How to Demolish Hate

“This fellow Paul has convinced and led astray large numbers of people here in Ephesus and in practically the whole province of Asia. He says that man-made gods are no gods at all.”— Acts 19: 23-41 Those were the harsh accusations about the apostle Paul spread by Demetrius, a wealthy silversmith who made silver shrines of the goddess Artemis.

When Paul started telling people about the one true God, Demetrius saw his livelihood threatened. He gathered a few local business leaders and started bad mouthing Paul, stirring up trouble.

“Soon the whole city was in an uproar” (19:29).

The uproar was not about business, however. The city’s dissension and unrest were fueled by the demonic stranglehold Paul encountered. Evil permeated the city and held people in bondage. Paul knew what he was up against—and he attacked the stronghold with the most powerful weapons ever known.

Within two years, the enemy stronghold was demolished.

How?

Because Paul knew who the real enemy is—and he knew the power of prayer. He fought the opposition through prayer and proclaiming the truth with love, standing fast against the spiritual forces that bound that city.

“Put on the full armor of God,” he exhorted, “so that you can take your stand against the devil's schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms” (Ephesians 6: 11-12).

We can debate, protest and shout our opinions to the world, but only if we are “praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit” (Ephesians 6: 18), will we see evil and hatred demolished and bondage broken, defeated by the power and love of God.

DEVOTIONALSRay Bentley