God’s Word: Jeremiah 29:11 For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.
Anti-God’s Word: I have plans for you too, declares Satan, plans to destroy you and to harm you, plans to leave you hopeless and devastated.
There is an enemy of your soul working against you at all times and in all places. Does that thought terrify you? It is not my intention to terrify you with that statement. Rather, it is my intention to comfort you, regardless of that statement, by saying this: you also have the Creator of your soul fighting for you at all times and in all places. Want to know the best part? The Creator of your soul is the stronger one of the two and He has already won the battle. You need only to lean into Him and Trust Him for your deliverance.
Let me expound, just like God has a plan for your good, Satan has a plan for your destruction. Don’t be foolish in thinking there is no such thing as Satan, that is exactly what he wants you to think. Unfortunately, he is as real as the sun and is much more interested in your destruction than you can imagine.
Take for instance this blog. I have been delaying the start of this blog for years, literally, years. Then, finally, on January 20th God boosted my courage and I took a step of faith and posted my first post. Everything with the blog site had been operating fine. I shared the post on Facebook and people were reading it, reacting to it and giving me feedback. It was just as God had planned. Then, it all crashed down, literally.
My new blog site, that had been operating just fine, was suddenly & completely snuffed out from existence. I went to add a new post and there was nowhere to go, the site was gone. Gone, Period. My “Be Courageous” post and all the comments that were made no longer existed.
At first, my heart wanted to be angry. Then, from a quiet spot in my spirit, I felt a confirmation of the direction God had asked me to take. I felt in my spirit that it was a direct attack from the enemy of my soul. He took my site down because he doesn’t he doesn’t want me to spread the Good News of God’s love to the world. He took my site down because he doesn’t want me to succeed. Once I realized that, I actually chuckled about the whole situation and vowed, with God’s help, to rebuild the site and continue walking with God down the path He has designed for me.
I share this story and could share countless other stories that show the same pattern of attack from Satan. At this point in my life, I have learned to recognize the signs and symptoms of attacks from the enemy in my life and in the lives of others. I’d like to say that I notice his attacks every single time at their onset. However, the truth is I am merely more observant, often noticing them right away or after a short time. Sometimes, it takes me a lot longer to see the pieces being laid out for my destruction.
These “pieces” of Satan’s destruction plan are not necessarily life shattering experiences. In fact, Satan plays the long game. He knows he can work on us a little at a time to get us to backslide in life and lose hope for our future. I have noticed that he turns up the “heat” when I am overtired and not feeling 100% well. He knows that when I am tired and/or sick, I have a harder time recognizing and dismissing his attacks. He also turns up the heat when I have an upcoming opportunity to share God’s love in a very public way. He is no fool and we are foolish if we dismiss him as such.
A great resource to help you understand how the enemy plots against us is, of course, the Bible. In particular, check out the account of Jesus being tempted by the devil, located in Luke 4: 1-13. The devil came to tempt Jesus after he had fasted for 40 days and nights. I can only assume that Jesus would be in an extremely weakened state at that point. It was in that weakened state that the devil came with a full on attack. Jesus resisted the attack by citing God’s Word, something for each of us to remember. In addition, after that temptation, Luke says the enemy left Jesus “until an opportune time.” There again, the Bible tells us directly that the enemy will come at us at an opportune time. He wants the greatest chance to tip us off our path and is patient enough to wait for the best opportunity to do so.
Another great resource for understanding how the enemy plots against us is the novel from C.S. Lewis called The Screwtape Letters. This is a fictional account of a Senior Demon directing a Junior Demon in the temptation of his “patient” (his assigned person to torment) through letters. This book takes a bit to wrap your noodle around but is well worth the read. At one point in the book, the Senior Demon, encourages the Junior Demon with this note, “… the safest road to hell is the gradual one – the gentle slope, soft underfoot, without sudden turnings, without milestones, without signposts”. That is how I see the enemy’s attacks, they aren’t big life altering choices/temptations but small, almost undetectable irritations and the ensuing poor choices.
I encourage you to pray about this and see what God reveals to you. Not every “bad thing” that happens is an attack from the enemy and not every “good thing” that happens is a blessing from God. It takes discernment to see our lives as a whole picture and understand how our experiences and temptations steer our course. I pray your eyes may be opened to what the enemy is doing to stymie your life and to keep your light from shining.
If you truly open your eyes, you will recognize the enemy’s attacks and therefore be able to withstand them to a greater level, with God’s help. Remember above all else, that God is stronger than the enemy and God fights FOR YOU! Also, remember that the enemy tends to focus his attacks on those that are standing up for Christ. So, attacks from the enemy can be seen and felt as confirmation that you are walking with God.
I, for one, will continue walking with God regardless of the attacks from the enemy. I know God is with me, no matter what and that He has already won the victory for me. He has won it for you too, therefore there is nothing to fear in this life. Lean into God and His unconditional love, then choose to live your life to the fullest, shining your light as He directs.