By Matthew Hexter
Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. – James 4:7 (NIV)
I'm a huge fan of war movies and love to read about the history of wars, especially World War II and Vietnam. As I've studied the stories and tactics up until the present time, it's interesting to see how the enemy has become much more subtle and scheming in their attacks.
If you look at battles such as the Revolutionary or Civil Wars, the approach seemed fair for both sides; they were pretty much frontal assaults. But as we progress through history, the attacks become elusive and guerrilla in nature. Deception is now one of the primary tactics used to gain an advantage over the opposing force.
In this final devotion, I'll look at an external force that seeks to undermine our sonship and steal our rights as sons of God.
Throughout scripture, references are made to the enemy of our hearts, an enemy who has literally come to "steal, kill and destroy." In Revelation 12:17 we're told Satan "went off to wage war against the rest of her offspring—those who keep God’s commands and hold fast their testimony about Jesus." And 1 Peter 5:8 tells us Satan seeks to "devour us."
The bottom line is that when you were born, you were born into a world at war.
And yet, many of us don't live like it.
When you don't live like you have an enemy, you're left with two options when something bad happens in your life: Either you presume God is holding out on you or you're blowing it. If you have no context for spiritual warfare or you just push it off as a minor (and annoying) theme in your Christian experience, you will misinterpret most of the circumstances of your life. Life will feel like a random drive-by shooting and when things go south, you'll either blame God, yourself or others.
But here's the real story of your life:
The story of your life is the story of the long and brutal assault on your heart by the one who knows what you could be and fears it.
What does the enemy fear? Your sonship! The enemy hates you with a never ending passion and until Jesus returns or we're taken home, if you are a Christ follower, you will have a target on your back for the rest of your life. And what's important to know is that the enemy will first try to attack you at the level of your identity as a son of God.
When the enemy comes in, his first level of operation is the accuser. Satan is called the "accuser of the Brethren." The evil one is ancient and cunning and knows man well. He is very aware of your story and will use it against you. And there is nothing he enjoys more than to throw a thought at you and then blame you for it! And you thought it was just you.
So how do we fight the enemy?
First, immerse yourself in truth. In the previous devotion I shared truths about our sonship: We are deeply loved (I Jn. 4:9-10), fully and totally accepted (Col. 1:19-22), fully pleasing (Col. 2:13-14, II Cor. 5:21), and absolutely complete in Christ (Col 2:10, I Cor. 5:17). Write these truths on a 3x5 card and plaster them everywhere. Meditate on them day and night. This is the truth about you!
Next, take captive every thought and actively challenge it against scripture. If it conflicts, then it's not from God. Consider the fruit of the thought. Does it bear love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness or self-control? Does it produce liberty, because "where the spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom!" This is your litmus test: If the thought doesn't bear good fruit, then it's not from God; it's from the enemy!
Finally, resist the devil and he will flee from you (James 4:7). Greater is He who is in us then he who is in the world (I John 4:4). As a Christ follower, you have power over the enemy. You no longer need to put up with this harassing bully. The power of Christ is now in you. You can tell the enemy no and you can resist him. In fact, you are told to resist, but you do this through the power and authority of Christ.
- Do you live your life like you have an enemy?
- Knowing you have an enemy, does this help explain some situations in your life? How?
- What are the thoughts that have been attacking you out of nowhere? How does it help knowing these aren't from you, that it's the enemy trying to bait you?
- John 10:10
- 1 Peter 5:8
- Ephesians 6:12
- Revelation 12
- Wild at Heart by John Eldredge
- The Screwtape Letters by C.S. Lewis
- The Bondage Breaker by Neil Anderson
- I Give You Authority by Charles Kraft
About the Author
One of Matthew's many interests growing up in Cleveland, Ohio was hockey. After being inspired by watching the "Miracle on Ice" live, he worked hard enough to gain a spot on an independent high school team which won their city championship. Matthew and his wife Melanie celebrated 25 years of marriage this past year and have six children. Matthew co-founded a ministry that helped men discover who they are in Christ and walk in their identity as sons. He currently resides in Colorado Springs. Connect with Matthew at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Posted on Tue, October 27, 2015
by Rick Randazzo filed under