Stand Against the Wiles of the Devil

February 5, 2015

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...Finally be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil... Ephesians 6:10-13

So, I'll admit, I've never much believed in the devil. Maybe it was my completely secular upbringing, but the devil has never been one of my big fears. I'm scared of closing my eyes when I wash my hair in the shower. I'm scared of small boats that go really fast. I'm scared of accidentally poking my eye out while putting on mascara. But the devil? Come on, no way.

In the middle of my breakdown/revelation in early December, I spoke briefly with my pastor. He confirmed what other friends in the faith had determined-- that the devil was behind the personal attacks on my character and reputation. And here I was, naively thinking that it was just a bunch of teenaged kids being turds, but it was the devil after me! I'll admit I didn't put too much credence into his words. I just didn't believe it. I'll believe in God, okay? But I've got to draw the line at the devil. That's just a fairy tale.

But he pressed on, and his words stuck with me. He told me, "The devil only attacks people he's afraid of. You must be doing big things." Me? Doing big things? I could barely work up the nerve to get out of bed in the morning. Surely the devil has better, more important people to mess with than me? My believing has shifted since then, and now I am much more aware of the devil's wiles and schemes.

We have a common enemy--- Satan--- and he will attack us every way he knows how. Just as God knows us inside and out, so does the devil, and he will use our greatest weaknesses to his greatest advantage. Ephesians 6:12 says, "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 realm."  He is waging a war against all of us, whether we realize it or not. He wants to strike us and then kick us while we are down. He knows where we are most vulnerable, and he will poke at it like you will poke at a sore tooth in the back of your mouth. Constantly and continuously until he wears you down.  He attacks with anger, pride, sin, lust, hurt feelings, criticism-- the things in this world that hurt. He will also attack with promises he can't fulfill and enticing lies you can't resist. Luckily, I don't face the devil of temptation often. My devil comes in the form of pride and anger, and I struggle with him every single day.

This passage in Ephesians is well known for its "Armor of God" metaphor, a spiritual "how-to defeat the devil" guide. Many people are familiar with the verses: belt of truth, breastplate of righteousness, feet fitted with readiness, shield of faith, helmet of salvation, and the sword of the spirit (the Word). The scripture warns us to be prepared to fight WHEN the day of evil comes, not IF the day of evil comes, so we know that we are expected to face evil and fight. An interesting side note that my husband always points out- in all this armor of God, there is nothing to cover your backside. The Lord expects you to face evil and fight, not run away and hide.

Our strongest weapon in this battle is the sword of the Spirit. The Bible. Most wars are fought with guns and tanks and bombs, but Paul tells us in 2 Corinthians 10:3-4, "...we do not wage war as the world does. The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have the divine power to demolish strongholds..." Now fighting with words is something I am quite skilled in (just ask my poor husband), but using Scripture to glorify God and beat back the devil hasn't been in my "word war repertoire" until recently.

December 8, 2014: Heavenly Father, thank you for protection during the battle I wage every day. Please give me the weapons and armor I need to keep Satan at bay. Keep my mind on heavenly thins above, and don't allow Satan to pound me with his lies. Please give me the strength and courage to avoid the devil's temptations and hold fast to Your truth and love. I am amazed at your promise to provide for all of us, exactly what we need when we need it in our lives. You are all-powerful and all-loving. You are everything as as I continue to submit my life to you, I begin to clearly see that.

 I know that without you in my life, there will always be a hole that cannot be filled. I know that as I grow deeper in my relationship with You, You will continue to show me the depths of Your love. Like a child, I may not understand why You do things, but I endeavor to trust You fully and go wherever and do whatever You tell me to do. I put away my years of disobedience and reveal in a new trust, like a child just learning to walk or learning to ride a bike. I understand now that You don't guarantee that I won't ever fall or be hurt, but You do promise to be there to pick me up, dust me off, and give me the courage and confidence to try again. I know in my life I will deal with disappointments, hardships, anger and sadness, but you soften the blow. You protect me. You don't allow these things to consume me anymore because I've given it all to You.

Selfishly, I pray that You will continue to be with me as I face my own personal demons of depression and anxiety. Please give me the strength and courage to continue teaching this year. Let me be so filled with Your light and love that everyone can see the difference- my mom has already mentioned the change she has seen in me, so I know You are working in me. Please help me to continue this.

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