The Overcomer Trust

  • Overcomer Literature Trust
  • Swindon
  • Wiltshire

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By Mrs Jessie Penn-Lewis 

One hard lesson to learn is how to put our feet on the enemy.  I remember fifteen years ago how hard this was to learn.  It meant going through one of the great conflicts of my life, but the Lord had to teach me again and again to win the victory over Satan, until I became fearless against him.  It came about when I was seeking to help a person who was terribly misled by the enemy.  I did not know then what I do now, and I tried various ways to get her free, but it was unsuccessful.  The enemy tried to make me afraid, but I realised that fear would mean that he would conquer me.  I understood very little about warfare with Satan, but I knew intuitively that I must be absolutely fearless.  One day, I went to the Lord, and said, "if this person is doing something I need to know about, please show me.”  Then she mistakenly sent me a letter, and I found the letter was written to someone else, which told me all that she was doing wrong. 

In those days I was learning to be kind like Jesus, and I thought if I only had this kindness she would see it, and I would win her that way, but to my amazement she got worse and worse.  I thought the gentleness of Jesus always conquered, but the more I showed it the more the Devil conquered.  At last I went to the Lord, and asked Him to show me what to do, and this was the answer, "put your feet on the necks of these kings” (Joshua 10 v24) and I knew that obedience was the only way to victory.  So when that person came to me again, instead of listening to her with a smile, as if she had done nothing wrong, I said, "God has shown to me that I must not just smile at you, until you repent and stop all that you are doing wrong.  I see that the Devil is getting a hold on you through my kindness.”  From then on I had to stand firm as a rock, when I knew that she had not stopped sinning in her life.  I told the Lord that this was the hardest thing to do, but I never knew the righteousness of God until then.

I thought I knew about the love of God, for love overcomes everything, but then I saw that righteousness was His true love that could not overlook a loved one’s sin.  I saw that my kindness had been used by the enemy to make this person evil, and I had to learn how to resist him in the righteousness of God.   When I read my Bible the message of the righteousness of God became so clear to me.  It seemed as if God kept saying, "I cannot compromise with sin, you must stand against sin, for if you smile on that sin you will be a partner with it.”   I saw that I was never to compromise with sin by being silent, or appearing not to notice it when I knew something was wrong.  I read 1 Samuel 15 verses 29 to 33, and realised that I must stand with God against sin, and be faithful against it at every cost. 

When you have learned to give in rather than to confront, the hardest thing for you to do is to be firm, but you need to be because God holds you responsible.  You must ask Him to bring the "kings" of the enemy out for you, and then you can put your feet on their necks. 

Yes, when you have learned the kindness of Jesus, the hardest thing in this whole world is to carry out the righteousness of God.  If you have not learned this kindness then the flesh can be very righteous and very hard.  But, if you have learned it, then your heart will be broken with love for sinners, while you stand with God in righteousness against what they do wrong.  This is the only way that we must be witnesses for God today. He and the world need "preachers of righteousness". 

Your growth in the knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ is really shown by a deep sense of what is right and wrong.  As you grow in the knowledge of Christ there will come into your heart, an important question which will not say "do I like this", nor "do I feel that", but "is it right?"  If something is right you must do it, and if it is wrong then you must never do it.  In this warfare, it is righteousness that counts.

Consider the cause of Israel’s war in Canaan, and why it led to such destruction.   We read, that when Israel went into the land of Canaan, and the Lord delivered up the nations of Canaan before them, He said, "when the Lord your God has delivered them over to you and you have defeated them, then you must destroy them totally.  Make no treaty with them, and show them no mercy” (Deuteronomy 7 v2).  The cause of this destruction is seen in these verses, "after the Lord your God has driven them out before you, do not say to yourself, ‘The Lord has brought me here to take possession of this land because of my righteousness.’  No, it is on account of the wickedness of these nations that the Lord is going to drive them out before you.  It is not because of your righteousness or your integrity that you are going in to take possession of their land, but on account of the wickedness of these nations, the Lord your God will drive them out before you” (Deuteronomy 9 v4-5). 

The words here take on a new meaning as we read them in the light of present conflict with the forces of darkness, and the war against them in the heavenly places.  The Israelites were a factor used to drive out their enemies but really it was the Lord who drove their enemies out before them.  They were the instruments with which God drove out the enemy. 

"The Lord your God will drive them out" is the word for you in the present battle.  You have to march forward in His victory, and He will push them out.  The Church of God must understood this and know how to gain the victory of the ascended Lord.  The Church must understand that the Lord drove out the powers of darkness in front of them, just as the nations were driven out before Israel.  This was not because of the "righteousness" of Israel that these nations were to be driven out, and not because they were a perfect people, or perfect weapons for God.  You say, “look at my failings, look at what I am, I cannot fight.  If I was perfect I could expect the Lord to use me.”  But it is not because of your righteousness that the Lord is going to drive out the powers of darkness.  It is the righteousness of Jesus Christ, who is "the Lord our Righteousness”, this is the victory of the Christ of Calvary. 

From ‘The Conquest of Canaan’.