The Starting Line of Life

But if anyone has the world’s goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God’s love abide in him? Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth.
(1 John 3:17-18)

I encourage you to watch this video. It really helps to sink in that many of us have had a better starting line than others in life. This isn’t to make us feel guilty! That’s not the point of this video in my view. It’s to help us to better appreciate how blessed we are, and how others have to work even harder to overcome obstacles many of us never had to face.

God wants us to take the privileges, opportunities and blessings we have been given and use them for His glory.

The Starting Line of Life

“Is not this the fast that I choose: to loose the bonds of wickedness, to undo the straps of the yoke, to let the oppressed go free, and to break every yoke? Is it not to share your bread with the hungry and bring the homeless poor into your house; when you see the naked, to cover him, and not to hide yourself from your own flesh? Then shall your light break forth like the dawn, and your healing shall spring up speedily; your righteousness shall go before you; the glory of the LORD shall be your rear guard. Then you shall call, and the LORD will answer; you shall cry, and he will say, ‘Here I am.’ If you take away the yoke from your midst, the pointing of the finger, and speaking wickedness, if you pour yourself out for the hungry and satisfy the desire of the afflicted, then shall your light rise in the darkness and your gloom be as the noonday.”
(Isaiah 58:6-10)

Moving in Two Directions

Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded.
(James 4:7-8)

In this passage we see the Lord and the Devil moving in two different directions. The Devil is fleeing and and Lord is drawing near. This explains why the Devil flees, because God is coming!

We see all the Devil is doing in this world, and what he has done in our own lives, and he can be pretty scary. He is described in Scripture as the adversary, the prince of the power of the darkness, the enemy, the accuser of our brethren, a dragon, a serpent, a lion, the god of this age, the evil one, the father of lies, a murderer, the tempter, and the ruler of this world (Matthew 4:3; 13:38-39; John 8:44; 12:31; 2 Corinthians 4:4; Ephesians 2:2; 1 Peter 5:8; Revelation 12:9-10).

When I think of a lion, a ruler, a god, and a dragon, the thought of those beings fleeing anything is foreign to me. But when the Lord is coming, that great dragon and roaring lion runs away! The Devil is powerful, he has brought the whole world under his influence (1 John 5:19), but He who is in us is greater than he who is in the world (1 John 4:4).

If you submit to God, resist the devil, and draw near to God, the Lord promised two things: He would come near, and the Devil would run away. That’s a promise. God doesn’t lie. Sometimes we get too caught up in the power of the Devil and forget how much more mighty the Lord Jesus is.

He who sins is of the devil, for the devil has sinned from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that He might destroy the works of the devil.
(1 John 3:8)

Greater is He who is in you

You are from God, little children, and have overcome them; because greater is He who is in you than he who is in the world (1 John 4:4-6).

It may seem like evil is winning. We may groan, cry and sigh like Lot did over Sodom (2 Peter 2:8). Tears may flow down our eyes as they did for David and Jeremiah because people do not keep God’s law (Psalm 119:136; Jeremiah 9:1). Just as Elijah was tempted to despair, thinking he was all alone, we might begin to feel the same way (1 Kings 19).

Greater is He who is in you

In all of this, however, we must call our minds back to 1 John 4:4. Satan is not winning…Christ is victorious. The wickedness and evil people around you will not overwhelm and conquer you because God is in you. He is greater. God is greater than Satan. Do not despair. Please do not throw your hands up and ask, “What’s the use?”

If Jesus Christ lives within you, then you are overcoming the world. You can overcome the temptations of this world through Christ. With His strength you can withstand the blast of Satan’s blows. “No weapon that is formed against you shall prosper…” (Isaiah 54:17). The Devil has thrown everything he has at God’s people and yet we still stand, because Jesus promised it (Matthew 16:18). Christ’s power, not our own, is working.

As I have heard many preachers say over the years about the book of Revelation, “I have read the end of the book and Jesus wins!”

“These will wage war against the Lamb, and the Lamb will overcome them, because He is Lord of lords and King of kings, and those who are with Him are the called and chosen and faithful” (Revelation 17:14).