We fight battles with the devil 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 thwart the attacks.
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 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 see s 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.
We’ve all had an internal alarm go off warning us incoming danger. This is God’s way of warning us. The signal is strong as long as we are 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 bel ievers.
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.
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.