“The people were amazed at His teaching, because He taught them as one who had authority, not as teachers of the law.” — Mark 1:22
Because our enemy, Satan, is intimidated by our position as followers of Christ, he often comes at us with distractions to test us. He wants to know if we truly know and believe the position we have in Christ. If we don’t know who we are, we will quickly crumble with the noise he makes around us — the bad report from the doctor or the bank statement. Jesus promised us that in this life we will face adversity, but we have to choose not to cower in the midst of the battle.
In Mark 1, Jesus encountered a man who was possessed by Satan. He didn’t respond with any crazy incantations or religious practices, he simply exercised the authority he had been given by the Father and the enemy had to obey.
“‘Be quiet!’ said Jesus sternly, ‘Come out of him!’ The impure spirit shook the man violently and came out of him with a shriek” (v. 25-26).
When we don’t walk in the authority God gives, we will cower in the face of opposition.
When I was a college intern, I rode the same bus every day with the same group of guys, dressed in suits and headed to our internships. Every day, there was one guy on the bus who would verbally make fun of people. He wasn’t bigger than anyone, he was just a bully.
One day, I had had enough. I had to watch people get made fun of so I spoke up and called him out in front of the whole bus. He immediately became really angry and told the bus driver to stop; we were about to fight. Realizing we were in suits and on our way to the internship, I wasn’t willing to fight back. In fact, I realized I had picked a fight with a bully but wasn’t willing to bully him. We got off the bus and I tried to talk to him but he pummeled me. He said if I wasn’t willing to fight back, I needed to get back on the bus and shut up. So I did. After that, I stopped riding the bus altogether just so I wouldn’t have to face him again.
If we’re not willing to bully the bully and exercise the authority God’s given us as His people, the same will happen to us. We’ll get destroyed in the fight we’ve chosen.
In Luke 10:17-20, Jesus took 72 of His followers and gave them authority to go to the places where He was going to go. He put His power on these men and sent them out so they could be the presence of God before He came in true form.
“The seventy-two returned with joy and said, ‘Lord, even the demons submit to us in Your Name.’”
The reason Satan submitted to these men is because he already submitted to God. Jesus sent them out with the authority that the Father already exercised. Jesus then went on to say, “However do not rejoice that the spirits submit to you, but rejoice that your names are written in Heaven” (v. 20).
Followers of Jesus are not helpless victims to the spiritual forces. God’s children are able to conquer spirits; we’re called to do this in His name with total reliance on His power and authority.
There’s a new level of fight now. When we accept Christ into our lives, we don’t sneak up on the devil, we wear a target on our backs. We’ve picked a fight with him. Now we have to be willing to be aggressive.