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Saturday, April 7, 2012

Death that Destroys the Devil


Hebrews chapter 2 is full of powerful Kingdom principles we should discover for ourselves--like the death that destroys the devil. They're hidden deep in the words and only the Holy Spirit's power can open our eyes to them. Like the power of Jesus' death. That death destroys the devil [2.14]. Hebrews declares that the devil holds the power of death, but Jesus' death destroys the devil. And that death can be ours.

How can death be victorious over anything, especially the devil? We picture death as the end, and often, an end that is anything but glorious. It's defeat. We cry over people who die. Even Christian churches do it. They follow solemn funeral and interment programs with very formal eulogies because no one dares laugh during those moments. Well, some do laugh, but not out of victory but out of fond memories with the departed. Few deeply realize that death is gain. 

Paul told the Thessalonians that they shouldn't be like those who were ignorant about who had died [1 Thess.4.13]. He told them not to grieve even like those who have no hope. And yet, that's what Christians do. They grieve over their dead loved ones and even highlight their grief. 

Anyway, death destroys the devil. And why not? How can the devil tempt you anymore when you're dead physically? How can he ever win against you? But Hebrews lets us peek into a very powerful Kingdom principle--only spiritual death can destroy the devil, and this was powerfully demonstrated by my Jesus. His death disarmed and destroyed the devil and made a public spectacle of them [Col.2.15]. 

Furthermore, through his death, he tasted death for all believers [Heb.2.9]. And that should make us all "dead." Exactly what Colossians says [3.3]. And that kind of death--dying the death of Christ--should make us so powerful as to destroy the devil. It's Christ's death that destroys the devil.

But the question is, have we died? Have we truly died Christ's death? Or are we (our egos) still alive? If we're dead, we should be able to declare with Paul that I'm not the one who lives but it's really Jesus living in me 100 percent. If we can, then we possess the death that destroys the devil. That death scares the hell out of them. 

But then, dying that death produces a fruit. The fruit should be naturally evident in us daily. And the fruit is "suffering" [Heb.2.9]. It's not about having so many problems in life so that you suffer. It's not about suffering problems in ministry either. Problematic suffering like that produces only stress. And neither is attaining power or strong faith an ego-tripping arrogance of showing off how you're more financially well-off (or "blessed") than poor or marginalized believers. Jesus' death produces power over the devil and the ego.

So what is this "suffering death" all about?

Jesus' Death that Destroys the Devil

In Jesus' case, it was about suffering meekly a penalty he didn't deserve. It wasn't really just the physical death that produced the awesome universal victory of my Jesus. It was the whole process of dying, a lifestyle of dying to the world, sin, and ego. The devil couldn't touch him with anything. Yes he was tempted in all ways but he never sinned. He never gave his flesh or ego even one bit of feeding. 

In a way, his ego died. He was God and yet didn't count that as something to be asserted [Phil.2.6]. Instead, he lived as low as a slave. His powerful death didn't happen only on the cross--it was a way of life for him. He lived dying to flesh (ego), sin, and the world daily. He started with perfect and became more perfect each day, from glory to glory, in ever increasing glory. He lived this to demonstrate to us how a genuine spiritual life in Christ should be--or how we ought to live in Him. That's the "death" that destroys the devil. This is how dying is gain.

That death is attained through suffering. And suffering, as exemplified by the Jesus LIFE in Scriptures, starves the ego (the flesh) to death. That death causes the resurrection of Christ in us. Suffering here is not suffering because of sin or ambition or materialism. Suffering here means starving the ego. Your ego wants to complain and get comfy about life, but you starve it to kill it. Only with the death of your ego can Christ be formed and live in you 100 percent. 

Your ego craves to be angry when hurt or offended, assert itself, complain, use your rights and privileges, do illegitimate shortcuts to make things easier, to think sexually immoral about the opposite sex, to malign, to be malicious, to be boss and throw your weight around and show everyone who's the leader, to get more positions (especially in church), to be elected because winning elections prove your popularity and that feeds the ego, to be seen on the church stage performing (leading in praise and worship because that earns you applause), to be busy in church so you'd be recognized. etc.

All the above are pure evil and feed the ego. The reason why Jesus said we should not let the left hand know what the right hand is doing is precisely to kill the ego. It wasn't just about giving that Jesus was concerned of--it was starving the ego. The ego MUST die. This is the only way the devil can be defeated for good.

The devil is not destroyed when you're active in the church or occupy position or you're popular and seen on stage preaching or leading in good worship. You should live Christ's death daily, the death that destroys the devil and demolishes all demonic strongholds that protect your ego (or self importance). 

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