A few years ago, in the course of one week, the hot-water heater broke, water pipes burst in the ceiling of our living room, and the showerhead fell off in the bathroom. In the midst of organizing cleanup and repairs, I was confronted with friction between family members as well as problems with my ministry staff. I was tempted to lose my temper, to worry instead of trust, and to neglect my prayer life. What looked like ordinary frustration on the surface was actually something more sinister. I began to see how Satan attacks our weakened defenses in the mundane areas of our lives.
The model for battling the enemy of our soul was established for us by the Lord Jesus Himself. Immediately following the spiritual blessing He received at His baptism—when the Father leaned out of heaven and said, "This is My Son"—Jesus was led by the Holy Spirit into the desert "to be tempted by the devil" (Matt. 4:1-11). There are important issues for us to glean from this event:
• Don't rest in success. Notice the timing of Satan's attack in Matthew 4; it came on the heels of a very sacred and spiritually thrilling moment. Often, after the benediction comes the battle. What incredible blessing has God recently given you? Whether it involves your ministry, your family, your career, or your personal walk with God, watch out! Satan often targets us when we are off-guard—when we're relaxing in a victory achieved, or an honor received.
• Stay in God's will. Jesus was in God's will when the enemy assaulted Him. Have you ever struggled to carry out what you thought was God's plan, thinking, If it's this hard, it can't be God's will, and therefore you decided to quit? Well, just because you're doing the right thing doesn't mean you're safe. Satan attacks those in God's will, too. And it's important not to fall back on your own devices when things look bleak. God's will is the safest place we can be, regardless of the circumstances.
• Know God's Word. Each time Jesus was attacked, He countered with "For it is written … " The Word of God is called "the sword of the Spirit" because it is our primary offensive weapon against temptation and evil (Eph. 6:17). And if Jesus used it to defeat the devil, why should it be any different for us?
Our Lord Jesus Christ gripped His sword and effectively countered every thrust of the enemy. Following Christ's example—and empowered by His Spirit—we can win our daily battles with the enemy, too. Remember, "The One who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world" (1 John 4:4).
Anne Graham Lotz is founder and president of AnGeL Ministries, www.angelministries.org.
Copyright © 2005 by the author or Christianity Today/Today's Christian magazine.
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