Remember: God knows where you live

By Leonard Lauriault

As a youth, I had a saying, “I know where you live.” This let offenders know they weren’t safe, because no matter where else they went, eventually they’d have to come home, where I’d be waiting at their door. Over the years, my attitude has changed. I’m leaving vengeance to God, also relying on his grace because I’m as much an offender as anyone. Anyway, this article isn’t about vengeance. It’s about understanding.
Jesus understands our predicament. He told one of the churches in Asia, “I know where you live – where Satan has his throne (Revelation 2:13).” Satan’s the prince of this world (John 14: 30), only having power in death, but trying to exert considerable influence in many areas of our lives. He can’t physically kill us, but if he can keep us from becoming Christians, we’re defeated. Satan uses our physical and emotional needs and desires to entice us to live in a way that displeases God (1 John 2: 15-17). Jesus experienced Satan’s influence in each of these areas while on earth as well (Matthew 4: 1-11). Later, Satan tempted Jesus to avoid the cross because he knew his power in death would be nullified by Jesus’ death and resurrection (Luke 4: 5-8, 13; Matthew 16: 21-23; 26: 36-42; 27: 38-44; Hebrews 2: 14-18; John 16: 5-11).
Those who trust Jesus have victory over Satan (1 John 5: 1-4; 4: 4; 1 Corinthians 15: 50-58). Jesus promised his continuous presence to encourage Christians so we can survive the world (John 17: 15-18; Matthew 28: 18-20). All we need to do is commit ourselves into God’s hands in obedience, just like Jesus did when he was here (Luke 23: 46; Hebrews 5: 7-9; Romans 6: 3-8; Acts 2: 38-39).
Living like Jesus makes Christians different from others, often making us offensive to them (1 John 5: 19, 20; Philippians 3: 17-21; Colossians 2: 20-4: 6; 1 Peter 2: 11, 12; 4: 4). Jesus said we’d be blessed for persecution that comes for following him, which he also suffers with us (John 15: 18-21; Matthew 5: 11, 12; 1 Peter 2: 19-25; 4: 12-19; Acts 9: 1-5).
Persecution, like temptation, is just another of Satan’s tactics to get us to give up, which some will do losing their salvation (Revelation 2: 8-11; Galatians 6: 7-9; Hebrews 12: 3; 10: 19-39; 2 Peter 2: 20-22; Matthew 13: 20, 21). You see, Satan cannot win unless we surrender, and in the end, he doesn’t win, we just lose also! To stay on the winning side – the Christian side – we’re to overcome temptation and put our sins to death by getting forgiveness (Romans 8: 12-14; 1 John 1: 5-9; 2 Timothy 2: 19).
In addition to knowing about our afflictions from persecution and temptation, Jesus knows about illness and poverty (Revelation 2: 9). While the Bible records no illness Jesus suffered, he certainly saw it and empathetically dealt with it as the Great Physician (Matthew 4: 23, 24; 8: 14-17; 14: 14). Regarding poverty, he experienced the most dramatic shift from wealth to poverty ever, having given up heaven for earth, where he didn’t even have a pillow (2 Corinthians 8: 9; Matthew 8: 20).
Jesus expects us to care for the sick and needy because he identifies with them (Matthew 25: 31-46; 6: 9-21; 19: 16-21). He knows our deeds, whether good, bad, or non-existent (Revelation 2: 2, 8, 19: 3: 1, 15; Hebrews 6: 7-12). It’s not sufficient to merely avoid the bad to please Jesus (John 15: 9, 10; James 4: 17). We also must do good deeds because those who do nothing are most distasteful to him (Revelation 3: 16; Matthew 25: 24-30).
Even if we do good deeds, we often come up short in other areas (Revelation 3: 8; 2: 4-6; Romans 3: 23). Jesus knows we’re weak, and the power and tactics of Satan are strong; but, he also knows we can stand against Satan because God always provides a way out (1 Corinthians 10: 13; James 4: 7-10; Philippians 4: 13). Sometimes God even sends special helpers to encourage us, like he did when Satan tempted Jesus (Luke 22: 41-46; 2 Timothy 4: 16-18; John 14: 15-21). As Christians, we just need to ask for the help (Hebrews 4: 14-16; Romans 8: 26, 27).
Jesus knows what it’s like to live in this world because he’s been here. He understands what we face every day. So, God sent him to can take care of all our needs (Philippians 4: 19; John 3: 16). Why don’t you come on home? He’s waiting your door to help rather than harm; you just need to let him in (Revelation 3: 19-21; Galatians 3: 26-4: 7).

Leonard Lauriault is a member of the church of Christ.