I struggle with some passages in the Bible. Sometimes I struggle understanding. Sometimes I struggle with the implications of what I’m reading. I came across one of those passages in Luke 11:18-23 where Jesus describes what sounds like a battle between him and Satan. Theologically, this causes me some problems.
The war has been already decided but a few battles remain
How can there be a war between the created and the Creator? Let me explain what I mean… Satan is an angel who rebelled against God. Angels were created by God. Therefore, Satan was created by God. After Satan rebelled God kicked him out of Heaven.
The Bible makes it very clear. Jesus is God. Jesus was involved and active in the creation of the heavens and the earth. Therefore, Jesus created Satan. So let me ask the question again, how can there be a war between the created (Satan) and the Creator (Jesus)?
Here’s a possible answer to that question. Perhaps God is allowing battles to rage for a war that has already been decided. In other words, if God is absolutely sovereign, even sovereign over Satan, then there really isn’t a war at all. God is simply allowing Satan freedom to terrorize for a specific period of time. At some point God will give Satan the punishment that he deserves… namely Hell. I think Jesus hints to this in Luke 11:18 when he refers to Satan’s kingdom.
Your heart is the battleground
Jesus does make it clear that there is a struggle going on in this passage. He uses attack and defense language in Luke 11:22-23. I don’t want you to minimize the danger that Satan poses. He is a very real adversary. He will destroy your life if possible (1 Peter 5:8).
Your heart is the battleground! Every day your heart is being pulled away from God by many things. The entertainment industry is shouting for your attention. Sports teams are playing for your attention. Even work, finances or family can garner all of your attention, if you’re not careful. Where does this leave God? These are just a few examples of the very real fight for your heart’s attention.
Your heart is the battleground. Jesus wants all of your heart’s attention. He will not share your attention with anyone or anything else. Jesus wants to be the object of your focus because there is nothing more glorious for your heart to dwell on than Jesus. The heart is the battleground because whoever gains the heart also inherits your soul. Be careful what has your heart’s desire — wherever the heart goes the soul will surely follow.
You must pick a team
The battleground of the heart is the backdrop for the final statement Jesus makes in Luke 11:23. In this simple statement, Jesus puts everyone to the test. You are either on his team… or you are on Satan’s team. There is no middle ground!
Maybe you’re thinking I’ve never really chosen a team, I still have time to choose, correct? Wrong. Jesus is saying that choosing not to choose is making a choice. Notice the wording Jesus uses — whoever is not with me is against me. This means any heart that is not intentionally focused on Jesus is against Jesus. The statement does not say you chose Satan against Jesus. It says that allowing your heart to be focused on anything other than Jesus, is to pick the other team. What about you? Is sports the center of your world? Does the entertainment industry have all of your attention? Are you totally focused on making money and earning a living? If so, whether you know it or not, you’ve picked a team — and according to Jesus, you’ve picked the wrong team.
Here’s how you can make sure you’re on the right team when Jesus returns again: Admit your heart is sinful. Ask Jesus to change your heart so that you will treasure him above everything else. Surrender the battle to him. Pray something like this: Jesus, I admit that my heart is sinful. I recognize I can’t change my own heart. I’m asking you to change my heart for me. I believe that your death on the cross paid the penalty for my sin. I believe that you rose again so that I can have eternal life. I surrender my heart and soul to you. I ask you to change me from the inside out. Amen.
If you’ve prayed that prayer, we want to hear from you. Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll help you get connected to a good church in your local area.