5 Strategies for Defeating the Devil

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Her defenses were down. She had kissed guys, but not like this. She had never wanted to go all the way before, but now she did. Was it love? It must be. She had never felt like this before.

Karen grew up in Sunday School and church. She was not a tramp. She was not cheap. She could be anybody’s sweet girl next door.

She knew all the “thou shalt not’s” including the seventh. But in a moment, she threw it away. Why? Was it the mood? The moment? The man? No. It was none of these things. Karen had a battle with the devil and lost. Oh, she never knew it was Satan. Never. In fact, if someone would suggest that as the reason she shed her virginity like an old coat, she would have laughed it off. But that is what happened.

We all fight battles like the one Karen fought every day. Sometimes it is over morality. Sometimes it is over being ethical and honest. Sometimes the battleground is out in the open with other people and how we could relate to them. Sometimes it is in the privacy of our mind as we are bombarded with ungodly and impure thoughts. Sometimes the battle is waged in a momentary furry such as a sharp criticism of another. Sometimes it is a prolonged conflict as a nagging doubt or a debilitating emotional pain.

The Christian life is not a playground, but a battleground. Every day, every hour, and every minute we are under attack. We are in a war. It is invisible, yet, real war. We are fighting a foe with highly organized strategies, tactics, and battle plans. If we do not understand these facts, we will lose the battle.

The fact is that we will never be sinless, but we can sin less. We can do this by understanding how to defeat the enemy. Our understanding has everything to do with our victory. As believers in Christ, we are in a position to defeat Satan and win this war.

Understand your power . . .

We are not wimps, who when attacked by the devil and his bullies have to turn tail and run. We are reliable, mighty, and powerful. But this power comes not from ourselves. We are not strong in our strength but in the Lord’s strength. We are not mighty and powerful in our abilities but in God’s.

Once we understand our power, we, therefore, refuse to be intimidated. We already have the victory. We as believers in Jesus Christ are not fighting for victory but from victory. The victory against Satan has already been won at Calvary through the death of Jesus on the cross. He fought the battle for us and won.

Satan is the ultimate source of evil and our ultimate enemy. He is a personal, supernatural spirit-being with great powers and strength. But, and hear this, he is a defeated power. While he is powerful, he is not all-powerful. While he strong, his strength is limited.

Jesus, on the other hand, is all-powerful and strong. We fight from his vantage point. We do not have to be intimidated by Satan. We do not have to be bullied around by him. We already have won the victory.

Put on your protection . . .

Many police officer’s lives had been spared because they were wearing a bulletproof vest. These vests are incredibly strong even though they are only about three-eighths of an inch thick. They are made of dozens of layers of an extremely though fabric—Kevlar.

As believers, we have even better protection than a bulletproof vest when we do battle with Satan—the full armor of God. We are going to war. To go into the fight without the whole armor of God is as foolish as walking onto the front lines of a military battle dressed for a game of tennis.

Unfortunately, many believers chose not to put on the armor—their bulletproof vest. They are spiritual “streakers.” Doing battle in the buff.

In reality, this armor is not a “what” it is a “who.” The armor is the person of Jesus Christ. Paul instructed the Romans, “Clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ and do not think about how to gratify the desires of the sinful nature” (Rom. 13:14 NIV). Jesus is not only in us, through his power; he is also on us, with the armor of God.

Once we put on our protection, we, therefore, resist the tempter. Oscar Wilde was right when he said, “I can resist everything except temptation.” We have been given this protective armor to resist them, not the temptation. The Bible says, “Resist the devil, and he will flee from you” (James 4:7 NIV). Nowhere in Scripture are we told to resist the temptation. The failure to understand and employ this strategy is where so many believers stumble and fall.

A little boy was asked how he overcame temptation in his life. The boy responded, “When temptation knocks on the door of my heart, I send Jesus, and Satan is gone.”

Be prepared . . .

An army that only digs in and holds the line will eventually be rooted out and defeated. In this battle with the devil, God not only provides us with a sturdy and protective defensive position, but he also unveils a potent offensive weapon.
The word of God is a sharp sword that is used by the believer to cut the life and energy out of Satan’s attacks. This weapon unleashes supernatural powers to ward off attacks and reveal the flaws and weakness of the assault.

Jesus used this weapon when he did battle with Satan in the wilderness. Three times Satan sought to trick and deceive Jesus, yet each time Jesus responded: “It is written . . .” (Matt. 4:4, 7, 10). Jesus did not resist the temptation. He went on the attack with the Word of God. Jesus won the battle by knowing God’s Word and putting it into practice and use. He was prepared.

Once prepared we, therefore, refocus our attention on God’s Word. If we redirect our focus on God’s Word, the power of the temptation will be decreased. A psychological law states whatever gets our attention gets us. We may say I’m not going to eat that dessert but eventually we will. We may try to convince ourselves that we are not going to get angry, but ultimately, we do. We have a tendency to move toward whatever we focus on.

Practice the presence . . .

When we talk with God through prayer, we invite his presence into our lives. When we walk into the war, we never go alone. God goes with us. His presence accompanies us. God has promised, “‘Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.’ So we say with confidence, ‘The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid. What can man do to me?'” (Heb. 13:5,6 NIV). We may not see him, but he sees us. He watches over us.

When we are in the presence of God we, therefore, request God’s attendance. We can’t defeat Satan ourselves. We need help. Through prayer, God builds a hedge around us. In the Bible, a hedge was constructed around vineyards and growing fields much like fences or walls today that keep animals and unwanted intruders out. When the hedge was trampled or removed, ruin came to the precious possessions of the landowners.

How does the hedge of protection work? Simple. God’s presence sensitizes us to the things of God and the things that dishonor God. The hedge created by the presence of God is like an invisible fence that many homeowners have. It can’t be seen, but once the pet goes beyond the limit, the undetected alarm goes off. A hedge or boundary has been established. Or, it could be compared to radar. As we travel through life and encounter enemy attacks, a warning light goes off. Our spirit is sensitized to what pleases him, and we keep on doing those things, and it sensitizes us to what displeases him, and the warning signal goes off, so we know not to cross that boundary.

Have you ever gotten into a situation, engaged in a conversation, or become entangled in a set of circumstances and thought something was wrong? You might say, “This just does not feel right. I can’t put my finger on it, but I need to get out of this situation.” That is your spiritual alarm going off in your spirit. That is God’s way of warning you of danger. And the signal is strong and felt as long as you are close in your relationship with God. When you veer away from his presence, the signal becomes weak. So, if you want the message to remain loud and clear stay in close contact with the Father.

We can either pray to the Savior or become the prey of Satan. Remember that Jesus fought the most significant battles in life, and he prayed the most.

Align with partners . . .

One of the most overlooked tactics of fighting this battle with the evil one is thinking we fight this battle alone. We are not to engage the enemy single-handedly. We not only need God’s help. We need the strength and support of other believers.
The war being waged is not a solo event. We struggle and fight as a platoon, a team, a family. We all are engaged in the fight.

As in any conflict, there is strength in numbers. “Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken” (Eccl. 4:12 NIV). The power, the protection, the preparation, and the presence are heightened in partnership with other believers.

The Bible depicts Satan as a lion. Lions in Africa prey on weak, unsuspecting animals who have wandered away from the protection of the herd. Likewise, the devil prowls around to deceive and devour those unsuspecting, weak Christians who have strayed off from the pack of other believers. Believers who refuse to submit to the accountability of other believers in the local church find themselves isolated and defenseless— good prey for the crafty deceiver.

When we have partners we, therefore, reveal our struggles to a trusted friend. One of the most helpful tactics in defeating Satan is to enlist the aid and help and support of a fellow believer. This can’t be just anyone, but someone who can pray with us and for us and hold us accountable. It needs to be a man-to-man and woman-to-woman relationship. This person must hold confidences and be extremely trustworthy.

Defeating the devil means having Jesus in your life, putting him on your life, allowing him to work through your life, sensing him with you at all times. In essence, Jesus is to be your life.

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About Rick Ezell

I am a husband, father, pastor, and writer. This blog is about shaping character, transforming church, and impacting culture. I believe that if one defines their moments then their moments will determine their character and their character will influence their world. I write on personal development, church leadership, and our changing culture. I also write about the resources I am developing and the books I am writing. My goal is to create challenging, relevant, and inspiring content that will help you be a better person, the church be a better parish, and the world a better place. If you are interested in those things, this blog is for you. I have served the church my entire career as a student minister and senior pastor. I studied at Samford University, Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, and Northern Baptist Theological Seminary (eventually I will get it). I have written eight books. My most recent ones are Chapter 13: The Excellence of Love and Soul Therapy: The Healing Words of Psalm 23. Both are available as eBooks. I have written over 1000 articles for various local, regional, and national publications. I have been married to Cindy for thirty-three years. We have one wonderful daughter. We live in Greenville, SC. In my free time, I enjoy writing, reading, running, tennis, and golf. You can contact me via email or follow me on Twitter or Facebook. This is my personal blog. The opinions I express here do not necessarily represent those of my employer. The information I provide is on an as-is basis. I make no representations as to accuracy, completeness, correctness, suitability, or validity of any information on this blog and will not be liable for any errors, omissions, or delays in this information or any losses, injuries, or damages arising from its use.
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