The Enemy’s Not Who You Think

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Going a completely different direction this morning, all because of a . . . well, let me start at the beginning. I was working on a very passionate and theological post. But something wasn’t right. With the post, but also with my computer. I was waxing elephants with my words, but not making any real sense. Plus, I noticed a random period between two words where a period shouldn’t be. I backspaced to erase it and retyped the sentence. There’s that stupid period again. I thought I must be accidentally hitting the period key. Backspace and try again. It’s still there. What in the world? Then I wiped the screen and wiped away a tiny little black spot that was perfectly positioned to pretend to be a naughty period. And drive me crazy.

Oh, you bet there is a spiritual application here my friends. Things are not always what we think they are. You and I can be deceived and end up fighting the wrong battles. That’s why Paul said we must take a stand against the devil’s schemes because “our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms” (Eph. 6:11, 12). Just as I blamed that errant period for being in the wrong place, you and I often put the blame in the wrong place. Satan loves to stir up tension between you and your spouse, your child, your coworker, your parent, your sibling, or even – especially – a brother or sister in Christ. We have to remember that the enemy s not the other person – it is the evil one “behind the curtain,” using your loved one’s finger to push your buttons. It is the devil who loves to drive a wedge between us. And yes, I know, sometimes people do some pretty awful things to us. They’re still not the enemy. Satan and his evil minions are.

Who has “pushed your button” lately? Who has caused friction and tension in your life? Your real enemy wants you to be angry and hate them. Instead, Peter admonished, “All of you, live in harmony with one another; be sympathetic, love as brothers, be compassionate and humble. Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult, because to this {harmony, sympathy, love, compassion, humility] you were called” (1 Peter 3:8-9). Fight the real enemy, Beloved, and love one another.

How to do Battle with the Devil

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“Take . . . the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God,” (Ephesians 6:17).

Why do you suppose Paul called the Word of God the “sword of the Spirit”? There’s a very good reason for that – it is the only offensive weapon in our Christian arsenal. And it is enough because Satan runs from the holy power of God’s Word. Hebrews 4:12 calls the Word of God “a double-edged sword.” Revelation 1:16 describes the God-Man, Jesus Christ: “out of His mouth came a sharp double-edged sword.” Even in the heavens, Jesus still uses the Sword of the Spirit to deliver justice. The Word of God is powerful enough to speak the universe into existence and to enact divine judgment on the wicked and evil in the world.

So where do we get this sword, and how do we learn how to use it? Psalm 119:11 gives us the answer – “I have hidden your Word in my heart,” Simply put, we memorize Scripture. Every verse, every passage, every promise, and every truth adds to the power of your Sword. And the more you study the Word and meditate on it, the more adept you will be at using it. Is there a particular area of weakness or stronghold where Satan usually attacks? Look for Scripture that addresses that area. Read the verses aloud, write them on notecards and place them in areas like the kitchen, your desk, your bathroom mirror, or bedside table. Get a journal and write the verses out, look up the words, consider how this verse applies to your life – these are all excellent “drills” to help you grow in knowledge and strength in the Word of the Lord. The final step though is to submit to and obey the Word hidden in your heart.

Consider this, when Satan launches an attack against you, and all you know is John 3:16, (which is an awesome verse to know), you are trying to defeat the enemy with a pocketknife. But if you have been reading, studying, meditating, and memorizing Scripture, when you reach into your heart where that Word has been stored and grab hold of those verses, you are going to pull out a SWORD that will send your enemy reeling and scrambling. Beloved, That’s how you do battle with the enemy of your soul!

When the Enemy Attacks

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If you don’t believe the devil is real, I invite you to walk a mile in my shoes. Because I belong to Christ, because I am surrendered to His calling for my life to live, study, and teach His Word, I have an angry enemy. He has made it his mission to distract and harass me, to beat me down, and to break my heart and my spirit.  From crashed computers to sickness, to full-blown assaults, he is determined to stop me. And I am determined to press on – to live and study and write and teach the Bible as I’ve been called.

One day I asked God, “Why are you allowing the devil to attack me? Wouldn’t I be more effective without his bullseye on my back” The Spirit took me to Jesus’s words to Peter: “Simon, Simon, Satan has asked to sift you as wheat. But I have prayed for you, Simon, that your faith may not fail” (Luke 22:31-32). He revealed three things to me: 1. God has the enemy on a very short leash. 2. If Satan is attacking me that means I am doing what God called me to do. 3. While I am under attack, my Lord and Savior is praying for me. Then he said, “The reason I allowed Satan to sift Peter is because there were things in Peter that needed to be sifted out so he would be useful for my Kingdom. I used the devil for Peter’s sanctification. I am allowing Satan to sift you for the same reason. Oh, how I thank God for His power and authority over Satan and His faithfulness to make me a useful and usable vessel for His Kingdom.

Beloved, if you feel like you’re under attack – if you feel like someone is trying to break your heart and your spirit – you’re probably right. But be assured – that means you are right where God wants you to be, doing what He wants you to do, the enemy can only do what he’s permitted to do, and Jesus is praying earnestly for you. Now, tighten up your armor and get back to your calling. Your enemy doesn’t stand a chance.

Shut up, Satan!

O Lord, our Lord, how majestic is Your name in all the earth!

You have set your glory above the heavens. From the lips of children and infants, You have ordained praise because of Your enemies, to silence the foe and the avenger. Psalm 8:1-2

I have always read this verse with the image of the “Cherub Choir” of little children gathered in front of the church, singing (and wiggling and giggling and waving) to the delight of the congregation. It’s such a sweet vision. But God gave me another perspective of this verse as I wrote it in my prayer journal this morning.  “Ordained” jumped out at me, like the Spirit turned a spotlight on that specific word. Oh, the dig is on! This word means “to lay a foundation, to establish,” and as I researched farther I found a slightly different version of verse 8: “Through the praise of children and infants You have established a stronghold against Your enemies.” I got glory goosebumps as the Spirit turned that Cherub Choir into a fortress, a strong tower against the enemy that God and I – and you – share.

I have studied the Names of God for many years and one name that I use often is The Lord my Stronghold. When I call on Yahweh Metsudhathi He surrounds me and protects me from our enemy. This verse says that what builds that stronghold, that protective wall, is praise. That is why I always try to start my prayers – written or spoken – with praise. It’s not that God needs an ego boost, but I need to look at my struggles and trials and challenges in the shadow of the One who is greater than all of them. There is a bonus to praise that verse 2 presents. Read it again. Do you see how the praise of little children “silences the foe and the avenger.”? When you and I praise the Lord, the enemy shuts his lying mouth! Yes!! That’s the power of praising the mighty Name of God! Have you ever wanted to stop satan’s taunts? Praise the Lord!

You have a real enemy and you will never get through this battle without a strong tower, a fortress, a place of defense, and protection. Beloved, God is your Defender, and praise is your defense – it is your shield of faith. Tell the devil to shut his mouth by filling yours with praise!

Wanted. Chosen. Loved.

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Recently, I had the most practical example of the helmet of Salvation. I had been reading in Luke 15 – Jesus’ parables about the lost sheep, the lost coin, and the lost son. Satan, who will twist even the Word of God into a fiery dart, began to taunt me: “You are a lost cause.” “You are always in trouble and God is getting tired of pulling your butt out of the mud.”
Almost simultaneously, my sister-in-law called me with a word. She had no idea what was going on in my head. She felt compelled to shared Isaiah 41:9-10 with me: “You are my servant; I have chosen you and have not rejected you. so do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, For I am your God, I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” Then she reminded me of John 15:13-17 and Jesus calling us His friends. One verse jumped out at me: “You did not choose me, but I chose you . . . ” (v. 16). One word in both passages caught my attention: “Chose.” God chose me.
For a kid who grew up being the last one chosen in P.E., that was huge and it became my helmet of Salvation. I am chosen. He didn’t choose me because of anything good or worthy in me. It was because of His love. Nothing more and nothing less. God chose me, despite my tendency to fall into the mud. I am not a lost cause. I am chosen. He chose me and saved me – I belong to Him and He loves me.
The helmet of Salvation is given to protect our mind – the enemy’s favorite target. Every lie and accusation he speaks to us can either sink deep into our psyche or it can bounce off of the protection of Christ’s salvation. Beloved, if you are saved by the blood of Jesus, nothing the devil says has any authority over you. Nothing. Not one thing. Keep the assurance of your salvation as a covering for your mind and let the enemy’s taunts bounce back at his feet.