“Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.” Ephesians 6:10-12
You wake up one day and your alarm doesn’t go off. What in the world? It always goes off! Why, on the day of your biggest presentation of your career, did the alarm fail to make that annoying buzzing sound to wake you up in plenty of time for coffee, a shower, and to review your notes? You are barely going to have time to get dressed and run out the door!
You get in your car, race to work, and pop a tire on the way only to discover that you failed to renew your AAA membership. You call your spouse and they start chastising you for not being more intentional with planning ahead and getting things done. The little words spoken between the two of you are like sharp little knives toward each other, and terrible thoughts about one another start entering your mind, reminding you of past wounds. You finally arrive at your job only to get the phone call you have been dreading for some time. Tests that you had done showed some irregularities and more intensive scans will need to be run. Seriously? What a day. Have you ever gone through something similar (or worse) and wondered if that was a spiritual attack or merely just a bad day?
C.S Lewis said, “There are two equal and opposite errors into which our race can fall about the devils. One is to disbelieve in their existence. The other is to believe, and to feel an excessive and unhealthy interest in them. They themselves (the devils) are equally pleased by both errors and hail a materialist or a magician with the same delight.”
If you are a believer in Christ Jesus, more often than not, at some point in your walk with Him, you will most certainly be in one of these three seasons in life–you just finished getting through a turbulent time, you’re in one currently, or you’re about to enter into one.
Jesus said this in John 16:33, “I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.”
According to Jesus, it’s a matter of when we go through difficulties and not if, so how do we know when it’s our flesh (sinful nature reigning), the fallen world we live in, or the enemy coming to steal our joy as believers? Thomas Adams said, “If God were not my friend, Satan would not be so much my enemy.”
First, we need to know what Satan’s job is and who he is. A lot of us think that he will not be vicious, that he’ll play by the rules, go easy on us and not be as “bad” as some make him out to be. In scripture, Satan is quite the contrary. His main focus and job is to come and destroy any work the Lord is doing in us, through us, and to us.
Anything that takes glory away from God is his main objective. The devil is the enemy of the followers of Christ and of God himself. He is called a traducer, a slanderer, prince of this world, accuser, master of death and destruction, and a liar. He has every motive and intention to steal, kill, and destroy anything and anyone resembling and carrying the essence and being of Jesus Christ.
1 Peter 5:8 tell us to “Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.”
So, not renewing your AAA membership– you probably just need to get more organized. Fighting with your spouse and allowing animosity and bitterness toward each other? That might be the enemy jumping in to attack you at just the right moment. He tends to join our negative thoughts when we leave a crack in our spiritual doors, taking full advantage of any emotions that the Lord would want us to surrender to Him instead.
I remember a time when it felt like I was getting attacked from every angle by everyone and everything in my life. The Lord often speaks His truth to you in a way you can best hear and understand it.
He gently said to me a line from a movie that I had recently watched at the time, that He knew I would understand. It was from the movie Hunger Games where the main character started not to trust her greatest allies because of what her circumstances looked like. I heard a very well-known line from that movie at the exact right moment to clarify and bring peace to what was going on in my life. “Remember who the real enemy is...”
The real enemy is Satan and I understood that God was showing me that it wasn’t the people around me attacking me, but that Satan was using them to say and do things to attack me. When I was able to understand the situation at hand, it shifted my perspective and then I was able to read just my battle plan and start fighting in the spirit realm and not fight with the actual person.
The enemy, most of the time, speaks to the animosity and unforgiveness that we might have been holding onto in our hearts. The adversary of our soul will take every opportunity and advantage he can to enter into our lives at the right moment. More often than not, due to our own sin and bad choices, we are holding the door open for him to walk through.
But sometimes, attacks from the enemy will be unprecedented. Sometimes you can’t distinguish between what is real and what is from the enemy. When the enemy speaks, it’s a voice of confusion, hatred, condemnation, isolation, selfishness, and self-righteousness. So, when he is speaking things that “feel” like truth to us, how do we overcome these attacks?
You must be drawn so near to Christ that His thoughts become your thoughts and His ways become your ways. The Devil devours unwary people by tempting them to sin–by convincing them that sin is a more rewarding master than Christ. Satan does not just attack us from the front where we can clearly see him coming, he attacks from every side. So, we are to be on guard. We have to be so familiar with God’s voice that we can distinguish it from our own voice and our enemy’s.
The closer we draw to God, we will have the ability and power in Christ to resist whatever temptation the enemy is dangling in front of us! We will start being able to distinguish his voice from our own. God's voice will start being the one we adhere to and consciously align and ultimately the truth will be what sets us free.
So, think about this when you feel like you are facing trials of many kinds or when you feel like the enemy is trying to destroy what God has done in you and your family’s life. You have the power in Christ Jesus to take every thought and make it captive to Christ. Taking his lies and lining them up with the truth of God is how to defeat the enemy's work in your life. Satan simply cannot be where God's presence reigns.
Next time you feel like the world and everything in it are falling in on you, remember that you are an overcomer because of the Spirit of the mighty God inside of you! Ask Him to fill you afresh with His spirit and help you to see the truth!
Pray with me: "Father, thank you that I am yours. Remind me daily that you are my fortress and the one who protects me from the enemy. Give me eyes to see where the enemy may be at work in my life. Give me eyes to see where I still desire sinful things. Lead me to daily repentance. Give me eyes to see your beauty so that I may be captivated by your love and not tempted by the enemy. Thank you for the truth of your Word that silences the lies of the enemy. Thank you that you have crushed the head of the serpent. All praise to you! Amen."