But you belong to God, my dear children. You have already won a victory over those people, because the Spirit who lives in you is greater than the spirit who lives in the world. – 1John 4: 4 (NLT) Amidst the pomp and circumstance of playing church each week there still is an enemy to our souls that is very real. The Bible says that he roams to and fro seeking whom he may devour. He is described as the father of lies, a roaring lion, and the accuser of the brethren. The Bible even says that he and his emissaries disguise themselves as angels of light to further corrupt the elect. Once the enemy has lost the battle for your soul, he spends his energies making us ineffectual for the kingdom of God and trying to steal what God is trying to grow within us. Satan tries to steal our fruit: But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things! – Galatians 5: 22-23 (NLT) I think we see verses like this and reflect on the fruit of the Spirit in a passing sense without truly considering what it should mean in our lives. Why does the Holy Spirit produce this fruit in our lives? Besides enhancing our witness for Christ it is the fruit that comprises a contented and powerful Christian life. Seriously, consider the opposite for a second. If the devil can rob you of your love then you become a bitter person. If he steals your joy you may find yourself fighting depression. If he steals your peace you may end up battling anxiety. Without kindness we become angry at our situations. Without goodness we fall into sin more easily. When Satan robs our faithfulness he can actually get us to doubt God! Without gentleness we negatively affect those around us and without self control we can feel as if our whole life is spinning out of control. Do you see this today beloved? Satan wants us depressed, anxious, out of control and angry. He wants us bitter, falling into sin, doubting God, and negatively affecting people who may look up to us as believers. He wants us to feel as if we have lost control of our lives. Realize he doesn’t need to win all of these battles. Just one or two; here or there. A bitter Christian will eventually become angry. A depressed Christian will eventually feel anxious. The fruit is inter-related in our lives. Just as natural fruit is good for the body – spiritual fruit is good for the soul. It protects us from the forces in the spiritual realm that war against us every day. Again, the object is to rob you and make you ineffectual for the work God is trying to do in your life. This is especially true when we are going through high mountaintops. On the top of the mountain, you can expect a full out offensive against you to knock you down. Successes in Christ require more diligence on our part to get closer to Christ. One of the saddest side effects of the “bless me” heresies that run through our churches is that we really do not understand true spiritual blessings anymore. We do not know how to recognize them, be grateful for them, and ultimately protect them. God however always does. That brings us to the three promises for us today found in the key verse. The Bible is always our source beloved. Within its pages are the promises God has made to each and every one of us. Reading and understanding it helps us to cultivate the fruit in our lives and protect it when the enemy comes to steal it. This does not mean we will not see tribulation – it means that our fruit will see us through that tribulation. Peace in the storm. Joy in the grief. Our circumstances never change our Spirit! Our position in Christ is never affected by our condition in this world. The first promise we need to remember is that we belong to God! We are not hired hands beloved. We are not serfs or slaves. We are not employees. We belong to God. There is an ownership involved. The Bible says that God purchased us at a high price. He sent His only Son to die a horrible death for us while we were still in complete rebellion to Him! I think sometimes we operate as if we are rentals and God is going to return us any day now. Or if we do not behave a certain way he will trade us in. God hasn’t leased us! We may have spent a lifetime being treated as such by people in this world – maybe even people we have loved or people who have sworn allegiance to us. God however is not man: God is not a man, so he does not lie. He is not human, so he does not change his mind. Has he ever spoken and failed to act? Has he ever promised and not carried it through? – Numbers 23: 19 (NLT) God is not going to change His mind about you beloved. What He has promised, He will carry through. He says He is working all things out for your good because you love Him and are called according to His purposes. Even in the midst of what the enemy would seek to depress you with, or anger you with, or seed anxiety into you with – God is working in the middle of it because we belong to Him! Secondly, we already have the victory! Maybe not every battle but the war is decided. I have read the entire book and spoiler alert – God wins! My pastor likes to say if the devil has something to say to him he can write it on the bottom of his shoe! The devil would love nothing more than to hang a defeated spirit around our necks and he will use whatever situation we face to try and do so. We should always walk in a victorious spirit however. The temporal situations we face pale in comparison to the eternal victory Christ has already appropriated for us. Death where is thy sting! My God has overcome the grave itself! My name is written in the Lambs Book of Life! And here is the best thing beloved – that same Spirit that raised Christ from the dead now lives in us! I never truly understand the bless me theologies because I cannot imagine being blessed anymore than God already has blessed me. Taking a miserable wretch of a human being and translating him into a saved eternal creature. Oh happy day indeed! Lastly, and most importantly – greater is He that is in you than he that is in this world! I like the NLT version because it reminds us of the spiritual nature of the war we are in. Now, the problems with our kids, spouse, job or health may manifest in the natural world but the battle we wage with the devil over protecting our fruit is spiritual in nature. We cannot solve spiritual problems with carnal solutions – they will not work. You can medicate the spiritual war away. You cannot therapeutically resolve it. You have to recognize that there are spirits at work. Evil spirits in the heavenly realms designed to steal your fruit and ruin your life in Christ. But God cannot be clearer here beloved. The Spirit of God inside of you is greater than whatever spirits you might be facing from the enemy! When Gideon stared down an army of 120,000 enemies, God sent him to battle with only 300 men. Guess who won? When the spirits of the world said the walls of Jericho could never be overcome Joshua shouted them down. Dear Lord forgive us. What God do you serve today? I serve the God that spoke the entire universe into existence with a single spoken sentence. The word universe broken down means: UNI – single VERSE – single spoken sentence Hallelujah! I do not know where this writing finds you today but God has a Word for you today. That Word is that you belong to Him. That Word is that you already won the victory. That Word is that the Holy Spirit inside of you is greater than the spiritual opposition you face. This is not saying our problems disappear. This is not saying there is not pain in the growing process – there always is. This does not exempt us from anything. It just means that in the end God is bigger and in the middle God is with you. Tell the devil to get his hands off your fruit and if he has anything to say to you he can write it on the bottom of your shoe as you put your foot to his neck! In Jesus Name! Rev. Anthony.