I’ve been kinda’ quite on the blog lately….I’ve been rather engrossed in another writing project for church. This project has taken over four years to complete and it is the toughest writing endeavor I have ever tackled. The subject matter……”Spiritual Warfare”….. is rather daunting and could be intimidating if I wasn’t a believer. I grew up with a great fear of the dark and the devil as well. Not until my late twenties did I learn about my authority over satan through the blood of JESUS.
One day my husband and I were talking about a circumstance that we were facing that was clearly a matter of spiritual warfare. I made the statement…”I HATE THE devil!!” He laughed at me and kind of teased me about my statement made in the midst of frustration…..but truly….not much has changed….I still hate him with a passion. I can’t even bring myself to capitalize the first letter of his name even though my spell check keeps screaming for me to do so.
For years I lived in fear…..battled bouts of depression…..believed things about myself that were not true…..struggled through seasons of discontent….discouragement…..defeat. I have watched people I love….friends and family….. experience the same struggles….it pains me to see how evil messes with people I love.
When I was 17 years old I had an experience that paralyzed me with fear. It was a school night and my father was out of town with his job. I was sometimes scared when daddy was gone and occasionally would crawl into my parents big king size bed and sleep with my mom. I slept on the side closest to the door with a view out into the hallway of the balcony and mom always left a light on. I would lay looking out at the dimly lit balcony until I fell asleep. This night I was very restless and could not go to sleep, tossing and turning. I remember looking at the clock and shifting my focus back out to the balcony. For a moment…..I closed my eyes….then opened them again…..what happened next is still terrifying when I think about it. There in the distance…..at the end of the hall……was a hooded figure slowly walking toward me.
I specifically remember reaching my right arm toward my mother but the bed was so big I could not reach her. I tried to scream and nothing came out….I was so afraid that I was literally frozen. I watched in horror as the figure got closer and closer to me and eventually leaning down and hovering over me….I felt the sensation of my throat tightening…..then in an instance….I cried out….”JESUS HELP ME!” Immediately the hooded figure disappeared.
Now before you say….oh..you were just dreaming Mel…..years later I shared what happened with my pastor. Bryan told me of someone he loves very much who had the very same experience I did. My pastor believes as I do that I was visited by a demon or satan himself manifested in physical form. Why? He wants to afflict us with fear….pain….confusion….doubt…..guilt….oppression…..and the list goes on and on friends.
Make no mistake…..satan’s goal is to control our lives and keep us defeated. He seeks to snuff out our light for JESUS making us ineffective for the kingdom.
In my late twenties I was enlightened by a dear family friend about demons and the spirit world. Butch Lakin was a second daddy to me and a GODLY man who’s now with JESUS….. but boy did he know the scriptures. He gave me a book called “The Bondage Breaker” by Dr. Neil Sanderson. My eyes were opened to the ploys of the devil and how he works in our midst everyday. I started learning about the negative thoughts whirling around in my head and recognized they were of satan. I learned how to recognize discouraging and frustrating situations as warfare in satan’s attempts to hurt my family.
I learned how he uses discouragement to paralyze us…..how he brings depression into our spirits…..how he afflicts us with health issues doctors have trouble diagnosing. If he can defeat us in our thinking…..he can control our minds. So many Christians are living defeated lives because the evil one has come to kill, steal and destroy anything good in our lives. (John 10:10)
The bible describes satan in many ways….its important that we as Christians understand and know our enemy first and foremost. There are numerous scriptures that describe satan’s forces as being organized with various ranks of disciples. You must be on guard at all times because he is always lurking. (1 Peter 5:8) He will come to areas of your life that you may tend to neglect….such as your health…or parenting….or finances…..your marriage……just to name a few. One of the great ploys he uses is loading us down with stress because stress will cause us to neglect difficult tasks or situations we do not have the mental or physical energy to deal with.
He can take good things and turn them into bad habits….the bible says he is “the one who leads the whole world astray” (Revelations 12:9). Years ago I had a friend who got their child a computer for school and through the freedom of having a lap top, the child became addicted to pornography. The consequences of the situation has affected this family in a myriad of ways for years. As parents, we have to be vigilant in protecting our children from social media. Not only is the internet dangerous to children but countless families have been torn apart by online emotional affairs starting through social media.
He uses our own friends, family and church family to hurt us…..remember….we battle not against flesh and blood….(Ephesian 6:12) He knows our weaknesses and targets us exactly where we are vulnerable. He uses our past against us…..recalling our sin….reducing us to a guilty state of feeling unworthy of blessing or ministry purposes. He lies….he deceives….he afflicts…..he oppresses…the list goes on and on.
So how can we stand against the devil when he is so cunning and deceptive?
1- Know how your enemy works and stand guard over your thoughts, habits and family.
“Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that the family of believers throughout the world is undergoing the same kind of sufferings.” 1 Peter 5:8-9
Remember…..anything negative whether it is an action or a thought…is of satan….not GOD. Anything confusing…is of satan…not GOD. (1 Corinthians 14:33) Learn to ask….is this a negative thing…. or a positive thing? Put all thoughts and circumstances through the negative/positive filter test.
2- Put on the Armor of GOD!
“Finally be strong in the LORD and in the strength of his might. Put on the whole armor of GOD, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. 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. Therefore take up the whole armor of GOD, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm. Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace. In all circumstances take up the shield of faith with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one; and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the spirit, which is the word of GOD, praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. Ephesians 6: 10-18
In a future blog I am going to break down how GOD helped me actually understand and use the whole armor of GOD because I became aware through study that I really didn’t get it…..but the main thing I want you to take away from this scripture today is….
GET IN YOUR BIBLE ON A REGULAR BASIS!
PRAY LIKE YOU HAVE NEVER PRAYED BEFORE!
AND LET YOUR FAITH KICK IN WHEN THE FLAMING DARTS START COMING!
3- Last thing to take away today is…..
RESIST THE DEVIL AND HE WILL FLEE!!! (James 4:7)
“Remember battling satan will only work if you resist him…..pray and read the word….have faith…. and do the hard work of filtering the negative when it comes your way.”
Oh friends how satan has harassed….afflicted….and hurt me in so many ways in the past. I am so grateful the LORD brought people into my life years ago to teach me about spiritual warfare….it’s because of this…. I want to expose him for the liar he is!
For some reason the Lord has me camped out at this subject at this period in my life. I have so much more to learn and yet I have learned so much just in the last year as I studied in preparation for the church project I was writing. My prayer is GOD will continue to teach, strengthen, and empower me by the precious blood of JESUS!!
As Christians, we must learn the ways of our enemy so we can combat him! All great warriors through out history studied their opponents tactics and warfare practices. They went into battle with a plan…..they knew how to fight….where to fight….what weapons to use. We must take the time to learn our enemy in order to stand against him.
If you have gone through a season of spiritual warfare please share your experiences….you see…it’s only when we share that our enemy and his tactics can be exposed for all to see.
I leave you with this one positive thought straight from the scriptures….
GOD IS FOR US!!! PSALM 118:6
Dear LORD…..may I become a studied soldier to stand against the schemes of satan….give me the wisdom to recognize the enemy’s ploys….give me the faith to stand….and the strength to endure.