You are living in the middle of a raging war. Yet, this war is the furthest thing from your mind right now and the enemy wants it that way.
The war we are fighting is the spiritual battle in our lives.
Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. – Ephesians 6:11-12
You are not only living amidst the war, but you are the object of the attacks. The last thing the enemy, Satan, wants is for us, as Christians, to become aware of this war and to rise up and fight back against him. He doesn’t want us stepping out like Jonathan, who confidently trusted that God was more powerful than any army (1 Samuel 13:23-14:23). He doesn’t want us praying like Elijah who confidently asked the Lord for it to not rain upon Israel, and it didn't for 3.5 years. He doesn’t want us boldly proclaiming the good news of Jesus Christ and the forgiveness of sins like Paul, Peter, and countless missionaries who have gone before us.
No, the enemy wants us isolated and alone, discouraged and defeated, afraid and timid, sinning and feeling guilty, lazy and nonchalant.
So, he comes at us with LIES, which is the only tool he has. He can’t make anything new. He can't change the truth God has established. All he can do is lie to you and twist God's Word in order to deceive and trap you.
You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies. – John 8:44
So, how do we know when we are being lied to and how do we fight back?
First, we need to hold everything up to the truth: God’s Word.
You will be able to pinpoint Satan’s lies when you know the truth of God’s Word. If you are believing something that contradicts the Bible, then you’ve found a lie.
For example, you feel inadequate, unimportant, and undervalued. This has all the marks of an attack from the enemy. God says you are his precious, intricate, handmade creation (Psalm 139). God says you are saved by his grace and he has a plan and purpose prepared in advance for us (Ephesians 2:8-10). God says you have so much value that he was willing to give his perfect Son, so that you could be brought back into a relationship with him (John 3:16).
Or perhaps you are a parent fighting for your child, discipling them in the truths of God’s Word, investing in them and training them in righteousness. But, rather than seeing success and improvement, you see your child struggling more than ever and you are left feeling discouraged and defeated as a parent. Satan wants you to give up and stop trying. Again, you need the truth. God says that his words will not miss the mark, but will achieve his purposes (Isaiah 55:10-11). God commands us to train up our children to follow him and this isn’t a command only when it’s easy (Ephesians 6:4, Proverbs 22:6). God says to persevere and never give up because he is fighting for us and will provide us with the strength to keep on (Isaiah 40:30-31, Galatians 6:9)
Maybe for you it’s the constant wrestle with secret (likely sexual) sins. You’ve started to believe that there is no way to ever overcome, that God has given up on you and you can feel the apathy taking over. But, the truth of God’s Word says to wake up! We have been set free from the chains of sin (Ephesians 5:3-14)! God says through Jesus that we are no longer slaves to sin (Romans 6:1-14). God says we are to pursue righteousness (2 Timothy 2:22). God’s Word says that nothing can ever separate us from the love of God and that through Christ we are more than conquerors (Romans 8).
Or maybe you’ve believed the lie that living a life completely sold out for God causes you to miss all the good stuff in life. You’ve started to believe that God doesn’t really know what’s best, but rather, you do. The constant spending is where you’ll find joy. The perfect career is where you will find satisfaction. But God says we must lose our life to find it (Matthew 16:24). God says that only in him will we find lasting joy and satisfaction (John 10:10). God says we are made to live for him and his glory (Romans 11:36) and that our real treasure is not here on earth but heaven with him (Matthew 6:19-20).
There is a reason the Bible calls the Word of God our sword. In this spiritual battle, it is the only weapon we have to cut down the powerful attacks of the enemy. When Satan comes on strong, we too often fight in our own power. But Satan is way too good at manipulating us into false beliefs. Instead, we must battle using God's Word, never letting it go. We cannot drop our sword in the middle of the fight. In your daily battles, cling to God’s truth more than ever.
Say it out loud.
Memorize God's promises.
Take action based upon its truth.
Every attack of Satan crumbles under the weight of God’s truth. Use it again and again and again until you have beat him back in your life.
Christians, we can’t fall for the biggest deception of all: That there is no war and no reason to stand up and fight. The battle is raging, and your soul, the souls of your children, your spouse, your neighbors, and millions around the globe stand in the balance. As we see this truth and rise up in God’s strength, the enemy may come at us harder than ever. But, with God fighting for us and wielding the power of his Word as our sword, we don’t have to crumble. In fact, we can charge into the darkness, shining forth the light.
What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things? Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies. Who then is the one who condemns? No one. Christ Jesus who died—more than that, who was raised to life—is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? As it is written:
“For your sake we face death all day long;
we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.”
No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. – Romans 8:31-39