What is it?
Everyone has questioned thoughts that have come into their mind at some point or another. Spiritual warfare is battling these thoughts in an attempt to think or do good things. As a child, my mother once told me the story of having an angel on one shoulder and a devil on the other. The secret is understanding how to differentiate between the two. You must learn God’s Word to understand his ways and voice.
What are Satan’s tactics?
Satan, also known as the Prince of the Air, knows when you’re most vulnerable and is constantly waiting for an opportunity to interject your thoughts. The very moment you become angry, he screams RETALIATE! When your mind is weakened by alcohol or drugs, he’s there to entice you with lewdness and debauchery. When you’re feeling down, he insists that you’re worthless and unfit to live. If a day should come when food is sparse, he would exclaim that you must steal or even kill to keep yourself alive.
How do we combat him?
Jesus gave us three perfect examples of how to be victorious over Satan’s temptations in the Gospels. On every occasion he began with three simple, yet powerful words, “It is written.” By learning God’s Word, you can have victory over Satan’s flattery. In James 4:7, we’re told to resist the devil and he will flee from us. When he screams RETALIATE, remember the scripture, “Repay no one evil for evil.” When tempted to get drunk or do drugs, remember, “Do not be drunk” and “Be Sober.” When tempted with adulterous and lustful thoughts, remember, “You shall not covet.” When tempted with suicide or murder, remember “You shall not murder.”
In Romans 12:2, we’re advised not to conform to this world, but to be transformed by the renewing of our minds. When you begin to have evil thoughts or desires, you should immediately refocus your attention on something good. At Philemon 4:8, we read, “Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy — meditate on these things.”
Furthermore, we don’t need to take any matter into our own hands. God knows everything we’re going through and wants us to pray and trust that he will give us strength to get through it. He’s called us to overcome evil with good, all the way to our very own death. Stephen, being one of the first martyrs in the book of Acts to follow the Lord’s example, prayed that God would forgive those who were stoning him – in the very act.
Lastly, take this passage to heart from 1st Peter, Chapter 5, verse 8:
“Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. Resist him, steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same sufferings are experienced by your brotherhood in the world. But may the God of all grace, who called us to His eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after you have suffered a while, perfect, establish, strengthen, and settle you. To Him be the glory and the dominion forever and ever. Amen.”