" . . . that you may be able to successfully stand up against all the
One of the most vital keys in a war, is to know your enemy -- his strengths, his weaknesses, his weapons, etc. Thank God, the work has already been done in this area for us. We need not send out reconnaissance (a military examination of tract by detachment to locate enemy or ascertain strategic features). The Word of God exposes every strength, weapon and weakness of the enemy.
In this chapter, we will closely study the methods of the other side, that we might know how to attack and be ready to defend ourselves when attacks come. To understand the full nature of our enemy, we will look at his name and his activities according to Scripture.
First, he is called an accuser and a slanderer:
This is clearly illustrated in Job 1:9-11:
"So satan answered the Lord and said, `Does Job fear God for nothing?' Have you not made a hedge around him, around his household, and around all that he has on every side? You have blessed the work of his hands, and his possessions have increased in the land. But now, stretch out Your hand and touch all that he has, and he will surely curse You to Your face!"
Satan is an accuser by nature. The word "devil" means accuser.
This was epitomized once just after I had finished preaching in the open air. For nearly two years, a young lady (who was so demonically controlled, I was able to use her as a spiritual barometer to gauge the anointing), regularly heckled me. Ninety percent of the time she did nothing else but accuse. I had just disembarked from my ladder when a woman handed me a carnation. I felt stupid standing there holding it so I passed it to a beer-drinking, tattooed young lady who looked as though no one had ever given her flowers. The whole incident, from my receiving the flower, to passing it on, took about ten seconds. As the first lady handed it to me, my heckling lady friend shouted, "Aha, receiving flowers from strange women!" Then as I passed the flower onto Miss Tattoos, she yelled "Ungrateful!" There was no way I could win. That incident epitomizes the accusations of the devil.
A phrase that you may have heard in Christian circles is, "pleading the blood." This is a legitimate and effective weapon against the accuser.
In a sense we are standing in the eternal court of Almighty God. Satan is the prosecutor (accuser); God is the Judge; Jesus is the counsel for our defence (Advocate); and we are the accused. Satan points his accusing finger toward us and calls for retribution. What do we plead . . . innocent or guilty? The answer is neither. We are neither innocent, for we have transgressed the Law of God, nor guilty, for the blood of Jesus has washed our sins away. So, we plead "the blood." What we are doing in pleading the blood is saying, "Satan, the blood of Christ hasn't just covered the evidence of our sins; it has completely washed them away -- our sins no longer exist. Our case will be dismissed for a lack of evidence!" We are able to say,
As long as we remain free from sin, satan has no grounds to accuse -- we need never even feel guilty:
If satan isn't busy accusing you to yourself, you can be sure that he's busy slandering your name elsewhere. Jesus said,
I find it hard to keep up with the enemy's lies. Years ago I was involved in drug prevention work, and heard that I was "Mr. Big" in the drug world, that I've done six years in prison, that I smoke dope, that I own two properties, that I own a very expensive car and that I had terminal cancer. Our attitude to all these things is to "rejoice and be exceedingly glad;" satan only fires his bullets at soldiers who are a threat to him.
If you hear a rumor about a brother or sister, defuse it if you can. Say to the person who is passing the poison, that you will do your best to find out the truth. You don't want to be an instrument of satan to discredit a fellow soldier of Christ. Satan is also the blinder of the minds of men:
Notice that the Scriptures speak of the Gospel as being light, and the sinner as being in darkness. This darkness of the mind is also substantiated by Ephesians 4:17,18:
This is why it is so vital to use the Law of God when witnessing to a sinner, "For by the Law is the knowledge of sin." Remember that Paul said, "I had not known sin, but by the Law." As the sinner begins to see himself in the light of the Law of God, it gives him something to measure himself by. He begins to understand what sin is. He will only call for mercy when he understands that he needs to call for mercy.
Satan hates Christians grasping why God gave His Law. He knows that when they work with the Holy Spirit and use the Law to convince and convict men of sin, there will be more soldiers enlisted in the Army of God. The decision to follow Jesus is not made in blindness, nor from an emotive response, but from a clear understanding of the issues of salvation.
Those who preach judgment, but fail to use the Law to give the sinner something to measure himself by, will either produce a spurious conversion or one who lacks gratitude. If Hell alone is preached, those who come to a decision do so solely out of fear, and not out of repentance. He flees from the wrath to come but deep in his heart he considers God unjust. He doesn't see himself worthy of Hell because he hasn't seen sin as being "exceedingly sdingly sinful," which comes only by the Commandment (Romans 7:13). This state of deception hides from him the true nature of Calvary's cross. He fails to see it as an expression of God's love for undeserving sinners.
Satan is also a counterfeiter. He has created a massive religious system which masquerades as God's representative on earth:
Satan can disguise himself as an angel of light. This is why it is vital for us to exercise godly discernment. We are to judge prophecy, test the spirit, walk in wisdom, watch for wolves, mark those who cause division in the ranks, and to look for fruit of genuine conversion.
In 1 Peter 5:8, we are told that our enemy the devil is as a roaring (noisy) lion. Here he is called an adversary. The Greek word used is antidikos, which primarily means an appointment in a law suit (accuser):
Notice that we are told to be sober and vigilant. In other words, we are to stay attentive to the workings of the enemy.
When God chose Gideon's army for him, He chose soldiers who knelt by the water and cupped their hands to drink. He did not choose those who took their eyes off the enemy to drink. We are exhorted to resist him, steadfast in the faith, taking consolation that other Christians are involved in the very same battle we are involved in.
Another tactic of the enemy is to bring division into the ranks by creating false impressions, and bringing about misunderstandings (2 Thessalonians 2:9-10). The way to deal with this is to have good lines of communication with each other.
In 1 Timothy Chapter 3, Paul speaks of the enemy laying "snares." These land mines often lie hidden beneath the surface of the path upon which we walk. To tread on one can be extremely injurious and can even destroy one's ministry. Paul's words to Timothy are,
Some years ago, I fell right into one of these snares. Sue and I had been flown to do a series of meetings and speak in a number of schools in a certain district. In those days, I would use the subject of drug abuse as a springboard to the Gospel by making out a list of questions such as, "Have you ever used drugs?", "Do you think Christianity is a legitimate answer to the drug problem?" There were about fifteen questions in all. At the end of the week, a newspaper reporter interviewed me as to what I had been doing during the week. I told him that I had visited five schools and spoken on the subject of drug abuse. I named the schools that had allowed me to speak to their students.
At the end of the interview, the subject of the survey arose. The reporter suggested that we count how many students had actually experimented with marijuana. I was amazed to find that one in four had used the drug at one time or another. We parted, then Sue and I left for our flight home.
The day after arriving home, I received a long distance call from the area in which I had ministered. It was a radio reporter, who opened the conversation with "We would be interested in asking you a few questions . . . you've made headlines up here!" It turned out that the reporter had entitled his stour students used marijuana . . . " Then he named the schools I had visited. The article gave the distinct impression that I had left the schools our students used marijuana . . . " Then he named the schools I had visited. The article gave the distinct impression that I had left the schools who let me speak, and betrayed their trust by going straight to the newspapers. The story was also run on network radio and nationwide television.
Over the next few days I received a stream of letters from principals and Christians who spoke of things such as prudence and ethics. I ended up writing a mass of letters of apology in an attempt to clean up the mess I had made.
Perhaps the most used weapon in the enemy's arsenal is depression.
Sometimes depression can come because of circumstance, and sometimes we can find ourselves depressed for no apparent reason. Whatever the case, whether natural or spiritual, the depressed Christian is a weak Christian. The joy of the Lord is his strength and when there is no joy, there is no strength.
There are times that most of us are as David, talking to our soul and asking why it is cast down. We know that we should rejoice, yet the weight of depression seems to stop us. For such a condition, I believe I have a remedy.
More than likely, the "natural" circumstance, which has caused us to be in a state of despondency, has a "spiritual" origin. The Scriptures tell us that we "wrestle not against flesh and blood." Satan wants to render us ineffective.
Let's say that someone has told me that "Brother Smith" has been offended by me. It's nothing I've said or done, he just doesn't like me, yet because I work with him I have to rub shoulders with him every day. Suddenly, I find that I am thinking negative thoughts about this man. In fact, I can't stop thinking about it. I seem to be trapped by my thought-life and say, "I will not think anymore about the situation; I forgive him for his attitude. I put the whole situation out of my mind!" Then before I know it, I am chewing the whole thing over again. The more I say, "I will not think about it," the more it plagues me. I become depressed and lose my joy, and the last thing I feel like, is doing battle.
If you have had such an experience, take heart and take heed, this remedy works. When the enemy hurls the grenade of depression at you, throw it back at him with one of your own. Turn a negative into a positive.
This is how to prepare the explosive. Take a pen and paper and write down what you hope to achieve in God. Write down everything you think God would like to see happen in your life. Then write down everything you think satan would not like to see happen in your Christian walk. Now shape those things into a positive prayer/confession.
This will be mine for Brother Smith's situation:
Type or write down that prayer of affirmation, and appropriate it to your particular situation. Have it photocopied three or four times, and keep one in your pocket, one by your bed and one in your car or at work. Read it aloud, if possible, every time your negative thought comes. This will have the effect of satan reminding you to pray that prayer. Every time that negative thought comes, it will be like a bell ringing saying, "How about praying that prayer of positive confession?" Instead of wearing you down, he will be building you up. You will be turning a negative into a positive.
This works, but you must be diligent. Even if you find yourself thinking negatives straight after you have prayed the prayer. Just say, "So it's going to be hand-to hand combat is it!" Grit your teeth and pray it again, and again. Soon you won't have to look at the paper. You will find yourself automatically praying the second that negative thought comes. And by the way, expect an answer to that prayer.
In closing this chapter, let's briefly look at other names and titles of the enemy. He is called the god and prince of this world (2 Corinthians 4:4, John 12:31). He seeks to hinder the work of God (1 Thessalonians 2:18). He is a liar, the father thereof and the inspirer of lies (John 8:44, 1 Peter 5:8). He is a murderer and a devourer (1 Peter 5:8, John 8:44). He is the promoter of pride (Genesis 3:5, 1 Timothy 3:6). He is the ruler of darkness (Acts 26:18, 2 Corinthians 6:14, 1 John 2:9-11). He is the stimulator of lusts (Ephesians 2:2-3). He is the suppressor of the Word of God (Matthew 13:38-39), and he is the tempter (Luke 4:1-13).
Thank God for His Word! Can you imagine trying to fight the enemy without this War Manual to expose satan's strategies? Let any attempts by the enemy to discourage you, encourage you. They are actually a compliment to your potential in God.
Early in 1984, God directed me to withdraw from street preaching to encourage evangelical outreach within the Body of Christ. After nearly a year without the expression of open air evangelism, I felt that I was beginning to dry up, so I decided to spend lunchtimes on Thursdays back on my ladder.
As I embarked upon my inaugural oratory, a woman in her mid-sixties approached me, reached up, grasped my arm and asked, "What does it say in Hebrews 12 about chastening?" I quoted the requested portion of Holy Writ. She then asked, "What comes after that?" I said that I didn't know. Then she, in an angry tone said, "If ye be without chastisement, then ye are bars--rds!" As she did so, she began to hit me furiously. I grabbed her arm and said, "If you keep hitting me like this, it will draw me a big crowd!" That disgusted her and she walked away...it was so good to be back.
Back to Evangelism page