This post is part two of a series on the topic of spiritual warfare. Click HERE for part one.
Did you know Satan uses specific tactics and schemes to trip us up? Are you familiar with his schemes?
You’d better be—because he is familiar with you. Yes, he knows you. Your weaknesses and strengths. Your family history. Your habits. Your secrets. And his knowledge of us and human nature is what is used against us. It was his strategy with Eve in the Garden, in the desert with Jesus and it’s his strategy with us as well.
Last week we covered one of Satan’s most popular calling cards: Deception. This week’s focus: Diversion.
Diversion—to be turned away from a primary goal or task.
Our most important focus should be on a growing relationship with God. As Christians, we are citizens of heaven (Philippians 3:20) and our path should be one of faith, obedience to God’s laws, and loving God as well as our neighbor. Thus, the devil does all he can to divert us from our primary goals. Below are a few popular examples of how Satan uses diversion.
BUSYNESS: Since the 1950s, we’ve had so many new technological innovations that we thought (or were promised) would make our lives easier, faster, simpler. Yet, we have no more “free” or leisurely time today than we did decades ago. In fact, stop and ask anyone if they feel busy and most likely they will answer with an emphatic, “yes!”
I speak to many Christians who say they don’t have time for daily prayer and Bible reading. Let me just say this: Most of us feel that we don’t have enough time. The truth is, we make time for the things that we really want to do.
The enemy wants us to believe we don’t have enough time. It’s our job to make prayer and Bible reading priorities. According to Philippians 2:12-13, If we simply put forth some effort, God works within us, giving us the desire and the power to do what pleases Him. Isn’t that fantastic news? God will even help us grow in our relationship with Him.
Have you found yourself too busy to make your relationship with God your top priority?
ANXIETY AND FEAR: The devil uses our fears to cause us to fixate on passing things rather than on God’s power.
Jesus says, “Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One who destroys both soul and body in hell.” (Matthew 10:28)
In other words, we should have a holy reverence towards the Lord, which will help put our earthly fears in a heavenly perspective and possibly dissolve them altogether.
But the devil says just the opposite: we should fear 10,000 things that might afflict us on this passing earth, and not think of the most significant thing that awaits us, which is judgment.
Have you allowed fear and anxiety to sap your energy and your faith?
WORDLY DESIRES AND POSSESSIONS: God doesn’t condemn His people for having earthly possessions. But He’s displeased when earthly possessions have us!
Before we knew Christ, it was natural to set our minds on everything the world views as valuable. Through the knowledge and presence of the Holy Spirit, there is a shift in values. Satan understands our tendency towards “stuff.” He knows the desire for possessions can choke our desire towards things of heaven.
“The seeds that fell among the thorns represent those who hear the message, but all too quickly the message is crowded out by the cares and riches and pleasures of this life. And so they never grow into maturity.” Luke 8:14
Have you been caught up in gaining worldly wealth and possessions more so than the things of heavenly value?
COMPARISON: Another human tendency is to compare ourselves to others. The problem with this standard of measuring is it’s inaccurate and faulty due to sin.
The only perfect standard is God’s.
Satan uses comparative righteousness to deceive us, thereby allowing us to justify sinful actions. But even if your (or another’s) actions are better than someone else’s, they’re still not as good as God’s!
Do you find yourself comparing to others?
Our only hope for righteousness is not established on our own, but through what Jesus did for us on the cross.
“Yet God, with undeserved kindness, declares that we are righteous. He did this through Christ Jesus when he freed us from the penalty of our sins.” Romans 3:24
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Satan doesn’t want you to grasp this very important truth:
THROUGH JESUS, YOU ARE RIGHTEOUS.
As a matter of fact, a critical piece of our God-given heavenly armor is the breastplate of righteousness (Ephesians 6:14). The only way to wear this armor is to believe the truth attached to it, which is: we are righteous through the blood of Christ.
As we’ve established in earlier posts, Satan is an expert at human behavior. He used three components when he tempted Jesus in Luke 4:1-13 with a physical need for food, a psychological need for significance, and emotional need for security. Of course, we know that Jesus didn’t succumb to Satan’s temptations. On the other hand, as flawed human beings, these three areas:
These areas present many opportunities for spiritual attack in which Satan uses in various ways. This is why we must have a plan of action in place to counteract the enemy’s attacks.
SPIRITUAL WARFARE PLAN OF ACTION
Step One: WAKE UP AND STAY ALERT
Step Two: PRAY
Step Three: KNOW THE TRUTH OF GOD’S WORD
Step Four: UNDERSTAND SATAN’S TACTICS AND HOW HE USES OUR WEAKNESSES
Are you starting to recognize how Satan is using his tactics specifically in your life? What are you doing about it?
Prayer: Father God, I realize that spiritual warfare is very real. Please help me to stay alert to Satan’s strategies as I grow in my daily time in Your word and prayer. Help me to be so familiar with your truth that I recognize even the most subtle of lies—especially the ones I tell myself. In the powerful name of Jesus Christ, amen.
Join me next Monday when we look at another of Satan’s popular calling cards as well as add another step to our Plan Of Action.