Tammy (not her real name) faced a promising future. She was a bright and
outgoing kid who enjoyed life to the fullest. When she was seven years old
however, she came face to face with a fierce temptation: to steal one of her
parents' cigarettes. She was unable to resist, and one day when she was away
from the direct supervision of her parents, she tried it. It tasted nasty;
nonetheless, she was determined that she would smoke it, just as she saw her
parents do. And she did. All the way down to the butt.
In all honesty, it was an innocent act. She was simply curious to find out why her parents smoked so much. But one cigarette wasn't enough to tell her. She had to try it again. And again. Before long she experienced first-hand the answer to her question. She, too, became addicted. Now she didn't just steal cigarettes out of curiosity, she stole them because she needed them. She had to be careful though, because if her parents ever found out, she would most definitely be punished.
The next five years were a living hell. Tammy had to lie, steal and cheat to continue her habit. She wanted to quit, and she tried everything in her power to do so, but to no avail. She had handed over her authority to enjoy life to its fullest to the vicious tyranny of nicotine.
When she was twelve years old, she decided to seek outside help. She confessed her living lie to her teacher. He gave her some tips and said he would pray for her. Then he suggested that she rely on her best friend for strength in breaking the habit. The suggestions turned her life around. It wasn't easy at first, but she was eventually delivered from the claws of this monstrous habit, and after five years of slavery, she was finally free.
This true story is a perfect illustration of what has happened to humankind since Eden. Adam, the first representative of mankind, had been created in the image of God and was designated as the ruler of this world: "Then God said, "Let us make man in our image, in our likeness, and let them rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the livestock, over all the earth, and over all the creatures that move along the ground." (Gen 1:26 NIV)
In fact, we were all created to become rulers of this planet! "The highest heavens belong to the LORD, but the earth he has given to man." (Ps 115:16 NIV); and "God blessed them and said to them, 'Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air and over every living creature that moves on the ground.'" (Gen 1:28 NIV)
This God-given authority was quickly undermined however, when Adam fell for the lies and deceptions of Satan: "'You will not surely die,' the serpent said to the woman. 'For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.'" (Gen 3:4-5 NIV)
The trap had been set and humankind took the bait. Not realizing that they had renounced their allegiance to the One who made them rulers in the first place, they inadvertently accepted Satan as their ruler and master.
Jesus often refers to Satan as "the prince of this world" (John 12:31. See also John 14:30; John 16:11), and the devil himself knew he had authority over this whole planet: "And he said to him, "I will give you all their authority and splendor, for it has been given to me, and I can give it to anyone I want to. So if you worship me, it will all be yours." (Luke 4:6-7 NIV).
The devil's authority was shattered however, when Jesus died for us on the cross and was resurrected three days later. God, who had become one of us, made redemption possible: "For he has rescued us from the dominion (from the Greek exousia which means authority) of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins." (Col 1:13-14 NIV)
Jesus, representing the new Adam, restored to mankind the authority that he had lost. Jesus became the new head over the earth. Now He has authority over everything: "For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive." (1 Cor 15:22 NIV); "That power is like the working of his mighty strength, which he exerted in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms, far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every title that can be given, not only in the present age but also in the one to come. And God placed all things under his feet and appointed him to be head over everything…" (Eph 1:19-22 NIV); and "You have been given fullness in Christ, who is the head over every power and authority." (Col 2:10-11 NIV)
This authority he shares with us, his followers: "Then Jesus came to them and said, 'All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.'" (Matt 28:18-20 NIV)
He has given us authority over the powers of the evil one: "I have given you authority to trample on snakes and scorpions and to overcome all the power of the enemy; nothing will harm you." (Luke 10:19 NIV); and "I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven." (Matt 16:19 NIV)
Isn't God awesome? He doesn't work on this Earth independently of us; He works through a partnership with humanity!
The devil was defeated on the cross. He has lost his claims on planet Earth forever. He no longer has any authority! He does still have power, however. His power lies in his ability to deceive. When we fall for his deceptions, we give him authority over our lives and he takes us captive: "[Satan goes] out to deceive the nations…" (Rev 20:8 NIV)
His goal is to steal and kill and destroy: "The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full." (John 10:10 NIV)
Just like Tammy who gave her authority over to an addictive lifestyle, numerous human beings are caught unaware by the deceptions of the evil one (alcohol, stealing, sex addiction, workaholic…). Those imprisoned may not even realize that they are pawns in the devil's hand, but in reality, they are his prisoners and release seems impossible.
If only they knew that the price for their freedom was paid two thousand years ago by the One who died on the cross. If they only knew they could really be free if they called out to Him and accepted Him into their lives. If they only knew that they are loved by the Creator of heavens and earth . . .
If you are a follower of Christ, you have authority to bind the evil one. Depend on God's Spirit for guidance and pray with the authority Jesus has given you, binding Satan legally, rendering his evil works to nothingness, and God will back you up with His power. Believe and trust in the One who made it possible and watch the impossible become possible. Believe in the salvation of your loved ones and claim their freedom over the addictions bestowed on them through the deceptions of the devil. Believe, watch and be blessed.
If you are a believer but have experienced utter defeat due to addiction, call on God and rely on His Spirit. Take charge of your life with the authority that Jesus has given you, and experience His guaranteed breakthrough to freedom.
The only authority the devil has over us is the authority that we give to him. Let us partner with Jesus and claim victory over those who hunger to be freed. Freedom is possible because Jesus paid the price on the cross. Hallelujah! Thank you Jesus!
Do you know someone who hungers to be free?
The Illustrator: This daily newsletter is dedicated to encouraging everyone to look towards Jesus as the source of all the solutions to our problems. It contains a daily inspirational story, a Bible verse and encouraging messages. HTML and plain text versions available.
The Nugget: Published three times a week, this newsletter features inspirational devotionals and mini-sermons dedicated to drawing mankind closer to each other and to Christ.