Preparing for Heaven

Building the Eternal Phase of Your Life

Stand Up to the Devil at One Another's Side

by Dick Wulf | Course Three

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God wants us to know that we must face Satan together, not alone. The devil’s original design in the Garden of Eden was to separate Adam and Eve to weaken the strength God placed in them if they would work together.

Adam and Eve forgot that even when they were perfect, they needed to help one another. When the devil showed up as a serpent, he divided them, speaking only to Eve, hoping that the first two humans would forget that God made them strong only together, only with each other’s help. Unfortunately, they forgot and could not resist Satan.

Today, being sinful rather than perfect, we are definitely not adequate to confront Satan alone. Let us remember humankind’s greatest defeat and make certain that we face off against the devil together.

Note that James 4:7 is in the plural, recognizing our design by God to best be able to face Satan only with other Christians. “Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.”

We might think of resisting as passive, but the online Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines it as: “(1) to fight against (something); to try to stop or prevent (something) and (2) to remain strong against the force or effect of (something); to not be affected or harmed by (something)”.

All of these definitions seem to apply. Resisting must be deliberate, strong, and assertive. It is a power encounter against Satan.

This is something we do together, especially in our closest Christian relationships. Jesus is there! When we are in our “two and three together with Jesus” groups, Jesus promises to be with us. Think about it. Envision two or three of us standing up to the devil at one another’s side. What does Satan see? The devil who is spirit, even though evil, is not hindered by this material world and sees more than just the two or three of us. He sees Jesus with us!

So, if we first submit ourselves to God, then when we meet we will do so in the name and authority of Jesus. That sets the stage for bringing Jesus into the confrontation to stand up to Satan at one another’s side. It is bringing Jesus into the fray that sends the evil one fleeing.

Submitting to God also means obeying Scripture. Therefore, in our Christian friendship groups, our Christian families, and our Christian marriages, with Jesus present, we are ready to confront Satan. Then we implement the Scriptures categorized by various Togethers as they fit the situation. The Togethers are ways to defeat Satan in one way or another, at one time or another.

As the Army of God, some Togethers give specific instructions on methods of warfare. This Together to stand up to the devil by one another’s side simply points out the absolute necessity of resisting Satan and attacking the gates of hell together.

In context as well as in the original Greek, we must understand 1 Peter 5:8-9 to be in the plural. Who alone would be foolish enough to face the evil one if she or he could help it? Individualistic Christianity is not only an oxymoron, it is dangerous! Here is 1 Peter 5:8-9: “Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. Resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same kinds of suffering are being experienced by your brotherhood throughout the world.”

Regarding Satan prowling like a roaring, hungry lion wanting to kill and eat us, we must be wary and on the watch. The devil cannot take our eternal lives from us, so fear of that has no place in our faith. However, out of the context of death, it seems that it is wise to be seriously concerned about how Satan can afflict us. Being apprehensive of the devil should make us stand together defensively as well as attack together offensively. Corporately, we find the strength to be unafraid.

Some of us reduce the danger from Satan because we lead sheltered lives, shielded from the pain in the world. A life confined to the pleasantries of church participation and fun recreational pursuits is hardly what we have been called to in Christ. Here is what God has to say to us in this matter through the writing of the Apostle Paul in Phil 1:27-30: “Only let your manner of life be worthy of the gospel of Christ, so that whether I come and see you or am absent, I may hear of you that you are standing firm in one spirit, with one mind striving side by side for the faith of the gospel, and not frightened in anything by your opponents. This is a clear sign to them of their destruction, but of your salvation, and that from God. For it has been granted to you that for the sake of Christ you should not only believe in him but also suffer for his sake, engaged in the same conflict that you saw I had and now hear that I still have.”

Lest we limit our warfare to fighting against the evil we can see all around us, let’s open our spiritual perception to the evil forces behind visible evil. Ephesians 6 cannot be taken to mean these enemies are hiding only in less-sophisticated countries. They are here too. We must become more aware of their presence and danger.

The main Bible passage letting us know of the variety of spiritual forces behind evil is Eph 6:10-12.

“Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.”

Here in the Western world Satan has become more subtle, and it causes us to take him far less seriously. In other parts of the world, evil supernaturalism manifests itself in openly demonic ways. Witch doctors really do heal. People there recognize the obvious powers of evil spiritual forces. Missionaries talk about the importance of power encounters before sharing the knowledge of the Bible because people first want to know if our power is superior to the spiritual powers they see in their cultures.

Throughout the Bible we see irrefutable evidence of the existence of evil supernatural powers and demons. Do we think that these evil spiritual beings disappeared? They are still around and they must be confronted. They are all extensions of Satan and must be resisted in the power we have from our relationship with God.

Behind the evil that surrounds us are strong, unseen, vicious spirits. Might that person in our extended family battling with drug abuse be a victim of demonic involvement – a real, evil spirit coaxing him or her on? If so, we must resist that evil power by the love of Jesus Christ and treat the person as not totally responsible. That person needs the soldiers of Jesus, submitted to God, standing with Christ in their midst, releasing the power of God on that person’s behalf in prayer and loving actions.

Christians must remember that our enemy is Satan, along with his evil forces. The humans who are their victims are not our enemies, even if they treat us horribly. This helps us not to judge people because we remember that there are evil, shadowy figures urging them to do wrong things. Then, we can roll up our sleeves and attempt to be of help to someone off the path of righteousness, while at the same time challenging through prayer and the armor of God the dark proponents of their misbehavior.

There are a few times in each Christian’s life when we face intense evil. During those attacks, it is critical that we each are totally surrounded by close, committed Christians who are submitted to God. There we can safely pray, stand up to the devil with others and cast him out of the situation. Because Satan is behind all evil, casting him, his demonic servants, and his influence out of each other’s problems is both appropriate and wise. And we should enjoy the fight and the conquest.

Resisting the devil and his minions, fighting against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places, stopping or preventing evil which is powered by God’s enemies, and remaining strong might seem way over our heads. And, it certainly is.

But we have help! Jesus has all authority over everything in heaven and earth, including Satan and all of his evil supernatural fallen angels. But, pay attention to this: our Lord who has absolute authority over heaven and earth delegates authority over Satan’s power to us! When He sent out 72 followers, He said to them, “I have given you authority to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall hurt you.”

Since we have been given authority over the power of the enemy, we do not need to be frightened. In having been given power to take authority over evil supernaturalism, when we utilize that authority together, we lean heavily on truth from the Bible and prayer.

Hopefully we have all understood the great importance of listening prayer. By this is meant that we recognize Jesus in our midst and ask Him what He wants. Then we patiently listen for Him to speak to our spirits, not with sounds our ears can hear, but with new or somewhat conceived convictions that, of course, will be consistent with biblical truth. After that, it is out to battle with one another at our side and our Lord with us to destroy the works of the devil.

In heaven, there will be no devil or evil to confront, but it is logical to suppose that there will be benefits to having done so before death. By standing up to the devil with those in our Christian Inner Circles, we are more fully recognizing the existence of the devil and the evil spirit powers under his control. That in turn will enable us to more clearly sense heaven’s lack of such evil beings. Think of the relief we will feel. Think of the victory we will celebrate. Think of the peace that will flood over us.

Have we ever had to go to a party, wedding or other social event where we dreaded running into someone who treated us badly or whom we did not like? And the more horribly that person treated us or the more we disliked that person, the more dread we felt. If then we went and found that the person was not in attendance, if we are honest, it felt really good. And the event was far more enjoyable. In fact, the more we disliked the person or the more that person treated us badly, the more we enjoyed the occasion after we found the person was not coming.

Well, it will be like that when we get to heaven. Satan won’t be there. Nor will the atmosphere of sin foul the air. And, unlike the example above, we will not have to worry that Satan might change his mind and show up anyway, as might happen at a wedding. Instead, it will be like the person we wanted to avoid at the wedding was locked up in jail and there was no way that person could show up. Satan will be bound. He will forever be excluded from our everlasting dwelling place.

Those of us who have been in the military often have really strong ties to those with whom we served. It is hard to describe to others, but there is a definite loyal connection to one another. It will be similar when we get to heaven. Those we stood up to the devil with in battle will be strong friends.

Also, having been incensed by the devil and evil will create a greater love for the good surrounding us in heaven. Like the ability to taste all the finest flavors in good food, we will have varying sensibilities to goodness in heaven. It is not likely that we will all experience the goodness of heaven to the same degree. That is wishful thinking. It seems more likely that the basic nature of things from God’s design will exist in heaven as it does now. The more we pay attention to food with less flavor, the more we appreciate more flavorful food. Logically, why would that way of things change in heaven?

Another good thing to come out of standing against evil powers now is that in heaven we will be more open to people because we knew that their objectionable behavior back before death was designed by the devil and fueled by his organization of evil spiritual powers and influences. We will be able to relate to heaven’s rescued scoundrels, villains, and despicable people with love.

Some of us will be able to hug a previously disgusting person because we realized that he or she was strongly influenced by demonic powers, probably without knowing it or inviting such darkness. This will be the result of gains we made in standing up to the devil by one another’s side, thus able to see the evil spirit world behind the scenes empowering the most awful things. Others entering heaven, not ever having learned about or taken seriously the need to constantly war against Satan and his evil powers, will not be so open at the start to a close relationship with people they meet on the streets of heaven whom they knew to be loathsome back before death. Their love for such people will be weak, but may grow over time in heaven.
And, so, the person who before death was able to befriend a rapist because of seeing the sneering devil behind him will be able to hug redeemed rapists saved by the blood of Jesus and inhabiting heaven. With full understanding of that person’s past, they will be able to love them with sincerity.

And then there is the added enjoyment of the citizens of heaven, the more we realize that the evil that victimized them is gone. For example, not just the mental illness itself being gone, but the evil design of Satan to inflict mental illness upon people. Not just multiple sclerosis, but the forces of evil behind the horrible disease. How joyful we will be when we visit with a friend from the earlier corrupted life to see that person without the trail of generational sinfulness mucking up his or her eternal life. These additional joys will not be so available to those who never comprehended Satan as the cause of all evil or the spiritual forces of evil behind anything that is not pure and good. But, how good it will be for those of us who did recognize that we fought “against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.”

And then there will be a million little, but daily, ways that heaven will be thrilling because we paid attention to evil and resisted the devil on the Old Earth. Perhaps we hike a trail on the New Earth, and because we saw the evil in broken bottles and cigarette butts on paths on the Old Earth, how much more enjoyable will be the heavenly walk.

It should be easy to see how our relationship with God will be enhanced in heaven if we kept an eye out for the destruction of Satan and resisted together the devil in the powerful way that can only be done in Jesus’ Name. God will eternally appreciate those who opposed the forces of evil bent on destroying the good of His creation: people, societies, places and other things meant to be wonderful. God will find joy in those of us who stood against His enemy – together, as He designed us to do.

Finally, the more we face off against the devil and feel disgusted with him and his evil forces, the more we will feel what God feels. Such empathy will increase our sense of closeness with God and His with us.
You and I, as soldiers in the Army of God, participate every day in a universal conflict of great significance and consequence. Whether or not we are aware of it, you and I are in the middle of a cosmic battle that is both wonderful and terrible.

God’s honor has been challenged. We fight for His glory! And it is real war, with real pain on a regular basis. With the Commander-in-Chief leading the charge, we cannot be in love with safety. Moment by moment, donning our armor and grasping our spiritual weapons, we Christians must urgently face the difficulty of battle. Following Jesus our Lord and using his great weapon of graceful love, we are vulnerable to frequent injury, especially emotional. But then we don’t want to disgracefully enter heaven’s gates without battle scars. We want to be like our Savior-King!

It is a great privilege for Christian friendships, Christians families, and Christian marriages to win victories for God. As basic units of a mighty army for God, we get to battle evil, fighting aggressively at the very gates of hell! Through the power of God, we are on a continual search and destroy mission. We can attack evil that rampages within each of us. We can attack evil that attacks our families, marriages, friendships, churches and community. We can attack evil that causes havoc throughout the world. We have the privilege of marching boldly to war – for God!