God’s Highest Purpose
Most Christians only engage in spiritual warfare with a hope of either relieving present distresses or attaining a “normal” existence. However, the purpose of all aspects of spirituality, warfare included, is to bring us into the image of Christ. Nothing — not worship or warfare, neither love nor deliverance — is truly attainable if we miss the singular objective of our faith: Christlikeness.
Let us recall that when the Lord delivered the ancient Hebrews out of Egypt it was so He could bring them into the Promised Land. Likewise, we are delivered out of sin, not that we might live for ourselves, but so we might come into Christlikeness. What we call “salvation” is the first phase of being conformed to Christ. If we fail to see this we easily become entangled in the same sins that oppressed us in the first place.
While we may not want to hear this, many of our spiritual conflicts simply are not going to cease until the character of the Lord Jesus is formed in our hearts. The Father’s goal in delivering us is much more than simply seeing our burdens taken off our backs. Indeed, God is working all things in our lives to conform us “to the image of His Son.” The Father’s purpose in our salvation is that Jesus would become “the first-born among many brethren” (Romans 8:29). In other words, to realize God’s ultimate victory we must reach toward God’s ultimate goal, which is complete transformation into the likeness of Christ.
When we are born again, the actual presence of the Lord Jesus, through the Holy Spirit, enters our lives. To the degree that we cooperate with God’s will, God’s glory will advance within us. Indeed, Jesus likened our salvation to the lighting of a lamp. He said, “If therefore your whole body is full of light, with no dark part in it, it will be wholly illumined, as when the lamp illumines you with its rays” (Luke 11:36).
This immediacy of the Lord’s presence produces an indestructible defense, a fortress within us in which we are hidden from evil. Through Him, we enter the excellence of His ways in our relationships both with the Father and one another, thereby walking in immunity from countless satanic attacks. Indeed, as His fullness within us increases, then that which is written is fulfilled: “As He is, so also are we in this world” and “He who was born of God keeps [us], and the evil one does not touch [us]” (1 John 4:17; 1 John 5:18).
We must realize that it is not Satan who defeats us; it is our openness to him. To perfectly subdue the devil we must walk in the “shelter of the Most High” (Psalm 91:1). Satan is tolerated for one purpose: the warfare between the devil and God’s saints thrusts us into Christlikeness, where the nature of Christ becomes our only place of rest and security. God allows warfare to facilitate His eternal plan, which is to make man in His image (Genesis 1:26).
Once we realize that the Father’s goal is not just to save us but to transform us, we will continually find that God has one answer to all our spiritual problems: appropriate the nature of His Son!
Are you troubled by fear or doubt? Submit those areas to God, repenting of your unbelief, and then yield yourself to Christ’s faith within you. Are you troubled with spirits of lust and shame? Present those very areas of sin to God, repenting of your old nature, drawing upon the forgiveness of Christ and His purity of heart. It is a great truth that once the devil recognizes his assault against you has not pulled you from God but toward Him — once he perceives that his temptations are actually forcing you to appropriate the virtue of Christ — the enemy will withdraw.
Remember: your victory begins with the name of Jesus on your lips, but it will not be consummated until the nature of Jesus is in your heart.