For you (Christ) have been my refuge, a strong tower against the foe….The name of the Lord is a fortified tower; the righteous run to it and are safe….The Lord is good, a refuge in times of trouble. He cares for those who trust in Him. (Psalm 61:3; Proverbs 18:10; Nahum 1:7)
This continues our comments on Scriptures selected by Elisabeth Elliot (1926-2015), sometimes recalling her radio teaching, writing, and example over the years. If you missed them, you can read What God Is to Me: Elisabeth Elliot (Part 1)(Part 2)(Part 3), Christ is My Hope, My Trust, My Confidence.
I use the Scriptures above to help people with spiritual warfare and my comments below take that direction. Christians should never despair while we have Christ as our Leader. But Satan’s strongest weapons to pull us down are distraction, depression, and discouragement. No wonder Jesus taught us, “Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.”1
We Are Safe Only in Christ
Windsor Castle in England is the oldest and largest occupied castle in the world. Construction was begun by William the Conqueror in the 11th century. The stone walls are tall and thick and the castle is set atop a mound. Although many aggressors have attempted to overtake it, Windsor Castle has been impenetrable for hundreds of years.
Satan is a fallen angel and the sworn enemy of God and God’s people. Elisabeth said, “No wonder Satan is called the deceiver. He has a thousand tricks, and we fall for them.” So the Lord commands us, “Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.”2 Satan attacks our minds and emotions with lies, tempting us to fear and fret, tempting us to doubt God and lose hope, trying to hinder us from trusting and obeying the Lord our Savior.
Run to Jesus in Faith and Prayer
On our own, we are weak and will be undone. So we need to run to Christ often for safety; He is our strong tower. What should we do in God’s presence? Coming back to the Lord we need to: Confess our wrong against Him; Identify the devil’s lies; Replace Satan’s lies with Bible truth; Ask the Lord to pardon us and purify us from all unrighteousness; And ask Him to rescue us and all our Christian brothers and sisters from the devil.
We need to run to the Lord every time we are in danger, not only the first time when we call on Christ for salvation. Luther taught that the whole Christian life is a life of repentance. John Calvin agreed: True repentance must be firm and constant, making war with the remaining evil in us. Our battle against sin must continue not only for a day or a week, but without end and without intermission.3 John Owen said the same: Make it your daily work. Be always at it while you live. Be killing sin, by God’s grace and help, or it will be killing you. Key Scriptures on this point include: Psalm 51; Prov 28:13; Rom 8:1-4; 1 John 1:5-2:2.
Use the Lord’s Prayer
We should use the Lord’s Prayer everyday, especially these parts:
- Forgive us our sins (debts), as we forgive those who sin against us (our debtors).
- And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.
- For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.
Jesus meant the Lord’s Prayer to be a model and outline of things to be included in prayer. The rest of the Bible expands on these categories. We shouldn’t rush through the Lord’s Prayer hurriedly or mechanically, but use it instead to help us get started in asking our Heavenly Father to help us. God loves to answer prayer!4
The Devil’s Destruction Is Guaranteed
Thank God that after the Fall of humankind in Eden, the Lord promised that Jesus would save sinners and crush Satan.5 All during Old Testament times, God rescued His people and won victories over the devil. At Christ’s 1st coming, He accomplished mighty salvation for us and decisively defeated Satan.6 Praise God from whom all blessings flow!
In between Jesus’ 1st and 2nd comings, He rescues more and more people and wins more battles over the devil. Now Christ is building His church and the gates of Hades will not overcome it.7 Right now, Jesus is hallowing God’s name, advancing His kingdom, and causing His will to be done on earth as it is in Heaven. Christ is winning battles against Satan in the world every day. And at Jesus’ return, He will consummate His plan of redemption and permanently destroy the devil, casting him into the Lake of Fire.8 Thankfully Romans 16:20 announces, “The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet. The grace of our Lord Jesus be with you.”
Since Satan is already defeated and will soon be destroyed, Scripture make great promises to Christ’s people about everyday victories we can win in Jesus:
Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Come near to God and He will come near to you. Wash your hands and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Grieve, mourn and wail. Change your laughter to mourning and your joy to gloom. Humble yourselves before the Lord, and He will lift you up….Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. 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. And the God of all grace, who called you to His eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will Himself restore you and make you strong, firm, and steadfast. To Him be the power for ever and ever. Amen. (James 4:7-10; 1 Peter 5:8-11)
Prayer for God’s Help Against Satan: Heavenly Father, remind us that this is your world, not the devil’s. Help us never to forget that though the wrong seems often so strong, Christ is King of kings and Lord of lords. And Jesus must reign until He has put all His enemies under His feet. Our ancient foe still seeks to work us woe. His craft and power are great, and he opposes us with cruel hate. But the devil’s doom is sure. The God of peace will soon crush Satan under our feet. Lord, defend us against the devil’s tempting, lying, accusing, snaring, and deceiving. Lord, rebuke him. Jesus, come soon to rescue us and all your people. We pray in your name. Amen.
Notes (various translations used): 1 Mark 14:38. 2 1 Peter 5:8. 3 Calvin’s Wisdom, p. 294. 4 Matt 7:7-11; Mark 11:22-24. 5 Gen 3:15. 6 John 12:31; 14:30; 16:11; Heb 2:14; 1 John 3:8; Col 1:13-14. 7 Matt 16:18. 8 Rev 20:7-10.