It’s no secret that anytime God is working, the Devil will be trying his best to hinder the good that’s being done. John 10:10 tells us that the Devil comes to steal, kill, and destroy, but that Jesus came so that we can have abundant life. Now, as Christians, we know that Jesus has already won the battle between good and evil, conquered the grave,and defeated Satan. However, that doesn’t mean that our time on earth will be without hardship, frustrations, and trouble.
John 16:33 makes it very clear. Jesus says, “In this world, you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world!” Now, knowing what we know, we have a responsibility. That responsibility is to be on the look out, to be on guard, and to be ready for the Devil’s attacks. When we resist the Devil, he will flee from us (James 4:7) and if we put on the armor of God, we will be ready when the Devil tries to interfere with our willingness to be fruitful vessels for the Lord.
10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11 Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. 12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. 13 Therefore put on the full armor of God,so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. 14 Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place,15 and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. 16 In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17 Take the helmet of salvationand the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.
18 And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests.With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people.
It’s amazing how quickly the Devil will creep his way in if we let him. A booming, growing church with people getting saved left and right? A blooming women’s ministry with a core group of faithful leaders who are unified in purpose and heart for Christ and other women? A growing children’s ministry with little lives being shaped for Christ? A new marriage with two imperfect people trying to keep the Lord at the center of everything they do? A mission team with a goal of taking the good news to the other side of the world? The list could go on and on and on.
Where there is good, the Devil will try to stop it, and we have to be fixated on Christ so that we 1) realize it when it’s happening 2) look to Christ and rely on Him to get us through the hard times 3) point others to Christ in the way that we handle hardship.
As Christians, people are watching us. Some people are just waiting and hoping for us to fail so that they can confirm their suspicions of how “hypocritical” we are. The truth is that we are held to a higher standard, and while it’s easy to be a shining light for Christ in the easy times, our true character really shows in the hard times.
I will be the first to admit that keeping these truths at the forefront of our minds constantly is hard. It’s easy to slip into a defeated slump, to forget that we are called to be set apart, and to let the Devil begin to steal our joy. When I was in high school, I heard a message that really resonated with me and has been a reminder for me all these years. It was about how to keep ourselves from becoming vulnerable and easily affected by the Devil’s schemes. Using the acrostic “HALT,” our teacher explained four things to never let ourselves become excessively.
When we allow ourselves to become too hungry, angry, lonely, or tired, we open the floodgates for Satan to creep in and attempt to destroy our character and cause us to sin. Remembering messages like this, calling Scripture to mind, and praying relentlessly are the best ways to fight back against the Devil’s attacks.
This week, I am praying specifically for you, my friends, that you would be wise enough to see the Devil’s attacks coming, that you would be strong against the lies he is trying to make you believe, and that you would be a good example of Christ even in the midst of extreme hardship.