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There’s an enemy in this world, he’s crafty and cruel, he’s on the prowl, and he hates Christmas. The very truth that Jesus came to dwell among us and set us free from sin, makes Satan fiercely mad, and he wants nothing more than to destroy all it means.
God’s Word reminds us of the enemy’s main goal: “to steal, kill, and destroy,” and Christmas is the time he’ll step up his destructive mission. Because if there’s ever a season that others have opportunity to hear about the hope of Jesus, it’s now. We can be sure, the devil’s working overtime. He never takes a Christmas vacation.
If you’re a believer, living as salt and light in this world, be aware; Satan is hot on your trail.
But here’s truth: we don’t have to be afraid and we don’t have to let him win. God is greater than any of his deceptive traps. We can live aware of his treacherous schemes as we’re walking in the Truth.
The Bible tells us over and over to stay awake, be on guard, and pray continually. We’re reminded to be filled with the truth of God’s Word, so we’re not surprised or taken advantage of.
Sometimes Satan’s ways are subtle, other times they’re more clear. Here’s a few examples of areas he’ll often try to use to discourage or weaken us during the Christmas season, and wisdom from the Word to stand strong against his schemes:
Distraction/Busyness – The enemy is deceptive (Revelation 12:9). He’ll try hard to exhaust our days with busyness and distraction. He loves it when we have no room in the schedule for God, or we’re too busy to pray. If he can just keep us endlessly spinning our wheels at a hurried, frantic pace, he knows we’ve lost our influence. He’ll distract us with endless activity, full calendars, and even top media headlines. Anything that will draw our attention away from Christ, even seemingly “good” things, is all part of his plan. We find ourselves overwhelmed, over-extended, pressured and stressed. But God gives us the awareness that He came to set us free, He brings peace. He gives us wisdom and the strength to put Him first.
“But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.” (Matthew 6:33)
Comparison/Jealousy – The enemy is a liar (John 8:44). He’s great at whispering “you’re not enough.” We may find ourselves looking around at what everyone else is doing, what they’re buying, what they’re getting. We notice how others seem to “have it all together” – perfectly decorated houses, perfect families, perfect photos, perfect lives. And we keep feeling like we’ve come up short. Jealousy sets in. Wanting what others have. We’re too busy looking around us wondering why we’re not more like “them,” to ever notice what God might be wanting to speak to us. Yet He reminds us where our true value is found. Our security and joy are found solely in Him.
"The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly." (John 10:10)
Discontentment/Temptation/Greed – The enemy is a tempter (Matthew 4:3). The Christmas season can stir up many emotions, and the quest for more stuff to fill our aching hearts can be a huge temptation for many. We want, we “need” something to help satisfy a void that’s deep within. We listen to the enemy’s lies that money and stuff will somehow soothe the loss we feel. We’re lured towards sin, we’re tempted by the desire for the things the world can offer. But God gives us the discernment to see through that trap. We can set a guard over our hearts, and trust Him for wisdom in making the best choices.
“No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.” (1 Corinthians 10:13)
Unforgiveness/Resentment – The enemy is a schemer (Ephesians 6:11-12). Maybe you thought you’d forgiven that wrong, that hurt, from months ago. You thought you’d laid it to rest. And yet the holidays, parties, and time with family and friends just stirred it all up again. You can be sure the devil’s at the heart of it, he doesn’t want you to forgive and move forward. He loves it when we stay stuck in our pain. Recognize who’s at the root of deception, push past his lies, step over his traps. Know that God’s heart is for you. His healing is huge and His love covers all.
“Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.” (Ephesians 4:32)
Worry/Fear – The enemy is like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour (1 Peter 5:8). And he’ll often target those who are hurting or feel weakened with fear. This is one area that Satan works the hardest. It’s a powerful weapon that he’s used over many of our lives. If your heart is set on worry and fear, he has you right where he wants you. Don’t let him win this battle. Stay aware of his traps and this endless cycle of worry. It can be fierce to struggle through, but don’t give up. Give God your every fear and worry, fill your heart with the Truth of His Word, meditate on what He says and choose to believe His words, that we “don’t have to be afraid.”
“So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” (Isaiah 41:10)
Loneliness/Broken Relationships/Disunity – The enemy is a manipulator (Genesis 3:1-5). He loves to stir up controversy, especially division among believers, and destruction in our own families. He rejoices in hatred and strife. He cheers on riots and violence. If you’re in a season of loneliness or are struggling through feelings of rejection and hurt, don’t stay stuck there. Bring those needs and relationships to Christ, every single one, because He has the ability to heal and restore. He is a Redeemer.
“Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins.” (1 Peter 4:8)
Despair/Depression – The enemy is an accuser (Revelation 12:10). It’s not a surprise that the holidays are times when depression and suicide are on the rise. Or defeat, despair, addiction, and deep darkness of the soul. The enemy loves us to dwell in all these places. But God alone can offer the healing and the power to rise above these things. He is our hope giver. Nothing else can lift us from these dark places like God can. Don’t give up. Don’t succumb to the enemy’s lies. Cling to God and know that He cares about you, more than you could ever realize. Christ came to set the captives free.
"You are from God, little children, and have overcome them; because greater is He who is in you than he who is in the world." (1 John 4:4)
Christ gives us victory over every obstacle and attack hurled our way. Choose to keep focused on Him. God fights for you today, and He is Mighty.
“Finally be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes.” (Ephesians 6:10-11)
Debbie McDaniel is a writer, pastor's wife, mom to three amazing kids (and a lot of pets). Join her each morning on Fresh Day Ahead's facebook page, https://www.facebook.com/DebbieWebbMcDaniel, for daily encouragement in living strong, free, hope-filled lives. Find her also at http://twitter.com/debbmcdaniel and http://www.debbiemcdaniel.com.
Photo courtesy: Thinkstockphotos.com
Publication date: December 13, 2016