Deliverance and the Power of Evil

Job 1:12.---' And the lord said unto Satan, Behold, all that he hath is in thy power; only upon himself put not forth thine hand.'

The text suggest that there are limits to the spiritual power of evil, that there is something in every man, a true self, which by God's decree cannot be arbitrarily invaded by any power, a self in which the man sits supreme, and which cannot be conquered unless he surrenders it.

This unconquerable part is the WILL. Think of the temptation of Christ in the desert. The Evil Spirit attacks Him, takes Him hither and thither, taunts and mocks Him, but it never reaches His Self. He is always separate and safe. And it is easy to understand what it was in Jesus Christ which the Enemy, with all his powers, could not invade. It was the will. Over everything else he asserted his power. The pain and the temptation which come to us out of this world's disorder came to Christ also. He felt the hunger, and He must have longed to escape it just as we do. over those beaten paths by which he comes to our destruction, the Power of Evil went to the destruction of our Lord. Only, when he came to the center, where he finds our wills so weak, he found His will completely strong.

it is the will, then, in which that self resides, that the power of evil cannot touch unless that will voluntarily yields. The will is the man. All else are his circumstances, his delights, the material out of which he makes his pains and pleasures. around that central will there lie in widening circles the interests and associations of his life; and every different kind of evil has its power to invade, to less or greater depths, these outworks of the man's self. Mere physical pain can pierce the outer circle, and hurt the skin and flesh. The loss of wealth or rank pierces a little deeper, and invades pride. Bereavement plunges its sharp dagger deeper still, and wounds the keen and sensitive affections. The sight of sin touches our moral sense and stirs our grieved indignation. Temptation boldly strikes within them all, and lays its hand on the desires that are close about the will. But none of these can come into the very center by any power of its own. There sits the will impregnably entrenched. It hears the footsteps of its invaders, near or far away. Some of them march up to its very door, but none can enter and take it captive till it draws the bolt itself and is its own betrayer.

The freedom, the power, of self-reserve which this will possesses is absolute. It can shut its door on whom it pleases. The strongest, clearest assurance of this is in the way in which not even its Maker will force Himself upon it, unless it choose to let Him in. 'Behold, I stand at the door and knock,' says Christ. 'If any man will hear my voice and open unto me, I will come in and sup with him, and he with me.' If any man will open unto me! Not without the man's own willingness will even God come into His children's hearts. And shall we think that He has given to His enemy a power which he has denied to Himself? Nothing can force us to be good: let us be just as sure that nothing can force us to be bad. The soul itself does and must give up. It is the soul's own weakness, not the irresistible power of its enemies, that finally treads it in the dust or leads it away captive into sin.

But, first, he must know that he has a self. He must unwrap all this enveloping mass of occupations and amusements and companionships and reputations which he calls his life, all that vague aggregate which men mean when they talk of him---and inside of it all must find that which is really he, that which would last if all these things were stripped off and destroyed, that which God made, which God is educating, and which God will judge.

The true self of every man is in Christ. When Christ came into the world He brought the humanity of every man in the humanity which He assumed. He brought your self and mine; and what we ought to be, and what we might be---no, more, our power of being it---was in that human life of Jesus Christ. If we want it, we must go there for it.

What is it that Christ shows us all? First, what we were meant to be---the pattern of our human life. Then, that God loves us, and pities us because we have fallen so far away from that. Then, that He will forgive us and restore us if we turn to Him. Our first ideal, God's present love, our future hope---these are the Christian truths. He who sees what God wants him personally to be, how God loves him personally and what a personal salvation is ready for him if he will repent---to him the mist must clear away, the self must disentangle itself from its circumstances, and with its rights, its responsibilities, its hopes, and its needs stand clear before him.

In other words, he who serves Christ out of obedient love comes more and more to feel and say: 'Many things may make me suffer, but nothing can make me sin but my own will. And if I can fill that with His strength, I can be conqueror of everything through Him.'

There is a link between Divine government and human freewill. it is the guidance of the Holy Spirit, influencing the mind, and prompting the will, to choose what is God's will for us. 'Great is the mystery of godliness'; and much is not for intellect, but for faith. Let us, in all our adversities, remember that God cannot forget His own. A blind child was placed in the arms of a friend, the father exclaiming: "Now you do not know who holds you." Then the child spoke a beautiful truth: "No, father, but I know that you know who holds me." We cannot grasp the ways of God, but we can rest satisfied, for He knows the way which we take.

So on I go---not knowing, I would not if I might; I'd rather walk in the dark with God, than go alone in the light. I'd rather walk by faith with Him, than go alone by sight.

In Christ, timothy.