From personal experience, go with me here for just a moment…
The enemy [Satan] comes to KILL, STEAL and DESTROY. (“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy…” John 10:10) Sounds rude, right? He is! Sorry to bring up this huge bummer in our “rainbows and lollipops, Politically Correct” world we live in.
Bad news: If you are a follower of Jesus and you think you have no enemies, you’re wrong. You have THE enemy on your tail. Or at least you should! If you’re not feeling his nasty breath breathing down your neck you may want to take two seconds and evaluate what you’re doing for the Kingdom. He generally doesn’t like to interfere unless he feels threatened (much like the snake he is). But go on. Threaten him. Don’t be afraid. Because…
Good news: Spoiler alert – he loses. And he knows it, too. Which is why he’s getting real fired up as his time draws to a close. Jesus already won the victory. And maybe it’s a bit of “delayed gratification” waiting to see the enemy thrown into a lake of fire for eternity (“And the devil, who deceived them, was thrown into the lake of burning sulfur, where the beast and the false prophet had been thrown. They will be tormented day and night for ever and ever.” Revelation 20:10), but if you’re in Christ you’re FREE. (“It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.” Galatians 5:1)
Recently, I have been under attack by the enemy. Still am, actually. But I’m tired of just letting him win. I lost my fight there for a while and now it’s “game on!” I just completed Breaking Free by Beth Moore, probably her most infamous study to date. I was fully expecting to have fireworks going off during each day’s homework and each week when I met with my small group. But that just wasn’t the case for me this go ’round. It wasn’t until I got to the [literal] last page of the study that I realized what my problem has been.
Beth says, “Go where He goes and let Him fight for you. Invariably when we’re most exhausted, we’ll find we’re expending more energy fighting the enemy than we are seeking God’s presence. More than you seek to win, seek Christ! More than you seek to defeat the enemy, seek his Foe!” (Moore, Beth. Breaking Free 2009)
This punched me right between the eyes. If you are weary, you’re spending all of your energy fighting the enemy instead of drawing near to God and intertwining yourself with Him. He’ll fight your battle once you’re mixed up with Him. You don’t need to be weary. I knew good and well the enemy had been after me and I was losing. my. mind. thinking about how he will never leave me alone and this is a never ending battle and the nerve of this guy. When what I needed to be doing is leaning into the Lord and drawing closer to Him instead of letting the enemy use himself to build a wedge between me and the Father.
Spiritual warfare is a real thing. And whether or not that is something you are familiar with, you should just know that. If you believe there are angels watching over you and protecting you and fighting battles for you, then please know that the counterfeit wanna-be, Satan, has his own crew that are also watching and trying to destroy you and shut you down. If you are in Christ, you are SEALED and the enemy CANNOT take your salvation away (“Now it is God who makes both us and you stand firm in Christ. He anointed us, set his seal of ownership on us, and put his Spirit in our hearts as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come.” 2 Corinthians 1:21-22).
But if you are in Christ and the enemy can deter you from sharing God’s message, living your life as a living example of Christ’s love and doing work for the kingdom, don’t you see how the enemy is winning? He shuts it down. He puts the fire out and when we aren’t working to grow God’s kingdom, the inadvertent effect is that there are lost souls we haven’t reached out to. Because who knows – maybe the enemy encourages those feelings of insecurity. Or he has you treasuring your image over all things. Or he has convinced you that the money you make is yours and not the Lord’s for you to tithe back to Him. Or he has you thinking that if you let go of that grudge you’ve held onto for years you will look weak. Or perhaps he has talked you into believing that the mistakes you’ve made are much too big for God to forgive you. Don’t believe him. He is LYING. He is a LIAR.
There is one word that sets you free. “JESUS.” That’s it. You say that name out loud when you’re being attacked and the enemy HAS TO FLEE from you. That’s how you win. Because the battle was already won on the cross. You just have to pick up the sword He gave you and use it. I read during the Breaking Free study how important scripture can be to really breaking free from strongholds. The study recommended writing scripture on note cards and putting them on a ring and carrying them with you. When you’re feeling tempted or attacked, start reading your scripture card out loud. The enemy won’t stick around to hear it. He already knows the Word. And its power. Be victorious. Play dirty. He is. So don’t be afraid to beat him at his own game. Your team already won. Just remind the enemy of that. And then, go be a conqueror for the kingdom.
If you’ve never heard of this concept of “spiritual warfare” before and want to read about it, there are some really great novels about spiritual warfare and examples of it in the human life. Some of my favorites are “The Lights of Tenth Street” by Shaunti Feldhahn , the “Angels Walking” series by Karen Kingsbury, and “This Present Darkness” by Frank Peretti.