I’ve just seen the joy-as-weapon angle in a whole new way when it comes to suffering at the hands of others. What if we are to rejoice not just because we share Christ’s sufferings but also because the enemy has just revealed himself?
Rejoice! Satan Just Exposed Himself
When we meet someone and they’re hateful to us, it can be incredibly difficult to get past our own hurt. But what if we stopped looking at it defensively (selfishly) and started viewing it in light of Ephesians 6:12? “For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.” If I truly believe this, then every time someone insults me or accuses me or lies about me, Satan has just revealed the location of his troops. I should rejoice! This is a target-rich world and I’m a vessel of Victory.
Every time someone shoots at me, they reveal a stronghold of the enemy. God plainly tells us: “No weapon formed against you shall prosper, and every tongue which rises against you in judgment you shall condemn” (Is. 54:17). If I truly believed that then I would rejoice in my persecution. I am a child of God, made victorious through the Blood of Jesus Christ, my Lord and Savior. My body is a living sacrifice for the indwelling Life of Christ. What can Satan do to me besides try to convince me that I’m on the losing side?
Rejoice! Victory Is Ours
The Holy Spirit is showing me how defensively I move through this world. The world may hate me, but it has no power over me in any way that actually matters. Every time I suffer at the hands of another, I should rejoice that God has trusted me to be a vessel of His indomitable Love and victorious Life toward the one who hurt me. I’m not a victim. I’m a lantern for the Light that scorches darkness and annihilates its hold on the lost.
Joy is the response of the heavenly-minded to abuse and rejection. And Love is the only power that will take my eyes off myself when I suffer. Only God’s love will rejoice when it takes a beating. There is a broken and imprisoned soul behind every attack of Satan, and God wants that soul saved. Will I love that lost sheep as God does, or will I get lost in my own hurt? That’s the question every time.
I can’t bear what the Spirit is showing me in this. It’s an agony to see just how loveless and selfish and hateful I’ve been. God calls me to love the brokenhearted and instead I fixate on whether or not He’s protecting me. “Rejoice!” He said to me. “Here is the challenge and adventure and PURPOSE you asked Me to give you. What are you doing?!” God forgive me, I’ve been loving myself and saving my life.
For you shall go out [from the spiritual exile caused by sin and evil into the homeland] with joy and be led forth [by your Leader, the Lord Himself, and His word] with peace; the mountains and the hills shall break forth before you into singing, and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands.
Isaiah 55:12 AMPC