Christians generally think of Jesus’s resurrection as his greatest victory. Could it be the consequence of a previous victory won in the Garden of Gethsemane? By focusing only on the pain and sorrow of Gethsemane, maybe we miss its significance. It was there that Satan was defeated. Defeated by the choice Jesus made to elevate his Father’s desire above his own. “Not my will but yours be done” was Jesus’ deciding factor.
In his book Life Without Lack, Dallas Willard says we must not look at Jesus in Gethsemane as a “pathetic victim” afraid to die. He was not afraid of suffering and death, not trying to avoid the cross. “He was overcoming Satan.” I’ve sometimes diminished the reality of Satan’s power. It’s easy to do so in today’s world today’s when our ears are tuned in to news and social media. In our minds, it’s people, not Satan, who become our supreme enemies.
The result is we end up fearing and hating humans whom Jesus calls us to love. Jesus calls us to love our enemies. How can we love someone we are afraid of? It’s impossible. Unless we are confident in the fact of Jesus’ love for us, “convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love”. (Romans 8:38 NLT)
The more confident we are of this love, the less fearful of others we will be. How can we attain this confidence? In the same way that we attain confidence in anyone else, we make a trusting commitment and daily listen to the voice of the Spirit. He, the Comforter whom Jesus gives to us, is on call 24 hours per day.
Jesus feared neither Satan nor any human,. He knew any position of power they held was temporary. He was never deceived by lies from any source. In another garden, Eden, the first humans enjoyed this free-from-fear life. They walked and talked with God. Sadly when Satan showed up, they deserted their relationship with God, attached themselves to deception, and became prisoners of fear. Every human has followed in their footsteps, except for one. Jesus, the God-man. Because of his victory over Satan throughout his life, as well as in death, he is able to remove fear from anyone who trusts themselves to him and day-by-day listens to and follows his directions.
How do we achieve a daily moment-by-moment victory over Satan and, consequently, sin? We do it the way Jesus did, choosing obedience to Our Father the deciding factor in every decision.