First Peter 5:8-9 tells us to, “Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith.” And James tells us, “Resist the devil and he will flee from you (James 4:7).”
Many days we fail to recognize the battle that rages all around us. It is a spiritual one. If we don’t recognize it as a spiritual battle, we don’t engage the “war” with the right weapons. Satan would love nothing more than to destroy our intimacy with God, the health of our marriages, and the effectiveness of our ministries.
My husband, Mike and I are very different from one another—he is quiet and I am very talkative. Today we enjoy a great relationship and our ability to communicate effectively has grown throughout the years. But when we were first married, I expected him to respond just like me and share every thought that entered his mind. The enemy would whisper accusations like, “Mike just doesn’t trust you enough to share his thoughts with you . . . If he really wanted to be close to you he would talk more . . .” I’ve discovered that if I allow those thoughts to linger and I mentally agree with them, I become very discouraged and it negatively impacts my responses to Mike. However, if I recognize the enemy is at work accusing my husband, I can disagree and simply enjoy the quiet times, knowing our relationship is secure.
We can only resist the enemy and stand firm if we recognize his strategies:
Strategy #1—He Accuses
Revelation 12 describes the enemy of our soul as an accuser. I believe there are two major ways he uses this tactic:
1. He accuses us personally with thoughts like, “You’ll never measure up. You will never be able to overcome that habit. You are not strong enough, pretty enough, smart enough…”
2. He accuses those around us with negative thoughts about their intent and character. (Just like the accusations he made about Mike.)
Strategy #2—He Creates Doubt about God’s Character
Just like the temptation of Eve, he will cause us to doubt God’s goodness. He whispers thoughts like, “Is God really good? Would a good God let this happen to you? Where is God? You don’t even feel His presence, do you?”
Any time we begin to doubt God and His character, we can know the enemy is at work. It is important to allow biblical Truths to shape our view of God, not the doubts the enemy plants in our thoughts.
So many times we don’t recognize accusations and doubts as the enemy, we simply think we are discovering reality. Maybe God isn’t good, maybe I’ll never succeed, maybe my spouse doesn’t love me. But the best time to beat temptation is early in the battle—when the thoughts first arise. If we entertain the ideas we open the door and give him permission to continue the attack. The longer the thoughts remain, the more we buy into the lies. These lies can create negative strongholds in our life. Resist him by recognizing his schemes and replacing the accusations and doubts with truth.
Remember, the enemy comes to steal, kill, and destroy. But the truth will always set us free. Christ offers us an abundant life, unhindered by condemnation and fear.