enemy tactics

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The Enemy’s Tactics

The Bible tells us to focus on what is true, noble, right, pure, lovely and admirable (Philippians 4:8); but very often this is difficult to put into practice in our daily lives. This is essentially because we are in a spiritual battle against an enemy.

The Crafty Enemy

Whether we acknowledge it or not, the enemy is full of tactics to distract us from obeying God. We are first introduced to the enemy in the garden of Eden. Genesis 3 describes him as ‘crafty’ and we soon find out why.

‘…Did God really say “You must not eat from any tree in the garden”?’ Genesis 3:1 NIV

Notice how the enemy approached Eve. He did not come as a ferocious monster with two horns and a pitchfork or a violent dictator. Nor did he come as an enquiring unbeliever to challenge Eve’s belief in God. The reality is that very often, the enemy comes subtly. He deliberately twists God’s word (2 Corinthians 11:14). Satan’s primary tactic is to deceive you by planting doubts in your mind. This causes you to dig up what you planted in faith. He is called the ‘father of lies’ (John 8:44) for this reason.

The Persistent Enemy

The enemy is also a master of persistence. We read but perhaps do not pay much attention to many examples of this throughout the Bible. In stories like that of Samson and Delilah, Haman (Book of Esther) and Joseph and Potiphar’s wife, we see the enemy’s persistence.

“Though she spoke to Joseph day after day, he refused to go to bed with her or even to be with her.” Genesis 39:10 NIVUK

It’s one thing to be rejected once, or even twice but here we see the enemy persistently trying to lure Joseph into committing adultery and tempting him to compromise his beliefs by disobeying God.

Perhaps the most striking example in the Bible is that of Christ’s temptation in the wilderness (Matthew 4). It wasn’t enough for the enemy to tempt Christ once or twice, but three times!

However, there is hope when faced with the enemy! We have been given the power to overcome him and his tactics. This is not magic formula or ritual but rather continuous conscious decisions to believe God in any situation. We can do this in the following ways.

By knowing and believing His word

Jesus overcame the enemy by knowing God’s word. Joseph would have never stood his ground if he did not believe God and His Word. The unbelieving heart is something we must continually fight against.

“If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth and the truth will set you free.” John 8:31-32 NIVUK

By destroying false perceptions

Adam and Eve fell because of a seemingly trivial false perception. They chose to believe the enemy’s words and doubt God’s. This sums up the core of the sinful state, a state of not believing God. The enemy has a particular way of weaving false perceptions deep into our emotions. Anger, irritability or discouragement often come as a result of believing something specific about ourselves, other people or our circumstances. The question is, what, or who is the source of this belief?

“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” Romans 15:13 NIV

By praying

Sometimes, our prayers may be like that of the man with the epileptic son, “I believe; help my unbelief!” (Mark 9:24). They are desperate, weak and seemingly frail prayers. Other times we find ourselves on hilltops, and it is easy to believe and trust God. Fear and unbelief, however, blinds us in our deepest and darkest valleys. It is in these times we must all learn to pray for help with unbelief. In these moments, we need to allow our feeble faith to cling to our powerful God.

“Pray in the Spirit at all times and on every occasion. Stay alert and be persistent in your prayers for all believers everywhere.” Ephesians 6:18 NLT

If we want to fully experience all that God has for us, we need to recognise and guard against the tactics of the enemy. We do this by knowing and believing God’s Word and praying for strength and guidance. Until this happens, the enemy will continue to use his tactics to sow seeds of doubt and unbelief in our lives. These seeds will eventually produce one bad fruit after another.

 

-AF

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