I had a yard sale on Saturday. As I was getting dressed that morning I put on a shirt that had a statement of faith on it and as I put it on I heard the Holy Spirit tell me it would induce an argument. “Bring it”, I thought, ready to defend my faith against any unbelievers. But the day went on and produced nothing but lovely, friendly people and I quickly forgot the word of caution from that morning.
When the sale was over I sat alone in my garage, resting from the busy day. An old man pulled up, got out and began looking around at the stuff I had not yet put away. He made small talk, and then asked me a simple question about my shirt. That question lead to another question and before I knew it he had me whizzing all over my Bible, looking up Greek and Hebrew translations, and consulting my Ryrie and Matthew Henry commentaries.
We talked for over 90 minutes before I realized what he was so skillfully and cunningly doing. After all, he wasn’t arguing against my faith, he claimed to be a fellow believer! But he relentlessly challenged my understanding of the basis of my faith and used subtly twisted scripture to bend things to his opinion. After he left I sat there thinking, “What was that?!”. Then I remembered my warning from that morning. I hadn’t even seen it! I spent some time with God going over the events and these are the things that were revealed to me that I got wrong:
- I didn’t take the warning seriously. The Bible tells us that Satan roams about like a lion seeking those he may devour ( 1 Peter 4:8). How many of us take that to heart? People in war torn nations, where there is the constant threat of attack, LIVE like it! Do we? Do we live like every second of every day Satan is actively seeking a way to destroy our lives and our souls for eternity? It’s not just a garage sale show down, this is serious, life and death stuff at stake here and we need to stay sober and vigilant.
- I didn’t armor up. A soldier doesn’t enter the battlefield without their armor and weapons and neither should we. At least not if we expect to survive! The belt of Truth of Who God is and what Jesus did secures our breastplate of righteousness and gives a resting place for our shield of Faith. Our time in the Word sharpens the blade with which we beat back the lies. I should have prayed that morning for strength and wisdom and found some Word to stand on. Instead I went to war in flip flops and shorts, slinging price tags for arrow and was predictably unprepared.
- Because everything seemed ok I was lulled into a false sense of safety, leaving myself wide open. We may not always be able to see or feel it, but the devil is relentlessly at work trying to find or create cracks in our armor. He WANTS us to forget he is there so we let our guard down. But rather than focus on him and what he’s doing, we should focus on God and what He promises to do. As sure as the attacks will come, so will God be faithful to those who love Him so staying in relationship with Him is vital.
- I let my pride get in the way. I relied on my own understanding and developed the scenario of how I was sure things would play out, allowing myself to be completely blindsided. 2 Corinthian 11:14 tells us that Satan comes disguised as an angel of light. Or friendly old men. Or whatever form he knows will be the most deceiving to you. Do we think we know the problems we are facing and prepare for attacks only on those fronts? There are no areas of our lives that Satan considers off limits and there are no tactics he won’t use, we can never underestimate him. We need to give every area of our lives over to God and His protection so that He can keep our bases covered.
- I over estimated myself and relied on my own strength. Satan has been doing this since the beginning of time and he’s been studying us since the day we were born. On our own we are no match for our adversary. But as believers we are not to rely on our own strength but to trust in the Lord. He is our strength, our refuge. “The Lord will fight for you, you need only be still” (Ex. 14:14). It took me way too long to recognize the attack and delayed me calling out for help. “ ‘Not by might, not by power, but by my Spirit’, says the Lord Almighty.” Zach 4:6. Only through Jesus and the Holy Spirit do we have any power against Satan and His attacks. If we let Him lead us through every moment of every day, we don’t have to worry about being unprepared for whatever Satan brings.
Satan may be cunning, but “Greater is He who is in you, than he who is in the world” (1 John 4:4). Heed this cautionary tale from a bruised but not beaten warrior. Time is too short and the price too precious. Light your lamps and stay watchful!