Feeling devastated and defeated, I considered quitting writing as negative thoughts filled my heart:
“You’ll never write again. You’re a fraud. You can’t do this.”
“Those others are the true writers. You should quit.”
But God lovingly and graciously opened my eyes to the source of those lies: Satan. God allowed me to see how His Spirit was using me to encourage others. He reminded me it’s not about me. He’s the source of truth. He called me to write and will equip me.
Our adversary is continually working to derail us and keep us from fulfilling our calling. He works to trick us into agreeing with him that we’re incapable or not called, or he entices us with what appears to be a more fulfilling way.
As believers in Jesus Christ, whether we like it or not, we’re in the middle of a spiritual war. To ignore or refuse to believe this doesn’t change the reality of Satan’s fiery darts hitting us at every turn. He hates God and all He loves.
We’re not alone in this war. God fights for us and equips us for spiritual battle.
Here are ten strategies that help us stand against our attacker:
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1. Acknowledge That the Enemy and War Are Real
I easily forget there’s a continual spiritual battle all around me. Scripture tells us, “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms” (Ephesians 6:12 NIV). Unseen forces, led by Satan, fight against God and all His people.
The evil one has opposed God from the beginning of creation, when he tempted the first woman, Eve, to doubt and disobey God (Genesis 3:1-6). His continuing goal is to destroy God’s creation. Scripture compares him to a roaring lion who prowls, looking for someone to devour (1 Peter 5:8 NIV). Yet he doesn’t always appear as an enemy. He often wears a disguise, hiding his fiendish intentions and leading us astray (2 Corinthians 11:14 NIV).
Denying or ignoring spiritual warfare doesn’t exempt us from the battle.
2. Submit to God with a Humble Heart
Victory begins when we surrender to God. Submission to God is essential. Jesus’s half-brother, James, wrote, “'God opposes the proud but shows favor to the humble.’ Submit yourselves, then, to God” (James 4:6-7). We can’t fight our spiritual foe in our own strength. Depending on ourselves is pride, and Scripture teaches pride causes us to fall (Proverbs 16:18).
God treasures humility in His children. Humility isn’t the mistreatment of self: rather, it’s submitting our will to God’s will and choosing to honor God by obeying Him rather than indulging ourselves. We recognize our utter dependence on Him. This attitude is especially important when facing our assaulter. God is the strong Father standing with His child when the bully comes around. The bully runs from the Father, not the child.
I pray: Father, I submit myself to You. Thank You for the gifts You’ve given me. Please use me to share Your truth and glory with others. Let Your will, not mine, be done in my life. May all I say and do glorify You. Guide me by Your Holy Spirit. Amen.
3. Say "No" to the Evil One
James continues in chapter 4, verse 7, “Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.” First, we yield to God, and then we defy the deceiver. Speaking of Satan, Peter, one of Jesus’s closest disciples, wrote “Resist him, standing firm in your faith” (1 Peter 5:9 NIV).
By our faith in our Lord Jesus Christ, we oppose the tempter. When the thought comes, “You’ll never write again,” I respond:
Jesus, Thank You that I belong to You. You’re my Lord and Savior. Help me deny the lies of the enemy. I know You’ve called me and You’re the one who equips me and shows Your love through me. Please enable me to stand firm. Leave me alone, Satan. In the name of Jesus, I rebuke Your lies. I belong to Jesus, and I’m loved, redeemed, chosen, and forgiven. Lord, I submit to You and receive all You have to give me.
4. Use Spiritual Weapons
Paul, the writer of much of the New Testament, tells us, Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take a stand against the devil’s schemes” (Ephesians 6:11-18 NIV). He continues by describing the parts of our spiritual armor:
–The Belt of Truth. Use Scripture to refute the trickster. We plant our feet on the truth, or we fall with lies.
–Breastplate of Righteousness. By faith, we claim this promise in Scripture: “God made Him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God” (2 Corinthians 5:21 NIV).
–As shoes, the Gospel of Peace. The Good News of Jesus Christ is the foundation we build on.
–Shield of Faith. As the devil shoots his lies like arrows, by faith, we extinguish them before they sink into our souls.
–Helmet of Salvation. Our assurance of eternal life through faith in Christ protects our minds and hearts from discouragement and defeat. (1 Thessalonians 5:8)
–Sword of the Spirit, the Word of God. God’s recorded word to us is living, powerful, and effective. His truth protects us. (Hebrews 4:12)
–Praying always in the Spirit. In prayer, we use all our armor to fight the enemy.
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5. Stay Connected to Jesus
Jesus told His followers, “Remain in Me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in Me... apart from Me you can do nothing” (John 15:4-5 NIV).
We’re to be continually dependent on Jesus. When we stay connected to Him through prayer, Scripture, and talking to others about Him, He strengthens us. When we depend on Him for faith, endurance, wisdom, and all we need to follow Him, He gives us all that is required to fulfill our calling and purpose.
6. Use Scripture to Deny the Adversary’s Deception
Jesus modeled how we are to respond to spiritual attacks when He was in the wilderness. When the tempter first came to Him, he said, “If You are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread,” luring Him to use His powers selfishly rather than as led by His Father. Jesus replied, “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God’” (Matthew 4:3-4). Each time the evil one spoke, Jesus responded with Scripture.
Next time the deceiver tempts me to quit, I can respond with truth from God’s Word.
Scripture teaches: “Let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us” (Hebrews 12:1 NIV). His Word also promises, “He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus” (Philippians 1:6 NIV).
7. Fight for Each Other
Paul compared believers in Jesus Christ to a human body. As the parts of a body work together, so also do we. In the same way, he teaches, like a body, “if one part suffers, every part suffers with it” (1 Corinthians 12:26 NIV).
When Satan attacks one brother or sister, he attacks all of them. We’re to help each other. Paul challenges us to “Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ” (Galatians 6:2 NIV).
Ask for help when you’re in a battle. When I share my struggles with one of my close sisters in Christ, she quickly reminds me of who I am in Jesus and encourages me to continue using my gifts. At times, I’ve asked other believers to pray for me: specifically, that I would persevere in writing and not get discouraged.
8. Rejoice That Jesus Has Already Won the War
John, one of the disciples in Jesus’s inner circle, taught: “The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the devil’s work” (1 John 3:8 NIV). Paul adds that Jesus “disarmed the powers and authorities, He made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross” (Colossians 2:15 NIV).
Jesus has won the war, but we still have battles to fight until the day He returns. The enemy wants to mislead and destroy as many as possible before his ultimate end. But, as believers, we can remember this lesson from John, “The One who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world” (1 John 4:4). As long as we lean on Jesus, we’re overcomers. Be encouraged by this promise recorded by Paul: “But the Lord is faithful, and He will strengthen you and protect you from the evil one” (2 Thessalonians 3:3).
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9. Spend Time Praising and Worshipping God
Praising God turns our focus to Him and all He has done for us. Worshiping reminds us of His power and creates a desire in our hearts to give thanks by serving Him. We can’t praise God and listen to the liar at the same time.
If it seems difficult to worship, pray through the Old Testament book of Psalms. Let the words of the Psalmist become your words of praise to God. Listen to worship music and sing along, but don't limit worship time to Sunday morning's church service. Just as we are called to read our Bible each day, we are called to give daily praises to God. Don't dismiss the power of the Holy Spirit when you praise God while cleaning the living room, driving to work, or making your family a meal.
Open your heart to God and He will fill you, no matter where you are.
The writer of the New Testament book of Hebrews assures us, “You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what He has promised” (Hebrews 10:36 NIV). Don’t let the thief stop you from using your gifts. Use them regardless. Press on. Leave the results to God.
Scripture challenges us to “Throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith” (Hebrews 12:1-2 NIV).
When we take our eyes off ourselves and fix them on Jesus, He gives us what we need to fulfill our purpose on earth.
Originally published Monday, 26 September 2022.