of our Lord Jesus be with you.” Romans 16:20
Do you ever feel like you just need a win? Like today would be the perfect day for something good to happen or even experience a minor victory? Me too! When we were growing up, they were too busy telling us life is not fair to remember to tell us life is hard. And it feels like the wrong team continues to win. I recently had a similar conversation with my teenage son about how it often feels like those who live sinful lifestyles seem to never get caught and life appears to be good for them. But, as I told him, in Psalm 37:7 we read, “Do not be agitated by the one who prospers in his way, by the man who carries out evil plans” because “evildoers will be destroyed” (v.9). We have to stay the course and continue to do what we know honors the Lord even if when it feels like everything around us is going backwards while the sinful flourish.
The peace and prosperity gospel has been bought by American culture, but, newsflash, it is contrary to what we find in God’s Word. 1 Peter 4:12-13 says, “Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice insofar as you share Christ’s sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when his glory is revealed” (ESV). Only one of Jesus’ disciples lived to reach an old age (John the beloved), while the others were all martyred for the gospel. John the Baptizer, and the cousin of Jesus, was beheaded. As believers in Christ, we are not immune to sufferings, bad days, heartaches, heartbreaks, and painful events in our lives. Yet our response should not be one of surprise and should not reflect the world around us. In fact, how we respond to such sufferings, trials, and challenges should spark questions from the unbelieving world around us.
“Why?” seems to be the initial response when hardships come–to believers and nonbelievers alike. It is easy to forget that there is more at play around us when life feels overwhelming. We get tunnel vision and lose sight that there may be something greater going on in the heavenlies around us and become hyper-focused on ourselves, our situations, and our needs and challenges. I am guilty of it. But God is so faithful and so gracious, kind, and loving. He never loses sight of where we each are as individuals while also maintaining His greater purposes and plans. God is beyond the constraints of time.
Spiritual warfare is raging all around us. The enemy of our souls knows that his time is drawing short. He knows he has lost the final war and so he is desperately stirring up as many battles as he can in an attempt to take out as many with him as he possibly can. His coming demise dates all the way back to the garden. In Genesis 3:15, God tells Satan exactly what will happen to him: “I will put hostility between you and the woman, and between your seed and her seed. He will strike your head, and you will strike his heel.”
Jesus put the nail in his coffin when He died on the cross and conquered death and the grave. And the time of his ultimate demise draws ever nearer. He is desperate and he wants to prevent as many as he can from coming to Christ by enticing them into sinful choices and selfishness. He wants to derail the believers from fulfilling their God-given purposes and try to make them fall into sin, (but not losing their salvation as we know are sealed by the Holy Spirit at the time of our salvation).
Praise God, He does not leave us defenseless in this onslaught of Satan. In Ephesians 6:10-18, we read of how we are strengthened by God’s might and outfitted with His battle armor: the belt of truth, the armor of righteousness over the chest, feet shod with the gospel of peace, the shield of faith, the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit (God’s Word). And then Paul says to pray at all times, in every situation, and remain alert in it. God has provided everything we need to fight the spiritual battles around us and He goes with us into battle. Brothers and sisters in Christ, we can stand firm! Satan does not need to have one more moment of victory over us and we need not live one more second in a cycle of defeat. God in Christ Jesus is victorious.
When we are having those moments, or seasons, when life feels harder than it should and everyone else seems to be winning, remember that Jesus Himself said, “You will have suffering in this world. Be courageous! I have conquered the world” (John 16:33). No longer do we need to be surprised or caught off guard by our trials, disappointments, challenges, or sufferings because we have hope. In this world of bleak and dismal news, we can cling to the hope that the God of peace will soon crush Satan.
God is faithful to fulfill His promises, for He keeps every single one–always has and always will. I love that Paul referenced God’s peace as he describes the coming defeat of Satan. God brings us peace and healing in the midst of a world gone awry. Everything around us can feel so out of control but God is still in control. And He offers us His peace and His deliverance from the enemy of our souls. Lean into His hope, His peace, and His strength today. He will gird us up for battle and will hold us up when we feel like toppling over. Because our God is victorious, so are we!