A first grade boy in multi-housing ministry told us at night he feels evil come to him and he is afraid. This isn’t the first time I’ve heard something like this. I explained to him as followers of Jesus we do not have to be afraid. I taught him demons shudder at the name of Jesus and are subject to God. I hope this sweet little boy is saying, “Go away in Jesus name!” This isn’t something we talk about much in the North American church. I believe it’s real.
I’ve heard many stories throughout the years I’ve been in ministry about demonic activities. Some are wild hair raising stories but I think here in our culture the enemy mostly chooses to act in different ways.
Division, lies, temptation, thoughts, and many other ways are more likely to turn us away from God’s plan. The job of the enemy is to tear us away from the God who loves us, to convince us God isn’t real, to prevent us from living a life that will draw others to God.
Christians, we forget we are warriors in battle. The warrior who has laid down his sword isn’t a challenge to the enemy and you’re likely to be left alone. This is a safe faith here on earth, the kind that’s impotent, producing nothing. It’s when we begin to step out and truly live out our faith that the darts come. The enemy doesn’t concern himself much with the one who is already ineffective.
To those of us striving to walk in God’s ways, we have promises to stand on. Those who aren’t engaged in battle in the here and now seem to have it easy, but we know it’s just easy for now. To the one sharing their faith and living out the instructions of scripture, you’re dangerous! You’re the one the enemy is after! There’s a crowd of people watching you just anticipating your fall. Stand firm in God’s ways and resist the devil and he will flee.
How do we resist the devil? You can shout commands in Jesus name and he will obey, however most of our issues with the enemy don’t look like this. Attacks are subtle, they creep in slowly and divert our attention elsewhere. If I stare at a media screen for hours I’m ineffective during that time period and am not advancing in my mission. If I give in to sin I damage my relationship with God and have to clean up my mess. This could have been time spent using my efforts doing God’s work.
As a warrior God gives me all I need to not just survive but to even make headway so that others can see God. I can choose today to resist. Jesus resisted by quoting scripture. We can do this too. If I do not know God’s word I cannot do this in moments of of difficult temptation.
Our world glorifies the sinner. I tell you the strongest one is he/she who resists and stays on track. There’s no bed of roses here. We all seek comfort for ourselves and in this process and we miss the things God has laid out for us.
Warrior, cross over the comfort zone and fight! Love the unlovable! Encourage the discouraged! Do crazy things for our Kingdom with your money! Live in the lane and land you’re called to. Here is where the greatest fulfillment lies! It’s not in your next spa treatment or latte for yourself. Resist the temptation to worship yourselves by putting your needs of personal comfort first. It’s not about you anyhow. This might even be our greatest temptation: to put ourselves first.
Please remember the enemy is never a person. Yes the enemy can use people to flesh out a plan but that person isn’t the enemy. This is how the devil works. Don’t be caught off guard today. My mentor used to say, “When God is about to do something amazing the devil tries to stop it.” We shouldn’t be shocked. This is normal here. The more I resist the stronger I become. God is good and gives me a way out. I can do this! Will you pursue God with me?
The first grader experiencing evil has grown in faith this year. He’s had lots of questions and sincere statements like, “My mom says God isn’t real.” Of course the enemy wants to scare him away. He might be the warrior to lead crowds to Christ.