This is from the current issue of the “Strength” email. The nature of this issue is such that I wanted to post it immediately here, on the heels of the “Lady Soldier” posts. This is a result of a precious late-night meeting I had with my Savior a few weeks ago. I could not sleep, and so opened my Bible (I had the luxury of just flipping the light on and reading in bed, as I was visiting a friend, while enroute to a ladies retreat).
We are not ignorant of his devices” (2 Cor. 2:11)
This is gravely serious material. I am always cautious when addressing matters concerning the adversary. I do not spend much time recounting his exploits and destructive attempts in the lives of others, or in my own. His pride does not need to be further inflated, nor his purposes furthered, as humans oddly revel in the fascination thereof.
How have you recognized his “devices” in your life? You know what they are. You could list them right now, if I gave you a piece of paper. Why do you think your soul’s enemy has chosen to focus upon these areas? Well, why did Satan show up to tempt the Lord Jesus following 40 days of fasting in the wilderness? He perceived that the possibility of defeat would be greatly increased if the Lord’s physical humanness could be enticed. If he had the audacity to tempt the Savior, do not ever foolishly assume that you are immune to his attacks.
Bear in mind also that once you are wise to his strategy in a certain area, he will change his tactics. This has been observable in my own life. He is a master of deception, a fierce combatant, a vicious opponent. As a “roaring lion” (1 Pet 5:8), he has an insatiable hunger, is stealthy and aggressive, and seeks weakness and vulnerability. And, what makes him even more heinous is that he disguises himself (2 Cor. 11:14) in the most effective camo in existence. He will never come to you in his hideousness. He will creep toward your spiritual foxhole in the form of soft things, appealing things, sensual things.
By what means does Satan determine effective routes to undermine our spiritual progress in this life? He is not omniscient, so he cannot read our minds. He does not know everything. We do know he was in fellowship with God until his fall…he was in close communion with Him, and observed his dealings with man. That is not to say he understood or now understands all of God’s ways and purposes. He does not. But he can observe and learn from patterns, just as we all do. He and his legions surely must be constantly on the watch, as students of human nature. They can observe what “pushes your buttons” (the annoying client, the couch you covet at the mall, the chocolate fudge gooey glop leftover in your fridge, your husband’s strewn laundry, the illicit billboard). I’m sure they must make mental notes about what causes us grief. C. S. Lewis addresses this idea in his classic entitled “The Screwtape Letters” (Adobe download here, CBD audio book here,) a powerful, insightful work of fiction. I am not encouraging you to be paranoid…but please do not be ignorant.
Think of the book of Job. Satan made the assumption that if God stripped Job of all he had, and pushed him beyond his limitations, that he would turn and curse God. How did he arrive at this supposition? His statement was made because of what he and his minions have observed regarding human nature over many, many centuries. Many professing believers have fallen away when called upon to endure trials and hardship…why not Job? But God knew Job’s heart (something the devil cannot do), and, at the end of the day, there was victory, Job saw his God clearer than ever before, and he came forth as gold.
So, if the “accuser of the brethren” is reliant upon powers of observation in order to formulate his battle plans (this is warfare…daily, continually…the powers of darkness know nothing of “cease fire”–do you get that?), then what he needs to observe from you and from me is a tangible, physical alliance with the One who is greater (1 Jo. 4:4). We are instructed to resist the devil (Jas 4:7), not to attack. How do we resist? Going back to Matthew 4, we use the Lord’s example in wielding the sword of the Spirit…the Word of God. Skillfully, not arbitrarily. God’s word can divide between soul and spirit–this degree of precision is found only in the delicacy of a scriptural scalpel. We need to locate those exact tempered blades of scripture that will be effective in thwarting specific temptations that come our way. We put on the whole armor of God (Eph 6:11ff) and we can “stand”, meaning to “face, stand against”.
How else do we present a united front with the Captain of our salvation…one that is observable to the enemy? We pray. Do not run to Mama or call best friend Susie…unless they will immediately take your hand and lead you before the throne of God. If all they do is hold your hand, give you a shoulder to cry on, and allow you to vent all your frustrations, they are no comrade in arms. That may sound tough, but you are a soldier. Drop to your knees and form that alliance that yields greater power than any human can summon on the horizontal field. Make your allegiance sensibly obvious. The enemy needs to know who he is dealing with…not just scrawny, pitiful you…but with your great and mighty God, Who will fight for you (Deut. 3:22).
You know, in any military conflict there is intensive planning and strategizing that occurs in the “war room”. We need to do the same. Be ready. Plan ahead for the attacks, for they will certainly come. If you are not suited up and ready, you will retreat, exposing your unguarded back to the fiery darts.
This is not a “lady-like” discussion; but it is reality. Warfare is all around us, every day, subtly, cunningly. We become more sensitively aware of it as we immerse ourselves in the Word. Lady soldiers, be on thy guard.