To Resist or Not to Resist – Faith to Overcome
Should we as Christians defend ourselves or should we turn the other cheek? Recent news events highlighted this question. One of the deadliest weapons (or strategies) in warfare is confusion.
Our biggest enemy – Satan – is an expert in using this strategy. We need to remember that the devil also knows the Word of God, and he has a couple of thousand year’s advantage over us if we want to rely on ourselves. That is why it is imperative to realize how dependent we are on God.
The devil has used the strategy of twisting God’s Word from the days of Adam and Eve. All he does is to plant the seed of doubt….. that little bit of uncertainty. “Is that really what God said?” Then he loves putting you on a guilt trip.
1 Peter 5:7-9 says “7 Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you. 8 Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. 9 Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that the family of believers throughout the world is undergoing the same kind of sufferings”.
Those verses cover 3 very important principles which we need to have a closer look at.
Don’t Become Anxious and Do Not Fear.
Firstly we need to cast all our anxiety on God, because He cares for us (1 Peter 5:7).
We are often reminded by the Word of God not to fear. It’s never a suggestion or a request. It’s an instruction. 1 Peter 3:14 (NIV) says “But even if you should suffer for what is right, you are blessed. “Do not fear their threats[b]; do not be frightened.”[c]
2 Timothy 1:7 says “For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline”. Fear has no business being in your life.
Be Ready, Be Prepared.
1 Peter 5:8 warns us that the enemy is walking around among us.
It is so easy to be caught by surprise. Any athlete, who is involved in competitive sports, will tell you that the element of surprise is one of the best ‘weapons’ you can have.
If you are on the receiving end, and you get caught by surprise, it becomes extremely difficult to defend or recover and you must often pay the ultimate price of defeat. This is especially the case in contact sports such as boxing, some forms of martial arts or even rugby and football.
In warfare it is no different. If you can catch the enemy by surprise, chances are good that you will have the upper-hand.
So how can we be prepared? It starts by following a daily diet of feeding your spirit with the Word of God.
We need to develop our faith. Firstly, if you are constantly aware of the enemy’s strategies, it becomes incredibly difficult for him to catch you by surprise. Secondly, if you can know the end result in advance, and you know for a fact that victory belongs to you in Jesus Christ, how can he scare you?
How do you develop your faith? Romans 10:17 (NIV) says “Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word about Christ”.
Joshua 1:8 (NIV) says “Keep this Book of the Law always on your lips; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful. “
This is how you apply Romans 10:17 by following the instruction of Joshua 1:8. Make it a daily habit to spend time in the Word of God by reading from it. Choose a scripture for that day that speaks to you. Read it out loud to yourself and start meditating on it. Spend some time thinking about it. What does it mean? What does it say to you?
Then you proceed to set-up camp in the safety and under the protection of Almighty God. To learn about the divine protection of God which is available to you, you can study and start meditating on Psalm 91. There are many testimonies of Christians who has miraculously escaped serious injury and even death, by taking refuge under the divine protection of God.
The secret to this is the fact that we have a responsibility in all of this. It is not going to happen by some magic. You have to fill your spirit with the Word and the promises of God to be able to stand on it. When you have to face a situation, what’s in your heart (in your spirit) will determine your reaction. Will you respond in fear, or will you respond in faith with the Word and the promises of God?
To Resist or Not To Resist
This is where we cannot afford to get confused. Recent news events were quickly followed by calls for retaliation. At the same time I saw posts and articles by Christians, warning that is not the way of Jesus.
Calls were made on scriptures such as Matthew 5:43-44 (NIV) 43 “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor[a] and hate your enemy.’ 44 But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you”, and Matthew 5:38-40 “You have heard that it was said, ‘Eye for an eye, and tooth for tooth.’ But I tell you, do not resist an evil person. If anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to them the other cheek also. And if anyone wants to sue you and take your shirt, hand over your coat as well”.
I totally respect when people want to stand on the Word of God and literally apply what it says. It is no secret I am all for taking scripture literally and applying it to life. But I do think we need to apply wisdom to keep scripture in context.
When you get mugged as individual, and the criminal demands your cell phone, yes, give your wallet, shirt and coat as well. When someone insults you, or even slap you in the face, yes, turn the other cheek as well.
Jesus came to fulfill the law, and we are no longer standing under the Law of Moses. But does that mean we must now become floor-mats? Should we just roll over and play dead?
That brings me to the third part in 1 Peter 5:9. It says “Resist him, and stand in faith….” There comes a time when we need to resist the attacks of the enemy.
The study notes to James 4:7 says; “Although God and Satan are at war, we don’t need to wait until the end to see who will win. God has already defeated Satan (Colossians 2:13-15; Revelation 12:10-12), and when Christ returns, Satan and all he stands for will be eliminated forever (Revelation 20:10-15). Satan is here now, however, and he is trying to win us over to his evil cause. With the Holy Spirit’s power, we can resist Satan and he will flee from us.
Ephesians 6:11-13 says “11 Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. 12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. 13 Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.”
I do believe this is spiritual warfare. It all originates in the spirit realm as indicated by Ephesians 6. Therefore we should start by standing our ground, retaliating in the spirit, under the leading of the Holy Spirit.
If any terrorist gets to know the truth, repents and show real remorse, coming into the Christian camp asking for forgiveness and guidance to give His life to the Lord, we should not show him away. That is the time to love your enemy.
But when there is no remorse or repentance, it starts in the spirit, but we need to resist. If some criminal (or terrorist) walks into my house (or a restaurant for that matter) and threaten my family, I cannot sit back and tell him how much I love him. I believe I can still stand on the promises of the Old Testament as well.
God might choose to intervene in a supernatural way, but He also might choose to use me as described in Psalm 144:1-3.
That doesn’t give us the right to take the law into our own hands though. We do need to consider the circumstances. That is why we have a police force and a defense force. But if bloodshed is absolutely unacceptable, then we also cannot expect any protection from our defense forces.
Let us not become fearful, but ask God for His divine protection and guidance of the Holy Spirit.
This is really a sensitive post Jaco and I love the way you took your time to analyze everything using relevant biblical references.
As a kid I read about turning the other cheek and I really tried to practice it literally. But some of my friends back then used it against me. It is funny now when I think about it. These guys literally slapped me and demanded that I turn the other cheek as I said. I did.
Now, I know better. There are times when if a christian is facing persecution, it is important that we forgive and let God be the judge. But then, there are times when we also need to stand up for our rights.
The examples you gave are very practical, and I love them. Being a christian does not mean we should be dummies. I love the way you summarized it by saying that wisdom is profitable to direct.
Thank you for your valuable input.
That is a great example you gave when you literally turned the other cheek as a kid. It is true that we often want to apply what we read and learn. But many times, when other people realize that (unfortunately even amongst adults), instead of showing respect and supporting you, they make a mockery out of it.
I do believe with all my heart, even though you and your friends were still only kids in the example you gave, God did not miss what you did. He knew your heart and He saw your dedication and commitment. He smiled upon you with love and He was proud of you.
But as you say, we also grow in our faith and receive wisdom from God. We get to learn that there is time for everything (Ecclesiastes 3), even to know where to draw the line.
I love what you said – ‘being a Christian does not mean we should be dummies’. That is well said.
I am glad that you enjoyed the post.
Have a blessed day.
What a subtle way the enemy deceives people. It is not surprising why the enemy uses confusion and surprise. It is an old tactic that has always been effective.
I love the scriptures that you revealed which warns us to be aware of his devices and be prepared or face the consequences.
Thanks for sharing this post. Take Care
It’s nice to see you here at Yvonne’s blog.
Thank you so much for your input and support. As you say – confusion and surprise – they both are old tactics but has always been effective.
I’m glad that you enjoyed the post.
Have a blessed day.
great how you used Scripture to back up your points, and didn’t just present you opinions on the many challenges we face when considering violence in our communities.
I wish our world wasn’t in the state that it’s in; thank you for your efforts at giving advice and comfort.
So good to see you again. I think Jaco handled this post extremely well and yes a very valid point you’ve made that there are scriptures to back up the points. It is good that we can give our opinions on subject matter but what validate and authenticate them are the well researched facts. Great observation. 🙂
Thanks for your participation in this discussion and for lending your support and encouragement in this community. Have a great week.
It’s really nice to see you here again. Thank you so much for taking part in the discussion and I do appreciate your support and encouragement.
I do agree with you, it is sad that the world is in such a bad state. But I find comfort in the fact that nothing catches God by surprise, as Jesus told us that these times will come in Matthew 24 before His return. And there is no doubt in my heart, we all know the final outcome! Wow, isn’t that something to look forward to?
Once again, thanks for your support and have a blessed week,
Good to read this wonderful and inspiring piece today.
Well I am here today via Harleena’s page wherein you
shared this post notification.
Yes, The greatest enemy satan bring in doubts along with confusion to divert believers attention!
in many cases he easily succeed in confusing and creating doubts. As you put forward many different relevant verses to encourage the doubting and confused Christians. Well selected verses to support the argument,
Thanks for sharing this wonderful and encouraging piece.
In fact this made my weekend. Very inspiring indeed!
May you have a great and blessed weekend and Lord’s Day. 🙂
Great to see you here again.
As you mention, Satan brings doubt and confusion to divert the attention of believers. This can easily lead to fear.
But need we to know that even in these times, God does not leave us at the mercy of the enemy. He loves us and Jesus paid the ultimate price.
1 John 4 18-19 (KJV) says “(18) There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love. (19) We love him, because he first loved us”.
Confusion should have no place in our lives. Fear should have no place in our lives. If we confess the Lord Jesus with our mouths and believe in our hearts that God has raised Him from the dead (Romans 10:9), all the promises of God also belongs to us, including God’s divine protection.
I am blessed to hear that you found this post inspiring!
Thank you for your input, I really do appreciate it.
Have a blessed weekend,