December 6, 2017
The year I started writing words for the world to read, things started falling to pieces all around us. The kids were constantly rundown with various viruses. There were financial strains, serious health scares, and much more. It felt like we were under spiritual attack without reprieve, and we were worn thin.
We were about ten months into a sequence of unfortunate events when I heard a single statement through a static-blurred radio station. I don’t remember who spoke the words or exactly how he phrased them, but the man’s message was this: “Satan’s not out to break your car, wreck your finances, or steal your good health. What he really wants to do is cause you to doubt God’s goodness.”
I was three weeks into a very trying month – a month filled with personal grief and loss – and I’d been hashing out the words of 1 Peter 5:8 often: “Be of sober spirit, be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.” Peter’s speaking the truth here, and so was the man on the radio. When you’re under spiritual attack, it’s not really about the car, the job, or your health. Satan’s not out to wreck transmissions in our cars just for sheer fun. Instead, he’s out to harden our hearts toward God. He wants us to take offense at God and turn away from him. Peter knew all about trials. Knowing that Peter’s faith would soon be challenged, Jesus spoke these words to him, “Simon, Simon, behold, Satan has demanded permission to sift you like wheat; but I have prayed for you, that your faith may not fail; and you, when once you have turned again, strengthen your brothers” (Luke 22:31-32).
This passage speaks into our spiritual attacks in several ways:
1. Jesus sees. I know this isn’t a “surprising” revelation. You know Jesus sees you. But keep reading. We are building our foundation for the surprising truth about every spiritual attack. Let’s begin with an important reminder: Satan isn’t sneaking behind God’s back to inflict our bodies or attack our relationships. Jesus is well-aware of the enemy’s schemes. He is also sovereign over Satan’s schemes. This truth leads us to the next insight for when we are under spiritual attack.
2. Jesus prays for us when we are under spiritual attack. Just as Jesus prayed for Peter’s faith to remain firm, he prays for us. He lives to intercede for us, and he prays that our faith will not fail in the fire. This is a powerful truth, but I know you’re still not surprised. Keep reading. Let’s uncover the final two surprising truths about spiritual attacks:
3. This spiritual attack isn’t really about the circumstances you can see with your eyes. The enemy isn’t looking to destroy our possessions or make us sick solely for the sake of suffering. He hopes our suffering will harden our hearts. The next time the car gets a flat on the way to work, the printer won’t print the week’s lesson, or sickness leaves you sidelined, don’t lose heart. Losing heart is losing the battle. This is a battle for your mind. When trials lead us to offense or bitterness toward God, Satan wins. However, when our trials lead us closer to the heart of our Father in dependence, we thwart the attacks of the roaring lion.
4. No matter what happens, you can find victory by doing this . . . Let me say it again: This attack isn’t primarily against your health, your ministry, or what you can see with your eyes. This is a battle between fear and faith. Worry and trust. Bitterness and love. What will you choose? Friend, you can find victory over any spiritual attack by clinging to faith instead of fear. Succumb to fear, and you lose the battle. Run to Jesus’ arms and ask him to help you trust him, and you will win this battle!
You might not feel like you can trust Jesus with this situation. I get it. Run to him anyway. Ask him to help you trust him. His grace is sufficient when your trust is weak and your faith feels flimsy. Lean into him, and in the very act of leaning into him, you slay the enemy with the weapon that was meant to destroy you.
You might not feel like you can trust #Jesus with this situation. I get it. Run to him anyway. Ask him to help you #trust him. His #grace is sufficient when your trust is weak and your #faith feels flimsy.