TELL THE VICTORY STORIES AGAIN
By Richard Chowning
Behold the serpent - Satan.
Scripture portrays Satan as one of the major characters of the cosmos.
He is the prince of this world and the ruler of darkness. He is the captain
of evil. Americans see Satan as the champion of immorality and violence.
To Africans, Satan is the captain of spirits who bring sickness, pestilence
No matter what form Satan's work has taken, throughout the ages God has
been victorious over this captain of evil.
Jesus knew that. Jesus was not intimidated by a man filled with many
demons. Those demons made the man so strong that he broke the manacles that
others had put on him. He screamed night and day. His body was covered
with scars and fresh blood from self inflected wounds. Jesus' word was so
mighty that he merely ordered the demons out of the man.
Christians need to have the same confidence before evil.
Jonathan Arap Ketmiywa
Just this week I was in the hut of Jonathan Arap Ketmiywa, an older
African Christian of the Kipsigis tribe. He told a congregation, "I used to
be involved with the powers of darkness." He had been the leading function-
ary in his village's circumcision rites - the tribes prime rite of passage.
"I have given up those powers. When preachers of the gospel came I saw that
their God was the Almighty. I now preach Christ. This hut that I used to
use for evil is now a house of meeting for God's people."
Jonathan had been in the darkness of Satan, now he is in the light of
A Young Man in California
Some years ago I knew a young man in California who had been in the
grips of Satan. He had been a drug user and peddler. He had robbed and
beaten people. He had spent so much time in jail that a judge told him that
he was doing life by the installment plan. When this young man heard the
powerful message of Christ. He stepped out of the darkness and into the
light of Christ.
These are the battlefields where God and Satan wrestle.
The battle does not end with conversion. Satan, the roaring lion,
roams the church in search of those he might lead captive.
At a preacher's luncheon, on my recent furlough, I was asked if I had
prepared the churches among the Kipsigis to withstand the doctrines of the
denominations. I answered by explaining that there were few denominations
among the Kipsigis. Eighty-five percent of the Christians had been won out
of a pagan environment and that made basic teachings about the Christian
world-view my first priority. The questioner posed the same question in
another way. I responded that those Kipsigis who fell away were not taken
by denominations. They fell into the world. Satan's world.
The same is true with Christians in the United States. Think about
those who have fallen. How many of them are now part of a denomination?
Very few. Most of them are in the world. Satan's world.
The Kipsigis Churches
In the Kipsigis churches Christians have fall during times when the
tribe perceives evil spirits to be the nearest: death of a family member,
birth of a child, circumcision of a child or during some relationship
problems with spouse or villagers.
During such times these Christians should have drawn closer to Christ,
they fell. They were not convinced that Christ had the power to help them
through the trial.
Churches in the United States
When is Satan most effective in churches in the United States?
Satan is extremely active during times of stress caused by a disturbance
of our normal lifestyle.
Many have fallen when they are have relationship problems. Like an
American friend of mine who had been a eager worker and learner his first
few years in the Lord. Then he and his wife had a growing difference over
their view of each other's role in the home. My friend fell out of love
with his wife, the Lord and his brethren. At the very time he should of
drawn closer to the Lord he withdrew.
Others who have experienced financial difficulties have turned from the
Lord instead of to Him. Still others have withdrew when they fall into sin.
Why is Satan so successful at such times?
What can be done to assist the church in her battle with Satan? The
problem centers around the lack of confidence in Lord to solve our problems.
What Does the Bible Have to Say?
Much of scripture was written and preserved to record God's dominance
over Satan. Israel of old and the early church often recounted God's mighty
victories over evil.
When I was young I loved to hear the stories of Samson, David, and
Elijah. I loved to hear how God's people won.
The victory stories must be trumpeted again. The Old and New Testament
are full of stories of God winning over Satan - of God helping men through
their problems. "Lord, even the demons submit to us in your name," reported
the seventy-two to Jesus after their confrontation with evil. Your
congregations are full of members who have their own victory stories to tell.
These brethren need to have forums to encourage their brethren with the way
Christ helped them in their time of need.
Christ conquers Satan daily, the headlines of these battles need to
fill our churches. Then when a brother has a problem he can feel confident
that God can give him victory too. He has already given victory to many.