“Agree with thine adversary quickly, whiles thou art in the way with him; lest at any time the adversary deliver thee to the judge, and the judge deliver thee to the officer, and thou be cast into prison.” (Matthew 5:23)
This is wise advice that can lead a Christian to greater spiritual strength. Doesn’t it seem curious that God would instruct us to agree with Satan? Rather than agree with any adversary, our first natural thought would be to resist, react or reject anything an adversary had to say. Especially when it is acknowledged that the adversary mentioned here is Satan…also known as our Accuser. (Rev. 12:10) A close examination of the key Greek words in this verse helps us to clarify the value in its message. Then, rich benefits can be derived.
Agree (Eunoeo, yoo-no-eh-o) yoo: to be well. nouse: intellect; mind. To be well minded. Or, especially in this instance, be smart.
Adversary (Entidikos, an-tid-ee-kos) an opponent, specifically Satan.
Quickly (Tachu, takh-oo) shortly; without delay; soon; suddenly; Now.
In (En) a fixed place. Or, right here!
Way (Hodos, hod-os) a road; the route, journey. The path you are on.
Deliver (Paradidomi, par-ad-id-o-me) surrender; betray; put in prison. Become imprisoned.
Judge (Krites, kree-tace) a literal judge. A power over you.
Officer (Huperetes, hoop-ay-ret-ace) an order taking official.
Prison (Phulake, foo-lak-ay) a guard; being guarded. Isolated.
Known as the Accuser, Satan will, with accuracy, point out our flesh/our sinful nature. His sole intent with his accusations is to defeat us. He will use every source he can to point out shortcomings, especially those who are closest to us. He wants us to consider ourselves a lost cause as Christians.
Maybe you’ve heard his words of doom: “And you call yourself a Christian? What kind of Christian are you, anyway? Here you are, a failure again. Nobody else has these problems. Why don’t you quit trying? You’ll never be a good Christian, anyhow!”
The problem is that often we don’t move past the accusations of Satan and ask ourselves this question: “God, since you mean all things for the good, what are you trying to teach me through these accusations?” With this question, you will recognize God’s intentions and be able to let Satan’s accusations become God’s revelations.
Most of us do not see, nor recognize if we do see, the subtleties of our flesh/sin nature. If we are to grow spiritually mature, we must discover, recognize and defeat our flesh. Having accomplished these tasks, we might even thank Satan for his assistance in pointing out our flesh!
Then I can say, “Satan, you will not imprison me, nor hold any power over me, nor keep me isolated from God with your accusations. Right here, right now, where I stand, I’m going to be smart and accept as valid the sin nature you have pointed out in me. Now I see and recognize my flesh and exactly what I need to work on to defeat your influence in my life!” (Matthew 5:23, paraphrased)
If I don’t even know how to recognize my enemy, I cannot defeat him. If I listen to the accusations and therein see my sin nature, resulting in recognizing (my enemy), then I can fight the good fight!