Feel like the walking wounded? Wondering how and why you’ve got to this point of defeat? You are not alone. Many Christians feel defeated. We are in a spiritual war. The best way to defend yourself from an enemy and march to victory is to be aware of the tactics used to attack you. Here are just a few of the most common tactics and their remedies. Pray them through to victory.
1. Separation / Divide and Conquer - One of the most successful tactics used by Satan is to divide and conquer. A predator will look for stragglers because alone they make easy prey. A lion hunts by looking for those separated from the herd. Satan is a prowling lion (1 Peter 5:8-9). On your own, you are easy pickings for the enemy. A soldier of one is much easier to defeat than an army that is one. Satan seeks to discourage you with a burden too heavy to bear. Then he tricks you into trying to bear it alone. You may be strong and able to hold out pretty long on your own. But eventually you’ll wilt under the weight of your burden and be crushed. Feel crushed? Then Satan’s tactics are working.
What's the remedy? Fellowship: The Lord has built His church to be a place of burden bearing. We all have loads we are responsible to carry. But there are burdens in life that are too large for any one person to bear. The church is where we "Bear one another's burdens and fulfill the law of Christ" (Gal. 6:2; see Gal. 6:2-5). It's in fellowship where we come together and help each other. It's in fellowship that we find an encouraging word, a word of wisdom, some empathy and understanding. It's in fellowship that Jesus puts His arm around us through others. Don't neglect the fellowship, it can be spiritually deadly (see Heb. 10:24-25).
2. Starvation - The enemy will try and starve you out. He does this by distracting you or making you too busy to spend time in God's word. God's word is our spiritual food (Job. 23:12; 1 Pet. 1:22 - 2:3). Someone has said, "Seven days without God's word makes one weak." Once the enemy gets you in a weakened spiritual condition he ruthlessly begins to attack your thoughts. He discourages you about who you are as a Christian - "You call yourself a Christian? You don't even read the Bible?" He will discourage you about the way you're living. “You did what?” He'll discourage you with doubts. “If God loved you would this have happened to you?” He'll try to get you to buy the lie that there's no hope. “There is no God!” He wants to starve you out spiritually and get you to give up. Don’t let Him do it!
The remedy? Feed on God's word. The Bible states, "For whatever things were written before were written for our learning, that we through the patience and comfort of the Scriptures might have hope" (Rom. 15:4). You can get renewed hope by getting back into God's word (Psalm 119:42, 74, 81, 114, 147). Start with Philippians. Read Psalm 31, 34, 37, 42, 73 for a start. Look up the scriptures noted in this study. Pray about where the Lord would have you dig into His word. But get into it. Even if you don't feel like it. We are to walk by faith not the sight of feelings (2 Cor. 5:7). Find a quiet place, a solitary place; it may be in your car parked. Get alone with the Lord and let Him speak to you through His word (Heb. 4:12).
3. Suffocation - The enemy will try and get you to stop praying. Prayer is the breath of the Spirit in us. When we pray we breathe spiritually. If the enemy can get you to stop praying, he will suffocate you spiritually. He wants you to react in your own strength. If he can get you reacting on impulse he pretty much has you. When we react to our circumstances rather than seek help from the Lord we act in weakness and usually make things worse. The result is defeat.
The remedy? Satan trembles when he sees the weakest saint upon their knees. "Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus" (Phil. 4:6-7). Prayer should be our scout. Prayer is our line of communication with the Commander of our souls Jesus. Prayer is our rear guard to protect us from ambushes. Prayer is our declaration of dependence on God. Prayer brings Almighty God into our life equation. Prayer is an invitation to God to help us. Pray!
4. Stagnation - God's people were built to worship. Therefore, the enemy wants to quench the song God has put in your heart. Sometimes he will do that by drowning out the song of the Lord in your heart with other music or static. He may try to shout you down. He wants to make you like a canary that's lost her tune. He wants to take the heart right out of you.
The remedy? Worship the Lord! Worship is an act of faith. Worship is an incredibly powerful spiritual weapon. There are instances in the Bible where God used His people’s worship to defeat the enemy! (see 2 Chronicles 20). When the enemy comes in like a flood, let the Spirit of God raise up a standard against him (Isaiah 59:19). "I will bless the Lord at all times, His praise shall continually be in my mouth" (Psalm 34:1). Take a step of faith and begin to worship the Lord.
Satan is also called "Lucifer" and it is likely that before his fall he was in charge of worship in heaven (see Ezekiel 28:13-14). He is therefore, very adept at using music to attack us. He uses a song or tune to bring to mind something in our memory that is less than holy, discouraging, dark and he weaves his web of lies to ensnare us. Don't let him do it! Answer with God's Song Book of Psalms. Put on some good worship music. Literally sing and worship the Lord. To the enemy, your song to the Lord is like nails scraping on a blackboard. He can't stand it. "Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you" (James 4:7).
We are in a spiritual battle. God has given us weapons to fight with so that our situations can be brought under control and the enemy can be defeated (2 Cor. 10:3-5; Eph. 6:10-18). Remember one all important truth in this battle - THE ENEMY IS ALREADY DEFEATED - "having wiped out the handwriting of requirements that was against us, which was contrary to us. And He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross. Having disarmed principalities and powers, He made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them in it" (Col. 2:14-15). Satan our enemy has been defeated. We are only fighting skirmishes. When Satan tries to discourage you, just remind him who the winner is, Jesus. If he brings up your past to discourage you, bring up his future to defeat him. Fight the good fight of faith!