None of the dark powers understood why Christ came into the world. If they had, they wouldn’t have pinned him to the cross (see 1 Corinthians 2.8). Maybe these dark powers were blinded by their own ambition or greed. Maybe, when Christ took fragile human form, they thought, What luck! Here’s our chance to end it all. Regardless, they played right into God’s hands. God used Satan’s own evil to bring about Satan’s own destruction.

Since his earlier attempt to involve Jesus in a collaboration to rule the earth failed, Satan set about to seize what he thought was a moment of vulnerability (viz. The Son is now human and can be killed) and had Jesus crucified. Ironically, Satan even enticed Judas to betray Jesus and in so doing the devil signed his own death warrant.

Here’s a powerful spiritual principle: often the things that look to destroy you are the very things God will use to make you grow.

The instrument of your defeat is the occasion of your victory.

Did you catch that? We attain victory only when we’re under attack, besieged, and persecuted. There’s no victory without a war.

When I was a young man, first starting out in the ministry, I asked my dad what the best way was for people to grow in the faith. I expected him to say something like small groups, or reading the Bible. Instead, Dad answered matter-of-factly with this little gem: pain.

Pain is what makes us grow.

You can’t grow muscles without exercise. You can’t grow your intellect without study. All growth requires resistance. We have to learn to see things as they really are, through kingdom eyes, and understand that hardship isn’t just hard—it is also the opportunity to overcome, to grow, and to cultivate the kingdom in us.

In order for you to be part of the new creation, your old self has to be crucified; you must go through pain, through death. Then, in the midst of that pain, you get your victory via resurrection, as the new creation comes to bear.

The new you, remade and reformed into the image of your creator, only emerges as you’re sanctified though all the hard stuff. Which means we need to change our perspective on hardship, difficulty, and sorrow.

When troubles come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing.
James 1.2-4