I tend to deal with fiery darts directed at my faith, especially after I write blogs that point to Jesus. Last night a weird, panicky feeling came over me and my faith was tossed around in a flash flood of doubt. ‘What if none of this is true? I am staking my whole life on this. If this isn’t true then I am such a fool….’ I quickly realized that these were not my thoughts. These were fiery darts. Ephesians 6:16 I started to pray and remind myself of my long history with God. I’ve dealt with this before. The attack does not succeed “because I know whom I have believed, and am convinced that he is able to guard what I have entrusted to him until that day.” 2 Timothy 1:12
It is a reminder that I do have a very real enemy. I need to pray for protection every single day. Trust me (and many of you already know) that when you get serious about your faith the enemy gets serious about thwarting God’s plan for your life. If you’ve ever had such awful nightmares you woke up in a cold sweat, if you ever get a cascade of extremely negative emotions out of nowhere, if a random awful thought just pops into your head- chances are you are dealing with a demonic attack. Trouble is, it can be so sneaky. You really need to be in tune with the Holy Spirit to even discern when the enemy is coming against you. It is very rare to deal with physical manifestations of the demonic (though I have experienced that too) it is almost always attacks against the mind and heart.
The devil will pull out all the stops to entice you back into a sin that you have gotten free from. If he can’t get you to sin he will tempt you- and then overwhelm you with guilt for feeling tempted. God sends conviction to lead us back to Him. The enemy overwhelms with condemnation to keep us from him. But the truth is- it is not a sin to struggle with temptation. Even Jesus did. “For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are–yet he did not sin.” Hebrews 4:15 The devil has always been a liar and the original ‘mud slinger’. He hates that we are washed and made righteous through the precious blood of Jesus. So he will do anything he can to try to get some of his mud to stick.
“You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world.” 1 John 4:4
He hissed at Jesus in the desert and he tries to hiss at us today. “Our brothers conquered him by the blood of the lamb and by the word of their testimony, for they did not cling to their lives even in the face of death.” Rev. 12:11
The blood of the Lamb- or the resurrection power of Christ working in our lives- is the victory. We also silence the taunts of the enemy by recalling the great things God has done for us- the word of our testimony. And by not clinging to our lives- surrendering everything to the Lord. Any area of our lives that is not under God’s dominion is wide open for demonic oppression.
This isn’t a game. We have an enemy and he doesn’t play fair. “For those who are according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who are according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit. For the mind set on the flesh is death, but the mind set on the Spirit is life and peace.” Romans 8:6-7 We need to invite God into bring life and peace in to our thoughts and shine his light into all the dark areas of our hearts. The devil loves when there are dark areas in our lives. He can work his destruction in the dark, un-surrendered areas. Don’t be fooled. “There is a way that appears to be right, but in the end it leads to death.” Proverbs 14:12 Sin always leads to death. Romans 6:23 Most often in spiritual death- separation from God.
It is funny, I sat down to write something very different but this is what God led me to write. I wonder if there is someone reading this that is now realizing that they are engaged in spiritual warfare? If that is true for you please feel free to ask me for prayer. This is tough and we can’t do it alone. “Be clear-minded and alert. Your opponent, the devil, is prowling around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour.” 1 Peter 5:8 Notice it is someone-singular. Just like a lion; the enemy looks to isolate before he devours. Satan wants you to feel alone, like you are the only person dealing with this. “Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that the family of believers throughout the world is undergoing the same kind of sufferings.” 1 Peter 5:9 I know from personal experience, an attack will often continue until we bring it into the light. If you are really struggling- you need to go to a fellow strong believer or pastor for help. Often, just bringing things into the light is enough to break its power over you. Prayer and fasting are also extremely effective.
It can feel very discouraging- but remember the enemy doesn’t attack unless he sees you as a very real threat. It is almost a badge of honor. I used to have really awful nightmares but I would get so fired up in my faith afterwards- the enemy realized his attacks were backfiring! I don’t get the nightmares anymore.
The enemy may have done a lot of damage in your life. But we serve one so much stronger. Jesus bound up the ‘strong man’ (Matthew 12:29) so that we can plunder his house and get back all that is rightfully ours as children of God. We “are heirs–heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory.” Romans 8:17