How to Stay Strong Under Spiritual Attack

man walking with bible shadows of David with sling and Goliath with shield and sword

Scripture tells us we are in a spiritual battle, whether we recognize this or not. The question is, are we living as victims or as victors led and empowered by God, the Lord of heaven’s armies? In Christ, we have everything we need to prevail against Satan’s attacks and steadily push back the darkness with light. To overcome, we must remain alert so that we can respond intentionally and strategically.

Here are 5 ways to stand strong against spiritual attacks.

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  • 1. Recognize your enemy’s tactics.

    1. Recognize your enemy’s tactics.


    The Bible tells us Satan, our spiritual enemy, is a cunning, deceptive schemer who “prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour” (1 Peter 5:8, NIV). He’s relentless and many times, as loud as the giant Goliath, who taunted the nation of Israel. For 40 days, this massive, well-armed, and well-trained soldier stood on a hilltop, shouting, “Choose a man and have him come down to me. If he is able to fight and kill me, we will become your subjects; but if I overcome him and kill him, you will become our subjects and serve us,” adding, “This day I defy the armies of Israel!” (1 Samuel 17:8-10).

    The king and his people were paralyzed in fear. They couldn’t see past the massive threat in front of them. But David, who presumably had spent considerable time with God, immediately recognized where the true battle lay. He revealed this when he said, “Who is this uncircumcised Philistine that he should defy the living God?” (1 Samuel 17:26b, NIV). This awareness brought him courage.

    When Goliath mocked him for showing up with nothing but a slingshot and stones, David replied, “You come against me with sword and spear and javelin, but I come against you in the name of the Lord Almighty, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defiled.”

    David entered the battlefield as a representative of the Lord Almighty, Yahweh Tsaba in the original Hebrew, which means the self-revealing God of war. This speaks of His incomprehensible power and absolute authority. He is our Warrior-Rescuer, Defender, and ever-present help, the One who is and always has been fighting for His children.

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  • 2. Routinely check your heart.

    2. Routinely check your heart.


    My self-centered and often short-sighted nature tempts me to view this conflict between good and evil from a shallow, comfort-driven perspective. My thoughts initially center on how a particular difficulty will affect my comfort, happiness, personal fulfillment, or that of those I love. But Scripture demonstrates the greatest battle wages within me. Will I allow problems and external chaos to prick my sinful tendencies, provoking me to ugly, prideful, and self-serving behavior? Or will I rely on God’s Spirit and let Him use the situation for good.

    Consider the analogy the Bible provides in 1 Peter 5:8, written to a group of Christians experiencing intense persecution. “Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour” (NIV).

    Alert and sober-minded. Watchful, vigilant, and free “from the intoxicating influences of sin.” Why? Because our enemy lurks in the shadows, studying us to find those areas of weakness he can most easily exploit. With Cain, the first murderer in human history, he used a seed of jealousy. With Saul, he did the same. With Judas, the man who betrayed Jesus, he used greed. With the ancient Israelites cowering before Goliath, Satan capitalized on fear.

    But recognize this, though the devil may have provoked the ugliness within each of these men, they still bore the responsibility for their actions. James, whom the majority of scholars recognize as Jesus’s half-brother, put it this way: “But each person is tempted when they are dragged away by their own evil desire and enticed. Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death” (James 1:14-15).

    If we want to stand firm, then, we must invite God to perform regular heart checks, asking Him to remove every trace of selfishness and pride. David, ancient Israel’s second king, provided a great example as to how we can do this. In Psalm 139:23-24, he wrote, “Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way of everlasting” (NIV). He offered a similar prayer in Psalm 51:10 when he wrote, after being confronted with a major sin, “Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me” (NIV).

    He asked God to cleanse Him then strengthen him, making him immovable against future sin.

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  • Older man sitting in a window seat relaxing

    3. Guard your time with Jesus.


    Scripture tells us, if we’ve trusted in Christ for salvation, the same power that raised Him from the dead lives in us. (Romans 8:11, Ephesians 1:17-20). What’s more, “His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and goodness” (2 Peter 1:3, NIV). When we remain connected to Jesus, God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit nourish, fill, and fortify our souls.

    Consider this: Jesus spent three targeted and intentional years with His disciples, during which He trained and taught them, day after day. Let’s say they interacted with one another six days a week, 10 hours a day. That would amount to around 300 hours a month, 3,600 a year, and just over 10,000 in all. According to author Malcom Gladwell, one must practice for 10,000 hours in order to master a skill or endeavor. If Gladwell’s calculations are correct, the disciples' concentrated time with Jesus should’ve prepared them to launch out on their own.

    Notice, however, what Jesus said shortly after He rose from the dead. First, He enabled His disciples to understand the Scriptures that foretold of His life, death, and resurrection. Then He revealed their, and our, mission to preach His message of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. Can you imagine their excitement? They went from grieving to celebration, having seen their crucified Lord up, walking, talking, and eating! Their feet must have been ready to fly! Only Jesus made it clear, they weren’t ready. “I am going to send you what My Father has promised;” He said, speaking of the Holy Spirit, “but stay in the city until you have been clothed with power from on high” (Luke 24:49, NIV, parenthetical insert mine).

    In other words, don’t try to live this Christian life – to live for Me – in your own strength. Instead, they needed to remain “strong in the Lord and in His mighty power” (Ephesians 6:10, NIV).

    The same is true for us. On our own, we won’t accomplish anything of lasting value (John 15:4-5). If we really want to produce fruit, including all those beautiful, gospel-revealing traits listed in Galatians 5:22-23, we’ll need to learn how to live in vital connection with God.

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  • woman reading bible in purple shirt by ocean

    4. Fill your mind with truth.


    In Ephesians 6, the apostle Paul listed our full battle gear in Christ, and all are defensive weapons, except one – the Sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God. When Satan came at Jesus, He showed us just how powerful a well-aimed verse can be. For every attack, He calmly replied, “For it is written.” And each time, Satan backed off.

    Hebrews 4:12 tells us “the Word of God” as preserved in Scripture, “is alive and active” and “sharper than a double-edged sword” (NIV). The Holy Spirit uses the truths recorded in our Bibles to protect us from deception, guide us when we’re confused, strengthen us when we’re weak, redirect us when we’ve gone astray, and comfort us when we’re hurting or afraid. In it, we don’t just encounter timeless truths. We encounter, personally and intimately, a timeless God who promises to give us all we need to stand firm in Him.

    5. Eliminate harmful influences.

    You’ve probably heard it said, what you consume begins to consume you. We like to believe that we’re intellectually and ideologically autonomous, but we’re more easily influenced than we might think. I’ve been alarmed by how quickly my attitude can change based on who I’m with. When I spend too much time reading or watching the news, which often increases their ratings by capitalizing on human fear, I can easily lose sight of truth – that God is bigger than any threat and remains in full control. Similarly, when I surround myself with people of faith, my peace and discernment grow.

    I know I’m not alone in this, which is why Scripture warns us repeatedly about our associations. “Do not be deceived,” Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians 15:33, “‘Bad company corrupts good morals’” (NIV). Similarly, Proverbs 12:26 tells us good people act as righteous guides while those who are wicked lead others astray.

    This doesn’t mean we should sever our relationships with those who don’t follow Christ. If we did that, we couldn’t fulfill our call to share the gospel. But we do need to remain alert to the effect our culture and those in our social circles have on us. And we should form our closest connections with those who continually encourage us to honor, trust in, and rely on God.

    The Bible is clear: We have a very real, powerful, and relentless spiritual enemy determined to kill, steal, and destroy our lives and all we hold dear. But even more than that, he wants to distort the greatest evidence for the gospel – the power and love of Christ in us. Praise God, we are far from victims. No matter what comes against us, you and I are more than conquerors in the One who, through His death and resurrection, conquered all. He’s given us everything we need for victory. We simply need to fully embrace and utilize all the supernatural gifts we’ve already been given.

    References:
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    Jennifer Slattery is a writer and speaker who hosts the Faith Over Fear podcast. She’s addressed women’s groups, Bible studies, and writers across the nation. She’s the author of Building a Family and numerous other titles and maintains a devotional blog at JenniferSlatteryLivesOutLoud.com.

    As the founder of Wholly Loved Ministries, she’s passionate about helping women experience Christ’s freedom in all areas of their lives. Visit her online to learn more about her speaking or to book her for your next women’s event  and sign up for her free quarterly newsletter HERE  and make sure to connect with her on Facebook and Instagram.