The Topic of Spiritual Warfare seems to barraging my circles recently. The Lies of the Enemy are real and they are messing with our hearts, our psyches, and threatening to take away our peace. Why is it that when people make the choice to grow closer to God or commit to do His work, things start to get painful?
On one hand, it seems counter intuitive. Aren’t things supposed to get better for us when we get closer to God? (Why else are we pursuing Him then?)
And on the other hand, it makes perfect sense, because our ultimate enemy’s sole purpose to keep us from achieving our goal, without us even knowing it.
But that just means, the closer we get to God, and the more determined we are to follow His plan alone, the more cunning the enemy has to get…
Lies of the Enemy that attack the Faithful Soul
There are countless lies that the enemy uses to wage his was on souls, but Faithful souls, those ones who have already chosen God, are especially tricky to get. We will not be persuaded by just anything. We have made our commitment to our center and we believe that nothing can shake us, until all of a sudden we wake up and wonder what happened.
The enemy’s signature is to make us think that evil is good, for the faithful soul would never be tempted by evil.
Now the serpent was the most cunning of all the wild animals that the Lord God had made. He asked the woman, “Did God really say, ‘You shall not eat from any of the trees in the garden’?” … “You certainly will not die! [from eating the fruit] God knows well that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened and you will be like gods, who know good and evil.” The woman saw that the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eyes, and the tree was desirable for gaining wisdom. So she took some of its fruit and ate it… – Genesis 3:1-6
Lie 1: There is no Spiritual Warfare.
Is everything really coincidence? Do little things not really matter?
Maybe you don’t currently feel a war raging in your life. Do you feel pretty comfortable?
It could be that you are oblivious – but, more than likely, you’ve chosen a side – with or without knowing it.
The enemy plays on our desire for peace, offering us a counterfeit if we swallow his lies. The enemy fights dirty. He likes to win without us even knowing.
Maybe you’ve given in, surrendered, taken the path of least resistance without even recognizing what happened?
But, it is never too late to revolt. Join the battle. Take up arms against the father of lies (john 8:44) and choose to serve the Truth!
I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life. – John 14:6
Lie 2: All these battles “aren’t that bad”, you can fight them yourself.
The Lord is my strength and my shield, […]
The Lord is the strength of his people,
a fortress of salvation for his anointed one. – Psalm 28:7-8
Why do we need the armor of God, a fortress, a stronghold, a deliverer – if it’s “not that bad”??
Is the enemy giving you fake “wins” to make you feel stronger? Is he letting you keep going to your church or prayer groups, as long as when you are not there it doesn’t affect your life?
If the battle is “not that bad”, why do you keep losing? Why do you keep making excuses not to fight?
Lie 3: Food couldn’t be a temptation, it is a necessity
Hint: Everything becomes a distraction when it is more important than God.
Yes, it is true that food is a necessity when it comes to nutrition, and survival. But, be honest. How often are our thoughts of food about nutrition and survival? Food for pleasure or comfort is not necessary. Excess food is not necessary. Fancy food is not necessary. Quenching cravings is not the same as eating for sustenance.
Food is a Gift – not our Responsibility
Think of the Manna in the Desert (Exodus 16). It was delicious and it was supplied fresh, every day without fail. When they tired and grumbled of that gift, quail were sent for meat. And yet, still they grumbled. They wished to return to Egypt for spices! God had just answered their prayers and they wished to return to their bondage for SPICES!?!?! When the manna tasted of coriander seed and honey!?!?!
But, have we changed all that much? Our focus on food has become one of whim and entitlement. We work hard to make sure we can have whatever we want whenever we want it. We waste what is given to us. We consider snacks and sweet drinks a necessary staple in our diets, but is that really true?
Has food become what motivates us more than God? What are you fighting for?
Proof that the enemy uses food as a temptation:
1st Temptation of Jesus in the Desert
After fasting forty days and forty nights, He was hungry. The tempter came to him and said, “If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread.” Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.’” – Matthew 4:2-4
- How to Practice Spiritual Fasting in a Sustainable Way
- 8 Responsibilities of the Faithful Christian in Spiritual Warfare
Lie 4: Rest could not be a temptation, it is a necessity
Hint: Everything becomes a distraction when it is more important than God.
The Lord says:
Come to Me… and I will GIVE you rest. – Matthew 11:28
He doesn’t say, Make sure you take your rest often so that you will have strength for the journey. No! He says:
Take My yoke upon you… – Matthew 11:29
Are you taking your rest or is it being given to you?
- laziness or oversleeping just because it feels good
- bingewatching shows while neglecting other responsibilities
- rejecting requests for help or volunteer services, because you’d rather stay home and do nothing
- wasting time on phones
- too much self care (See also: True Me-Time – How to fill up when Life sucks the Life out of you)
- The Reward for Giving your All – Is it Worth It?
- When your Burdens are Just too Heavy…
- The Role of Goals in the Christian Life
Lie 5: Money/Possessions is not a temptation, it is a necessity
Hint: Everything becomes a distraction when it is more important than God. (Are you starting to see a pattern?)
Yes, money is a necessity, but it is not your responsibility.
It is your responsibility to be responsible with your time and your gifts.
Render unto Caesar, yes, but render unto Caesar what is given to you from the generous bounty of the Most High – Don’t work for Caesar.
Did the disciples earn the coin they used to pay the temple tax? No, it came from a fish. (Matthew 17:27)
Did the 5,000 have to earn those 6 months wages to buy their bread on mountainside? The disciples told Our Lord to send the people away to BUY food for themselves, but, No, they had come seeking Him and He fed them without having to spend a cent. (John 6:1-14, Matthew 14:13-21, Luke 9: 12-17, Mark 6:31-44)
More passages refuting this lie:
Do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? – Matthew 6:25
Everyone who has given up houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or lands for the sake of my name will receive a hundred times more, and will inherit eternal life. – Matthew 19:29
“If you wish to be perfect, go, sell what you have and give to [the] poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.” When the young man heard this statement, he went away sad, for he had many possessions. – Matthew 19:21-22
Lie 6: Thinking that it depends on you
“I have to protect my kids.”
“I have to know what to do in every situation.”
“I am responsible for fixing my marriage.”
“I have to change myself.”
“I have to get all this done.”
“My mistakes are irreversible / unforgivable.”
No! This is FAR too much responsibility. We cannot bear it.
For if anyone thinks he is something when he is nothing, he is deluding himself. – Galations 6:3
Give your yoke to Him and only take His.
Apart from me you can do nothing… John 15:5
You can only do what you can do. God will take care of the rest.
Be at peace with that.
Lie 7: Thinking: God’s Work is too Big – I can’t do anything about it
This often manifests itself in fear, excuses, and quitting.
But alas, look at the examples of Jeremiah, Moses, and Mary…
“Ah, Lord God!” I said,
“I do not know how to speak. I am too young!”
But the Lord answered me,
Do not say, “I am too young.”
To whomever I send you, you shall go;
whatever I command you, you shall speak. – Jeremiah 1:6-7
But Moses protested to the Lord, “Since I am a poor speaker, how is it possible that Pharaoh will listen to me?” – Exodus 6:30
Mary said to the angel, “How can this be, since I have no relations with a man?” – Luke 1:34
Yes, you can! You CAN do something, You can offer yourself in His service and ask Him to use you. You are correct in thinking that you cannot do everything, but you’re not called to do everything. In the case of Jeremiah and Moses, who did the people listen to, young Jeremiah and stuttering Moses? No, They listened to God. Did Mary alone conceive her child? No! The Holy Spirit came upon her and the power of the Most High overshadowed her (Luke 1:35).
I have only to offer myself as a vessel for God to work through me…. and then not stop Him.
The Lord didn’t accept their excuses, why should He accept yours?
Lie 8: Power/Control/Respect is necessary to make change
How could I possibly make change or do what I am called to do if I have no power, control, or respect?
The devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor. “All this I will give you,” he said, “if you will bow down and worship me.” Jesus said to him, “Away from me, Satan! For it is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only.’ – Matthew 4:8-10
Christ had no power, no control and yet, I ask you, did He make change?
Power is not necessary in a society to make change, and being respected is not necessary as a parent.
Control is completely incompatible with love.
This is why God is freedom. He is Love (1 John 4:8) – and love makes change.
God makes change. Not me.
Lie 9: If people are upset, I must be doing something wrong
Are you sure about that?
The Romans were upset, the Pharisees were upset, the money changers were upset, Judas was upset. People tried to stone Jesus. Disciples left Jesus.
Was He doing something wrong? Obviously not.
Goodness always challenges complacency.
Complacent people don’t like getting their feathers ruffled. Does that mean we should not choose to do good?
Who are you serving? God or people?
What about serving God in People?
There must be some degree of value in kindness and making others happy, right?
Yes, but we must serve others as Christ asks us to serve them. But, we must serve Christ in them and not attempt to serve their whims.
- As a mother: I have a hard time trying to decide what to make for dinner. I want everybody to be happy and I feel guilty that I am not doing my job well enough if I can’t make everyone happy all the time.
- As a wife: Often I choose not to do something I felt was important or good, in favor of doing something I thought he would like or make him happy. But, it never works out. In fact, it leaves me feeling disheartened, unaccomplished (because I didn’t get what I knew I was supposed to get done done), and guilty that I must just have not “done it well enough”.
- At Work: Talk about opportunities for customer service guilt! Restaurants, retail, etc…
- In Parenting: Some parents control their children through guilt… making the child feel that they will never be able to live up to their expectations.
Trying to serve others whims only causes guilt. We will never be able to make people happy.
The enemy uses guilt to keep us caught in this trap, encouraging us to waste all our energy chasing this impossible goal of pleasing others in the name of good.
If only all the world were able to live by this standard:
Seek never to please me, but only Him. Then I will be pleased.
Lie 10: I sound crazy & People think I’m crazy. Therefore, I must be crazy.
Remember, they called Him crazy.
As long as you have a sure foundation and you have DEEP peace that you are acting within God’s plan for you. If you are certain that you have prayed, sought council, and dutifully pondered your decisions or your words, you should not let what anyone else says hold you back. This is God’s plan for YOU, not anybody else.
They don’t have to understand it in order for it to be true.
Remember the words I have said to you, “No servant is greater than His master.” If they persecuted me, they will persecute you too. – John 15:20
Lie 11: Twisting God’s words to justify self-service or service to anyone/anything else
I am the Lord your God […] You shall not have other gods beside me. You shall not make for yourself an idol or a likeness of anything in the heavens above or on the earth below or in the waters beneath the earth; you shall not bow down before them or serve them. – Exodus 20:2-5
You can’t spout off Bible verses about persecution when someone challenges your selfish or unwise choices. You can’t cite, “Give to Caesar”, or 1 Timothy 5:8 (about taking care of your family) to justify an inordinate hoarding of wealth. When people’s lives are hard because they have made bad choices, it is not because “the way is narrow”, but rather, that they are experiencing the consequences of their bad choices.
The road is narrow when you make good choices.
We are constantly given the choice to choose God.
That’s the ultimate battle – and our ONLY true responsibility
It all comes down to this one thing.
No matter what choice you have to make –