Posts tagged ‘armor of God’

Satan’s Bag of Tricks

When Satan approached Eve in the Garden of Eden, he deployed his full bag of tricks.  And aren’t we glad that we have written record of it?!  It’s like being given the secret attack plans, in writing, of our greatest enemy while on the field of battle.  Wait, it is exactly that.  Since we know all of Satan’s moves, we can watch for them and have our guard up.  Can you see him pacing the floor every time someone reads Genesis 3?  “Drat!  Foiled again!”  (Yah, right!  I’m sure he is that tame!  Not!!)

Well, let’s take a look at what is in Satan’s bag of tricks, shall we?  Let’s start with chapter 3,verse 1.  “Now the serpent….”  Satan has power to be reckoned with.  He changed his form into something that was non-threatening.  Just as the beautiful Autumn Crocus flower causes cardiac arrest, Satan can appear beautiful, but his poison is deadly.

Number 2 in the bag of tricks is also in verse 1.  Satan asks Eve, “Has God indeed said, ‘You shall not eat of every tree in the garden?'”  Did you see that?  He said “every.”  Just like my 8 year old insinuates that I don’t love him because I make him eat the healthy supper I have made for him, and don’t let him eat the junk food he would prefer.  Satan insinuates that God does not love Eve.  If He truly loved her, then He would let her eat from whatever tree she wanted to.  Tricky, tricky!  And how easily we tend to fall for that one!  The minute something goes wrong, or doesn’t go like we planned, what do we do?  We doubt the love of God.  And what is more true than His love?  Not a blessed thing!  Anyone who would sacrifice the life of His only Son for you, loves you.  That is pretty hard to overlook.

Trick number 3 – Genesis 3:4.  Satan flat out lies.  He denies the truth of God’s word when he says, “You will not surely die.”  Just a case in point…where is Eve now?  Dead.  Satan does not always twist to deceive.  He does not always manipulate the truth so that it is still partially true.  Often he just plain old, flat out lies.  He is, after all, the father of lies (John 8:44).  Be on your guard.  Know God’s word so that you know His truth, and will see a lie from Satan from miles away.

Remember the poisonous apple from The Sleeping Beauty?  Oh I remember it!  The apple the witch offered to the princess was beautiful!  It was red and shiny, perfectly formed.  It easily must have been the most desirable apple from all the trees…but it was laced with poison!  As the wicked witch (disguised as a sweet old lady…sound familiar?) held it out before her, the princess could not resist.  Perhaps she wasn’t even hungry before that.  But when she say that gorgeous apple, she wanted it.  She took it, and ate it.  Satan’s 4th trick is just that.  Chapter 3:5 – “…in the day you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God…”  A fruit that would make Eve like God.  “Oooo, pretty!  I must have it!!”  Satan causes sin to appear beautiful, fun, desirable, then dangles it in front of our faces.  We begin to believe that it is exactly what we have always wanted to do, so we do it.  We say it, we take it, we whatever.  Know what God says is sin.  Stay in constant contact with the Holy Spirit through prayer, so that you will hear Him when He warns you that the shiny, red apple is poisoned!

Here’s a sneaky one.  Watch carefully for trick number 5, because Satan very craftily uses it to malign the character, and holiness of God…thereby removing His godliness!  Genesis 3:5 – “For God knows that in the day you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”  Key words?  “For God knows.”  Can you hear the snide snake hiss those words out?  His implication?   “God knows if you eat this, you will be just like Him, and He can’t have that.  He wants all the knowledge to be His.  He wants all the power for Himself.  He is selfish and jealous, and won’t share.”  Satan led Eve to question the goodness, the holiness, of God.  In a world filled with tragedy and strife, how easy is it for Satan today to plant these same seeds of doubt!  See Leviticus 19:2, Isaiah 6:3, 1 Peter 1:5, Revelation 3:7, and Revelation 15:4 for verification of God’s holiness.

When in a battle, know your enemy.  But also know your ally.  Remember that you are on the side of right, and God fights for you against an enemy who’s defeat is imminent.  Don’t let Satan’s wiles trick you into crossing enemy lines.  Be on guard!  Wear your armor!  Ephesians 6:11 – Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.

Making Enemies

Nothing makes an enemy faster than seeking God.  A Christian can be a Christian and coast through life with nary a problem.  La-de-de, la-de-da, life goes on.  Until they make the decision to commit fully to God.  Then WHAM!!!  They get broad-sided by a speeding locomotive!  I like trains, so I hate to compare them to Satan, but what else moves as hard and fast as a train, and can completely demolish something in its path?  Turning your eyes toward God can be like standing on the railroad tracks with a blindfold on and ear plugs in.  You are perfectly fine until you are smashed to pieces.

Is this any reason to not turn your eyes to God?  ABSOLUTELY NOT!  But you better be prepared when you do.  Unfortunately, far too many of us don’t recognize the risk and are sucked into the devil’s schemes.  Nothing makes him happier than stealing our God-given joy, hope, love, peace, contentment, and strength, and leaving us crumpled in a heap wondering what in the world happened.

When we are in that crumpled state, what do we do next?  Do we turn to God and ask why?  Don’t we often expect to be continuously filled with His joy when we are walking in HIs ways?  And when we are digging into God’s Word, studying, learning, praying without ceasing, don’t we expect life to be easier?  So what happened?  Satan.  As long as we are coasting through life, not really giving God the time of day, except on Sunday morning, the devil could care less what we do.  We are not a threat to him or his plans.  He does not consider us his enemies.  That in itself is a very scary concept.  If we are not enemies to the enemy of God, than what are we to him?  Yikes!

As soon as we realize that we want more from our relationship with Christ.  As soon as we decide to truly to commit to God and seek His ways.  As soon as we dust off our Bibles and get on our knees, red flags go up in the enemy camp.  Satan sits up and takes notice.  He sends out the troops with their battle plans tucked under their arms, and weapons at the ready.  LOOK OUT!  His goal is not to slow you down, or stop you.  His plan is to obliterate you.  He wants to destroy you so that your faith is derailed permanently.  He takes no prisoners.  He is an executioner!

In many of my posts I have encouraged you to read your Bibles and spend time in prayer.  Do not view the imminent attack as reason to neglect your relationship with God.  Don’t think that God is unable to defeat Satan in this battle for your loyalty.  God has always been mightier.  The battle was won on the cross as Jesus died.  At that moment the victory was secured.  I don’t know if Satan knows he doesn’t have a chance in the world, or if he believes his own lies and thinks he can still win.  Either way, he is going to take down as many people as he can, and praying, growing Christians are top on his list.

I want you to pray.  I want you to read God’s Word.  I want you to desperately seek Him, to learn His ways, to recognize His will, and to strive to live in obedience to Him.  But I want you to do it with eyes wide open, and prepared for battle.

Ephesians 6:10-13 (NCV) – “Finally, be strong in the Lord and in His great power.  Put on the full armor of God so that you can fight against the devil’s evil tricks.  Our fight is not against people on earth but against the rulers and authorities and the powers  of this world’s darkness, against the spiritual powers of evil in the heavenly world.  That is why you need to put on God’s full armor.   Then on the day of evil you will be able to stand strong.  And when you have finished the whole fight, you will still be standing.”

If you are like me, the first thing you will want to do on your new journey to seek out Christ’s will in your life, and deepen your relationship with HIm is to read through the whole Bible.  This is admirable, and a worthy goal.  Absolutely aim to do this.  There is so much to be learned about our Father in every part of the Bible.  But be sure to pray for protection (recall the “deliver us from evil” part of the Lord’s Prayer).  Pray for wisdom and discernment so that you will know what is truth, and what is a lie from the devil.  And make sure you spend some of your Bible reading time looking up Scripture verses and passages that will help you to fight against the devil’s attacks.  A lot of Bibles, and Christian web-sites and apps, offer lists of verses to read in particular situations (when you are depressed, when you are afraid, etc.).  These are great places to start finding verses that will help.  Write them down!  Keep them close at hand.  (Thank you to my spiritual Auntie for this suggestion that has helped me so much;-)  Speak them out loud when you are under attack.  I have taken to reading several aloud after I post a blog because Satan attacks me immediately afterward.  I go back to prayer.  Seek the presence of the Holy Spirit as you pray.  The presence of the Spirit is a mighty, mighty force.  That is why Satan cannot attack me as I write.  The Holy Spirit of God Almighty is so strongly present in me during that time, that Satan can’t come near me.  But afterward, I have to be very careful to not let my guard down.  I need to continue in prayer, and speaking God’s Word in defense.  Reminding myself, and Satan, of the power of the God I serve.  CHRIST IS THE VICTOR!!!  PRAISE, GLORY, AND ALL HONOR BE TO HIM!!!!

Ephesians 6:14-18 – “So stand strong, with the belt of truth tied around your waist and the protection of right living on your chest.  On your feet wear the Good News of peace to help you stand strong.  And also use the shield of faith with which you can stop all the burning arrows of the Evil One.  Accept God’s salvation as your helmet, and take the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God.  Pray in the Spirit at all times with all kinds of prayers, asking for everything you need.  To do this you must always be ready and never give up.  Always pray for all God’s people.”

Never forget how very much God loves you!  He will not leave you.  He will not let you fight this battle alone.  But you must fight it, if you are to draw closer to Him.  The battle is worth it, my brothers and sisters.  Knowing God in a deeper and more intimate way is worth any battle I have, or will face.  I pray that you will find that, too.  May God be your strong tower today!

BATTLE WEARY & WORN

I have been a child of God’s for 40 years. I asked Jesus to come into my heart as a very young child. I have had highs and lows. Been on mountaintops and in valleys. But my faith didn’t really, truly begin to deepen until two to three years ago when I began in earnest to plead with God to work in me and change me. I longed to see the kind of work of the Spirit in me that I saw in the lives of some of my friends. It was an aching at the very depths of my soul.

In the mornings I would rise, spend time in prayer and reading my Bible, and then do my workout. Both good things to spend time on. But I would spend 15 minutes in my devotions, and 45, or more in exercise. I had lost a lot of physical weight by working out, and wanted to be sure to keep it off. About a year ago, I realized I wasn’t going to make any further progress in my walk with God by giving Him just 15 minutes a day. However, I didn’t have more time to give. So I switched my priorities. I didn’t give up my workouts all together, but I gave them much less time. I have put on weight. But I have lost the weight of spiritual baggage…things that clung to me, or I clung to, that I have been learning to give to God. Sometimes I become frustrated. Especially when I am unable to fit into the clothes I wore a year ago. God has brought me so far, though. And I am so grateful!!

The growth in my faith has not been just a stroll down a back country road, though. It has been a battle; often quite fierce. The moment I was willing to sacrifice in order to draw closer to Jesus, I became a target. As long as I was sitting in a stagnant puddle, satisfied with a blasé kind of Christianity, the Devil took no notice of me. Now, however, I had a bulls eye on the middle of my chest. The battle has been daily, and takes many forms. The apostle Paul warns us of this in Ephesians 6:12 (NCV) –
“Our fight is not against people on earth but against the rulers and authorities and the powers of this world’s darkness, against the spiritual powers of evil in the heavenly world.”

In my case, the Devil has attacked with depression, loneliness, despair, accusations, fear. When I felt the call to start a blog, the attacks increased. As I have been drawn closer to The Lord, the Spirit convicts me of my sin. While He convicts in love to bring correction and purity, Satan uses the same sins to accuse and try to drive a wedge between me and my God. Sometimes it works. Over the past few days, I have been weekend and dragged through the mud. Physically tired and unable to fight the spiritual battle, I fell to the sword of the evil one. I knew what King David felt in his times of despair. I thought of all those Psalms that were cries for help. Finally, that is what I did, too. I cried out. I told God what I was thinking…and I am so thankful for His understanding and grace. I felt like Moses and David and Solomon, and all the other prophets and kings who cried out to God in their frustration and fatigue. In the end, I simply confessed that I was weary in the battle. I didn’t want to quit the fight. I didn’t want to give in. But I needed a little reprieve, and the strength of God to lift me out of the trenches for a while. My armor of God had been beaten, dinged, dented, and scratched. I needed time in the field hospital where I could pray in the safety of His shelter, and request that my shield and helmet and breastplate could be repaired and polished. Is it no wonder that Paul ends his description of the armor of God with an action, not a weapon? Ephesians 6:18 – “Pray in the Spirit at all times with all kinds of prayers, asking for everything you need. To do this you must always be ready and never give up. Always pray for God’s people.”

I close with this, a request for prayer. God has called me to lift you, His people, up. To edify and encourage you, and to share with you the messages He desires you to hear. As I seek to obey Him, will you pray for me? And not just me, but all the people in your life whom God uses in a similar way. Pastors, Bible teachers in your Sunday School class or Bible study groups, the teachers you listen to on the radio or read on blogs or other devotional studies. Pray for God’s wisdom, and that He will give us the words to share. Pray for strength in the battle, and that He will continue to grow and strengthen our faith. Pray that He will use us for His glory.

What a mighty God we serve! What a mighty God we serve. Angels fall before Him. Heaven and earth adore Him. What a mighty God we serve! All praise and glory and honor go to Him, my God, and my Savior!!!

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