He who is not with Me is against Me, and he who does not gather with Me scatters abroad. (Matthew 12:30)
One of the greatest dangers in our Christian walk is to ignore or misinterpret the truth of Jehovah Nissi and its critical importance in our lives. Many believers treat life as a game in which self-gratification remains the prize. God becomes the means to this end – rather like being upgraded from economy to first class. Yet the Bible has numerous reminders that salvation – while it brings the mercy, grace, and forgiveness of God – also immediately thrusts us into the eternal conflict between two kingdoms. Whether we realize this truth or not, or simply choose to ignore it, does not alter the fact that the conflict exists. For those of us blessed to live in a country that isn’t torn and ravaged by war, the practical power of Jehovah Nissa may have little daily relevance. As always, it’s not what we see on the surface that matters, but what is taking place in the spritual real. This is the real battleground, and we ignore to our eternal cost.
To grasp the practical power of Jehovah Nissi, we must first grasp the truth that we are constantly at war.
God’s Kingdom is constantly and eternally at war with the kingdom of Satan. Before Salvation, we belonged to our ‘father the devil.’ At salvation, we’re welcomed into God’s family, but we’re also automatically drafted into the army of God. It’s not a negotiable thing. By choosing Christ, we reject the devil. By rejecting the devil, we immediately issue a declaration of war. We are now his targets, and while we may have no understanding of this, or may have no indication to fight, we can be absolutely sure that he won’t hold back because we do. It’s imperative that we accept this truth and group under the banner that is Christ. Unless we do, the practical power of Jehovah Nissi will be lost or diluted.
The most important part of this warfare is often overlooked. We have three enemies: the old nature, the world, and the devil and his minions. The upsurge of strategy games today is telling. One one hand, it reflects the truth that conflict and confrontation are an inherent part of life, and on the other, it provides perfect distraction from the real battle. We immerse ourselves in games that focus on defeating our opponents, and yet the real opponents are often given free reign to undermine us on a daily basis. One of the most dangerous effects of these games is that it distracts us from self. While the spiritual conflict between us and the world and the enemy is very real, it is often self that undermines the practical power of Jehovah Nissi in our lives.
Our very first and most critical ongoing battle in the war is always with self. Paul describes this so eloquently in Romans 7:15-20. The great apostle struggled with the same conflicts and battled the same enemy, and emerges to a place where he can only look to Christ for the victory. Today’s verse – which follows Christ’s debate with the religious leaders over whether or not He cast our demons by the power of Beelzebub – provides a stark and powerful warning to us all. The house divided against itself will fall. He is speaking in a context of the conflict between the two kingdoms, but He also refers to the individual – the man who guards his own house but allows the enemy to enter. The practical power of Jehovah Nissi is an absolutely critical principle that has to first be applied to our own house – self.
To understand how we do this, we must understand a fundamental kingdom principle. We receive from God only in the measure that we enable ourselves to receive. This does not mean that we have to somehow earn or deserve His grace and manifold blessings – which include the practical power of Jehovah Nissi. Jesus constantly alluded to this principle. A good example is Matthew 16: 25, in which He clearly says that if we desire to save our lives we must first lose them. This is a fundamental Kingdom principle that we cannot escape, avoid, or ignore. God will fill what we have emptied and made ready to receive.
This is the principle that releases the practical power of Jehovah Nissi in our lives. We must remember that in placing ourselves under the ‘Lord is my banner,’ we are in fact identifying with Him. We’re saying to self, to the world, and to the devil, that we are His. We love Him, worship Him, serve Him, and stand for Him. God intends for this identification to be utterly complete – as perfect and complete as Christ’s identification with us on the cross. But for us, it’s a process, one which requires us to first defeat self in our lives, little by little, allowing Jesus into the spaces freed up as we learn to empty ourselves in His service.
The fundamental purpose behind the practical power of Jehovah Nissi is that we ultimately identify so completely with Christ that, when the world and the devil look at us, they see Jesus. This has a two-fold result. First, it is the glory of God. We live for the glory of God and for the manifestation of Him in everything we say and do. Second, it places us under His banner of protection, provision, and power, but it also places us under the blood of Jesus. The practical power of Jehovah Nissi lies in the power of the blood of Christ, and the power of the resurrection. Forgiveness of sin and new life. When we walk in those, when we walk under those, we walk in the victory that our King has already obtained.
It cannot be denied that we are engaged in a battle that is not of flesh and blood, that the world and the powers of darkness are ranged against us, constantly seeking ways to defeat and destroy us. The Bible tells us that. But there is more written in the Bible about the enemy of self than there is about the enemy outside. 1 John 4: 4 says, ‘greater is he that is in me than he that is in the world.‘ This is a powerful truth that perfectly illustrates the practical power of Jehovah Nissi – if the Lord is our banner, if we are fully identified with Him, and have yielded self so that He is able to be our strength in our places of weakness, then He will take care of the battle with the world and the forces of darkness. It’s utterly logical that the more of Him we allow in, the more of Him will be ‘in me.’
The practical power of Jehovah Nissi is, first and foremost, our weapon in defeating self. Once self is defeated, the world will have less power over us, and the devil less opportunity to attack us. The very first step is to make a choice. We are automatically thrust into the battle, but many believers either aren’t aware of it or lurk on the perimeter, hoping they’ll escape the carnage. Others, in their zeal and passion for God, may choose to ‘take the battle to the enemy.’ This is perhaps more dangerous than ignorance or avoidance. Unless we have first dealt with self, yielded self, and identified with Christ, we run the risk of stepping out of the protection and provision of the ‘Lord is my banner.’
God’s protection may have outward impact, but it’s inward protection, first and foremost. He protects and provides from the inside out. As we yield the self places to Him, He is able to fill them and bring them under His authority. Only through Christ in us can we hope to be a house not divided against itself. We are always and only ‘united in Christ.’ The practical power of Jehovah Nissi is Christ in us, working in us to first defeat and surrender self. The rest, as they say, is history. The battle belongs to the Lord.
Jehovah Nissi, we surrender self to You today. Help us to see our weaknesses and those areas that continue to raise themselves up in rebellion against Your lordship. Help us to recognise our own foolish independence and to Yield to Your sovereign authority. You are Lord of All, the great I AM, our God who is able, through Your mighty power, to bring us to the place of unity with Christ and victory through His blood.