Isaiah 54:17 (AMP) gives us a wonderful promise from God. It says, "'No weapon that is formed against you will succeed; and every tongue that rises against you in judgment you will condemn. This [peace, righteousness, security, and triumph over opposition] is the heritage of the servants of the Lord, and this is their vindication from Me,' says the Lord."
No one likes to be judged or criticized by others, and this verse clearly says "every tongue that rises against you in judgment you will condemn." The question is, how do we show those who judge and criticize us unjustly that they are wrong? Do we defend ourselves? Do we get mad at them and say equally bad things about them, trying to get back at them? No, none of that works and it's not what this Scripture is talking about.
Jesus is our ultimate example of how we should live, and the Bible says in 1 Peter 2:23 (NLT), "He did not retaliate when he was insulted, nor threaten revenge when he suffered. He left his case in the hands of God, who always judges fairly." When someone comes against us, we're often tempted to defend ourselves and say something like, "You're not going to talk to me like that!" or "If you think you're going to treat me that way, then I'm going to do this to you!"
But the way we show those who judge and criticize us that they are wrong is by behaving in a godly way instead of letting what the enemy—the devil—did through them cause us to act the same way.
It's Spiritual Warfare
As believers in Jesus Christ, we are in a war, but it's not a war against human beings. Ephesians 6:12 (AMP) says, "We are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places."
I realize that talking about the devil is unpleasant, and many people don't want to do it. I attended church for years and, although I knew the devil was real, I didn't understand that he could be a real problem in my life.
The truth is that all of the evil in this world—all of the bad things that happen—the source of it all is our enemy, the devil. It's so important for us to really get this if we want to effectively fight and get victory in the spiritual warfare we face.
The Way It Works
Sometimes we take a verse, like Isaiah 54:17, and focus on the part we like or want to do and expect to reap the benefits of the whole thing. For example, we like saying, "No weapon formed against me will prosper, and everyone who says wrong things about me will be proven wrong!" But we need to take the rest of the verse to heart to. It says, "This [peace, righteousness, security, triumph over opposition] is the heritage of the servants of the Lord [those in whom the ideal Servant of the Lord is reproduced]" (Isa. 54:17, AMPC).
The heritage we have in Christ—His peace, righteousness, security and triumph over opposition—is experienced by those who follow the example of "the ideal Servant of the Lord," which is Jesus Christ. This means that true faith in Christ produces a lifestyle that represents His heart, His character and His behavior.
When you have a real relationship with Jesus, His Spirit lives in you and He changes you little by little, from glory to glory (see 2 Cor. 3:18). When you're born again, the Holy Spirit comes to live in your spirit and shows you how to live right. You won't be comfortable with an ungodly lifestyle as you grow closer to Him.
The Best Retaliation
So practically speaking, what does it mean to act like Jesus in these situations? The first thing we need to do when someone comes against us is pray for them. They need to have an understanding of how dangerous is it to treat others this way. Matthew 7:2 (NLT) says, "You will be treated as you treat others. The standard you use in judging is the standard by which you will be judged."
We need to keep our eyes on Jesus and trust Him to give us the wisdom and strength to do what He would do. Remember the greatest commandment God gives us: "'Love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your strength, and all your mind.' And, 'Love your neighbor as yourself'" (Luke 10:27, NLT).
I want to encourage you to be a wholehearted believer in Christ who lives for Him in every area of your life! Commit yourself completely to Him and pray, "Lord, I give You every part of my life—there's nothing that is closed off to You. Do what You want to do in me and make me everything You've created me to be."
Loving God with all of your heart, soul, mind and strength is the secret to certain victory in spiritual warfare. In Christ, no weapon formed against you will prosper!
Joyce Meyer is a New York Times best-selling author and founder of Joyce Meyer Ministries, Inc. She has authored 100 books, including Battlefield of the Mind and Get Your Hopes Up! (Hachette). She hosts the Enjoying Everyday Life radio and TV programs, which air on hundreds of stations worldwide. For more information, visit www.joycemeyer.org.
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