Tonight we spoke about how the first step to gaining victory over spiritual warfare in our lives, is to recognize that we are indeed in a vicious battle, with a ferocious enemy. The moment that we accept Christ in to our lives we become a target for the enemy. The devil despises God, and his goal is to severe our relationship with Jesus. There are several components to his operation, and we briefly reviewed what Scripture reveals about our enemy and his tactics.
The PURPOSE of our enemy is stated in John 10:9, where Jesus declares that “the thief has come to steal, to kill, and to destroy.” The apostle Peter gives a vivid illustration of the enemy when he likens him to a prowling lion who roams around looking for someone to devour (1 Peter 5:8). Revelation 12 also gives insight in to the passion, and fury in which the enemy attacks. Our enemy is real, he is angry, he is passionate, and he is evil. He wants nothing more than to destroy our relationship with God.
The POWER of our enemy is limited, but it is forceful. For a season, God has allowed satan to have some elements of freedom. We see in Genesis with Eve, that the devil does have the ability to tempt us to believe what he says rather than what God says. Jesus refers to satan as the “Father of Lies” in John (8:44). The devil lies to us about ourselves, our situations, and our relationship with God, and he persuades us to listen to what he says, rather to what God says. For example: If you are in an overwhelming circumstance, the enemy will lie to you and tell you that there is no hope. This in turn can lead to feelings of depression, anxiety, fear, anger, bitterness, discouragement..etc etc. He will lie to us about the severity of sin. The devil attempts to minimize sin, so we feel justified when we disobey. Satan will also lie to us and tell us that God is either late in intervening in our situation, or that He is disinterested in helping us. He manipulates, he confuses, and he falsely tells us inaccuracy about God.
The PROCESS in which the enemy attacks is explained in Ephesians 6, where Paul likens the assault of satan to that of flaming arrows being shot at us. These fiery arrows of the enemy are intentional. While satan does not have authority of our minds, he is aware of our weaknesses, and will use them against us. Satan targets our deficiencies in hopes that we’ll be too distraught or disinterested to react. When Jesus was in the desert in Matthew 4, the first temptation satan came to Jesus with was that of food. Why? Because at that point, Jesus hadn’t eaten in 40 days. He was physically weak, and the enemy knew it.
We have an enemy who is active, and who has an appetite for destruction. He is a master liar and manipulator, and the first step to gaining the victory over him, is to be aware of his existence and his tactics. Speaking about the enemy does not glorify him. My hope is that as we discuss him, we expose him for the fraud that he is.
Take some time this week to examine your life, and to pinpoint areas of weakness in your life that may be a potential battlefield. What ammunition does the enemy use against you? For me, I tend to struggle with anxiety, and the enemy constantly attempts to persuade me that God is not capable of handling my issues. Now that I know how and where he attacks me, I can become better prepared to ward off the flaming arrows that Ephesians 6:1 talks about.
Next week we will look at how to defend ourselves when we are in a season of spiritual warfare. We know who our enemy is, and next will discuss who our ally is. We will celebrate the victory that is promised to us through our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.