Articles from the Blog
And the servant of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle unto all men, apt to teach, patient. — 2 Timothy 2:24Many years ago, we had a staff member who moaned and groaned all the time because he was working so hard and was making such great sacrifices for the Lord. It was true that he was working hard, but so were all the rest of us. I agreed with this staff member when he told me that he and his wife were facing hardships they had never faced before. However, I also knew they weren’t alone in this predicament. We were all facing hardships because life in the former USSR was very difficult at that time. The truth is, this man’s family was living at a much higher level of comfort and privilege than his neighbors or fellow workers at the office. But because he complained so much, everyone on the team rallied to help his family get over the hump they were experiencing. But no matter how much people did for this staff member and his wife, they continued to moan and groan about how bad life was and how much they had sacrificed for the Lord — and they rarely ever thanked anyone for what he or she did to try to help them. Remembering how difficult it had been when our family first moved to that part of the world, my wife and I felt a need to do everything we could to help this man and his family adjust. We tried to comfort this couple as they worked through their transition. We knew they were having to get used to some very difficult living conditions while dealing with the normal feelings of homesickness that almost everyone experienced who had just moved to that side of the world. But after a while, we also realized that no matter how much we comforted this couple, they just would not be comforted! Finally, the entire staff began to run out of patience. Everyone was getting fed up with listening to this couple sing the same sad song every day at the office. I could see that feelings of resentment toward these two were growing among staff members as appreciation for the couple’s work decreased. In the end, I knew I would have to sit down with this man and wife again to discuss their sour attitudes because they were adversely affecting so many people in our organization. The day finally came when I pulled up my chair to the husband’s desk and said, “I need to talk to you about your attitude.” But before I could even get started, he had already put up a wall of defense that made it impossible for me to deal with him. Talking to that man was like talking to a brick wall! As he proceeded to be argumentative and defensive, I thought, Wait a minute! I didn’t come here to fight with him today! I came here to be a help and a blessing! After a few minutes, I could see that my attempt to speak a word of correction into this man’s life was a total waste of both his time and my time. Had he opened his heart and allowed me to speak into his life, I could have helped him. But he wasn’t open to receiving input from anyone and was therefore destined to go through a series of mishaps and serious mistakes of his own making. However, all those mistakes could have been avoided if only he had allowed someone to be a friend and speak the truth to him. Speaking correction into someone’s life isn’t a responsibility any leader relishes. Nevertheless, it is something leaders are required to do from time to time. This was Paul’s message to Timothy in Second Timothy 2:24. Paul wrote this letter to Timothy at a time when certain members of Timothy’s team were apparently demonstrating a rebellious attitude toward him as their pastor and needed to be corrected. In Paul’s letter, the apostle explained to Timothy how he was to bring correction to someone under his sphere of authority. This instruction is helpful to us as well for those times when we are required to speak correction into someone else’s life. In Second Timothy 2:24, Paul said, “And the servant of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle unto all men, apt to teach, patient.” Notice that Paul called Timothy “the servant of the Lord.” The word “servant” in this verse is the Greek word doulos. It describes a bondslave who is bound to do what he is told to do, regardless of what he thinks about it. This means that Timothy, as the bondslave of the Lord, was to hear what the Lord told him to do and then faithfully carry out His orders no matter what he felt or thought about them. It is significant that Paul used this word when instructing Timothy to deal with problem-makers. It tells us that Timothy probably didn’t want to do it and that Paul was therefore reminding the younger minister that as a servant of the Lord, he didn’t have a choice regarding how he was going to handle such a situation. Timothy was the chief leader of the church. Therefore, it was his responsibility to step into his leadership position and act with the authority and responsibility God had given him. No one else had the position or power to set things in order. Whether or not he wanted to do it, it was time for Timothy to step up to the plate and start playing according to God’s rules. Likewise, if God has chosen you to be a leader in your church, your business, your organization, or your family, you must learn to see yourself as a God-appointed leader and accept the responsibility that goes along with this position. This is not a responsibility that you can shirk or pass off to someone else. If someone under your authority is acting wrongly, it is your job to deal with it. Rather than shut your eyes and hope the problem simply disappears, you must love that person enough to go to him and deal with him in the spirit of Jesus. Do what you can to bring correction into his life so he can be set free from a wrong attitude that will negatively affect both his present and his future. If that person chooses to listen to you and to submit to your spiritual authority, he can be changed. But if he chooses to ignore you and to reject your helpful counsel, you must then make a choice about whether or not to let that person remain as a part of your team. One thing is for sure, however — ignoring the problem will not make it go away and, in fact, may make it even worse. You may dread the moment you have to sit down with that person to discuss what is wrong in his attitude. But once you finally deal with the problem, you’ll be so glad you did! The other team members will also be thankful that you took your leadership role seriously and refused to let a bad attitude negatively affect everyone else on the team. In the end, you’ll bolster your own leadership position in the eyes of others because you did the right thing. Your willingness to confront a problem will cause your team to respect you more, and hopefully you will have helped that person whose attitude needed to be corrected. So if you are a leader, accept the fact that bringing correction to people under your sphere of authority is part of your responsibility. As you pray and seek the mind of the Lord, the Holy Spirit will show you how to speak to people in this kind of situation. He will teach you how to help them see what they need to change in their lives and attitudes so they can move up higher in God. Never forget that bringing people higher is one of the primary goals of a leader. So if you are entrusted with the care of others in any arena of life, do everything you can to lead them to a higher level of excellence — even if it means correcting them in love!
My Prayer for TodayFirst of all, Lord, I thank You for loving me enough to put people over me who were willing to bring correction into my life in the past. Although that correction was difficult to receive, I needed it and it ultimately benefited my life. For this, I am so thankful. Second, I ask You to help me now to be a blessing to those You have placed under my sphere of authority. When I see attitudes in them that need to be corrected, help me know how to approach them in a way that is positive and uplifting. I ask You to give me the wisdom I need to challenge those under my authority to a higher level in every area of their lives.
I pray this in Jesus’ name!
My Confession for TodayI confess that those under my authority listen to me and submit to my spiritual authority; therefore, I am able to help them grow and mature in the Lord. I accept the fact that bringing correction to people under my sphere of authority is part of my responsibility. As I pray and seek the mind of the Lord, the Holy Spirit shows me how to correct people in love. He teaches me how to help them see what they need to change in their lives and attitudes so they can move up higher in God. I willingly make it my goal to bring the people under my care to a higher level in every area of their lives!
I declare this by faith in Jesus’ name!
Questions to Answer1. Can you think of a time when someone sat down with you and spoke words of correction to you that ultimately produced great and positive changes in your life? 2. Has there been a time in the past when you dreaded the moment you had to bring correction to someone, but afterward you were so glad you finally did it? What did your counsel produce in that person’s life? Did he listen to you, or did he ignore your counsel? 3. Can you think of some positive ways you can speak words of correction to someone to make it a little easier for him or her to swallow?
Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints. — Ephesians 6:18One of my favorite sections in museums is the one that displays armor used in the ancient world. I especially enjoy the section that displays the spears and lances that were used by the ancients. It is simply amazing to study the weaponry of the ancient soldier and discover how many different kinds of spears and lances were available to him. It becomes very evident that the spear and lance was one of the most important pieces of weaponry he possessed. When Paul wrote his epistle to the Ephesians, he spoke extensively about the armor of God, urging believers to use their spiritual weaponry. However, as you study this full list of weaponry, it seems that the lance or spear, a key weapon, is missing. But although Paul didn’t explicitly mention the lance, he did tell believers to take up the whole armor of God (Ephesians 6:11), implying a complete set of weaponry. We can therefore assume that Paul must have intended to include the lance or spear in this set of spiritual equipment. The lance of our spiritual armor is found in Ephesians 6:18, where Paul says, “Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit….” I call this “the lance of prayer and supplication.” Let’s look more closely at this piece of weaponry so you can better understand why I say this. The lances used by the large and diverse Roman army varied greatly in size, shape, and length. These weapons were devised to be used to attack an enemy from a distance. They were thrown with great force and hurled tremendous distances to strike the enemy from afar. Because different lances were thrown at different distances, they came in all sizes and shapes. The particular lance chosen by a soldier depended on how it was to be used. By revelation, Paul begins to compare these various lances to the various kinds of prayer God has made available to us. This is why he said, “Praying always, with all prayer and supplication….” You see, when a believer effectively uses prayer, it becomes a lance that can be thrust forth into the spirit realm against the malevolent works of the adversary. By forcibly hurling this divine instrument of prayer into the face of the enemy, a believer can exert great spiritual power, literally attacking the devil from a distance in order to stop major obstacles from developing up close in his personal life. I want you to especially notice the phrase “with all prayer.” It is taken from the Greek phrase dia pases proseuches and would be better translated “with all kinds of prayer.” Do you understand the various forms of prayer that are available for you to use as you pray and wage spiritual warfare? Don’t wrongly assume that all prayer is of the same kind. Just as Roman soldiers used all kinds of lances in battle, Paul lets you know that many forms of prayer are available for you to use in the fight of faith (see February 26). For instance, there is the prayer of faith, the prayer of agreement, the prayer of intercession, the prayer of supplication, the prayer of petition, the prayer of consecration, the prayer of thanksgiving, united prayer, and so forth. Paul instructs us to use every form of prayer that has been made available to us as it is needed. No one kind of prayer is better than the others; each serves a different and necessary purpose in the life of faith. Never forget that prayer is a vital piece of your spiritual weaponry. If you neglect this strategic piece of weaponry, you will find that the enemy keeps attacking you from up close. But as you learn to pray with authority, you will develop the ability to strike the enemy from a distance and therefore maintain a victorious position in your life. God has placed the lance of prayer at your disposal so you can be assured of absolute and total victory. As you use this lance of prayer and supplication in all its various forms, you will continually reinforce Jesus Christ’s triumphant victory over Satan and gloriously demonstrate Satan’s miserable defeat in every area of your life!
My Prayer for TodayLord, I thank You for entrusting me with all the weapons I need to keep the devil defeated in my life. Forgive me for not always taking advantage of the full weaponry You have provided. Prayer is powerful — yet I admit that I have neglected this piece of weaponry in my life. Forgive me for allowing myself to get too busy to make time for prayer. Instead of ignoring this vital piece of weaponry, I want to learn how to use every form of prayer that is available to me so I can stop the devil from making up-close attacks in my life. Thank You for this vital weapon of warfare. Please teach me to use it powerfully, forcefully, and effectively against the works of the devil.
I pray this in Jesus’ name!
My Confession for TodayI confess that prayer is a vital piece of my spiritual weaponry. Because I use this strategic piece of weaponry, I am able to stop the enemy from attacking me from up close. I pray with authority, and that authority gives me the ability to strike the enemy from a distance while maintaining a victorious position in my life. With the lance of prayer at my disposal, I can be sure of absolute and total victory. Although the devil tries to attack me, I overcome each of his attacks by striking him from a distance as I thrust the lance of prayer and supplication into the realm of the spirit. I commit myself to using the lance of prayer and supplication in all its various forms. As I do, I will continually reinforce Jesus Christ’s triumphant victory over Satan and gloriously demonstrate Satan’s miserable defeat in every area of my life!
I declare this by faith in Jesus’ name!
Questions to Answer1. Can you think of a time when you felt alerted in your spirit that an attack was coming from the enemy, and you disabled that attack by using your God-given authority in prayer? What was that occasion? How did your aggressive praying stop that attack in your life? 2. Looking back on your life, what do you think would have happened if you hadn’t listened to the Spirit of God and hurled the lance of prayer and supplication into the spirit realm? If that attack against you had been successful, in what way would it have negatively affected your life? Have you taken the time to stop and thank God for alerting you to this potential spiritual attack? 3. Are you aware of the different kinds of prayer that are available for you to use? What are you doing to learn more about prayer and how to use prayer more effectively in your life?
(For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds.) — 2 Corinthians 10:4Once while I was ministering in southern England, I had a few free hours between services, so I asked the local church leaders to take me to see a famous old castle that was nearly one thousand years old. As I approached the castle, its tall, thick stone walls loomed upward overhead. After climbing to the top of the ancient tower, I stopped to enjoy a view of the entire valley below that was simply beautiful. This particular castle was famous for its history because its lofty position on top of the small mountain had made it impenetrable for hundreds of years. Although many aggressors had attempted to attack and overtake it, its high position on top of the mountain, coupled with its tall, thick walls, had kept those who resided inside secure from outward attack. Over the years, enemies who tried to attack and conquer the fortress had been perpetually frustrated as a result of these advantages that prohibited such a victory. As I stood in the top tower of that ancient fortress, looking down at the valley below and hearing the stories of all the foreign armies who had unsuccessfully tried to take this stronghold captive, I thought of Paul’s words in Second Corinthians 10:4. He wrote, “(For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds.)” What are the “strongholds” Paul is talking about in this verse? Whatever they are, Paul lets us know that they are so reinforced and resistant that they can only be eradicated by the power of God and the weapons supplied by the Holy Spirit. The word “stronghold” comes from the Greek word ochuroma. It is one of the oldest words in the New Testament, originally used to describe a fortress, such as the one described above. It depicted a fortress, a castle, or a citadel. Ancient fortresses had exceptionally thick, very high, impregnable walls that were designed to keep outsiders from scaling the walls or from breaking inside. Such walls were intended to keep intruders outside. But by the time of the New Testament, the word ouhuroma also came to be the very same Greek word used to describe a prison. Since the most secure, highly guarded prisons were usually constructed deep inside such fortresses, it makes sense that the word for a fortress or stronghold is the same identical Greek word used to picture a prison. Whereas a fortress keeps outsiders from getting in, a prison keeps insiders from getting out. Prisons are places of detention or holding tanks. They also have fortified walls, as well as bars of steel, that are designed to hold a prisoner in captivity. The “strongholds” Paul refers to are lies that the devil has ingrained so deeply in your mind and in your belief system that they now exert power over certain areas of your life. Just as ancient rulers liked to build their castles perched high on a mountainside, the devil attempts to build strong lies in your mind so he can rule you from a lofty position in your thoughts and emotions. Although you may know logically that the lies the enemy speaks to your mind are untrue, these lies still wage war in your soul, attempting to sabotage your sense of self-worth and your self-image. You see, when a person has a stronghold in his mind or emotions, he has thick, invisible walls around him that act like both a fortress and a prison in his life. Like the walls of a fortress, these lies insulate him from people who may try to break in to help him see the truth. Although others may want to help this person, they often find it impossible to break through the invisible barriers that surround his mind and emotions. As a result, the person under mental and emotional assault is held captive like a prisoner to those lies. He sits behind mental and emotional bars, viewing life through the illusion of bondage that Satan has put into his mind. He looks at others, sadly wishing he could be free like them, not realizing that he has already been set free by the blood of Jesus Christ. The lies that operate in his soul keep him bound in an inner “prison” that he can’t seem to break out of by himself. So when you read Paul’s words about “strongholds” in Second Corinthians 10:4, you need to picture both a fortress and a prison in your mind and then apply this picture to your own life. Are there any areas of your mind that are currently controlled by the enemy’s lies of fear, doubt, and worry? Do you find yourself being repeatedly attacked in the areas of your self-worth and self-image? Are these attacks debilitating and crippling? Do you feel like a hostage to these areas of your mind and emotions? If you answered yes to any of these questions, you have probably allowed the devil to build strongholds in your mind and emotions that are hindering you from stepping out to do something God has purposed for you to do in your life. If that’s your situation, first recognize and repent for permitting those strongholds to develop in the first place. Then go back and see how the devil gained this foothold in your life. After you discover how the devil was able to work so deeply in your mind and emotions, ask the Lord to forgive you and to cleanse you from this devilish operation in your soul. Once you have received this divine cleansing, it is time for you to arise in the power of the Spirit with the weapons of God and the name of Jesus Christ. Reject the devil’s claim on your mind and emotions, and command him to leave in Jesus’ name! Then get back on the path to right believing and right thinking by renewing your mind daily with the Word of God. If you truly want to be permanently set free from the lies that have controlled you for so long, you will have to use the weapons of the Spirit to pull down every stronghold the devil has erected in your life!
My Prayer for TodayLord, I realize that the enemy has been attempting to control my self-worth and my self-image through lies that have been operating in my mind and emotions for a very long time. Because I allowed the devil access to my thought life in times past, I have been like a hostage held captive in an inner prison. I can see now how others have tried to help me, but they haven’t been able to break through the strong walls of these mental lies that have surrounded my thinking. So today I am turning to You, Holy Spirit. I ask You for help as I learn to utilize the weapons of my warfare that You have supplied. Please help me uproot, tear down, and permanently walk free of every mental lie of the enemy for the rest of my life!
I pray this in Jesus’ name!
My Confession for TodayI confess that I will no longer permit the devil to have a foothold in my mind and emotions. I am employing the use of the power of God, the weapons of the Holy Spirit, and the name of Jesus Christ, and I command the devil to withdraw his lies from my mind and emotions and to flee from me! The enemy has no right to operate inside my mind, and I refuse to allow his operation in my soul to continue. I will believe right, think right, and renew my mind daily with the Word of God. I am now permanently set free from lies that have controlled me for such a long time. From this moment forward, I am dominated by the truth of God’s Word. Lies that have held me captive for so long have no more power over me!
I declare this by faith in Jesus’ name!
Questions to Answer1. Do you know of any areas of your mind and emotions that continually lie to you and try to hold you in some kind of spiritual captivity? What are those areas, and how long have they been exercising dominion in your life? 2. What are some of the steps you can start taking right now to step out of that bondage and into the liberty Jesus Christ wants to give to you? 3. Can you think of key scriptures you need to memorize and start confessing in order to renew your mind to the specific truths of God’s Word that will help you think rightly about yourself? Why don’t you write down those scriptures and put them in a visible place in your home to remind you about the truth God declares about you?
Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness? — 2 Peter 3:11One day I was standing at the foot of the Great Pyramid of Giza in Egypt with my wife and sons. We had spent that entire week floating down the Nile River, touring all the sites of ancient Egypt, many of which were more than 4,000 years old. We were amazed at how well the condition of these ancient locations had been preserved. Finally we stood at the foot of the ancient, massive Great Pyramid of Giza. It, too, was in marvelous condition, considering that it had been standing there for so many thousands of years. It was very evident that the Great Pyramid had been built solidly so it would stand as an eternal remembrance to the Egyptian king who built it. As I stood there with my family, I told my sons, “This pyramid has stood here for thousands of years, but a day is coming in the future when it will be completely dissolved. When the final Day of the Lord comes, the Bible tells us that everything that exists on the earth will melt with fervent heat, and the earth and all its works will be burned up. Boys, that means a day is coming when none of these monuments will exist any longer. Everything built by man will vanish, including these monuments that have stood the test of time for thousands of years. The only thing that will last is what people have done for Jesus Christ.” The scripture I referred to as I talked to my sons was Second Peter 3:10. This verse says that when the Day of the Lord comes, “…the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up.” According to Peter, when the Day of the Lord comes at the very end of the age, everything we presently see and know will be changed. Even the heavens as we currently know them will pass away. The words “pass away” are from the Greek word parerchomai, which pictures something that is temporary and will soon be passing away. Peter says that the present heavens will pass away with a “great noise.” The words “great noise” are from the Greek word hroidzedon. This word describes a sound so loud that it is nearly deafening to those who hear it. It further carries the idea of a tremendous hissing, sizzling, cracking sound that rushes all about or a noise so thunderous that no one can escape it. When these events transpire, the heavens and all “the elements” shall melt with a fervent heat. The word “elements” is the Greek word stoicheion, and it refers to everything that exists — from the heavenly bodies in the sky overhead to the mountains, the earth, the buildings constructed by man, and even the smallest atomic particles. Absolutely nothing will survive the transforming, purifying fire that will melt everything. The word “melt” in this verse is from the Greek word luo, which normally means to loose. But in this case, it pictures the dissolving of matter and the complete dissolution of the earth’s elements. This melting of the elements will occur because of a “fervent heat” that will be manifested on the Day of the Lord. The words “fervent heat” come from the Greek word kausoomai, which depicts a fire so intense that nothing escapes its blaze. It was used by medical writers to convey the idea of a fever that consumed a victim. This is an intense, raging, blazing, blistering, burning fire that consumes and hence purges everything it touches. Absolutely nothing will survive this fire when Jesus purifies this present world and creates a new heaven and a new earth. I spoke these words to my sons because I wanted them to know that the only thing to survive this life will be what we do for Jesus Christ. We tend to think that our houses, buildings, and the things we construct in life will live forever. But the truth is, even the structures that are built to survive through the ages of time will eventually pass away. Since only that which is done for eternity will outlast this world, we can see why Peter asked the question, “Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness?” (2 Peter 3:11). A day is coming when all the material possessions you own and hold to be dear will be “dissolved.” The word “dissolved” is from the Greek word luo, which is the same word mentioned above in Second Peter 3:10 to describe the complete dissolution of everything that presently exists. By using this word, Peter alerts us to the fact that nothing we presently own will last forever. In light of this truth, how should we view our material possessions, and how should we prioritize our lives? Too often we devote the bulk of our time to our homes, gardens, cars, businesses, or other worldly affairs. Although we must give attention to the basic things that are necessary to life, we make a huge mistake if we focus on these temporal matters while neglecting the eternal spiritual issues that will pass from this life into the next. Only what is done for the Lord will last. Everything else will be left behind in a world that will one day be consumed with a fervent heat. Since everything will be dissolved, as Peter tells us, doesn’t it make sense that we invest in our spiritual futures as well as in our present lives? How should this knowledge affect the way you live? Peter asked, “Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye to be…?” In other words, since the heavens and the earth and everything in them are temporary and will one day pass away, what should have your greatest attention and devotion? Unsaved men in today’s world live for the present. Often they do great philanthropic works because they want their names to be remembered in future generations. Their desire is to have people revere them, place their names on buildings, name streets after them, and so forth. However, every building that bears a person’s name will one day evaporate. The pyramids that have stood before us for centuries will one day be gone. Those who live only for the present or to impress men will be the greatest losers of all, for everything they have lived for will burn up and pass away, never to be remembered again. On the other hand, those who live for eternity, walk by faith, and obey what the Word of God tells them to do will make a name for themselves that will be remembered in Heaven for all of eternity. These are the biggest winners in life! The message I conveyed to my sons that day in front of the pyramids is the same message I want to impress upon you today: Take the time to consider your priorities in life. Are you investing in eternity, or are you consumed with natural things that won’t survive that consuming fire, which will one day melt everything that exists? Since what you do for Jesus is the only thing that will survive, don’t you think it would be wise to prayerfully consider your life to see if you are investing as much in eternity as you are investing in the present?
My Prayer for TodayLord, please help me to live soberly and to invest not only in the present, but also in the eternity that is to come. I don’t want to be among those who lived only for the present and therefore suffered loss because they forgot to invest in Heaven. Teach me how to manage and increase the material possessions You have given me so that I can use them to increase my wealth in Heaven. I am grateful for the things I own, but I am more thankful for the souls who are in Heaven because I used my resources to invest in eternity. Help me to use my life wisely and to live as I ought to live in light of eternity.
I pray this in Jesus’ name!
My Confession for TodayI confess that I am living for eternity. Although I thank God for all the possessions He has given me, I realize that all of these are temporary blessings. The greatest investment I can make is in my spiritual future, so in addition to managing the physical blessings God has given me, I am a wise investor in my eternal destiny. I spend the bulk of my time, my money, my talents, and my energies on things that will further God’s Kingdom and outlast this world!
I declare this by faith in Jesus’ name!
Questions to Answer1. In light of what you have read today, what changes do you need to make in your schedule and priorities in order to invest in things that will outlast this life? 2. Do you spend more time focusing on temporal matters that don’t count for eternity, or do you spend a healthy amount of your time, money, talents, and energies on doing what God’s Word tells you to do? 3. If Jesus were to speak to you directly today, do you think He would tell you that you are living primarily for today, or that you are also investing wisely in your eternal future?
And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming. — 2 Thessalonians 2:8When Jesus comes at the end of the age, He will come in great power and glory. In fact, when He comes, His glory will be so brilliant that it will totally annihilate the antichrist! This is why Paul told the Thessalonians, “And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming” (2 Thessalonians 2:8). After time runs out for the antichrist to do his work on the earth, Jesus will come. And Paul declares that when the Lord comes, He will “consume” this evil leader “with the spirit of his mouth.” The Greek word translated “consume” is anairo, which means to kill, to murder, to slay, to slaughter, to do away with, or to abolish. The meaning here is clear: When the Lord comes, He will obliterate the antichrist. He will wipe him out and permanently do away with him. How will the Lord do this? Paul says that “…the Lord shall consume [the antichrist] with the spirit of his mouth.…” The word translated “spirit” is actually from the Greek word pneuma, which is normally translated spirit. Thus, the verse could be translated, “BY the spirit of his mouth.” This means that even though Satan energizes the antichrist with all the power he possesses, this evil leader doesn’t stand a chance in the Presence of Jesus. Paul lets us know that this demonized leader doesn’t even have enough strength to withstand one puff from the mouth of the Lord! The Greek word stomos describes the mouth of the Lord from which this obliterating power will come. You see, on that day the Lord will open his mouth and speak — and when He does, so much power will be released that it will permanently remove the antichrist from the world scene. In fact, Paul says this final encounter with the Lord will “destroy” this evil leader. The word “destroy” is the Greek word katargeo. Paul uses this word twenty-five times in his New Testament writings, so we know exactly what he intends by using it. This word means to bring to nothing; to reduce to waste; to render inactive; to abolish; or to put out of commission. There is no doubt that when Jesus Christ comes, He will permanently put the antichrist out of commission! The rule of evil will come to an abrupt end when Jesus returns at the end of the age. I want you to know what Paul is talking about when he uses the phrase “the brightness of his [Jesus’] coming.” The word “brightness” is the Greek word epiphaneia. This word was used in classical Greece to describe the sudden and occasional surprise appearance of the Greek gods. When the fabled gods suddenly appeared, they were glorious and mighty in appearance. Now Paul reaches into classical literature and borrows a word that clearly means Jesus’ coming will take many by surprise and will be accompanied by great splendor and glory. The world, entrenched in evil, will think it has won the victory and is secure in its plans. But then the Lord will come and take them all by surprise! Before anyone realizes what is happening, God’s glory will fill the sky, and Jesus will mightily appear in the sky overhead. His “coming” (from the word parousia, which describes the Lord’s strong Presence) will take the world by surprise, overwhelming everyone as every evil system set in place by unregenerate man is suddenly obliterated!
An interpretive translation of Second Thessalonians 2:8 could read:
“When the Wicked One steps onto the stage and makes his presence known, it won’t be too long afterward that the Lord will come. And when He comes, His coming will be so grand, so glorious, and so overwhelming that He will totally obliterate the Lawless One by the mere breath of His mouth. Just one puff from the Lord, and this evil person will be incinerated! The very Presence of the Lord will eradicate him, permanently putting him out of commission.”You see, when you serve Jesus Christ, you have joined the greatest Champion in the universe. There is no power that can equal or surpass His power. There is no might on planet earth to compare with His awesome might. And just think — when you become a child of God, you become a joint heir with Him! Everything He possesses — including His power and His victory — becomes yours! You should rejoice in the knowledge of what Jesus will do by His mighty power when He returns at the end of the age. However, don’t overlook the fact that this same power is available to you today. Jesus has given you His power so you can use it in this life. So if evil is resisting you in some area of your life right now, open your mouth and let the power of God be released to obliterate that attack! Shock the devil with a sudden manifestation of God’s power that permanently immobilizes him in every area of your life!
My Prayer for TodayLord, I thank You for Your awesome power that You have chosen to share with Your children. I don’t ever have to let the devil run freely in my life. By opening my mouth and speaking the Word of God to my situation, Your power can be released to obliterate the enemy’s work in my life. Thank You for making me Your joint heir and for investing Your great power in my life!
I pray this in Jesus’ name!
My Confession for TodayI boldly declare that God’s power resides in me. There is enough power inside me to obliterate any attack the devil would attempt to bring against my life. Rather than sit in fear and fret about what is happening to me, I will open my mouth, speak the Word of truth, and watch the power of God attack, overwhelm, and overcome the strategies that the devil has tried to use against me!
I declare this by faith in Jesus’ name!