By Brooke Holt
“O God, whose blessed Son came into the world that he might destroy the works of the devil and make us children of God and heirs of eternal life: Grant that, having this hope, we may purify ourselves as he is pure; that, when he comes again with power and great glory, we may be made like him in his eternal and glorious kingdom; where he lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.” The Collect, Book of Common Prayer
Why did Jesus leave the heavenly realms and all the glory he enjoyed there to be born as a baby and dwell among us? The Collect states the answer in the prayer for today, “that he might destroy the works of the devil and make us children of God and heirs of eternal life.” Do you know the devil is alive and well? Do you know he has come to steal, kill, and destroy (see John 10:10)? You have God the Father who loves you so much that he sent his beloved Son into the world that you may have life and have it abundantly (John 10:10). And you have the devil who hates you and seeks to steal, kill, and destroy the good things God has for you.
Whose voice are you listening to—the Savior or the devil? Who is directing your steps? Whom are you serving? These are important questions, even for the most well-intended Christians. As people living in the world, it is far too easy to hear your enemy’s voice and live according to his agenda. The apostle Peter warned the followers of Jesus Christ: “Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. Resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same kinds of suffering are being experienced by your brotherhood throughout the world” (1 Peter 5:8-9).
In his death and resurrection, Jesus overcame the devil. He made the way for humankind to live in a restored relationship with the triune God. Ultimately, his work will bring full triumph, but for these days of “now but not yet,” the devil prowls around like that roaring lion. Not a tame lion or the lion you admire in the confines of a zoo, but a wild lion seeking his prey.
You must have your eyes and ears open for the devil’s work among us. You must be prepared to resist him at every turn. And you must put your hope in Jesus Christ, who has made the way for your victory over Satan, sin, and death. As you look to Jesus and trust in his redemptive work on your behalf, you become the righteousness of Christ; you become pure as Jesus himself was pure; and you have hope of sharing fully in his glory and eternal kingdom.
You have victory over this world and the devil. May you be strengthened today through the word of the Lord, the victory that Jesus won for you, and in the power of the Holy Spirit.
Are you embracing the victory of Jesus, resisting the devil, and standing firm in your faith? This victory only comes through Jesus, and you are empowered to live from that place of victory through the power of the Holy Spirit living within you. We would love to hear your thoughts in the comments.
Advent is like celebrating a national holiday in a foreign land — like observing the 4th of July as an expatriate. Locals do not understand the fuss. Advent is equal parts cherishing and missing home. AND it’s a mix of loving this world while getting ready to leave it behind. This makes Advent the most human and most complex celebration we have. Isaiah the prophet, David the psalmist, Paul the apostle, John the Baptist, Mary, Joseph, and Jesus all lived in one world and longed for the next. They loved this world and loved the world to come even more. In these 28 devotions in Face the Dawn, join them in wearing the paradox of Christianity- this world may be our home, but that world is HOME.
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