They overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony; they did not love their lives so much as to shrink from death. Revelation 12:11

In this verse, we are given three ways of overcoming the devil, yet often we concentrate on the first two, by “the blood of the Lamb” and “the word of their testimony.” The third way is not to love our lives “so much as to shrink from death,” which we usually associate with martyrs, yet there’s an important truth here too.

We become an easy target for the devil when we cling too tightly to the things of the world. This world is not our permanent home and we are only “aliens and strangers on earth” (Hebrews 11:13). Often we hold onto those things that give us comfort and security, like our homes, our jobs, our friends, our health, our possessions, our ministry at church or in the community. If we want to overcome the devil we hold these things loosely. When we aren’t shrinking from the ‘death’ of losing things that are precious to us, the devil is defeated. He cannot attack us with the fear of losing things because he knows we have nothing to lose.

Spiritually it’s not easy to get to the place where we have nothing to lose. First, we cultivate a firm belief that God is truly Sovereign. Nothing happens without his knowledge or permission. Second, we develop a strong belief in God’s intrinsic goodness. God is good regardless of the circumstances we find ourselves in.

Our comfort and security come from the knowledge that we can’t lose the thing that’s most precious to us, our relationship with God.