Attacks as a Means to Grow Spiritual Muscle

From Dave Black Online:

11:16 AM I have a confession to make. For years I failed to understand the power of Satan to derail the work of God in Ethiopia. Yes, I knew that an eternal battle was raging between Christ and the devil. But I severely underestimate the severity and depth of the conflict.

Not any more.

In recent days we have seen how the devil operates. He is unspeakably cruel. He is cunning beyond all imagination. And he has unseen hosts of evil at his disposal. The Bible declares him to be:

  • the god of this world
  • the prince of the power of the air
  • the ruler of this world
  • a strong man, fully armed
  • a murderer from the beginning
  • a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour

Today, Satan is attacking along the front lines of the church in Ethiopia. The problem is much more then a clash of religions. The problem is diabolical. Its outward and visible manifestations vary. There might be open persecution. Or there might be internal dissension and carnality. Either way, these conflicts and issues are matters of the heart, the will, the conscience. In other words, our battle, again, is spiritual. It does not take place in a geographical location but in the most treacherous depths of our hearts.

This great truth brings with it an important lesson for me. Even though we can never succeed in destroying the devil, we can aim for his withdrawal. “Submit yourselves to God,” wrote James. “Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.” God promises that the devil can be turned back, if only temporarily. What’s more, although we should expect attacks as being usual, we can also also accept them as being usable– if we allow them to help us grow our spiritual muscle. Happy the Christian who sees every attack, every trial, every setback as a means to that great end!

Church in Ethiopia, as you face the trials, temptations, and pressures of  living in this evil world, may you have it as your settled aim in life to always seek God’s approval in all you do. The battle with the devil is life-long. He will attack us as long as we live. May we, then, lead a “life that is worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to Him” (Col. 1:10), regardless of the temporary outcome.


On Vernard Eller

This is my site Written by admin on December 31, 2010 – 11:47 am

7:57 AM As the year draws to  a close, I encourage you to read Michael Westmoreland-White’s excellent piece called Taking the Passed Torch: Theologians Who Died 2000-2010 As Challenge for Those Who Tarry. This is biblioblogging at its very best.

Update: For 2007 Michael notes the following death:

Vernard Eller (1927-2007). American theologian, pacifist, Christian anarchist, and minister in the Church of the Brethren.  A major interpreter of Søren Kierkegaard, Karl Barth, the Blumhardts and Jacques Ellul, Eller had a folksy way of speaking and writing that led some to underestimate the seriousness of his theological writing.  He was a major critic of much feminist theology, especially the use of feminine imagery for God, which Eller believed led to a lapse into Canaanite fertility religion.  He was also a strong critic of materialism and nationalism in Christian churches, advocating for simplicity, reducing possessions, radical sharing of wealth, and critical of sacramental views of baptism and the Lord’s Supper (which he believed would rob them of their ethical content).

I call this to your attention for the simple reason that the writings of Eller are practically unknown today in evangelical circles. For what it’s worth, I have tried to popularize his thinking (and that of Jacques Ellul) in my book Christian Archy.

(From Dave Black Online. Used by permission. David Alan Black is author of Energion titles The Jesus Paradigm, Christian Archy, and Why Four Gospels?.)