A neighbor quarrels with you over every little thing. It seems like not a Saturday goes by that she’s not complaining about something. Jesus told us to love our neighbor, but was He really including HER when He said that?
On the job, a coworker wants you out. So, he points out your faults to others, and stabs you in the back in front of the boss. He never misses a chance to make a snide remark about you or the work that you’re doing.
Even at home, you feel like the odd man out. Your family members are frequently thoughtless, uncaring and just downright mean to you at times. You feel like you’re surrounded by enemies. No wonder your patience wears thin and you find yourself snapping at people and losing your temper!
Well, guess what? Your enemy isn’t that neighbor. Your enemy isn’t that coworker. And, your enemy isn’t the other members of your household. No, your enemy is the devil. He doesn’t want you to know he’s your real enemy. He wants you to think that PEOPLE are your enemy.
People are NOT your enemies. The Bible says in Ephesians 6:12 that “we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.”
Because we think that people are our enemies, we end up letting satan steal our money, our dreams, our happiness and our families. He diverts our attention by getting us to be angry against other people. This leaves him free to roam the earth, like a thief, attacking innocent victims.
Like any thief, satan hates the light, because the only way he can operate freely is to hide in a cloak of darkness. That’s why he wants to keep you and me in the dark. If you’re not aware of his wicked devices, he’ll be able to come back to you again and again and rob you, cheat you and harass you.
What’s the devil like? First of all, he is your adversary, or, one who is totally against you. 1 Peter 5:8 says, “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion walketh about, seeking whom he may devour.” He hates God, and since you’re in the image of God, he hates you, too. He wants to remove all that’s God-like from your character and to make you devilish. In Ezekiel 22:25, people under satan’s spell are described as, “…like a roaring lion ravening the prey; they have devoured souls; they have taken the treasure and precious things; they have made many widows…”
Jesus said in John 10:10, “The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill and to destroy: but I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.” Satan comes to steal from you. To take your joy, your hope, your possessions, and your position and to stop you from living the life that God plans for you.
Satan attacks us through trials, misunderstandings, distresses and disappointments. He wants you to be so overcome that you don’t even try to do any better. He wants to see you fall and never get up again. He’s trying to make your life deteriorate and become just a frustrating mess.
He speaks words against God, like it says in Daniel 7:25, to “wear out the saints of the Most High, and think to change the times and the laws.” He’s trying to get you to become impatient with God’s timing, and to disobey God’s laws of sowing and reaping. Like a lion, he’s able to paralyze you with fear. He’s big, powerful, loud and ferocious. When he’s attacking, you feel like you don’t stand a chance. So you just throw in the towel, which is exactly what he wants you to do.
Then, the devil has a field day in your life. He comes and goes from your situation as the whim take him. He’ll stir up your neighbor against you, he’ll agitate your coworker and cause your family to resent you. You’ll be so upset that you don’t eat right, can’t sleep and get all worn down. Then, you’ll be grouchy, irritable and overly sensitive and negative.
Once you’re in this kind of worn out state, you’ll be talking and acting in such a way that satan no longer has to stir people up against you. You’ll be doing it yourself! Your own behavior will alienate you and keep God’s goodness from operating fully in your life.
What can we do about it? First of all, learn what God says about dealing with the devil. God said in Hosea 4:6, “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge.” Through our lack of knowledge, satan gets and advantage over us. He knows what he’s going to do, and we don’t. That gives him the ability to “surprise attack.”
Jesus said in John 8:32, “You shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free.” Read and study what God says about dealing with the devil in the Bible, “lest satan should get an advantage of us: for we are not ignorant of his devices (2 Cor. 2:11).” Satan will get a foothold in your life, in your finances through your ignorance. That’s why we need to gain information from the Bible to have the kind of knowledge we need to break the devil’s hold on our lives.
Second, we need to guard our hearts. Proverbs 4:23 says, “Guard your heart with diligence, for out of it flow the issues of life.”
Don’t allow satan to plant any of his thoughts there! Not even for a minute! Don’t entertain it. Once they’re in your heart, they WILL affect your life!
Third: don’t give satan ANY room to operate in. Ephesians 4:27 says, “Neither give place to the devil.” If you let him operate in just one area of your life, before long, he’ll be expanding his operations, and entering other areas. You can be sure of this – any place you give place to the devil, you will soon find hurt, pain and destruction. So, don’t give place to him to work in your life.
Fourth: Resist. He’s going to come back again and again, making new and more tempting offers, trying to find your hot button. He’s going to try to harass you and upset you, to get you to sin with your attitude, behavior and mouth. Here’s a nugget from God that’ll assure you the victory: “…Resist the devil and he will flee from YOU!” That’s in James 4:7.
Here’s the other part of breaking the devil’s foothold. It’s also in James 4:7: Submit yourselves to God.” Be obedient to the One who gives you power over the devil. Do what God says. Don’t just agree with it, but actually DO what He says. And stop doing what He says STOP. That’s where most people mess up. They have an area in their lives where they’re disobedient to God. In that one area, they DON’T resist the devil. Like a stubborn encyclopedia salesman, once he’s got his foot in the door, there’s no getting rid of him.
Through ignorance, misunderstanding and disobedience, satan gets an advantage over us. But through knowing what God’s word says and being obedient, satan loses that advantage.
Remember, it’s not your neighbor, your coworker or your family that’s your real enemy. Your real enemy is satan. So don’t ever be tricked into treating them like enemies. Understand that he might be using YOU to get to them, as well! When you say something, he might be twisting it the moment it comes out your mouth, and they might be responding to something you never even said!
You’re ignorant of satan’s devices. And, when you resist him, He will flee from YOU!