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Taking Back The Power We Give The Enemy

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Taking Back the Power We Give The Enemy

 

Ecclesiastes 7: 13-14 Accept the way God does things, for who can straighten what he has made crooked? Enjoy prosperity while you can, but when hard times strike, realize that both come from God. Remember that nothing is certain in this life. (NLT)

 

Flying in the face of feel good Christianity, the key verses today remind us that not every adversity come from the devil. The truth is that we often give far more credit to the enemy then we should. By doing so, we lend more power to him then he rightfully has. Realize that Satan is not playing games. He is not shadow boxing with us. The Bible specifically warns us:

 

Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour. 1Peter 5: 8 (NLT)

 

A roaring lion does not fool around with its prey. Lions are known for attacking fiercely and completely. They are also known for attacking the weakest member of the herd it is stalking. Once a victim has been chosen, the lion will also attack the individual animal at its weakest point. The imagery used by Peter in this verse is quite clear. First, we must make sure we are not weak in what we believe. We must be prepared for the battle:

Therefore, put on every piece of God's armor so you will be able to resist the enemy in the time of evil. Then after the battle you will still be standing firm. Stand your ground, putting on the belt of truth and the body armor of God's righteousness. For shoes, put on the peace that comes from the Good News so that you will be fully prepared. In addition to all of these, hold up the shield of faith to stop the fiery arrows of the devil. Put on salvation as your helmet, and take the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. Pray in the Spirit at all times and on every occasion. Stay alert and be persistent in your prayers for all believers everywhere. Ephesians 6: 13-18 (NLT)

Note that the armor of God does not kill the enemy but rather it allows you to resist him and stand firm. Thus doing so, you will not be the weaker member of the flock he is attacking. Because we are visual people we tend to focus on the actual pieces of armor instead of what they represent. So how do we stand firm against the attacks of the enemy? It is by knowing the truth, being clothed in the righteousness of God, having His transcendent peace in our hearts, an unstoppable faith, by being saved by the blood of Jesus Christ, reading the Word of God and by being consistent and persistent in prayer.

Easier caught than taught my pastor was fond of saying but let's quickly break this down to more manageable pieces. Again, this is an exercise for strengthening ourselves so that we can stand firm and not be found by the roaring lion to be the weakest of the herd. All hinges on the last two armor pieces. Prayer and reading the Word of God. Prayer keeps us in constant relationship with God and reading the Bible keeps us constantly in His precepts. The Word is actually the only "offensive" piece of the armor because we use it as the sword of the Spirit. Well, what does that mean? It means that when the enemy presents us with something to consider we need to keep in mind that is ALL he can do. The devil cannot make you do anything. We use trite sayings such as that to make ourselves feel better about choice we consciously made which we know we should not have made. But when the devil gives us something to consider, we can wield the sword of our Spirit to cut his argument to pieces.

We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ. 2Corinthians 10: 5 (NIV)

That is what this verse means. For example, the devil whispers into our ear that we will never amount to anything in life; may as well give up. This can be the beginning of the downward spiral into depression for the weaker members of the herd. But if we stay in the Word and prayer we would know that Psalm 139:14 says that I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Those two statements are in opposition to each other and one of them is wrong. Since we know that Numbers 23: 19 tells us that God is not a man that He should lie, we have no choice to but to acknowledge that the whispering of the enemy must be a lie and here is the key REGARDLESS OF HOW WE FEEL. The enemy is not stupid. Remember he attacks the weaknesses. Now that we know it is a lie, we take that thought captive and make it obedient to Christ by not considering it to be true.

Beyond the Word and prayer however, the other pieces of armor are just as important to resist the devil. Salvation is needed for obvious reasons. If you are not saved by the blood of Jesus Christ then the rest is irrelevant. Without salvation, there is no indwelling of the Holy Spirit which would reduce Bible reading to an academic matter instead of faith. Prayer is relational and without salvation you do not have a relationship with God. The shield of faith means that we actually believe what we read in the Bible and what God says to us in prayer. That may sound simple enough but remember that faith is always easier when looking at someone else's life. When the matter hits close to home, we will find out the measure of your faith. Throughout the Gospels Jesus heals people and says it is done according to their faith. You cannot just read the Bible you must believe what it says. Without faith it is powerless. According to Philippians, the transcendent peace of God comes from presenting all of our worries and anxieties to Him. The lack of peace is usually when we have difficulty turning over our fears to the Lord. When we hold our fears I can guarantee you that the enemy will attack them. Then that little fear is expanded into a foothold for the enemy to increase his attacks. If not turned over to God it will develop into a stronghold, which by definition is a line of thinking contrary to God. Lastly, we need to righteousness of God and the truth. When we allow areas of unrighteousness into our lives once again that is where the enemy will attack us. If our lust is not submitted to God then we will find temptation coming our way more and more until we give in. The same goes for the truth. Our world is built on the notion of compromise. That somehow if you refuse to compromise than you are intolerant. Well, paint me intolerant then. You cannot allow the truth to be compromised because again, that is where the enemy will attack you.

Those individual points of attack differ from person to person. What tempts one person may not tempt another. One person may easily give into pride or greed while another may have no issues in those areas. Jesus once came across the rich ruler who wanted to know what he had to do to inherit eternal life. Once Jesus addressed the commandments He looked into the heart of the man and saw that his vulnerability was wealth.

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Credentialed Minister of the Gospel for the Assemblies of God. Owner and founder of 828 ministries. Vice President for Goodwill Industries. Always remember that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him and are called according to (more...)
 
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