Satan’s 4D arsenal
“The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still.”
This misquote by Christians shows exactly how most of us want to live our lives. We want to sit still and allow God to fight our battles and do all the work while we sit back and reap the benefits. This scripture is taken out of context. We must read the rest of the chapter to see what was going on.
The Israelite nation had left Egypt at the command of the Pharaoh. As Gods people came to the Red Sea, the pharaoh changed his mind and pursued them. They were now between a sea and an army and cried out to Moses, ‘“Was it because there were no graves in Egypt that you brought us to the desert to die? What have you done to us by bringing us out of Egypt? “
Moses attempts to calm the people by tellingthem of Gods great power, “The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still.” These were the words of Moses, not of God. Moses may have meant well, but he didn’t consult God first. Then the Lord said to Moses, “Why are you crying out to me? Tell the Israelites to move on. Raise your staff and stretch out your hand over the sea to divide the water so that the Israelites can go through the sea on dry ground. God required action on their part!
Another commonly misquoted scripture is also found in this story. In Exodus, God did not tell Pharaoh to let his people go so that they could be free, He said, “Let my people go so that they may worship me.” “Let my people go that they may serve me”. Again, God requires action from us.
God freed His chosen people from the oppression of slavery in Egypt so they could fulfil their purpose. The purpose of the nation of Israel was to be a light to a dark world. A chosen people with God as the leader, they were freed to something, not just from something. He freed them to worship and to serve Him.
Just like Israel, the reason for our freedom is to Worship and Serve. Throughout the word of God, He is emphasizing that worship and fellowship with him is our purpose. Satan would have us believe that we should stay out of the battle and bury our heads in the sand, but that is not what the word of God teaches. The battle does belong to the Lord, but we are His soldiers, we are in a war with Satan. His objective is to kill our testimony, destroy our faith, and to make Christians a less effective light to a darkened world.
Satan has 4 weapons in his arsenal that are very effective and learning to recognize them is our best defense against the destruction that he brings. These are:
1. Desensitizing us to sin
2. Distracting us (With worldly pleasures, burdens, demands)
3. Dividing us (divide and conquer)
4. Destroying our testimony (effectively putting out our light)
Division in the church is a common way that the devil destroys fellowship, testimony, and cast a shadow on the Christian light. This is where agape love comes into play as a defense. Love for each other that is unconditional will cover a multitude of transgressions among fellowships. We all have flaws, we all sin, but if we can see each other the way that God sees, we can get past surface disagreements and differences.
Satan attacked Israel continuously as this nation of chosen people presented a threat to him. He knew the messiah would be born of this nation. He desensitized them to sin. When they disobeyed Gods command to completely cleanse the promise land, they were left with neighbors that worshipped idols. They intermarried with the Canaanites and made treaties with these people and their sin became normal to the Israelites. The more contact they had with sin in the world, the less sinful it looked to them. Satan uses these same tactics on us today. They are tried and true, so why would he change his battles strategies now? Let us look at ways that he is desensitizing us today.
There is a certain program on television that I just love to watch. I have heard some Christians with negative reviews on the show, but it has been my guilty pleasure. The story line was engaging and the characters well developed. “It’s just entertainment, no harm. There isn’t anything that makes me uncomfortable in the show”, I told myself. Although several members of my church have recently spoken out about watching something that goes against Gods word, I resisted. God had dealt with me on my music several years earlier. I only listen to contemporary Christian music now and it was easy, just turning the knob on my radio and leaving it alone. Then I felt convicted about my romance novels. I am a reader, and would read several books a week, but complain that I never had time to dig into Gods word. But I wasn’t feeling convicted about what I watched on television, not yet anyway.
Until, the season premier episode this year. I sat horrified as I watched it. I kept thinking that this was going too far, this was over the top, just too much. I was done. It took a truly evil episode of violence and murder to make me uncomfortable. I have been desensitized over the years. Twenty years ago, the very first episode would have been too much, over the top. Now it took much more. For several seasons, I had allowed Satan to fill my thoughts with evil. Too much should have come much sooner.
The Israelites were distracted with worldly pleasures. They took their eyes off God and hungered after the pleasures they saw around them. Israel as a people wanted to be more like the world around them…they soon wanted a king, rejecting God as their supreme ruler. Godly King David was distracted by lust for another man’s wife. Samson lost his physical strength because of another woman. All sinned because of Satan’s distractions.
Today it is easy to become distracted by the world. Most of us rush to work each day with barely a thought spared for our spiritual needs, only to rush home to cook, clean, and take care of our families. The demands of our week often leave little time for quiet moments with God. This is when we should take a deep breath and reorganize our priorities. Getting up a few minutes early each morning to spend some quiet time with the Lord will allow us to bring order into chaos at home and at work.
Satan divided Israel from within. Israel as a nation was divided into two separate countries when the quest for power became the focus of the tribes. United they had stood, divided they fell.
So, if we know this, what should we do about it? What tools do we use to fight with? If we understand that we are in an age-old war with Satan, should we not draw up a battle plan?
Philippians 4:8 (NIV) Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.
Paul tells us in Philippians 4:8 to think on things that are good and holy. Filling our minds with garage is sin plain and simple. You can rationalize it and put a pretty bow on it, but sin is never going to be pretty and is never going to please God.
We can read bible studies and listen sermons and agree with all we hear, but if we do not put apply these principles to our daily life, we will feel defeated. How to apply this to our life? A good place to start would be by Asking God to fill us with His presence and allow us to see the enemy when He strikes. Hiding Gods word in our hearts is another way that we recognize when we are under attack. God will bring scripture to mind when we are tempted to forget that we do not fight flesh and blood, but Satan.
In the heat of the battle, our emotions tell us that is it the person we are upset with, but if we remember that Satan is the master of division, it is easier to stay calm and think, not react. Begin praying the moment that we feel anger, hurt, left out, etc.
We are commanded to worship and serve our God. That is our goal in life, but what tools does God give us to accomplish this?
The worldly definition of love found in the dictionary is; an intense feeling of deep affection. The Biblical definition of love is; The primary characteristic of God.
God is love and we have been given the ability and command to love by God because we are created in His image. Agape is a Greek word for God’s love for us. Agape love is unconditional and not determined by emotions. The Greek word phileo is defined as “brotherly love” and is conditional love that people feel towards each other. It is based on emotions and is better translated as affection.
God intends for us to express agape love toward each other. To do this, we must be filled with His Spirit. Agape love is a decision to love no matter what our emotions. This love is patient, kind, unselfish, trusting, and unconditional. It is not jealous, boastful, or based on how we are treated. If we have agape love, we can fight division, distractions, desensitizing, and we can defend our testimony.
Hebrews 11:1 tells us that faith is the substance of things hoped for and the evidence of things not seen. The dictionary defines faith as a strong belief in someone or something.
God never leaves us powerless. Worship and Service sharpen our faith into a mighty sword capable of defeating Satan’s attacks.
Obedience is defined as a form of social influence in which a person yields to instruction or orders from an authority figure. The Biblical definition is submitting to God. In John 14:15, Jesus tells us that If we love Him, we will keep His commandments.
Pharaoh allowed the Israelites to leave and then changes his mind and pursued them to the red sea. The people panicked and complained to Moses. Moses then told them to be “still and God would fight for them”. This was not what God said, it is what Moses said. God rebuked Moses. He Said, “Go Forward’. God wanted the people to act, this was a fight. God did fight the battle, he caused the sea to close in on the Egyptians, and won the battle, but the Israelites had to obey God, not Moses.
Obeying God means being sensitive to His laws. We don’t follow our own instincts; we live by what is true and what God tells us in His word is wrong or right. Emotions are fickle, God is not. To know Gods commands, we must read His word and we must talk to God.
Being obedient keeps us from distractions by keeping us focused on what is pure. We are less likely to be divided if we are sensitive to Satan’s ways, and if we are obeying Gods commands to love and serve we won’t easily be divided. Our testimony will be intact and the world will see a light in the darkness.
For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments. And his commandments are not burdensome.