Prophecy – Part 93 – The Believer’s Preparation Before Satan Attacks!
We have reviewed the enemy’s attack from many angles. However to be victorious, we must do certain things to prepare ourselves BEFORE the enemy launches his attack against us. Let’s review some things that we have CONSIDERED before, but a review of the principles can always help.
OUR PREPARATION FOR SATAN’S ATTACK:
Victory steps to be learned and applied daily to our lives.
- We must not be ignorant of his devices or designs (Satan -angel of light) (2 Corinthians 2:11).
- We must learn about the Devil from God’s Word (All Scripture is given by inspiration) (2 Timothy 3:16-17).
- The enemy takes advantage of our spiritual immaturity and ignorance (Ephesians 4:11-15).
- The Bible gives us all the information that God wants us to have and to know about this adversary.
We must constantly strengthen ourselves in the Lord (Ephesians 6:10).
We can meet the enemy in the Lord’s strength only as we daily read the Bible (Palm 119:11,130; I Peter 2:1-2). We are to live by faith in God (Galatians 2:20; I Peter 5:8-9) and obey Him (Romans 12:2). Because of this, the enemy seeks to disrupt our daily fellowship with the Lord.
We must, every day, put on the whole armor of God (Ephesians 6:10-18). This armor, which we are to put on daily consists of spiritual realities that are found in Jesus and that are manifested in Him and in our lives (Romans 13:11-14). Since these qualities are reproduced in us by the Holy Spirit, we put them on by relying on Him to help us be what this armor represents (Galatians 2:20; John 7:37-39; Philippians 4:13).
Further we must follow such principles are found in the book of Proverbs:
“Trust in the Lord with ALL thine heart; and lean NOT unto thine own understanding. In ALL thy ways acknowledge him, and he SHALL direct thy paths. Be NOT wise in thine own eyes: fear the LORD, and depart from evil” (Proverbs 3:5-7, emphasis added, KJV).
Also, Ephesians 6:18a is another important principle that is often forgotten:
We must pray constantly for ourselves and others Christians (Ephesians 6:18a). By prayer, we not only ask God for things and share with Him all that concerns us, but we also focus our attention to God and the sufficient resources that He has provided for us (Hebrews 12:2; 2 Peter 1:3; Matthew 6:9-10). Never forget that our enemy Satan is everyday seeking to disrupt our prayer life or cause us to neglect it.
Further, we must be alert for the enemy (Ephesians 6:18b). The enemy is ever searching for unwary prey (I Peter 5:8). By his “roaring,” he deceitfully conveys the idea that Satan, like a satisfied animal, is harmless; but this is not true. We know that the adversary is near:
- when Satan raises doubts about God and suggests behavior that is not in keeping with God’s will for us.
- when Satan has us in a hurry making some important DECISION WITHOUT OUR SEEKING God’s will.
- when Satan gets us so worked up about some issue.
- when Satan seeks to inflate us with pride.
- when Satan casts over us unfounded fear or depression.
- when in our thinking Satan pushes things to an extreme so that they are out of balance with other related matters.
By our daily following the directions found in God’s Word we prepare ourselves for battle with the powerful adversary, the Devil or Satan, before he has the opening to attack us. Good question: “Are you prepared or ready for Satan’s attacks, for they surely will come”?
OUR RESPONSE WHEN SATAN ATTACKS
If we have prepared ourselves to meet the enemy, then we shall experience victory when He strikes by taking the following steps. We can have victory by:
- living as Christ directs:
“Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of his might. Put on the WHOLE armor of God, that ye may be able to stand against the WILES of the devil.” (Ephesians 6:10-11).
- remembering that God will give us the victory as we look to Him:
“There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it. (I Corinthians 10:13).
“For in that he himself hath suffered being tempted, he is able to succour [help] them that are tempted” (Hebrews 2:18).
Since He defeated Satan during the course of His earthly life, the Lord can now defeat the enemy through us as we allow Him “I can do all things through Christ which strengthens me” (Philippians 4:13).
But we must BELIEVE that He will do this: “Casting ALL your care upon him; for he careth for you. Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour: whom resist stedfast IN THE FAITH, knowing that the same afflictions are accomplished in your brethren that are in the world” (I Peter 5:7-9, KJV).
- immediately giving ourselves to God for victory:
“But he giveth more grace; Wherefore he saith, God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble. Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded. Be afflicted, and mourn, and weep: let your laughter be turned to mourning, and your joy to heaviness. Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift you up” (James 4:6-10).
FACT: As we give ourselves to the Lord Jesus or to the Holy Spirit and believe that He will help us as He promises, we allow Him to confront the enemy through us (Philippians 4:13). By this submission, He takes command of our hearts and lives for as long as we trust and obey Him (Ephesians 3:17; Luke 6:45).
- resisting Satan’s attack by relying on the Lord and by saying NO to the Devil (James 4:7; I Peter 5:8-9).
We cannot, however, firmly say no to the Devil until first we have said yes to Jesus. Only in the Lord’s strength can we successfully resist the enemy and refuse to be subject to his evil suggestions and his relentless assaults. If the attack comes through a human person, we can rebuke him or her (Matthew 16:23) or leave their presence (Genesis 39:12). If it comes in the form of an evil thought, we can turn it over to Jesus and think on right things (2 Corinthians 10:5; Philippians 4:8).
- remembering and relying on God’s promise of victory (James 4:7). This reliance on God allows Him to put the enemy to flight as He promises.
- remembering and doing God’s will as it relates to our circumstances (Ephesians 5:17). When we are faced with doing wrong, we must remember to do what is right for the situation. Jesus did this when He quoted Scripture to the enemy (Matthew 4:4, 7, 10). This Scripture stated God’s will for Jesus. By quoting it, the Lord also declared to Satan what He would do. God’s will for us is revealed in the Scriptures by precepts (commands) and guiding principles, which we may apply to any circumstance of life. When we are confronted with the temptation to sin, we must think of its holy alternative and do this in reliance on God (Ephesians 4:25-32).
Victory is assured if we follow the course that leads to it. Defeat is certain if the enemy finds us unprepared and unwilling to follow the steps given in God’s Word.
Our Remaining Alert for the Next Attack.
The enemy will not leave us alone for long (Luke 4:13). The fact that we are attacked by him does not make us blameworthy nor is it to be feared, for the indwelling Holy Spirit is our Helper. Although we are aware of Satan’s craftiness and power, we should consider his attacks as opportunities to defeat him in Jesus’ name and power of the Holy Spirit. As with other trials of faith, each experience of victory through faith in God and obedience to His Word strengthens our faith and spiritual life (James 1:2-3).
That Satan has a strategy there can be no doubt, for it is indicated by the words “wiles” found in Ephesians 6:11 and “devices” found in 2 Corinthians 2:11. His “wiles” are Satan’s methods of procedure that he follows to achieve his goals; his “devices” are his designs, plans, or plots against his prey. His strategy against the Lord’s people is shown by the kinds, manner, and timing of his approaches. Let’s examine some of his strategies.
THE KINDS OF APPROACH
Because he cannot be everywhere at once, Satan usually approaches the Lord’s people through his fallen angels [demons, allies], although he is named as the tempter in Scripture (James 4:7; I Peter 5:8).
- Satan tempts us.
He seeks to gain our consent to his suggestions that would lead us to act contrary to God’s will for us (I Thessalonians 3:5). Please keep in mind that we should not equate being tempted with sinning; yielding to the temptation results in sinning. Henry Drummond wrote, “It is only when a man sees temptation coming and goes out to meet it, welcomes it, plays with it and invites it to be his guest that it passes from temptation to sin.”
- Satan assaults us.
With this approach, Satan attempts to injure or harass us without our consent. His assaults against the Lord’s people include:
- their experiencing various losses (Job 1:14-19).
- unfounded criticism (Job, 4:7-8).
- physical illness (Job 2:7; Luke 13:11, 16; 2 Corinthians 12:7).
- hindrance to spiritual endeavor (I Thessalonians 2:18).
- violence (Acts 7:57-58).
- mental obsession and torment (I Samuel 16:14).
- inner evil influence (Acts 5:3).
However, all these are done within limits that are determine by God (Job 1:12; 2:6; I Corinthians 10:13).
MANNER OF APPROACH
Genesis 3:1-6 reveals much about the procedure that Satan follows when he seeks to secure our consent to his evil proposals. We must keep in mind that the Devil is a cunning deceiver and a habitual liar (John 8:44).
- Satan approaches people in disguise (Genesis 3:1-5).
Being the arch-deceiver, His aim is to make things appear differently from what they really are. While he uniquely spoke to Eve through a snake (Genesis 3:1; Revelation 12:9), Satan often approaches through other people (Matthew 16:21-23; Job 2:9; 2 Corinthians 11:13-15) or speaks directly to our hearts or minds, without identifying himself (Acts 5:3; 2 Corinthians 10:5).
- Satan seeks to UNDERMINE people’s trust in God (Genesis 3:1-5).
FACT: Satan attacks our faith in God, the means of our defense against him (Ephesians 6:16; I Peter 5:9).
Our exercise of faith in God and His promises, allows Him to confront the enemy through us, to minister to our needs, and to enable us to do His will. When Satan is able to divert our faith to some object other than God and His promises then we are rendered powerless and defenseless.
FACT: The Devil’s words to Eve indicate several ways by which he undermines our faith in God for help. Notice how he attempts to defeat us.
- By asking a question that raises doubt about God’s goodness or love (Genesis 3:1). “…You shall not eat of every tree of the garden?” This question implied that God was unduly strict or stingy.
- By speaking a lie that raises doubt God’s Integrity (Genesis 3:4). “…you shall not surely die.” This lie suggests that God did not mean what He said and that He was trying to intimidate man.
- By making an insinuation that raises doubt about God’s motives (Genesis 3:5). “For God knows that in the day that you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” The Devil suggested by this that God was keeping something good from man, namely, that one can be like God in knowledge by exercising independent choice. NOTE: This, of course, is what brought about Lucifer’s moral fall.
- Satan often appeals to people’s innate desires or needs (Genesis 3:6). Satan appeals to physical needs as in Jesus (Matthew 4:3), to sympathetic feelings as in Peter (Matthew 16:21-23; Acts 21:12-13) and to religious devotion as in the Israelites (Exodus 32:4-6; 2 Kings 16:10-13; 17:8-12).
When he succeeded in turning Eve’s attention away from God, Satan then appealed to her natural physical aesthetic and intellect desires, which were in themselves sinless. He offered her the satisfaction of these desires in a way that was contrary to God’s will for her. Eve’s initial mistake was to talk with the Devil, for he convincingly gave her reasons for following his evil suggestions.
THE TIME OF APPROACH:
While Satan may attack anytime, he will do so when it is most suitable for his purposes and when we are least expecting it.
EXAMPLE: He may approach us when we are in the wake of a great spiritual experience (Matthew 3:16; 4:1-2), when we are at the beginning of some spiritual endeavor (Matthew 4:17), when we are physically weak or mentally exhausted (Matthew 4:2), or when we are alone (Matthew 4:1).
We can expect Satan to challenge our commitments to the Lord as he challenged Jesus’ commitments to the Father’s will throughout His ministry (Matthew 16:1-11; 16:21-23). We must always be alert for the adversary (I Peter 5:8, for he generally attacks us unexpectedly (Matthew 16:21-23).
(Adapted from Practical Christian Theology).
In our next study we will finish our study in how Satan attempts to defeat the Christian.
Now let’s consider Salvation:
In John 3 Nicodemus came to Jesus and asked questions about eternal salvation and the new birth. Jesus answered his questions simply in John 3:14-18. See Romans 10:9-13 for the pathway to heaven. See also Ephesians 2:4-9 and recognize that Salvation is free and cannot be bought. May God richly bless you as you consider Salvation.
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