Spring brings about the beauty of budding trees, wildflowers outlining even the busiest of streets, and rolling meadows of green grass. Here in North Texas, spring also has an ugly side of disastrous storms.
One such storm occurred two days ago as softball size hail pummeled cars, torpedoed through windows, and pierced roofs. Sirens blazed as winds of great magnitude ripped through trees, snapped trees and peeled off roofs. Such significant devastation wrapped in a relatively short storm.
And while the devastation of this storm will likely take months to recover from, the devastation caused by the enemy’s storms are often irreversible. Storms rip through lives, destroy marriages, and totaling families, ministries, and friendships. So distracted by life, we don’t even see the storms approaching until “hail” (hell) is pelting our lives and the lives of loved ones. Wrecking the very “vehicle” of life He created to carry His life-giving news to others.
It’s imperative we learn to fine-tune our ears to the sirens, warning of impending danger. As Believers, we have the Spirit of God residing in us (1 Corinthians 3:16) and must recognize the wind picking up and clouds stampeding in. The enemy knows the beauty of your “spring” – the budding potential the Father has for you – and works full-time to keep you from it.
How do we fine-tune our ears? By knowing who the D.E.V.I.L. is…
DEVIOUS – crafty, cunning, sneaky, sly, underhanded
The very definition of crafty says it all: clever at achieving one’s aims by indirect or deceitful methods. The enemy is calculated in his attack, sly in his approach, underhanded in his delivery. You are his mission and he is crafty in achieving it!
Now the serpent was more crafty than any of the wild animals the Lord God had made. He said to the woman,
“Did God really say, You must not eat from any tree in the garden?” Genesis 3:1
He twisted God’s word. Eve entertained his question, lost her focus, and opened the door of conversation. Corinthians 11:3 says, …by the serpent’s cunning, minds are led astray from sincere and pure devotion.
ENTICING – schemer, traitor, collaborator
He’s created a game plan to destroy us. A blueprint to fight your purpose, destroy your passion and demolish your peace. He lures people away from God, enticing them to follow their own desires (James 1:13-15). By making your past your future, he keeps you tied to his fear induced schemes.
The devil incites fear in you because he is afraid of you. For he knows, the moment you step into your purpose, ignited by passion, his plans are thwarted. ~ Esther Dorotik
VICIOUS – murderous, barbarous, ferocious, savage, evil
Our invisible enemy is a thief and comes only to steal, kill and destroy (John 10:10), a murderer from the beginning (John 8:44). Hungry for victims, your enemy prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour (1 Peter 5:8). No compassion, no pity, fed by his disdain for God and His people. He has blinded the minds of unbelievers so they do not see the glory of the gospel (2 Corinthians 4:4).
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. Ephesians 6:11-12
IMPOSTER – disguiser, counterfeit, camouflage, charade, imposter
In Genesis 3:1, we see he was able to take on the animal form of a serpent. If he showed up on your door with horns and a pitchfork, would you answer? My guess is…NO! For this reason, he masquerades as an angel of light and his servants as servants of righteousness (2 Corinthians 11:14).
The enemy comes as everything you ever wanted. ~ unknown
He is a copycat, a counterfeit. A created being, not the Creator. Therefore, he parades around as appealing, loving, good and ALL THINGS GOD. Promoting sin as truth and introducing idols of distraction.
LIAR – deceive, con artist, decoy, seduce, tempt, ensnare, charm, entice
This is his only language. …there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies. John 8:44. In the beginning, we see him deceiving Eve and, in the end, we read he leads the whole world astray (Genesis 3:13; Revelation 12:9). His lies come wrapped in a lot of truth but he has one play: divide. Divide you from God, others, and your destiny. He sets up arguments and every pretension against the knowledge of God (2 Corinthians 10:5).
He attacks us with his viciously, sly tactics. If it’s not bad enough, according to Revelation 12:10, he then stands before God night and day accusing us of the very sin he enticed us into. Talk about a tattletale!
Not today Satan, not today! For we are not unaware of his schemes. 2 Corinthians 2:11
- In what ways have you experienced the underhanded ways of the enemy?
- Think about the statement “the enemy is actually afraid of you”. Does that change the way you view your fears?
- Has the enemy enticed you by prideful, fleshly desires? In hindsight, can you see the warning sirens?
- What camouflage has the enemy used to deceive and trap you?
Check out the series.
While the battle certainly begins in the mind, the casualties of war are felt throughout the body. Lost peace, patience, trust, and desire leave behind a battlefield ravished by grief, hopelessness, and despair.
In his attempts to get us to doubt God’s view of us, the enemy flickers images of past failures, discouraging us so we focus on our shortcomings rather than the finished work of Christ. His sole desire is to defeat us so we no longer have the desire to do the good work God planned for us long ago (Ephesians 2:10).
I have watched his master plot unfold in my life and the lives of loved ones enough to see that patterns do exist. Although he is crafty, Scripture tells us in Ecclesiastes 1:9, there is nothing new under the sun so his ways are predictable.
The enemy’s number one tactic to sway God’s children is confusion. If he can persuade us to discredit God’s Word, distrust His goodness, and waver in our faith, he is well on his way to winning. Doubt leaves you teetering the fence of faith and vulnerable to the tug of temptation. Satan is crafty; he knows how you work and how to use God’s word.
“Did God really say…” Genesis 3:1
“You will not surely die…” Genesis 3:4
“If you are the Son of God…” Matthew 4:3
By entertaining all God has “NOT” given you and all He is keeping from you, the Seducer stirs up dissatisfaction. Most often, dissatisfaction leads to comparison, complaining, and conceit. By enticing Eve with the one thing she could not have, Satan was able to undermine her contentment and alter the world for all time. Or, what about the nation of Israel? As they traveled throughout the desert, a constant complaining spirit settled as they longed to return to what was “better” in Egypt. It ended up costing them 40 years in the desert. Slowly, discontentment opens the door for an ungrateful, rebellious heart towards God and the consequences follow.
Your enemy, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. 1 Peter 5:8
Devour – wear out, drain, annihilate, swallow, consume, and deplete.
Wow, what a list! What better way to defeat you than by misdirecting your attention onto your problem and the lack of your ability rather than God’s insurmountable abilities; the problem rather than the Problem Solver. Wave after wave of discouragement ambush your mind, failure sets in, and you give up.
Standing between the waves of the storm and the Wave Whisperer, Peter became distracted by the wind and began to sink. Distractions are all around us. Within seconds of waking, were drawn away to the call of busyness. We cram our calendars full of to-do lists and leave little to no margin for divine interruptions. This is a dangerous place to be because, unlike Peter, our distractions may not be as obvious as a raging storm but certainly have the weight to make us sink; including good things. We must not confuse good works with God’s work or allow the strongholds of time to distract us from Spirit free living.
If the devil can’t make you bad, he’ll make you busy. – Adrian Rogers
While the gates of Hades cannot overcome the Church (Mattew 16:18), the enemy will most certainly do everything within his power to delay or deter the movement. In 1 Thessalonians 2:18, Paul says, “For we wanted to come to you again and again – but Satan stopped us.”
Time is the most precious resource available to us. The enemy interrupts your desire to do something God has already asked you to do. It starts with I’ll do it tomorrow and ends with a ceaseless wait. James declares in 4:14 life is a mist, here for but a moment, so let’s make it count for eternity. Don’t put off something for tomorrow that should have been done yesterday. Delay destroys destinies.
Procrastination is the thief of time. – Edward Young
1 Peter 1:13 Therefore, prepare your minds for action (battle)…
- Doubt and distraction kept Peter from fully walking on water. How have these two devices kept you from stepping out of the boat to “walk on water” with Him?
- What areas of doubt cause you to stumble? Be specific.
- Are there certain forms of discontentment you struggle with? Material things, spiritual gifts, your current season, the conceit mentality of I deserve this, etc.
- This list is far from complete. Do you notice other ways the enemy attempts to plot against your life? Really dig in here. You are creating a battle plan.
- Have you found yourself procrastinating in an area the Lord has asked you to move forward in? What do you or loved ones stand to lose from the delaying?
- How can you “prepare your mind for battle”?
Be sure to read the series.
From the instant sin entered the world, the enemy has tried to derail us from our real purpose-filled identity. Just as a train was designed to deliver goods across the land, you were designed by the King to deliver God’s life-giving news to the world in desperate need.
For a child of God, it’s only a matter of time before you find yourself the target of the enemy’s attack. Often, the attack is hardest when the enemy knows God has something AMAZING in store for you.
We see this perfectly play out in the story of Jesus being tempted in the desert; immediately after His baptism and before His ministry began (Matthew 4, Mark 1, & Luke 4).
Did you catch that? Right after a spiritual awakening and directly before substantial ministry.
Now, before you say, “I don’t plan on entering ministry,” let me say that “ministry” is delivering God’s life-giving news to those in our sphere of influence. Jesus said whoever believes in Him will do greater things than He did (John 14:12-14). So, the Father has great things in store for YOU.
Know your enemy and know yourself and you can fight a hundred battles without disaster. – Sun Tzu
Another thing to point out is the enemy attacks when you’re vulnerable. When lions hunt, the prey on the weak – sick, young, old and injured. Our enemy is no different; he doesn’t play fair. After fasting 40 days in the desert, Jesus was isolated and alone, tired and hungry. He attacks when you’re weak not because you are weak, but because of your great purpose. There’s a great acronym for times like this.
H – Hungry
A – Angry
L – Lonely
T – tired
When you’re hungry, angry, lonely, and/or tired, HALT. Wait before making decisions, stop before saying something, interrupt those racing thoughts, and pause to pray. Remember, His power is made perfect in our weakness. 2 Corinthians 12:
It’s pivotal we know who we are battling. It’s not your husband who made an uppercut remark or the lady who saw your blinker on and took your front row parking spot…in the rain. Nor is the unfaithful spouse, the best friend who betrayed you, or the relentless bully at your child’s school. No, the enemy we fight against is a masked villain. When we know the enemies tactics – his dirty little playbook – and the masks he hides behind, we are more prepared for the battle when we see him on the horizon of our life and the lives of loved ones.
You cannot defeat your enemy until you know who he is. – Anthony Horowitz
During this 4 part series, we will discover the what, when, where, why, who, and how of the enemy’s spiritual attack. He is after God’s purpose for your life, and he will use any means necessary (family, friends, job, strangers, etc.”.). Knowing your enemy and yourself can help you fight a hundred battles without disaster. – Sun Tzu
Over the next week, look back on a time where you distinctly see the enemy’s attempt to devour you. Process the “why” and “when” Please remember, there is no condemnation for those in Christ. This exercise is not intended to bring condemnation but rather contemplation – planning how we can be more prepared in the future.
- Was it after you had a great encounter with the Lord?
- Perhaps, like Jesus, you were isolated or hungry (spiritually hungry or isolated from other believers)?
- Why do you think he targeted you when he did?
- In hindsight, did you make a hasty decision?
- If you can’t think of a time in your own life, have you watched this play out in someone else’s life?
Spend time in prayer asking the Father to open your spiritual eyes; to make you keenly aware of the ways the enemy tries to target you, individually.