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For as long as I can remember, I’ve heard church leaders talk about how and why the church needs to take back what the enemy has stolen from us.
Whether it be our health or the arts (music, dance, theater, films).
Very recently an acclaimed christian author and leader talked about how the church should take back from the New Age what the enemy has stolen from us.
However, the question I have is whether this belief that we need to take back anything from the enemy is valid.
Has the enemy really stolen these things from us?
When examining theological beliefs for their accuracy, our measurement is the Bible.
Any theological belief – and any belief central to our worldview as a Christian – must be rooted in God’s Word. Therefore, we must first find the truth well established in Scripture as a whole.
I want to emphasize that Scripture as a whole must support this belief, because there is great danger in taking one verse or one instance in Scripture that isn’t confirmed by the whole of Scripture.
Using isolated verses to support a theological belief is called “proof-texting”, and this is a very dangerous practice.
So, the question now stands: Does Scripture teach that the church must take back what the enemy has stolen?
Do We Need to Take Back What the Enemy Has Stolen?
The short answer is, no. Nowhere in Scripture does it teach us that we need to take back what the enemy has stolen from us.
We all know the story of Job, and how God allowed Satan to destroy nearly everything he had: his health, his children, and his livelihood. Even his friends turned against him and his wife grew bitter.
But when we get to the end of his story, we don’t see Job commanding Satan to give him back what was stolen from him. God restored to Job what was lost.
“And the Lord restored Job’s losses when he prayed for his friends. Indeed the Lord gave Job twice as much as he had before.” Job 42:10 Emphasis mine
I believe these are keywords in this verse.
- The Lord did the restoring, Job did not do the taking.
- The Lord restored what was lost, not what was stolen
- Job wasn’t interceding for what was stolen from him, he was praying for his friends, whom the Lord had rebuked for turning on him.
The Israelites taking the Promised Land
Very often, this concept of taking back what the enemy has stolen is supported by the numerous Old Testament accounts of the Israelites taking possession of the Promised Land and plundering the nations surrounding them.
However, we must remember that the Promised Land wasn’t stolen from the Israelites, it was given to them by God and He was leading them through the desert to take possession of it.
When they defeated and plundered the nations surrounding the Promised Land, they weren’t taking what was stolen from them, they were taking the valuable goods from the nations they defeated.
They weren’t taking back what was stolen, they were plundering the enemy.
If we are going to put this into modern-day Christian context, God has sent us here to plunder the enemy’s kingdom and rescue souls for the kingdom of God.
Plundering the enemy is all about souls!
Plundering the enemy has nothing to do with our lifestyle here on earth: our health, dance, music, drama, films….and certainly not New Age practices and beliefs!
If God is for us, how can the enemy steal from us?
Throughout the Psalms, we read about God being our protection and our tower of safety; how then is the enemy able to get in and steal from us?
So, if God is our protection and safety, how can the enemy get to us to steal from us? There are only two ways this can happen.
- When we allow it
Whenever we remove ourselves from God’s protection, the enemy is able to plunder our lives in the very way Jesus described: he steals, he kills, and he destroys.
This happens when through our own disobedience, we give him a foothold in our life – and open door through which he walks in and brings destruction.
We see this illustrated for us in Scripture numerous times.
When the Israelites turned their backs on God and His commands, God warned them through His prophets time and again, until finally God sent the nations around them to defeat and plunder them, and take them captive.
- When God allows it
We see this illustrated in the book of Job.
God allowed Satan to take Job’s children, livestock, and health; but it was for a purpose and the purpose was to refine Job and to glorify Himself.
God never allows difficult circumstances in our life without a purpose and that purpose is two-fold:
– To refine us and make us more like Him
– To glorify Himself through that circumstance.
We must also remember that He never gives the enemy unbridled access. God permitted Satan to attack Job, but with very strong and defined boundaries.
He could attack Job, but he couldn’t destroy Job.
And God had a plan from the start to restore to Job everything that was lost; and He has the same plan for you! If God has allowed difficult circumstances in your life, He already has a plan for restoration!
Trust in God’s restoration, not in your own arm to rip something back from the hand of the enemy
The greatest fallacy in the belief that the church must take back what the enemy has stolen is the belief that it is up to us to walk into the enemy’s camp and yank away from his grip something he has stolen.
Restoration belongs to God, not us.
And when something is restored to us, it is God who is glorified, not us.
God has given us authority to plunder the enemy’s camp to win souls for the Kingdom of God; that is our singular mission as spiritual warriors.
Apart from lost souls, there is literally nothing the enemy has that I want.
Anything he has stolen he has perverted and defiled, and I want no part of that! Anything else that I may need in life, I will seek from the hand of God, not from the camp of the enemy.
Dear sisters in Christ, it is time for the church to stop allowing the enemy to distract her with the fool’s gold of worldly entertainment, self-care and humanistic doctrines, New Age beliefs, and practices, and hedonistic teachings.
We have a job to do and time is running out.
We need to stop being distracted by all of the trinkets we’ve been playing with, roll up our sleeves, and plunder hell to populate heaven with lost souls!
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