I was watching a movie with my son (some superhero v. villain movie). There was a scene, typical scene in these types on movies, where the superhero and villain were in some battle and the villain was just talking all sorts of discouragement and smack to the superhero, trying to get into her mind and get her to fold. Some of the things said were about the superhero’s capabilities, some of it was about her family.
However, what the villain was spewing from his tongue, were obviously words chosen to weaken or deter the superhero from pressing on and claiming another defeat. The enemy wasn’t physically capable of taking down the superhero so instead the villain resorted to getting inside the mind of his adversary.
The interesting thing in movies most of the time for me, is the clear fact that it is a representation of someone’s reality. Much like this superhero was facing her enemy-well aware that it was her enemy-we also face an enemy. Sometimes just like the enemy in the movie, our enemy is obvious. We know who they are, we know they are not for us, we are aware of their attacks-and we know how to respond-just as the lady superhero knew how to block out the mental attacks of her enemy. Then there are other times in our lives when we face a not-so-obvious enemy. These may be people or circumstances in our lives that are used to get us back into the shadows-to derail us from pursuing righteousness. For the superhero (and sometimes us), it was obvious to her who her enemy was. How about when it is not so obvious? How about when Satan uses people and circumstances in our lives to instill fear, shame or hopelessness?
God has customized my walk with him. He allows me to make my own plans, but they must honor him and he has the ultimate say-so in how I achieve these plans. So if I get unfocused (this has happened countless times) he has a tailored way-fitted just for me-to get me back on track. He is loyal and faithful, in which he will never leave us. I know this because God is never changing and his word has stood the test of time and man, time and time again-promise after promise-never failing. So we have this hope-I have this God who is always looking and working things together for my good (Romans 8:28).
However because this is not heaven and we live in a fallen world, I also have an enemy who tries to use my gifts, talents, circumstances, feelings, people in my life-countless tactics-to get me off course. Satan never gives up and he has to get crafty because God is always working for us. In fact scripture says Jesus was sent because of Satan-Jesus saved us from our sin nature (The one who does what is sinful is of the devil, because the devil has been sinning from the beginning. The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the devil’s work”, 1 John 3). Sometimes Satan uses those things closest to us (relationships, our thoughts) to derail us off our path because those things may be his only option.
So at times, those options may seem like the last thing that would test my anger, my patience-my endurance-but if they are the only things I am applying my hand to and turning my attention towards-then how true is it that those things can be manipulated by the enemy to reconstruct his plan of destruction for me? I truly believe the tricks of the enemy become more and more sly and craftier as we deepen our look into eternity. As we lean on God more and more, a lot of the darkness that was apparent has been brought to light. Satan has a more difficult time using those items to control us under sin. And the news is: he doesn’t give up. We only have the option to build endurance and get stronger.
God’s word warns us “Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour”, 1 Peter: 5. Not only is he looking to destroy us, but he does so by any means necessary. This inevitably means deceiving us. Whether he deceives us through a physical form (“for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light”, 2 Corinthians), or he does so by leading our minds astray (“the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, your minds will be led astray from the simplicity and purity of devotion to Christ”, 2 Corinthians), the enemy is looking to cut us down. If he can’t do it through the physical realm, he will undoubtedly try to break through your mental blocks and attack you spiritually. Thoughts like I’m such a failure or I’ll never be good enough– these negative thoughts take root in darkness-the place where the enemy thrives.
The good news in this is literally, Jesus. This is the whole reason Jesus came. He is the only way-the only true example-of how to overcome the darkness orchestrated by the enemy and carried out in this world. And all while I have this enemy trying to drag me into the valley, have me relive my past, own up to it, and pity in it-I also have this amazing hope in Jesus. The good thing in all this? Satan is a liar and God never fails in his word. Therefore I can hold unto the word of God when he says “humble yourselves before God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you” (James 4). I can rejoice when I don’t feel strong enough because he has declared that His “grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness” (2 Corinthians 12). I have confidence, not in my own ability to discern and conquer Satan again and again, but because God affirms again and again that anyone who calls upon the name of the Lord will be saved” Romans 10). What is Satan utilizing in your life to get you to trip up? Is it unforgiveness within your own family? Is it a hurt that keeps nagging and teasing at you because you haven’t yet shed any light upon it? Is it bitterness toward yourself, your failures, and unmet expectations you’ve bombarded yourself with? Is it fear? Whatever you don’t bring to God can be used as a weapon toward your defeat. However given to God, he declares that no weapon formed against us, his children, should prosper (Isaiah 57). Go boldly before the throne of God. Remind him of his word and promises. Be intentional about speaking into those dark corners of your life and I stand with God when I say he will show up.
The LORD’S lovingkindnesses indeed never cease, For His compassions never fail. They are new every morning; Great is Your faithfulness.