[“Now the Lord is the Spirit; and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord” (2 Corinthians 3:17,18, NKJV)]
Now we’ll digress just a minute to consider an important side issue—what the Lord is after in this! We know the Lord has had an arch-enemy on this earth. Did you ever wonder, Why doesn’t the Lord just make a clean sweep of the whole thing and wipe him out? This is one of the problems that many Christians face. They are puzzled as to why God doesn’t enable them to avoid their difficulties. They ask, “Why does the devil come against me. Why doesn’t the Lord take care of the devil?”
In one aspect we can say, well, through all of this the Lord is sharpening us. But there’s something even deeper than that and much more important. Did you ever stop to think that the Lord will possibly never deal directly with Satan? I’m not throwing this out as dogmatic doctrine, but I want to challenge you a bit! There is a reason why God hasn’t just finished him off. The Lord has purposed to so fill the universe with Himself that the enemy has no more ground. He’s just crowded out, as all his ground is taken from him. God has never had to deal with him directly.
When I think of this, I wonder if this isn’t the picture set forth when Joshua led the children of Israel into the conquest of the Land. God stated specifically, “I will not drive your enemies out! I will be in you, moving them out one by one. If you leave any there, I’m not going to take care of them. They’re going to be thorns in your sides. You move them out! You take their ground from them.”
As you know Israel went so far, and then quit! I’m reminded that many, many years after the conquest of the land, there was still a tribe of Jebusites that held a stronghold in a mountain right in the middle of Canaan’s land. There they were—a threat! A constant challenge. A reproach to the name of Jehovah, God of Israel. For years the Israelites never did a thing about it. They just left them there. Then David came along, and said in his heart, “I can’t stand this reproach. I’m going to take this mountain. I’m going to take the ground of those Jebusites. I’m going to wipe them out.” And he did. And when he did, he built his house right up there in that mountain, which later came to be known as Mt. Zion.
This Hill of Praise is where the ground was taken from the enemy. Now, God doesn’t do it for you; rather He works in you, and moves through you into that ground. It is quite interesting that as you move in to occupy the ground, you go just so far, then you discover a weakness in yourself, something that is keeping you from taking ground from the enemy. The trouble is that there is ground in you that hasn’t been surrendered to God. The devil, your enemy, is quick to remind you, “You can’t have this ground because I have it.” And until this ground in you is given over to the Lord, you can’t take that ground! So as you move in, the Lord is accomplishing a two-fold purpose. First of all. He’s getting ground in you, and second, as He gets ground in you, He moves the enemy out!
This principle is all through the Scriptures. Jesus said to the disciples, “Occupy! Take this ground” [Luke 19:13]. Paul wrote to the Roman Christians, “Satan shall be put under your feet, shortly” [Rom. 16:20]. Now when God is increasing Himself, He certainly has as one of the ends in view, not only to increase Himself, but to move His enemy off the scene. Here is a thought worth considering: Will the Lord ever move directly in this situation, or will He perhaps move exclusively within the Church? Whatever the answer, it is only as we give the ground up to God that the enemy is moved off the ground.
Essentially, this is what happened in the life of the Lord Jesus. Satan kept trying to get ground in Him. He kept moving in to possess something, but he couldn’t touch Him at any point. At the close of Jesus’ earthly ministry, just before the Passion, Jesus said, “The prince of this world cometh and hath nothing in me!”[John 14:30]. Terrific words of victory! And just about the same time He said, “Now is the judgment of this world.” “Now shall the prince of this world be cast out!” [John 12:31]. Do they not go together? Satan couldn’t get any ground in Jesus. Because God had all the ground in the Lord Jesus, Satan could have none. Jesus said, “Now is the judgment of this world.” Don’t restrict this to the future. He said, “Right now, at Calvary, is the judgment of this world.” So stand on that ground. Yield all your ground over to God, and the result will be an increase of the Lord in your life. You will find yourself reflecting the glory of God.
Now let us consider how the Lord is daily transforming us! This implies a process. Our walking with the Lord always results in this transforming which means He sees Himself reflected in us more perfectly. We could express this intention in many ways. And if this is the end in view, then all ministry must be directed to this end: a precise reflecting of the glory of God, and a transforming of the vessel of the individual personality so there is more and more of His increase in us.
If this is ministry, then 2 Corinthians 4 explodes with new meaning. Let me again use J.B. Phillips’ translation here: “This is the ministry… which God in His mercy has given us, and nothing can daunt us. We use no hocus-pocus, no clever tricks, no dishonest manipulations of the word of God. We speak the plain truth and so commend ourselves to every man’s conscience in the sight of God. If our gospel is ‘veiled’, the veil must be in the minds of those who are spiritually dying. The spirit of this world has blinded the minds of those who do not believe, and prevents the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, the image of God, from shining on them. For it is Christ Jesus as Lord whom we preach, not ourselves. We are your servants for His sake. God, who first ordered light to shine in darkness has flooded our hearts with His light. We now can enlighten men only because we can give them knowledge of the glory of, as we see it in the face of Jesus Christ”(vv. 1-6).
In this chapter there are three principles that are essential in all spiritual ministry: The first is honesty, or openness. The mirror’s finest quality is perfect reflection. Clear! With no flaws! What God is after in our lives, first of all, is a basic honesty, a frankness, an openness. If ministry does not spring out of, and result in, openness, honesty, and frankness, it never can really lead us to the full purpose of God in our reflecting adequately the image of God. Consequently, every ministry must be an expression of honesty and openness, so that when God turns the mirror in any direction, the only reflection is God in the man. The Lord moves me to Argentina, or moves me to Africa; but the primary thing He is interested in is that wherever He puts me, the reflection is Himself in me.
 The author is aware of Satan’ demise in Revelation 20:1-10, but is here discussing why God does not put an end to him now.- JBW
 For an explanation of God’s justice in ordering Israel to destroy the Canaanites that did not heed the Lord’s evacuation alert (the stopping up of the Jordan River), see Probe ministry’s response at http://www.probe.org/probe-answers-e-mail/bible/how-could-a-compassionate-god-order-the-genocide-of-the-canaanites.html – JBW
Part 2 of 5.
http://www.orvilleswindoll.com/ To order his four chapter book, Designed to Express His life, contact Cathy Solomon at GFI: email@example.com