Here are two apparently contradictory statements:
God, who made the world and everything in it, since He is Lord of heaven and earth, does not dwell in temples made with hands. (Acts 17:24)
We know that we are of God, and that the whole world lies in the power of the evil one (I John 5:19)
I once asked the Lord how these two statements can be simultaneously true. How can Jesus be Lord, and yet the whole world lie in the power of the evil one? He gave me an illustration.
Photo Credit: kevitivity (Creative Commons)
The picture I had was of a low-income housing project, filled with violence, drugs dealing, prostitution, very similar to the one where we started a church a few years ago. Then the Lord asked me a question:
“Who rules this housing project?”
I thought for a while. “If you ask the people who live there, many would answer, ‘The drug lords and gang leaders,’ and that would be true. But actually the government has ultimate control.” I realized that the only way that the authorities could change the area in the natural would be to move everyone out and to raze the place to the ground. In Hong Kong there used to be an area called the Walled City which was an ungovernable settlement ruled by organized crime syndicates known as Triads. In 1987, the Hong Kong government rid themselves of the problem by evicting the tenants and demolishing the area.
However, the people who live in the projects have a choice. They can live as though the drug lords rule or as though a righteous government is in control. And when a group of people choose to live a Kingdom lifestyle and to stand up for what is right, it has an impact.
Could that make a difference? I believe so. When we started a church in the projects, our friends who lived there reported that the level of violence decreased and some of the drug dealers moved away. Our prayers and spiritual warfare over the area made a difference.
My original question was answered by this illustration the Lord gave me. Jesus is Lord of heaven and earth. But Satan is in control of the earth, and the only way for God to completely remove Satan’s presence would be to destroy the place. But God loves us so much that he didn’t do that. Instead he sent his Son who, in his death on the cross and subsequent shattering of the bonds of sin and death through his resurrection, defeated all the powers of darkness. It’s now up to us to enforce God’s Kingdom rule. We do that through spiritual warfare.
What do you think?