The Opposite of God

The opposite of light is dark. The opposite of up is down.

The opposite of God…is nothing.

God does not have an equal.

We seem to forget sometimes that the opposite of God is not the devil. The devil’s opposite is an archangel, like Michael or Gabriel. (see Jude 1:9)

The devil is a dog on a leash. He can only go as far as God permits him to go. Remember the story of Job? The devil can’t even touch Job until God gives the okay.

I’ve just finished reading through the minor prophets of the Old Testament, and God repeatedly warns his people to repent or he will allow other nations to defeat them. It is only once God allows other nations to dominate Israel that they achieve this. The devil can’t ‘have his way’ until God sanctions it.

God and the devil are different in many ways, but I believe the one of the most important differences is that God is non-linear, the devil is not.

Non-linear means that God is not bound by time.

There is no tomorrow for God. There is no yesterday. There is only ‘now’. He is right now at the creation of the world, right now at the crucifixion, right now at the end of this age. Right now.

Remember the name he provides when asked by Moses? I AM WHO I AM. Not I will be. Not I was. I AM.

Jesus drove the Jewish religious leaders wild with rage when they questioned how he knew Abraham and he said ‘before Abraham was born, I am!” (John 8:58)

The reason “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever” (Heb 13:8) is that he is eternal. Above and outside time.

God knows the future, because for him, it is the present. The devil is not all knowing. He’s read the bible, so he knows his eventual future, but not everything else.

The devil can’t read your thoughts, but he has thousands of years of experience to have a good idea of what you’re thinking. That’s how he always seems to know how to kick you when you’re down.

God has no opposite. He has no equal. The God you serve, the God you love and who loves you is the biggest, baddest cat in this neighborhood we call the universe.

That’s why Paul said “If God is for us, who can ever be against us?” (Romans 8:31) Because the answer, obviously, is no one.

God is unequaled, and he is unopposed.

The Weapons of War

You’ve heard Isaiah 54:17a: “no weapon forged against you will prevail”. But many Christians have been martyred, by guns or swords or lions or various other methods. So what is God talking about?

First, I think perhaps he is revealing that, as a whole, God’s people will never be wiped out. Despite fierce persecution in the first 4 centuries of Christianity, we’re a billion+ strong now.

But I also think there’s another aspect of this.

Jesus alludes to it in Matthew 10:28: “Don’t be afraid of those who want to kill your body; they cannot touch your soul. “

Jesus is like, ‘Guns and swords? Don’t even worry about those. They can only kill the part of you that’s going to die anyways.’

I think the real weapons that our enemy has forged against us are greed and lust and self-pity and hate and fear; among many others.

But the reason these weapons are not supposed to affect us is because Jesus makes us immune. His joy is stronger than depression. His peace can’t even be understood, much less defeated.

It’s when our life is “hidden with Christ” (Colossians 3:3) that we become completely untouchable to the weapons of the enemy.

We live in the cross fire. Bullets of selfish thoughts and actions are always heading our way. People living without Jesus are riddled with holes from these attacks. I think a lot of Christians are, too - when they drag their world-proof vest behind them in the mud instead of wearing it.

Paul is pretty clear about this in Romans 13:13-14: “Don’t participate in the darkness of wild parties and drunkenness, or in sexual promiscuity and immoral living, or in quarreling and jealousy. Instead, clothe yourself with the presence of the Lord Jesus Christ. And don’t let yourself think about ways to indulge your evil desires.”

Only in Jesus are you immune to the weapons of the devils warfare. Stay in him. Don’t try to do it yourself. There are no medals of honor to be won in heaven, because Jesus already won them.

The Strongman

Imagine somebody comes into your house with a knife. They brandish it about and threaten to hurt you if you don’t do what they say. You’re in a bad spot. You don’t have much choice but to obey the knife wielding person or else get hurt. But what if an ally of yours comes in and they have a gun?  They walk into the room and point it at the person with the knife and order them to stand down. The person with the knife can no longer hold you hostage. They are in check.

Now, after a little bit of time, you aren’t in fear of the person with the knife anymore. You see that they are under the submission of the person with the gun. They’re not so tough.

So you tell your ally with the gun they can go home. And as soon as they leave, the guy with the knife is in control of you again.

I think this is frequently how we deal with sin and the devil and our own fallen human nature.

We struggle under the oppression of sin and our flesh and the devil, but at some point we cry out to God and he comes to our rescue and puts hell on lockdown within our lives.

But after a while, we’re like, “Okay God, it’s all good now. You can leave. I got this.”

God, who chooses to be involved in our lives only to the degree we permit him - rather than forcing himself upon us, accepts our foolish request and withdraws.

Here’s the thing about Christian life: Christian maturity does not involve becoming independent from God…it’s just the opposite.

You will never outgrow your need for God.

The devil isn’t afraid of you by yourself. Sin is stronger than little old you. You, on your own, aren’t going to knock down the gates of hell.

Samson made the mistake of thinking it was all about him, that God was freeloading off of Samson’s awesomeness. But when he decided he could run the show on his own, it led to his destruction. (see Judges 13-16)

No matter how spiritually mature or awesome you become, you need to remember that it’s still not about you.

My toaster does a great job making toast, but not when it’s unplugged. The most beautiful flower starts to die the moment it’s cut.

The goal of Christian life isn’t to get to a point where you can do it all without God’s help. It’s that you don’t do anything apart from what he does in you and through you.

God is the elephant, you are the flea. Don’t make the mistake of thinking you shook the bridge.

Two Kingdoms

I believe that there are two kingdoms. The Kingdom of God and the kingdom of his enemy.

I believe these kingdoms are at war on the earth today.

The Kingdom of God has already secured the ultimate victory, but his enemy is unwilling to lay down his arms and peacefully surrender. He wants to cause as much damage as he can before he is destroyed permanently.

The kingdom of his enemy does not require any oaths or commitments. Everyone is by default a citizen of this kingdom from birth.

The Kingdom of God requires one to commit their life to the service of the King and renounce their citizenship to the kingdom of the enemy. It requires one to lay down his or her plans, desires and purposes and instead work only at the command of the King.

It does not require effort to advance the kingdom of God’s enemy, because disunity and confusion advance his purposes. Everyone may set their own agenda: money, power, comfort, religiosity, sex; these are all common individual purposes in the kingdom of the enemy.

It is also the reason that the enemy’s kingdom will not stand. It has no unified purpose other than to consume all that it comes in contact with. It is at war with itself all the time.

As as the Kingdom of God unifies behind the King - not behind a particular denomination or doctrine - he leads us in a great campaign of sabotage against the enemy.  He sent his son to lead our campaign: “the Son of God came to destroy the works of the devil” (1 John 3:8)

Our purpose is two fold: to press back the advancing lines of the kingdom of the enemy from his attempts to rule over the people of this earth, and to rebuild what his army has destroyed. He uses a slash and burn campaign, destroying anything he cannot have.

We share the secret that anyone in the kingdom of the enemy is free to defect. The miserable existence they lead now under the oppression and infighting of the enemy can be left behind.  The Kingdom of God is exclusive in so far as it is only for those who will stand with the King.

I serve at and for the pleasure of the King. And by my life or my death, I will advance his kingdom on this battleground called earth.

I don’t do this in my own strength, but in his. For unlike the kingdom of the enemy, who only takes from his denizens, our great King actually puts his life into us. He doesn’t make us hired soldiers. He makes us sons and daughters. He adopts us.

I stand with the King.