So, I woke up this morning to a doozy of a nightmare. Some of you who are new to my writing will come to know that I am firmly convinced that spiritual warfare is a reality, not just because it says so in the bible but because life has confirmed the bible to be true. I have many kingdom things happening in my life right now, so I’m not surprised that I should be paid a visit by the evil one or his representatives. My guess is yesterday’s writings hit home for some of you. Your action will be a threat to prince of this world. Therefore, be prepared. You have nothing to fear and only good to come of it.
Let’s go through some scripture to make a case for just that. First, let’s recognize that nothing happens without God’s consent. As R.C. Sproul says, “There are no maverick molecule in the universe.” There are two example of God granting Satan permission. In Job 1:12 and 2:6, God granted Satan permission twice to strike Job to test him. In Luke 22:31, Satan demanded that God allow him to sift Simon like wheat. I pray that God may not grant that request of me. Perhaps he already has, and perhaps he will again. That’s God’s prerogative. I am ok with that. Whether I am or not, God will do as God pleases. If he desires to grant a test, he will. That is good, and I am settled with that.
The reason I am is that God has already provided everything I need to withstand the storm. Everything. As in E-V-E-R-Y-T-H-I-N-G! It’s simply a matter if I want to take advantage of it or not. Or, would I prefer to let the blows come unprotected? I am fully aware that Satan can wipe out tens of thousands in one stroke. Who am I to fight this monster? I’m nothing on my own. But, I do have Jesus and all that comes with him. Now the tables are turned. Satan is now the defeated one. I’m careful to not mock him intentionally, however. He isn’t finished wreaking havoc. I don’t need to draw attention unnecessarily by taunting him. God may then decide to let him teach me a lesson. I certainly don’t need that.
Here’s a checklist that I use to prepare myself for battle. This isn’t a quick-glance guide. It is meant to take you deep into communion with God as you pray back scripture to Him and meditate on his promises. Many of you have seen this before. It’s always applicable. Here we go.
Be Aware of the Schemes of the Devil. John 10:10 – “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.” Satan’s end game always contains these three things. False and broken promises. Lies. Deception. Strife. Arguments. Anxiety. Sin. Always Sin. Satan “prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.” You can always spot him where kingdom work is being done. Be extra cautious of him coming in ways you least expect it. His bait is often very subtle yet alluring in some way. Look close before taking it. It ALWAYS stinks. You can tell. We can avoid much of all this if we simply refuse to listen to his temptation. Other times, he hits us from the outside, through other people. Ephesians 6:12 says, “For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.” Look beyond those who give you trouble to see the one behind it, and act accordingly.
Change the Way I Think. Romans 12:2, “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.” Most of our trouble happens between our ears. Yes, our hearts are still wicked, and we entertain evil thoughts. We need to be quick to recognize this and turn to those things that are of God. As Paul instructs us in Philippians 4:8 “Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.” Plain enough there. As for idols? Unhealthy relationships? Possessions that consume you? Food addictions? Alcohol? Get rid of them today, and don’t look back. Sinful behavior is never better dealt with tomorrow. Yes, God still loves us no matter what. But, if you want to get rid of Satan, then don’t play in his playground. Settle this matter.
Resist the Devil and Run to God. James 4:7-8 “Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded.” Paul instructs us in Ephesians 6:11 “Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil.” As silly as this may sound, I find it very beneficial to say these verses out loud. Remind Satan that, “It is written!” He hates scripture properly used. That, I suppose, is why he flees. Remember, folks, these are PROMISES that God gives us. Resist the devil and he will flee! Take God for his word. Strap on your armor and stand firm. Do it in front of a mirror. Put on your War Face! Think I’m kidding? Try it and you might be surprised at the power of God that comes into your whole being.
Pray for Protection. Matthew 6:13 “And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.” We hit upon that verse yesterday. We can avoid much of our trouble by praying this. When we pray, especially praying back his promises made through scripture, he keeps us safe. We don’t want to sin when we are snugged in tight. Right?
I’m telling you, God will let us flounder a long time on our own, waiting for us call out to him. When we do, he will be there. But, how are we to learn this unless we learn it the hard way? Hopefully, we will learn quickly. If not, God let us keep going out on our own to keep re-learning these simple lessons.
Interestingly enough, my dream was like all this. Everything around me was being destroyed. There was nothing I could do to prevent it. I recognized Satan’s footprints. I then called out to God, and I instantly woke up. Quickly, I went through this exercise. Satan is gone, for the time being. I shall watch for him, though, and be ready. And why not be ready? It keeps me close to God. How can that be a bad thing?
One last note. I always find it best to go on the offensive when I sense the evil one. No, that doesn’t mean taunting that monster. That means doing exactly what he is trying to prevent me from doing. Normally, that means I deliberately tell people all about what Jesus has done for me and how he will do the same for them if they follow him. That may mean giving up a particular sin. That may mean giving significant time, money, or possessions to benefit the kingdom. That may mean deliberately warning people about Satan and encouraging them to seek God’s protection. That may mean praying BIGGER prayers! Satan tries to prevent you from kingdom work. Do it twice as hard as you originally planned. Even more! Trust God’s word – he will flee! Then, watch the blessings of God pour into your life! The things money can’t buy! God generously gives the Fruit of the Spirit to all who obey.
Finally, be a student of Psalm 91.
Father, let us be vigilant to keep watch and stand firm. Let us not be fooled by lies. Let us be quick to sound the alarm. The battle is real. Don’t let me think otherwise, and don’t let me sleep at my post. Keep me close. Amen.
Copyright © 2017 Scott Powers