Satan's Playbook and How To Fight Back
I feel like a lot of Christians have the heebie jeebies when it comes to Satan.
It’s like when the abused puppy rescue commercials come on, and everyone immediately turns the channel. People get squirmy when it comes to discussing Satan’s reality in our lives. Most would rather just turn the channel.
But just because you avoid the discussion about the enemy doesn’t mean he doesn’t exist… it just means you probably won’t see the attacks coming.
When I was a teenager, I remember coming to my mom feeling really depressed and defeated. My neck was hot with emotion and tears spilled down my cheeks as I confessed how I felt stuck and scared to move in this season of life. She listened and put her hand on my shoulder.
“Sweetie, it sounds like you've been listening to the enemy’s voice. He’s laying traps for you, and it seems like you’re a little tangled up. But let’s pray. God will break you free from these lies.”
She helped me figure out who’s voice I was hearing. I remember feeling so much clarity. She was wise not only in the ways of God but also in the ways of the enemy -- and that helped me begin to break free.
Especially when God is moving in our lives, we can be sure the enemy is also trying to hinder the good work.
In Ezra chapter 4, it lays out a pretty perfect description of the enemy’s tactics as they were used in Ezra’s life. For a little background, the people of Israel have returned to their native land after years in bondage to the enemy because of disobedience. They are working to rebuild the temple and restore their relationship with God. But the enemy can’t stand for God’s people to be restored to Him or the Kingdom work to be accomplished. So he begins to attack…
Here is how the enemy tried to get in:
- Ezra 4:1 -- “Now when the adversaries heard they were building a temple … they approached.” If you are aligning yourself with God and walking in obedience, be prepared for the enemy to approach. Being prepared isn’t freaking out in fear, but it mean being on guard because our enemy prowls around like a roaring lion.
- Ezra 4:2 -- “They approached and said, “Let us build with you…” The enemy is going to try to unite with you by pretending your goals are the same. I’m sure building a temple was hard, exhausting work. And a little help or relief might seem like a fabulous idea. But Ezra saw through their offer and realized it was a lie.
After Ezra refused to allow them to help, their true colors began to show up quickly. (Which is always a good way to evaluate someone’s motives -- what happens if you tell them “No”?)
Here is how the enemy attacks:
- Discourage (Ezra 4:4) -- This word means to dishearten, make faint, weaken.
- Frighten (Ezra 4:4) -- This word lets us know that the enemy made them afraid, disturbed, rushed, anxious, and nervous.
- Frustrate (Ezra 4:5) -- Their plans were shattered, cracked, and made ineffectual.
- Accuse (Ezra 4:6) -- The enemy wrote letters of accusation hoping to cut, wound, and ultimately make the work stop.
If you look elsewhere in the Bible, these same tactics are used in almost every person’s life who is wholeheartedly following the Lord. The enemy will always approach, bribe/manipulate, and then assault.
If you don’t know it’s coming, you’re likely to get taken out. Because the enemy is stealthy and doesn’t show up in a red costume with a pitchfork. Nope, he uses normal circumstances, relationships, fears, etc., to make you think it’s not him.
It’s important to be aware of his schemes, but more importantly, we must know how to fight against him.
I’ve fought a lot of battles with Satan. And if that didn’t teach me enough, I’ve tried to surround myself with people who’ve been fighting much longer than I have. Their scars, their victories, their confidence in God Most High has helped me endure under pressure and believe in a final victory in heaven.
Here are a few things I’ve learned about how to fight the enemy:
- Based on my last thought, study people who know how to fight well. These are normally older, wiser individuals who have seen their share of ugly battles and yet have witnessed miracles when Jesus showed up. This might be a character in Scripture, a seasoned author, or a wise mentor.
- Know the truth - and the lies. Yes, memorize, study, and read Scripture. Soak it in. But also be aware of the ways the enemy may spin that truth into a lie. It’s his most effective way of getting in too close (Genesis 3). It might be helpful to read Matthew 4 about Jesus being tempted in the wilderness. It’s a perfect example of Satan twisting truth, and how Jesus stands firm.
- Pay attention to your feelings. I’m not saying live by your emotions, but we definitely need to pay attention to what we are feeling and why. If I am feeling defeated, I know that’s not from God. That emotion is the result of believing a lie (or multiple lies). Same for anxiety, fear, shame, and frustration. Our feelings can let us know if Satan’s tactics worked, and then we can begin to untwist the truth from the lies.
- Don’t fight alone. Only Jesus was able to resist Satan alone -- and even then, after the temptation was over, the angels rushed to His side to minister to Him (Matt. 4). We need people watching our backs, our blind-spots, and our weaknesses. It’s easier to resist the attacks if you’re standing next to people who are committed to standing firm. And especially if you are recovering from a season of Satan’s abuse, get around some ministering friends who can guard you and comfort you as you heal.
We live in a battlefield, friends. And our enemy is determined to seek, kill, and destroy. But our God is greater and will fight for us. He’s given us weapons to fight back and stand firm. Let’s learn how to use them, both for ourselves and for our brothers and sisters in Christ.
“Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm. Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace. In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one; and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end, keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints, and also for me, that words may be given to me in opening my mouth boldly to proclaim the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains, that I may declare it boldly, as I ought to speak. (Ephesians 6:10-20, ESV)
Kaysie Strickland is passionate about words + actions proclaiming the reckless restoration available in the gospel. She is married to her best friend on earth, adores her son Charlie, drinks lots of coffee + tea, constantly rearranges the furniture in her house, loves gardening and DIY projects, and enjoys serving women through the ministry of Homes & Havens. You can find her on Instagram | Facebook| Twitter | Blog