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How the Word of God Enables Us to Defeat the Devil

The following post is adapted from “When I Don’t Desire God: How to Fight for Joy” by John Piper. 


The Word of God Enables Us to Defeat the Devil

The devil is real and terrible. He is much stronger than we are, and he aims to deceive and destroy. Jesus said, “He was a murderer from the beginning, and has nothing to do with the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks out of his own character, for he is a liar and the father of lies” (John 8:44). Yet he has been decisively defeated through the death and resurrection of Jesus. The Bible teaches that Christ took on himself human nature so “that through death he might destroy the one who has the power of death, that is, the devil” (Heb. 2:14). The destruction was decisive, though not final. Because of Christ’s shed blood for our sins, the devil cannot destroy those who are in Christ.  The reason is that his accusations are no longer valid. The only thing that could sentence us to eternal destruction is unforgiven sin. But the cross obtained complete forgiveness. Therefore, the devil can only kill us, but not damn us.

Yes, he has that much power. Jesus said to the church in Smyrna, “Do not fear what you are about to suffer. Behold, the devil is about to throw some of you into prison, that you may be tested, and for ten days you will have tribulation. Be faithful unto death, and I will give you the crown of life” (Rev. 2:10). Where is the victory in that? John tells us in Revelation 12:11: “And they have conquered [the devil] by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, for they loved not their lives even unto death.” By trusting Jesus’ blood to cover all their sins, and by holding on to their faith even to death, they conquered the devil.

The devil is conquered wherever his design to devour faith is defeated. That defeat is by the cross of Christ and the Word of God. John, who knew the devil’s workings so well, said in his first letter, “I write to you, young men, because you are strong, and the word of God abides in you, and you have overcome the evil one” (1 John 2:14). The Word of God is the power that overcomes the devil.  So it was with Jesus in the wilderness. To every temptation thrown at him by the devil, he quoted Scripture (Matt. 4:4, 7, 10). If Jesus was himself the Word of God, and could command demons so that they obey him (Mark 1:27), and yet he depended on Scripture to deflect the temptations of the devil, so should we.

It’s true, Paul says: “In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one” (Eph. 6:16). So faith is the great devil-defeater. “Resist him, firm in your faith” (1 Pet. 5:9). But faith in what? The Word of God. The promises of God. Therefore Paul instructs Timothy, “The Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome but . . . able to teach . . . correcting his opponents with gentleness. God may perhaps grant them repentance leading to a knowledge of the truth, and they may escape from the snare of the devil, after being captured by him to do his will” (2 Tim. 2:24-26). Teaching is the most common instrument that God uses to deliver “from the snare of the devil.” Teaching what? “Knowledge of the truth”—the Word of God.

Therefore, if you would have power over the devil, and if you would escape the snare of his deceit and the destruction of your faith, then do what Jesus did and what all the triumphant saints have done: Treasure up the Word of God, and wield it like a sword against your foe.

And though this world, with devils filled,

Should threaten to undo us,

We will not fear, for God hath willed

His truth to triumph through us.

The prince of darkness grim,

We tremble not for him;

His rage we can endure,

For lo! his doom is sure;

One little word shall fell him.

When the powers of darkness are arrayed against you, and aim to destroy your joy forever, nothing is more precious than to have the Word of God ready for the battle. The fight for joy is not for the unarmed.


John Piper (DTheol, University of Munich) is teacher and founder of desiringGod.org and chancellor of Bethlehem College and Seminary. He served for 33 years as senior pastor at Bethlehem Baptist Church in Minneapolis and is author or editor of more than 50 books, including This Momentary Marriage, Sex and the Supremacy of Christ, and Velvet Steel (excerpt).

The Pastor’s Justification (Free Excerpt)

“What Jared has written here is, for me, an instant classic.”Joe Thorn

Ministry can be brutal. Leaders face discouragement, frustration, and exhaustion—and they often face it alone. Helping fellow pastors refocus on the gospel, pastor Jared Wilson here offers practical insights, real-life anecdotes, and in-your-face truth related to the ups and downs of pastoral ministry. Honest yet hopeful, this creative fusion of biblical exposition and personal confession will help pastors weather the storms of ministry by rooting their identity in Christ.

Endorsements for The Pastor’s Justification

“Wilson is one of my favorite thinkers. Of the books he has written, this one is especially edifying to me. He knows the highs and lows of our calling. His conviction, passion, and wit pour out onto the page as he shepherds those of us who are shepherding the flock.”
MATT CHANDLER, Pastor, The Village Church, Dallas, Texas; author, The Explicit Gospel

“Jared exercises his considerable pastoral compassion and skill to offer a fresh, much-needed word for burned-out pastors.”
DANIEL MONTGOMERY, Pastor, Sojourn Community Church, Louisville

“Jared is a welcomed guide for pastors who want off of the performance treadmill.”
DARRIN PATRICK, Pastor, The Journey, St. Louis, Missouri; author, Church Planter

“Pastor, you are not alone—your feelings of loneliness, fear, insecurity, and mediocrity are shared by all pastors, to one degree or another. Every congregation should want their pastor to read this book, and every pastor will want his congregation to do the same.”
BURK PARSONS, Pastor, St. Andrew’s Church; Editor, Tabletalk magazine

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Crazy Busy Book

I’M TOO BUSY!

We’ve all heard it. We’ve all said it. Just one look at our jam-packed schedules tells us how hard it can be to strike a well-reasoned balance between doing nothing and doing it all.

That’s why Kevin DeYoung addresses the busyness problem head on in his forthcoming book, Crazy Busy — and not with the typical arsenal of time management tips, but with the biblical tools we need to get to the source of the issue and pull the problem out by the roots.

Crazy Busy is coming to a store near you on September 23rd!

Pre-order now or visit CrazyBusyBook.com for the following:

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August 1, 2013 | Posted in: Books,Giveaways,Leadership,Vocation | Author: Ted Cockle @ 2:42 pm | 0 Comments »

Download an Excerpt from New Release “Glimpses of Grace”

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From the back cover of Glimpses of Grace: Treasuring the Gospel in Your Home:

Sometimes life feels a lot like a burden—day-in and day-out its the same chores and tasks, challenges and discouragements, anxieties and responsibilities. Dust bunnies show up on the stairwell, social commitments clutter the calendar, and our families demand daily attention and care. At times, just catching our breath seems like an impossible feat.

So where is God in all of this? Does he care about the way we unload the dishwasher or balance the budget? Do the little things like changing diapers or cooking meals make a difference? And how can we use our spheres of influence for God’s glory and our joy?

Whether you are a stay-at-home mom or a working woman splitting time between the office and home, Gloria Furman—writer, pastor’s wife, cross-cultural worker, and mom—encourages us to see the reality of God’s grace in all of life, especially those areas that often appear to be boring and unimportant. Using personal examples and insightful stories, her richly theological reflections help us experience the gospel’s extraordinary power to transform our ordinary lives.

Special Offers and Bulk Pricing

Reminder: Today (6.7.2013) is your last chance to submit your receipt for our launch week special offer.

To redeem your free extras, simply scan and email your receipt to glimpses@crossway.org before 11:59am on Friday, June 7.*

Buying for a small group or book club? Bulk discounts are also available via Crossway.org—buy 10 books for the price of 7. Simply add the 10 books to your cart and the discount will be applied automatically.

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June 7, 2013 | Posted in: Books,Family,Joy,Parenting,Publishing,Women, Wives, Mothers | Author: Ted Cockle @ 2:32 pm | 0 Comments »

Glimpses of Grace – Launch Week Special Offer

This week marks the official release of Gloria Furman’s first book, Glimpses of Grace: Treasuring the Gospel in Your Home. Furman reminds women of the gospel’s extraordinary power in ordinary life, helping homemakers see and savor Glimpses of Grace Cover the miraculous in the mundane.

Lauren Chandler shares the following in her foreword:

Glimpses of Grace is not a how-to. It is a true friend’s invitation to see and know the Lord’s steadfast love displayed in every wave, big and small. Gloria offers encouragement rooted in her personal experience and wisdom from saints who have weathered the storms decades and even centuries before us. May you catch glimpses of his steadfast love and find an anchor for your soul.

Launch Week Special

In honor of the book’s release, we’re excited to offer something special. Purchase a copy of Glimpses of Grace from your favorite local or online retailer from June 3-7 and receive a free Glimpses of Grace ebook as well as one of Gloria’s favorite resources—the ESV Study Bible Online (available on ESVBible.org)!

To redeem your free extras, simply scan and email your receipt to glimpses@crossway.org before 11:59am on Friday, June 7.*

Learn more | Preview an excerpt | Watch the video | Buy Now

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*Note: Any receipts that are not legible, not included, or believed to be fraudulent will be disqualified. Limited to one promotion per person.
June 3, 2013 | Posted in: Books,Children,Family,Giveaways,Joy,Marriage,Parenting,The Gospel,Women, Wives, Mothers | Author: Ted Cockle @ 9:27 am | 0 Comments »