Satan's Main Objective
by T. Austin-Sparks
The main objective of the forces of evil is by some means – no matter how – to rob the believer of real spiritual fighting force; not talking force, working force, organizing force, advertising force, holding-and-going-to-meeting force, listening-to-teaching force, soul force; but genuine fighting force in which the impact of the victory of the Christ of Calvary by the Cross is registered upon the forces back of the human and worldly elements – the "principalities and authorities, the world rulers of this darkness, and the hosts of wicked spirits in the heavenlies" (Ephesians 6:12).
Spiritual effectiveness is decided there, and not amongst the things seen. It is because of this that the enemy is well pleased amongst the spiritually superficial or unspiritual "Christians" to carry on a campaign of works and activities, programs, institutions, meetings, and churches… and allow or foster a certain kind of success imitative of good, but in which there is nothing that gets beyond time and earth and is lacking in that constituent which affects his hold upon the situation.
So many there are who seek to do God's work by natural capacity, or withhold from it because of lack of natural abilities. Human and natural force of mind, intellect, reason; status, position, influence; personality, acumen, training, advantage; temperament, disposition, constitution, etc. – these are the factors which are taken into account.
Whatever God may do through a man or a woman, employing any wholly sanctified mind or heart or will or resource within or without, it must be settled that the measure of spiritual effectiveness – the measure in which we count in the presence of the unseen forces – is just the measure in which we have come by the Cross to the place where we know – and live accordingly – that it is not in or of ourselves to serve God… that no resource of ours can count as an effectual basis… that God must do it in us and through us… and that all means, methods, forces, times, enablements must be out from Himself. Such was the lesson which God took great pains to teach Moses, Paul, and many other prophets, apostles, and men who had been most used.
The test question is not that which relates to influence amongst men – much or little – reputation, following, head-counting, full diaries, acceptableness, meetings attended and taken part in, teaching received, truth known, knowledge possessed, zeal demonstrated, suffering endured. It is not whether we are well known among men, but whether demons say, "Jesus I know, and __ I know." It is just how far the impact of Christ as Sovereign Lord is registered through His Body and its members upon the forces opposed to Him which are in back of all human conditions, and how far the registering of that sovereignty there makes its reaction upon the earth-situation as dominated by those hostile forces. We may be very much in action in all other kinds of work and – failing here – be really paralyzed; but we may be out of all other activities and counting in that realm – "labor more abundantly (and effectually) than they all."