If you abide in Me and My word abides in you, then you shall know the truth, and the truth shall set you free.
My friend Darlene Steelman posted a blog Sunday about dealing with inner demons. At the end of her post, she asked her readers how they dealt with these inner demons.
Joanna Aislinn replied that she deals with such things through prayer and constant reminders that God is in control and the she was where she was supposed to be in God’s plan. The combination of Darlene’s post and Joanna’s reply got me to thinking on the subject.
A couple of scriptures from the eighth chapter of Romans give the Christian the basis to avoid having to deal with such inner thoughts—or at least to overcome them if they do sneak in. Let’s take a look at what Paul said in Romans 28-30 (New American Standard Version):
. . . we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brethren
These words have long been a source of great comfort to me. Let’s take a close look at what Paul promises here. He says God causes all things to work together for my good. All things. Whether I win the lottery or have a flat tire or even come down with cancer, God promises to use that for my good. That’s a pretty amazing promise.
How do I know this promise applies to me? From the rest of what these lines say. At first glance, the rest of this quote may sound like gobbledy-gook, or if you happen to be Presbyterian, it may seem to say that all the events in your life are predestined and you have no control over them, so let’s take a closer look.
He said this promise applies "to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose." Okay, I love God, but how do I know I was called according to His purpose? I know I was because I answered that call. I invited Jesus to be my own personal Savior. Had I not been called, I wouldn’t have answered with that invitation.
Before I was born, God knew that I would, at some point in my life, respond to that call. That’s why Paul said, "For those whom He foreknew . . ." He knew there was a combination of circumstances under which I would turn to Jesus and ask Him to be my Savior, so He arranged the circumstances necessary to bring me to that point.
". . . He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren." God took it upon Himself to build the character of Jesus within me. Now, that’s a long-term project. I wouldn’t even jokingly suggest that I currently possess that character. I don’t, and I know it.
But I do possess a little bit more of it than I did five years ago, ten years ago, the day I was born again. This is not because of my brilliance or my striving. It is because God took it upon Himself to work in me to achieve His purpose.
Okay, I said two scriptures. What’s the other one? The first two verses of Chapter 8, as translated by Charles B. Williams, say:
So then there is no condemnation at all for those who are in union with Christ Jesus. For the life-giving power of the Spirit through union with Christ Jesus has set us free from the power of sin and death.
No condemnation at all? That’s right. When I accepted the free gift of grace He offered for my salvation, Jesus cloaked me in His righteousness. I’m still a sinful human, but when God looks at me, He sees the righteousness with which Jesus cloaked me rather than seeing my unrighteousness. That’s part and parcel of salvation.
No demon, inner or outer, can effectively accuse me of anything, because there is no condemnation for me. I pay no attention to any such accusations, and I’ve been ignoring these demons so long they rarely even try any more.
So, why did I quote the second verse above? Because it’s the verse that provides the vehicle for change and improvement in me. The "life-giving power of the Spirit" has set me free from the law of sin and death.
This life-giving power actually lifts me up above the level of my own character and allows me to be more than I have the power to be. While God is at work building my character up to a higher level, His Holy Spirit can actually lift me above the level where I am. In other words, the Holy Spirit can cause me to act with a level of character I don’t possess, while God is at work building my character up to that level.
In the face of all that, there simply is no room for demons from within or without to launch a successful attack against me—or against any other born-again Christian who understands who he is in Christ Jesus.
If you have battles with inner demons, does this give you ammunition to win those battles?
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