The Arabic symbol used by ISIS to identify Christians.
Terror is now a common word in 21st century vocabulary. But do we understand it? Do we know what it is and what it wants to accomplish? And ultimately, do we know what to do about it?
What is happening in France is not a government takeover. The enemy's goal is not to capture the city with military force. These are not two army's charging one another in battle. The goal of ISIS with these horrific deeds is horror itself.
Terror is defined as intense, overpowering fear. The key word here is "overpowering."
When you do not have the military power to take over the world, another option is terror. If you can control the level of fear in a given community or country, then you have the controls. It is not a takeover of the land (at least not at first). It is a takeover of the mind and of the heart.
Terror does not originate with ISIS or Al Qaeda or Genghis Khan or Nero for that matter. Terror is the ploy of hell itself. Don't be surprised that Christians are a primary target of terrorists. ISIS is merely a manipulation in the hands of Satan himself. You may think I’m dramatic and overly "biblical" in my remarks. If so, have at it. We are now living in a bolder, more "in your face" time in history. It is time to be clear about who we are, who we are being confronted by, and why.
We also need to understand what power he has... and doesn't have.
Stick with me here. What I am about to say you may not have heard in church before, and certainly not from other media sources. Not that I am the only one saying this, but far too few are, for sure.
It is time to get true perspective. If you are a follower of Christ, then realize that this global cultural clash is about you and Who you follow.
To see clearly, we need to know who we are in Christ and what our role is in the global culture.
Jesus calls us His "witnesses" for every part of the globe (Acts 1:8). We are a movement, a revolution that Jesus started. We have died to ourselves and are completely given to His purposes and His mission. His mission is to reveal Himself and His kingdom to every corner of the earth through you and me. It is an aggressive cause with world changing implications, both spiritual and territorial.
This mission is called the Great Commission, a kingdom transformation, the end of which takes back the earth from the rule of darkness and transfers it to the kingdom of light.
The enemy understands our mission better than many of us. He knows that if we ever truly believe what we say we believe, then his day is over. We will get serious about fulfilling our mission. And when we do, his cause is a lost cause.
Now let's clarify the enemy's position at our current phase of history, the New Covenant era. When Jesus, the perfect Lamb of God submitted Himself to death by a cross, He shed His blood for the redemption of mankind. He then descended into hell and crushed the head of the serpent, Satan. He was raised from the grave, defeating death, and ascended to the right hand of God to rule until His enemies become His footstool. And, by the way, He has raised us up with Him to that same position, in Him.
Satan's position in power has shifted.
He no longer has the authority over the earth that we gave him through the rebellion of Adam and Eve. His head has been crushed by the cross and resurrection.
Then there are these two sets of keys revealed to us by Jesus Himself. In Rev. 1:18, Jesus told John, the apostle, that He now had "the keys of Hades and of Death." The authority that Satan rightfully possessed is now back in the hands of the second Adam, Christ, our Lord. And then, in Matthew 16:19, Jesus told His disciples that He would give them "the keys of the kingdom of heaven." The authority of His kingdom has now been given to us who are in Christ on earth.
Conclusion: The devil is in a pickle.
The serpent's mission to upstage the plan of God by ruling the world has been de-fanged. His last and only hope is that we, the people of God, will not realize that he, the enemy, is positionally under our feet. His only real weapon of warfare is deception. And his greatest lie is that we should be afraid of him.
The truth of the matter??? He is afraid of us, BIG TIME!
Remember the story of Joshua, that before crossing the Jordan to conquer the Promised Land, he sent two spies into Jericho to scout the enemy? Here is what Rahab told the duo.
"I know that the Lord has given you the land, that the terror of you has fallen on us, and that all the inhabitants of the land are fainthearted because of you.... as soon as we heard these things (what God has done for you), our hearts melted; neither did there remain any more courage in anyone because of you, for the Lord your God, He is God in heaven above and on earth beneath."
In other words, once you go behind the walls of the fortified city of hell and get to the heart of the enemy's world, you will discover that he is the one who is terrorized. His head is crushed. His authority has been taken away. And new authority has been given to those created in the image of God and newly created in the image of Christ. All of this is in the Bible. Believe it!
We are now charged to go on the offensive, infiltrate the far corners of the earth, and give every person on every plot of ground the opportunity to clearly hear the good news of Jesus Christ, knowing that many will respond and follow Him. Jesus, through His people, is taking back the earth as His own possession. It is a mighty movement, a revolution which cannot be stopped.
But the enemy's last stand is to make you believe that YOU are on the defensive, YOU are being overtaken, that YOU have every cause to fear. He is pursuing you in God's kingdom as a deterrent and distraction so that you will not pursue him and his kingdom whose walls have fallen and have left him with no protection.
His only protection is your deception.
When you are terrorized, then you are frozen, de-motivated, and unable to carry out the mission whose destiny is victory. But the opposite is true. Look at this little-known Bible verse.
Philippians 1:28 says, "...And not in any way terrified by your adversaries, which is to them a proof of perdition, but to you of salvation, and that from God."
The enemy's greatest fear is that you will no longer be afraid. Get that down into the depth of your heart. The worst that can happen to you is that you are gloriously persecuted for the sake of Christ and/or die for the cross and the cause of Christ. The rewards are incredible on the other side. And many believers before you in history have considered it an honor to identify with His suffering.
I know you are not used to thinking this way. But maybe it is time that you did!
By the Spirit of God, shake off the fear of this present darkness and go bold! Use wisdom, but rise up and do what you are called to be doing on this planet. The devil behind ISIS is after you because you now hold the keys that will pronounce his end.
By the way, I don't have time here, but there are countless stories of Jihadists and terroristscoming to Christ. Our weapons of warfare are not carnal but for the pulling down of strongholds. It is our bold actions of humility, servanthood, love, and the preaching of Christ to the whole world that will win in the end.
Who is the one in terror? Well, we know he is. And when he sees that you aren't... well then, he has every reason to be afraid!