It is weird for me to wake up to start a new work-week and to have the first thing I hear be the Lord’s voice cautioning me. He usually speaking encouragement to me before my feet ever hit the floor. The Holy Spirit will then begin to mentally order my day for me, reminding me of The Who, What, When and Where of my next twenty-four hours. That may sound a little strange for some of you, but it really is how he has established our beginning-of-a-new-day communication patterns. Today, it was different. Here is what I hear before I was even fully out of sleep:
“Jeff, expect an uptick of the enemy’s activity this week. He is mad at you.”
Well, then…I suppose it does not get much clearer than that.
So what does one do with a caution like that from the Lord? First, I should expect to see the assignment of the enemy played out in my closest relationships. I will pray more for my wife and children today because I have learned that the agents of hell love to exploit family relationships in order to accomplish their goals. Next, I will doubly guard the areas of my known weaknesses. We all own some consistent “trouble spots” in our lives. Perhaps it is an area of a particular temptation. It might be a repeat-offender weakness in our attitude. Maybe there is an area in our lives that stubbornly resists the oil of the Holy Spirit, therefore it is brittle, bitter or broken. The devil likes to put a flame to those areas. Whatever the known weaknesses may be, years of spiritual warfare have taught me that the enemy strikes the fastest and hardest in those places we are most vulnerable. Most warfare occurs in the mind, so I need to be proactive in filling my mind with those things that are “true…honorable…just…pure…lovely…commendable…excellent… and worthy of praise” (Philippians 4:8). Our proactive approach to the ongoing reality of spiritual warfare is often all it takes to motivate the enemy to leave us alone and focus his efforts elsewhere.
Another thing I do when I am aware of elevated movement from the enemy is to reorient my schedule to afford more time to stay in the Scripture and to pray. Fortunately for me today, I already had planned to be in the prayer room at IHOP Atlanta, worshiping, reading and listening for further instructions from the throne room. Simply put, there are times when all of us need to carve out some seclusion with the Father in order to be still before Him, and to receive the good that He desires to pour into us. God is omnipotent, and He can do anything He desires, but He prefers to pour into His children when they are still rather than us testing Him to see what He can offer us as moving targets. Our stillness intimidates the enemy. He would rather you serve than pray. Satan would much rather see me crafting a sermon than spending two hours in the presence of his enemy. Have you ever wondered why so many Christians do not spend even one hour a week in secluded quietness with God? Simply put, the enemy has been working to prevent that possibility from them their whole lives. He is afraid of our learning to pray. He does not mind us gathering for Sunday services. What makes Hell’s alarms go off is when Christians become people of stillness and prayer.
I know some of why the enemy is mad at me right now. It did not surprise me when I heard the Lord say that to me early this morning. Satan’s tactics are completely un-original, and every single believer is able to send him and his entire demonic army running if we will submit to the Lord and walk in the Spirit. You heard me right – the devil himself will flee us when we believe the Word and resist him (James 4:7). To be confident in this is not prideful nor presumptuous. It is FAITH! Knowing that the season I am in is causing severe displeasure to the enemy of the Kingdom brings satisfaction to my soul. Knowing that he intends to fight back on me brings sobriety to my soul. My glorious King whispers to me that I need to be alert and prepared for what comes. I plan on doing exactly that – pursuing stillness, listening to Holy Spirit’s voice, believing the Scripture as I get alone to read, and then suiting up in battle armor as we are all commanded to do (Ephesians 6:10-18).
Some of you need to raise your own alert level. Who you are and what you are doing is interrupting the agenda of hell in your region. Satan does not play fairly. He is not one to negotiate with. He is afraid, primarily, of one thing: the blood of the Lamb. This is where the Christian must stand. This is our strongest plea. The blood of Jesus Christ has placed us in an impenetrable oneness with God Almighty. The blood of Jesus Christ unplugged Satan’s greatest weaponry. When our confidence of the atonement is coupled with our abiding in resurrection power, none of hell stands a chance. Christians who are serious about retaining this understanding and exerting faith in the One who is our victory will walk in an elevated power. They will no longer seek to hide from the enemy. The kind of Christians I am describing do not go around picking a fight with the devil. Perhaps more than others, these Christians clearly understand that he is the one who has started the fight. We are indwelled by the One who has ended the fight.
Remind the enemy of that.
You don’t even have to shout it.
You can whisper that glorious reality in the presence of the demonic realm and they will stop in their tracks to recalculate their mission against you. Most of the time, they will choose to leave you alone for a season when they see your reliance upon the provision of God’s Son on your behalf.
Declare the sovereign authority of King Jesus. Do it out-loud. Sing His praises in the ears of the devil. Proclaim the promises of God that have covered you. This fight is ours, Christian friends.
Do not let anyone tell you otherwise.
God has called you to walk out this day in joyful consecration, humble confidence and daring calmness.
Let the devil be the anxious one today.
He has picked a fight that he will most certainly lose.