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    Mini-Study Guides, 1994-5
    "More Than Conquerors"

    16. Seeing Good as Evil

    Scripture Meditation: Ephesians 1:3-23

    Brethren and sisters, last month I introduced you to what I called the "Ten Horses of Evil" by looking at the ten things that cannot separate us from the love of God. These we found listed in Romans 8:38-39. Can anyone remember what these were? [Death, life, angels, demons, the present, the future, powers, height, depth, or anything else in creation]. Correct. We devoted one Mini-Study to the problem of death, and how it is that believers often fear it when they shouldn't. Death for the believer is a transition -- a moving on from one sphere of existence to another. When our turn to die comes it will be because God has ordained it. Therefore when we die it will be right for us and everyone else whose lives we may touch. We must always trust in that. If we do, the fear of death will not be in our thoughts. To achieve this fearlessness of death, we must be "more than conquerors", living the victorious life according to true Biblical principles.


    Now I'll admit that I've had problems the last two months that have brought me face-to-face with the question of death. After a car accident I have felt rather more mortal than before. Since then I have driven my car to the railway station half as fast as I normally do, and taken twice as long to get there. I have decided that I will not court death. I will not play Russian roulette with my life.

    Now I am not saying that the date of one's death has been ordained by God for everyone. Before I was born the Lord did not say: OK, Chris will die on 1 February 2054. Actually, my own personal belief is that we have several appointments with death depending on the choices we make in this life. I am not, incidentally, saying that there are an infinite number of possible dates of death for us -- that would be saying that life is a matter of chance, as the atheists teach. No, not at all. I believe there is a time we are ordained to die depending on the path we choose to walk in this life. If I reject Christ, I will almost certainly die on another day to the one ordained for me if I remain true.

    Even then it's not that simplistic. I believe that for some of us we agreed when we would die before we were born. In other cases I believe the Lord gives us a choice. He knows, of course, what we will choose in advance, though He will rarely reveal that choice to us in advance. I have read many accounts of people who have had near-death experiences and they have been given a choice to live on or die there and then. I have noticed that the righteous, who have a deep sense of commitment and responsibility for those who are alive on the earth -- such as their children -- are often allowed to live on. I believe we have that choice too, when the Lord gives it to us.

    So I don't want you to go around thinking fatalistically by saying: Well, I have an appointment with death at a certain time and there's nothing I can do about it. That's only a half-truth. Yes, you have an appointment with death, but the appointment time depends on the choices you make. And you shouldn't necessarily think that you will live longer because you choose right -- that isn't necessarily true either. Our appointment with death is based on many different factors, including what is best for us AND for others.

    You see, many of the covenants or agreements we made before we were born concern others, especially family. We agreed not only which families to be born in -- and therefore all the circumstances that family would find itself in together -- but also which church, or maybe no church at all. The reasons for the circumstances of our birth are as complicated as those of our death. The point is, both equally have purpose. And for that reason, we should have no fear IF WE ARE IN CHRIST. If we are not in Christ, then I suggest that we have much to fear, not only in terms of the coming Judgment (for having rejected Christ), but also for having failed those we agreed to help in this earthly probation.

    I've talked alot about death but it is an important subject. In December, while I was waiting for my train on a cold but clear morning, I saw a shooting star. It came so quickly and burned up so quickly that I was shocked. For in this picture I saw my own mortality. In terms of eternity we enter this life and leave it extremely quickly. Our time here is precious -- it may seem long and drawn out but in truth it is very, very quick. And the older you get, the quicker it seems to be.

    I also mentioned last month that life itself is one of those ten evil horses. We have to stand up and face life squarely -- we must be realistic about our circumstances and not run away from them. Our life's circumstances are problems given us by God to solve to that we can become "more than conquerors". Did you know that the Book of Revelation gives us seven things to overcome? Yes, the School of Life has seven major obstacle courses which we are required to pass through. We are not told what we are to overcome but we are told the rewards. Are you curious? That is good, because I'm going to let you search for them in the Book of Revelation over the next month. You'll find most of them in the second, third and twenty-first chapters. Good hunting!


    The third of the "ten evil horses" Paul mentions is angels. Paul is saying: Don't let angels separate us from the love of God! Well, we have had first hand experience of this. A mischievous angel caused us all sorts of problems in the last Church and when we dissolved that Church he rushed away wailing and gnashing his teeth. Oh yes, brethren and sisters, we have angels arrayed against us in this work -- lots of them. So concerned was the Lord that we not be deceived, that He has even given us the names of one groups of demonic angels called the Enochian demons. We shall thus be able to identify them all the more easily when they seek to mislead again -- as they surely will.

    But then why does Paul mention "demons" as fourth on his list? Obviously there is a real difference here between "angels" and "demons". Can Paul really mean that good angels can be a problem for us?

    Let's go back to angels again. Would good angels really want to separate us from the love of Christ? Of course not. They are servants of Christ and of believers. But sometimes good can be evil. Let me explain.

    To begin with, let us look upon good angels as symbols of not heavenly beings but as the good things of life that come to us -- love, joy, happiness, prosperity, friends, family, and so on. Well, there are two ways in which the good things of life can be a curse to us. Firstly, they can loom more important to us than God Himself. Our love for husband, wife or children can so easily grow greater than our love for God if we are not careful. If that happens, beware, because the sin of idolatry is being committed and our life's priorities need to be rebalanced.

    Secondly, there are some people who are more afraid of good things than bad things. Why good things? Because they are so filled with self-despising and self-hate that they cannot conceive that they are worthy to receive good things and so use them victoriously. In some strange way they see good things as evil. Are you surprised? There are alot of people who think like this. If something good happens to them, they think that something is wrong, since they have decided they are "not worthy". But this attitude is as bad as its opposite, because it is throwing God's good gifts back in His face.

    Never, never, never despise love, joy, happiness, prosperity, friends, and family, for they are God's gift not only for you but for others too. Don't forget the "others" -- if He gives you $1,000,000, you don't seriously suppose that He intends you to spend it on yourself, do you? If He creates the circumstances for you to fall deeply in love with, and marry a loving woman or man, you don't suppose that He intends you to selfishly keep that love between you and your loved one, do you? If He blesses you with lots of fine children, you don't seriously expect that He intends you to enjoy them all by yourself, do you? I hope not! God help you if you believe these things! All the gifts that we receive are intended to be gifts to others. Never forget that! If you do forget that, then, oh boy, you're in big trouble, because these things have separated you from the love of God.

    We therefore face a dual danger in the good things in life: either we find ourselves loving them more than God, or we find ourselves rejecting them and the love that lies behind them. Someone once said: "No one is safe until he or she can stand anything that happens to them -- good as well as bad." A Christian must know how to handle the good things as well as the bad and make them serve God's purpose. We must be able to handle both prosperity and penury if we are to live victoriously.

    Please -- when you are confronted with good or bad, face it! This is the way of realism. Sometimes what appears bad may in fact be good, and vice versa. Be careful. Be a realist, not an idealist. Understand that your life's circumstances have a purpose -- whether to make you an instrument in God's hands for the welfare of others or just to teach you how to discern the spirits. Take the bridle of that horse, and leap into its saddle. Bring it under control. Overcome it.

    I made a mistake a couple of months ago. In a vision I saw a representation of a part of myself which I didn't like. In the past I would have simply run away. But this time I made an equally serious mistake. I decided to kill it. Let me tell you what happened.

    Vision of the Rat

    I was meditating on the train to work when I saw a vision of a rat. It was no ordinary rat, though. It had a ginger-coloured fur and was suckling two baby rats. When it saw me, it turned its head and fixed me in its stare. It was not frightened of me. It was blocking my way so I couldn't get past it. I knew that I was seeing something from my childhood because I called out with the boyish voice of a young teenager: "Mum! Come and look at this!"

    When the vision closed and I had thought about what I had seen, I decided that this was no good thing and that I had to declare war on it. I took the attitude that I must somehow hunt it down and kill it. That night, after I had prayed, I lay in my bed and meditated. "Right," I said to myself, "I'm coming after you" -- meaning the rat. At once a vision opened up to me and there was the rat, only it seemed to have extra long legs this time like a kangaroo. It turned and fled and I set off in hot pursuit. It disappeared into blackness but I still followed. Down, down, down I seemed to go, over wet, slippery rocks, as it got darker and darker. Eventually, it got so dark that I could almost feel it -- like a thick fog, only black. And then suddenly, without warning, like some frightening scene out of Jurassic Park, this huge snake reared its head out of the inky darkness. It's head was at least the size of my torso, and I could see about three meters of its thick body, the rest out of sight in the darkness. The moment I saw this monster, I launched into an attack on it with all my might, like some crusading Luke Skywalker out of a Star Wars movie. But no sooner had the contest begun than the vision abruptly closed, and I was permitted to go no further.

    I was not frightened by what I saw though ten years ago I probably would have been terrified. I saw the origin of this rat-creature, which was obviously Satan, planted in my youth. I chased it away to its source, perhaps. I don't know.


    I use this experience to introduce the question of demons. There ought to be no doubt in any Christian's mind that demons are present in the universe. Because they have been caricatured in silly ways by medieval Christians, people have tended to reject them as the wild imaginations of guilty religionists. In some cases, it is true, they are. Even if you have not personally experienced a demon consciously, you need only know that the Bible says they exist. Christ says they do. And that is the end of the debate. If you foolishly reject them as a product of man's superstition then I promise you they will cause you alot more trouble than if you don't. Equally, you should not be pre-occupied with them if you do believe in them. There are too many foolish Christians who go around casting out the devil and demons when all that is needed is a little love. There are times to exorcise demons, and there are times when we must ignore them. Demons are not the cause of every problem and difficulty. If you believe they are, you will end up with psychological problems.

    Demons exist, brethren and sisters, but they come under the control of Christ. No demon, however bold or strong, can separate a Christian from God's love unless that Christian has willfully separated himself from that love. Every demon is on a leash. And the leash is in the nail-scarred hands of the One who engineered their defeat at Calvary.

    So if you are plagued by demons -- real or imaginary -- then there is doubtless some area of you life that remains unrepented of. I know a man who is a Christian who is plagued by demons. Do you know why? Because he believes in reincarnation and the doctrines and philosophies of reincarnationists. That's their door into his soul, because reincarnation is a doctrine right out of hell.

    Brethren and sisters, this has been a long Mini Study, but I was powerfully constrained by the Holy Spirit to give you these spiritual keys today. These are serious matters and must be understood clearly by us. Let us pray:

    O Father God, help me to lay everything at Your feet -- the prosperity as well as the penury, the good as well as the bad, the joy as well as the sorrow. Let none of these things ever become between me and You. In Jesus' Name I pray. Amen.

    This page was created on 16 May 1998
    Updated on 16 May 1998

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