When Jesus was accused by the Pharisees of casting out demons by the power of the devil, He countered with a question: “If Satan drives out Satan, he is divided against himself. How then,” he asked, “can his kingdom stand?” (Matthew 12:26). As He often did, Jesus had asked a rhetorical question which forced a decision. He followed with another hard-to-answer question, “How can anyone enter a strong man’s house and carry off his possessions unless he first ties up the strong man? Then he can rob his house” (Matthew 12:29). “Bind the strongman,” is another translation.
One of the reasons that Jesus made people uncomfortable is that He cut to the core of issues. He never glossed over things or sugar-coated His message for population consumption. In this case, He drew a line, putting God on one side and Satan or the devil on the other. His works, he argued, were either of God or the devil and that the very nature of them demanded that they acknowledge God had confronted them with the truth.
Jesus taught clearly that our world—the world of computers, e-mail, miracle medicines, and space travel—is also disputed territory. God’s prior claim has been disputed by the devil, “the prince of the power of the air” as Paul described him. The bottom line, according to Scripture, is that your world and your life are a battleground of the spiritual and the carnal or fleshly. God and the devil both want you. It’s a spiritual battle, and the devil’s a bad loser.
However, do not rejoice that the spirits submit to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven. Luke 10:20
“Bind the strong man” was the phrase that Jesus used. He is saying, “Don’t let him have an inch, a millimeter, of your life. Question: Is there an area of your life or your thinking where you feel that you are spiritually bound, and you know it isn’t good? Put another way, is there something in your life that you desperately wish you could break out of, but you feel powerless in your own strength to get on top of?
If your answer is yes, whatever thought just came to your mind is an area that you need to deal with, whether it is a bad temper, sexual addiction, pornography, drugs, or disbelief. “Bind the strongman,” was Jesus’ advice. Can you do that? Certainly. Because you are only saying, “Yes, Lord” to what God’s purpose is. He also said, “Truly I tell you, whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven” (Matthew 18:18).
Beginning his ministry at Nazareth, Jesus quoted the words of Isaiah, saying that His ministry was to fulfill what the prophet Isaiah wrote: “The Spirit of the Sovereign LORD is on me, because the LORD has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners” (Isaiah 61:1). Did you notice that phrase about release? That’s God’s work when He, as a far more powerful and loving person, takes over the territory which Satan has held.
When you bind someone, you limit his influence or his threat. You don’t blow him away or annihilate him but you render him harmless and powerless. God’s power within you is far greater than the enemy’s power without. Never forget the statement from 1 John 4:4 which says, “…the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world.”
Bottom line: A lot of us need to exercise the spiritual power which God intends us to use, to bind the strong man, freeing those habits and areas of our lives which rightfully belong to the Lord. Don’t settle for less than God’s best in your life. Bind the strongman and let God’s power and presence invade that part of you that rightfully belongs to Him. You’ll be glad you did.
Resource reading: 1 John 4
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