“Therefore, rejoice, O heavens and you who dwell in them! But woe to you, O each and sea, for the devil has come down to you in great wrath, because he knows that his time is short!” Revelation 12:12
Satan knows he’s defeated, and he’s frustrated. He’s frustrated because the power of God and the grace of Jesus Christ saved you and delivered you from death and from his possession. Therefore, he will try everything he can do to make you miserable as a Christian. Because that’s all he can do – nothing can separate you from God (Romans 8:38-39) or take away your reserved room in His heavenly kingdom now that you’re His heir, and that includes Satan himself.
The Devil ultimately wants to steal our joy in the Lord. How does he do that? In many ways of course, but there are a few that I have experienced recently.
By the grace of God and His divine work through other Christians in my life, I was able to attend to a situation that was crippling me. I felt that God was calling me to do something (that required putting my pride aside) while my flesh greatly desired to flee and avoid. However, it was a struggle that lasted weeks; I knew I needed to approach the person and clear the air, but I felt paralyzed. I finally addressed the situation after guidance from a godly mentor in my life and as the Spirit enabled me to. After all was said and done, I realized that all of the anxiety, worry, resentment, and all the other emotions that were swarming around my head were straight from Satan. He deceived me into thinking that I should flee this situation and find comfort, when the Lord had me in an uncomfortable situation to challenge me and have growth and to give me comfort that only can come from Him. See, Satan knew what God had for me and he didn’t want me to get it.
Here are three tactics I want to share with you that Satan used against me as God called me to take action.
- He makes us think we’re not good enough, which in a way, is true. Remember, in the garden, the serpent did not coax Eve to sin by telling her a blatant lie about God – he simply led her to question what God said. In the same way that the Devil said, “Did God really say that you can’t eat from the tree?”, he also says, “Did God really say that you are a good person now?” He will try to convince you that your sinfulness is who you are and you should just accept it. He will present that in a way that seems comforting to you. Wouldn’t all of our egos love to say, “psh, I don’t need to even try ’cause I’m so messed up anyway”? It’s an illusion of rest when our rest is found in the finished work of Jesus. He’ll remind you that you’re sinful but won’t remind you of Christ’s finished work.
- He will make it seem too difficult and make you think that you aren’t capable. Which you aren’t! Do you see the pattern here? It all falls under the same theme. He will use a fact against you. But realize that he never mentions Christ. He wants you to forget about Christ! He makes things seem so much harder than they really are, especially if it’s something the Lord has put on your heart to do. He will let you build it up so much in your head. And when you finally do it, you wonder why it took you so long, and you realize your Helper was there by your side. He’ll remind you that you’re incapable but won’t remind you of the power of Christ that lives in you.
“The Father is not concerned with your perfection. The Father is concerned with your willingness to say ‘Yes God, whatever it is you want, I will be ready and attentive to your voice'”. – Jenn Johnson
He’s aware that when we are obedient to the Lord it brings us closer to Him and we receive peace; therefore, he will find every way to keep us trapped in our sins and disorient us. He’ll bring up the past. He’ll bring up the fact that you’ve sinned even since you’ve been a Christian. He’ll paralyze you with guilt and grin while he watches you sulk in it. He doesn’t want God to get the glory of you being obedient to His word and transformed more into the likeness of His Son
“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy, I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.” John 10:10
I walked away from a repaired and renewed friendship, and peace washed over me. It was joy from serving the Lord and obeying His word. I felt closer to the Lord, in communion with Him, and in step with Him. And the next day in church, we sang together: “Trust and obey, for there’s no other way, to be happy in Jesus, than to trust and obey”.