Part II

Satan's Subtle Attacks

Paul said in II Corinthians 2:11 that the only way we will stay free from the power of Satan is when we are NOT ignorant of his devices. Lest Satan should get an advantage of us: for we are not ignorant of his devices. Therefore, if we are ignorant of how he works, he can get at us. Why do so many let foolish things become such a reality in their lives that they give up their Christian walk and go back to the world? It's because those principalities, those powers are so deceptive!

One of the major reasons those "unseen powers" can make such inroads in our lives is because they never "seem" to be against us! Think about it! They conceal themselves in our affections. When they begin to work on us, they make it "seem" that the claims of God are unreasonable. Those devils cannot gain any ground with us until we begin to get the attitude that God is requiring just too much of us!

Perhaps it is at a time when we are not up to par spiritually. The devil knows exactly when to attack. Already, we may have slowed down in our efforts for the Lord. We may still be sitting under the preacher's sermons, but we have begun to "nitpick" and find fault with them. Crafty, invisible foes suggest, "That is just going too far! You are wise. You have more knowledge than that fellow standing up there anyway. Why should you pay any attention to him? What does he know? You are an individual. I would not place too much stake in what he is saying." Then you go home reasoning.

But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ. II Corinthians 11:3. The "simplicity in Christ" in Christ is simply doing what God says.

The devil still has the subtleness that he had back in the garden, when Eve was beguiled by him. He knows more about what is going on than you do, even if you have been around seventy years. He has more ideas. His only purpose is to be about the business of doing evil and hindering people from knowing God by a personal relationship through His only Begotten Son, Jesus Christ! Oh the numbers the devil has influenced (beguiled) to "flip-flop", and some of them were better Christians than you and I!

Satan's attack on you is to lead you away from the simplicity of Christ. God gave Adam and Eve a plan, simple, understandable instruction: do NOT touch that tree! Now, go back and read for yourself how the devil began his attack. He waited until Eve was alone; Adam was not there to add his strength of resistance to hers. God issued ONE instruction: "do NOT touch". The devil came up with three reasons why she could: (1) it was good to look at; (2) it was good to eat, and (3) it would make her wise.

You see any subtleness (sneakiness, craftiness) in that? God's Word tells us, "Thou shalt not steal." Yet, we can quickly come up with five (or more) reasons why it's OK for us to cheat the insurance company, put down extra hours we did not work, sneak those office supplies home, etc. (1) they won't miss them; (2) they don't pay me enough, I'm making up for it; (3) they can afford it; (4) I'm just borrowing, or (5) everybody else does it. God doesn't have five reasons why we should not do it. He has only one: He said so!

The subtlety of the devil starts right in when we begin to conceive any reason for disobeying God. The unseen forces are crafty of evil are crafty because they make it appear that the claims of God are unreasonable, that the way to Heaven is cold and forbidding.

Overcome Satan's Strongholds
Evil spirits' strongholds are right in our nature. Who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body, according to the working whereby he is able even to subdue all things unto himself. Philippians 3:21. Our body has NOT been cleansed. The body is merely an instrument of the soul. Paul wrote, But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway. I Corinthians 9:27.

The members of the body are used by the inner man. Our souls have been redeemed, but we wait for the redemption of our body until the second coming of Christ. Our earthly, carnal, fleshly nature is the devil's stronghold on us, and we need to realize it. We MUST keep our bodies (carnal thoughts and actions) under subjection to the Holy Spirit. Otherwise, that which is carnal will overrule that which is spiritual and our eternal souls will suffer for it.

For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh: (For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;) Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ. II Corinthians 10:3-5. The NIV puts that scripture passage this way: "For though we live in the world, 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 divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ."

The devil has exalted himself to a pretty high position when he exalts himself against the Word of God. But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned. I Corinthians 2:14. Then verse 16 comes along and tells us that we have the mind of Christ. We CAN know God's Will in a matter. We can know what God thinks about a circumstance. That is true knowledge. However, the devil would love to come along and cause us to start "reasoning" against that which we know!

The weapons God has given us are His Word and prayer. Go back and read our scripture text, paying particular attention to verses 17 and 18. Paul had just finished describing the armour of God, then he talked about the weapons God has furnished us to go along with that armor: the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God and prayer (praying with supplication in the Spirit). With these two weapons, we are able to cast down (conquer, overcome) "reasonings" and bring them into captivity. We need to use God's thoughts about things to fight all other thoughts. If we will stick to God's thoughts, we will be able to bring all other thoughts (reasonings, conflicts, confusion) in our minds into captivity (under subjection)!

Many folks have reached an position of uncertainty in their experience with God because they allowed the devil to set up a council hall in their minds and they tried to reason against God's Word. Sometimes, there is that about us that rises up in opposition against God's Will being done in our lives. A "stronghold" is created that would rival the walls of Jericho. But just as God brought those physical walls down, He is able to bring down the mental walls that we get in our minds due to our weakness in knowing His thoughts and His Ways and His plans for our lives.

Our God has the power to cast down (destroy) every thought that is against the knowledge of God. Those "reasonings" that we allow the devil to put into our minds against God's Word can be ignorance, prejudice, diverse lusts, vain imaginations, high (self-exalted) thoughts, or proud conceits. Each of those things war against the knowledge of God. Through them, the devil endeavors to keep men from faith in and obedience to the Gospel. Through them, the devil takes possession of our hearts and moves in as if they were his own property. We need to remember: the door to our hearts is through our minds!

Gird Your Armor With Truth
God's thoughts are true. It takes God's thoughts to war against (and win victory over) all the others. Therefore, let us take God's thoughts about life, sin, holiness, worship and worldliness. The Word of God very plainly tells us how to do it.

Jesus overcame all those foes. How? Again, think about it. He came against them, not with nature's reasonings, not with His own arguments, but by quoting the Word of God! He was clothed in truth, purity, guilelessness, and perfect love. E-V-E-R-Y thing that He did, He did to glorify His Father in Heaven. His Will was submitted to that of His Father's. That's where we get into trouble! We're not submitted! We want to get the credit (glory) for all that we do! Yet look back through the Word of God, don't just take "my" word for it. Every place that Jesus gave glory, it was to His Father in Heaven, not to Himself!

We MUST put on Christ! There is no other way by which we can be overcomers of that which comes against us! When we are led into the wilderness (any place where we are not familiar with the "territory") and the devil offers falsity, fables or lies, turn them down! Don't start making truces with him! Don't enter into any "peace agreements" with him. There are NO peace agreements with the devil! S-T-A-N-D!!!

I want you to take note of one thing right here: when Paul listed all the "pieces" of the armour of God (go back and check it out), did you see anything listed for our backs? Let's see, there is the belt (or girdle) of truth, breastplate of righteousness, feet shod with the preparation of the gospel, shield of faith and the helmet of salvation. Now he didn't forget about our backsides! It wasn't an oversight! Read it again and see for yourselves: and having done all, to stand… turn tail and RUN. What? That is NOT how it reads!!! (So why do we do it?) It reads: and having done all, to stand. STAND therefore…

Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw NIGH to God, and HE WILL DRAW NIGH TO YOU. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded. James 4: 7,8. Oh my! No wonder we get overtaken, and our "reasoning" gets all messed up! We try to have (at least) two opinions about everything. We try to "reason" things out to our own carnal understanding. It won't work, it won't work, it won't work! We must have "divine understanding" and that comes about through seeking God and learning the TRUTH of His Word.

S-T-A-N-D! Just stand. Not fight. Simply S-T-A-N-D. That's right, not even fight! The battle is the Lord's! God gives us the armor for our divine protection, but HE fights the battle! Now wouldn't you think that's a grand plan? "Oh my, I may be out here and the sounds of battle are all around me, but all I've got to do is just stand here. Don't have to lift a finger--it's all being done FOR me!" But that's not good enough for us! WE want to be the one cutting the swath of destruction, but all we manage to do is create a patch of confusion! Instead of us relying on God's power, little pipsqueaks that we are, we get all exalted within ourselves and then whine, "Why did God let this happen to me?"

There is NO armor for our backs, my friends and for a very GOOD reason. We are not to run, we are to simply S-T-A-N-D. If we will submit our will to God and get out of His Way, He will have His way in our lives, and His way is that we are victorious through, by, of and in Him! If we will quit interjecting our opinions, our interpretations and seek the mind of Christ, we CAN know the perfect will of God, the truth, for our lives.

Having Done All: STAND!
Unseen forces want to break in on us, so we need to make certain that we know from whence cometh our strength, our armor, our protection, our power, and our victory! After we have done ALL to stand, Paul wrote, STAND!

STANDING in the military is the opposite of falling in battle, fleeing (running away) or yielding. Know this and know it well: for EVERY inch that you yield to the devil, he gains an inch, and with every inch that he gains, he gains favor of gaining still another!

After you have done ALL to stand, STAND. After you have stood, keep standing. Some have overcome and then been overcome because the devil shams defeat. He can cause us to feel we have defeated him, because he knows victory tends to go to a person's head (feeds their EGO). We need to keep the helmet of salvation on. The devil will sham defeat, wait until we relax or let down a bit, and then come back and bring a terrible disaster upon you.

When you have done all to stand, STAND. To STAND is to keep the field until the very last enemy is defeated and destroyed. Our very last enemy is death, which means we must STAND all of our lives! In the sense of our text, to STAND is to face our foes. It does not mean we are to weaken and pity them, contemplate them, make excuses for them, despise them, nor fight them. But we are to STAND there and FACE them, not turn our backs on them.

You may be very weak: STAND.
You may get weary: STAND.
You may feel fear: STAND.
The roar of battle may be deafening: STAND.
The devil may remind you of past defeats: STAND.
You may see others fall: STAND.
Confusion and chaos may be all around you: STAND.
Everything may seem to be against you: STAND.
You may feel all alone: STAND.
We are strong in the Lord, and in the power of HIS might !

God's Plan of Protection For Us
We need to examine our armor. Is it God's divine armour? Breastplates of respectability, self-righteousness, high morals or a good name will not hold us. They are as paper against the darts of the devil. He can set your "high morals" on fire, no matter how elevated they are! All he had to do was shoot one fiery dart at David, who was a man after God's own heart!

The devil gets to us through our minds. When David got ready to commit sin with Bathsheba, he was not thinking about the 23rd Psalm! None of us commit sin when we are meditating on the beautiful truths of God's Word and rejoicing in them! Think about it: the Word of God is what? TRUTH. And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free. John 8:32. Read the very first Psalm: our Christian walk can be like that tree that was planted by the waters. When the devil turns on the heat, our leaves will stay green. Everything that we do will prosper. Why? Because we have on the WHOLE armour of God! We are under God's protection and there is no other protection that even comes close to His! We are living God's WAY. IF we will do what God has shown us to do through His Word and the Holy Spirit, then we need to STAND on it. We CAN be victorious. Is our armor whole and entire? No picking and choosing now--each piece reinforces the others. Sorry, but it's all or none. Leaving off any part of it makes us vulnerable to the attacks of the enemy.

When Paul wrote that we are to "be strong in the Lord and in the power of HIS might", he was talking about what? Oh, that glorious GRACE of God. GRACE is God's strength in our human selves. We need to let GRACE sustain us. We need to depend ENTIRELY upon it. GRACE is glory militant, and glory is GRACE triumphant. God gives us GRACE in the midst of battle ("His GRACE is sufficient..."), and when we have overcome, that indescribable GRACE turns into glory. The GRACE of God will strengthen us and the glory of God will inspire us.

We must keep our eyes on things eternal. We must weigh every day, every way, every circumstance in the light of eternity. If we allow our eyes to stray from the prize, we will lose our focus. The devil wants to get our minds as far removed as he can from the thoughts of eternity. He wants to get us bogged down in the present. And while we have to exist in the here and now, we must forever and ever keep our eyes on things eternal. Things of this earth are temporal (temporary), only for a while. They fade away, they are destroyed. But those things which are eternal are everlasting.

We must be EVER mindful to weigh our deeds and our thoughts in the light of the fact that we will again face them at the Judgment Bar of God. For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad. II Corinthians 5:10. We MUST keep our minds on things eternal. Think about that final day. We are going to appear before the King of Kings, and we will either stand or fall. The only way we will be able to stand is when we have first done ALL.

God has a divine plan of salvation whereby He saves us and keeps us. And it does not include all the straying that a lot of folks go through. Our salvation through Jesus Christ is protected by another design of God's: His WHOLE armor. Paul called it the armour of God. We must do what He tells us to do. When we are obedient to Him and His Will, we are under His divine protection and there is NO safer place to be!

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