Discourage the Devil
Do you want to know how to depress the devil? Just follow the instructions in that last verse. When persecution comes, when friends or family criticize you because you lay hands on the sick and believe in healing, and when coworkers call you a fanatic because you love Jesus and aren’t afraid to say so, rejoice! Shout hallelujah and leap for joy!
I tell you that will discourage the devil to no end. He’s expecting that persecution to hurt you. He’s expecting it to damage your faith, to wipe you out, and to leave you in dismay.
I’m not saying you should enjoy the persecution itself. But you can learn to overlook the discomfort of those things by focusing your attention on the reward that’s coming and the fact that Jesus said you are blessed.
The Apostle Paul certainly knew how to do that. He was an expert on rejoicing in the midst of persecution. Satan was constantly stirring up trouble for him. But do you know what he said about all that persecution? He said it was not even worth considering compared to the glory that was about to be revealed.
If Paul could rejoice in the midst of beatings, stonings, shipwrecks, imprisonment and almost every other kind of persecution, you can too!
Just do what he did. When he was told by the Holy Ghost that bonds and afflictions awaited him, he said, “But none of these things move me, neither count I my life dear unto myself, so that I might finish my course with joy, and the ministry, which I have received of the Lord Jesus, to testify the gospel of the grace of God” (Acts 20:24).
Don’t get all caught up in what people think and what people say down here on earth. Get caught up in pleasing the Lord. Get caught up in finishing your course with joy. Get caught up in the glorious hope that’s ahead. For that hope is enough to make anyone–under any circumstances–leap for joy!
Scripture Study: Acts 16:16-35