The second strategy Priscilla discusses in her book is the strategy Satan uses to distract us, so she aptly titles the chapter, ” Your Focus: Fighting the Real Enemy”.
There is so much to said again about the distinction between people and spirits working against us, we need to remind ourselves that our enemy is not flesh and blood and allow ourselves to make space to understanding people and all of their complexities.
Satan likes to use sweeping generalizations and is a fan of black or white/all-or-nothing type thinking. Pair that with being hardwired to want to “figure things out” and “understand why” and he can have us spinning in circles trying to figure out how and why that just happened!
Houston we have a problem. I’ve been so busy trying to figure things out on my own and make my own conclusions and attempt my own resolutions that I’ve completely missed what has been going “behind the curtain”.
When we are aiming at the wrong target, we end up treating the symptoms instead of attacking the cause while yielding the wrong weapons.
Spiritual war requires the use of spiritual weapons.
To know what weapons to use, we need to know our enemy. We know his mission (destruction) and we are learning his strategies. All of this won’t do any good though, if we are not aware of his full ability.
Can he make us do things? Can he control our thoughts? Can he interrupt our prayers to God? The burning question really is:
How Much Power Does Satan Actually Have?
One of the most powerful examples of “Satan on a Leash” comes in the book of Job.
If you’re not familiar with Job, He is a man who lives a blameless and upright life, and is always careful to avoid doing evil. (Job 1:1). Satan sees this and one day while talking to God says that Job’s righteousness is only because God has blessed him abundantly. He tells God that “with permission to punish” Job, he will eventually turn against and curse God.
God allows this to happen, and tells Satan he can do everything except take Job’s life.
The Lord said to Satan, “Very well, then, everything he has is in your power, but on the man himself do not lay a finger.” Job 1:12
I’m going to stop right here for a second. Everything has been sunshine and rainbows for Job up to this point, and all of a sudden things about to get bad. real bad.
In a span of a day, no hours, no MINUTES, Satan takes Job’s livestock, his servants and his children by means of “natural catastrophes”.
Overwhelming and Bombarding are two of the enemy’s favorite tactics to discourage and distract us.
Job responds in mourning by “tearing his clothes” and “shaving his head”, but he still praises God in is prayers (Job 1:21-22)
“Naked I came from my mother’s womb,
and naked I will depart.
The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away;
may the name of the Lord be praised.
In all this, Job did not sin by charging God with wrongdoing
How many of us can say that when blindsided or bombarded with bad news, that we respond by still praising God in our prayers? (I can tell you personally, and you can read about it here, that I have a difficult time doing exactly that.)
Satan realizes that he needs to step up his game if he wants to win the bet he made against God, so he inflicts Job with painful skin sores.
Even after waking up with these sores, and no explanation as how he got them, albeit confused, he still does not curse God. However his wife tells him to do otherwise. (Job 2:9-10)
His wife said to him, “Are you still maintaining your integrity? Curse God and die!”
He replied, “You are talking like a foolish woman. Shall we accept good from God, and not trouble?”
How many of us seem to go through one thing after the other, and still maintain our stand for God? Or how many of us would act more like his wife, deciding it ‘s not worth it anymore and just give up?
Job’s three friends visit him and attempt to provide comfort and encouragement.
Then they sat on the ground with him for seven days and seven nights. No one said a word to him, because they saw how great his suffering was. (Job 2:13)
Sometimes the best thing you can do for someone else that is suffering is to simply sit with them and meet them right where they are.
Job does open his mouth to speak, and his words are full of pain.
I have no peace, no quietness; I have no rest, but only turmoil.” Job 3:26
His friends attempt to provide reasons for why this happened.
Eliphaz tells Job that as he purported to know what others suffering go through, now he actually has an idea. He also tells him that the reason he is suffering is because of some sin he has committed.
Wow he has just been told that it is his fault he is going through these things. While his friends insist they are helping, in reality they are making assumptions and making the situation worse.
How many of us try to connect the dots and find logical reasons and explanations? How many of us try to provide comfort by telling the one that is suffering the reason why these things happened (as if we know the real reason)
Job’s other friends also chime in to say that it was his children who brought on their own deaths, and that Job must have done something so bad, and he is not even getting the full punishment he deserves. (Job 8:4-6)
When your children sinned against him,
he gave them over to the penalty of their sin.
But if you will seek God earnestly
and plead with the Almighty,
If you are pure and upright,
even now he will rouse himself on your behalf
and restore you to your prosperous state.
The story of Job doesn’t stop here, be on the look out for part two because I feel like I’m not done with this story, but for the sake of this post I am for now 🙂
We are so quick in our human error to make snap judgments and place blame. (This is a caution against that) But let us not lose focus on who the real enemy is.
And while the enemy can wreak havoc in our lives, sometimes things occur as natural consequences of living in a fallen world, or as a result of the process of sewing and reaping.
In any case, no matter what happens or why it happens, we can rest on the truth:
You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives. Genesis 50:20
And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who[a] have been called according to his purpose. Romans 8:28
Through Christ, the enemy has been disarmed and embarrassed, made powerless, overruled, and his work destroyed.
No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 8:38-39
Whatever is not from God is not of God, but through Christ we claim victory against these things.
Sweet friends, let this serve as a reminder and a marker of where we need to focus our efforts. Don’t focus on the enemy, focus on the one who made you victorious through Christ.
Disease, addiction, heartbreak, depression, bitterness and revenge don’t compare to the power of Christ within us!
Here is our challenge for this week:
Press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called you heavenward in Christ Jesus. Philippians 3:14
What’s does this look like for you?
How can you refocus your efforts?
Enjoy this Spiritual Warfare prayer, courtesy of crosscards,com
Did you miss the first post of the series? Click Here to read how getting mad is our first step!