I tried to read a book.
I know. Not a big deal, if you know me at all. My free time is typically spent reading.
But this was different.
Because as much as I love to read, and as excited as I was about this particular treasure, I had a hard time staying focused on the words.
I spilled my coffee. My nose kept running. My eyes kept watering. My phone kept ringing.
Why was I having such a hard time getting through this book? Why did external noises keep bothering me? Why did I keep thinking about my next task, what my kids were doing, or even the weather?
I was halfway through when I realized something was very wrong. Sabotage.
A very real enemy didn’t want me to hear God speaking through the words of this book – a book which described the common tactics this same enemy uses to trip up Christians.
I finished the book the next day, determined to learn what God wanted me to hear and what the devil was so determined that I never find out.
We know that according to Ephesians 6:12, our battle is not with other people, but against the evil influence of Satan in our human interactions. Yet far too often we assign his handiwork to the people around us rather than giving him credit.
- Many believers simply ignore him and pretend he’s not active here on earth.
- Others fear him as a monster, something from a horror story, and avoid anything that seems scary.
- Others misunderstand his influence, so they don’t see his tricks and fall right into his traps.
But our ignorance only allows him more freedom to work in our lives. This is real life, not a creepy horror flick or harmless Disney cartoon. He’s sneaky in how he lays his traps; he learns our weaknesses and feeds us negative thoughts.
He deceives us into believing that we don’t have much value. He convinces us to be offended by the actions of others. He makes excuses for our sins so that we become desensitized to the things of God. He distracts us from church commitments, prayer time or Bible reading so we can’t strengthen our faith.
Lately, I’ve been feeling bogged down with the struggle of capturing my thoughts and making them obedient to Christ (2 Cor 10:5). God reminded me that we are to stay alert, to understand the enemy so he can’t distract us or knock us off the front lines of battle.
I mentioned last week that many Christians don’t like to face the fact that we’re at war. It’s uncomfortable to think that we’re being attacked, sabotaged in all we try to do for the Kingdom. Yet if we know what to expect from him, we can avoid his traps, and we can fight back!
Ladies, we are opposed.
We have an active adversary.
We can’t sit back in our little comfort zone, oblivious as he sneaks into our camp and tries to steal all that belongs to us. We have to pay attention. We have to protect ourselves. We have to fight back.
Next time something goes wrong, our fleshly desires seem overwhelming, someone does something hurtful, or we’re tempted to be angry, let’s pause and ask what’s really going on? Is this a situation where our adversary is trying to nudge us off the straight and narrow? How has he manipulated words or circumstances to tempt us to battle another person? How can we deflect the flaming arrow & implement a counter-attack with our words and behavior?
Let’s be sober-minded. Watchful. Alert. And be sure to fight the real enemy.