This is Part 2 of a question from a Reader: (Read Part 1)
How do you find your way back? I have strayed from my faith… I have been supporting My 16 year old son in his battled to stay in front of the evils of depression from drug and alcohol addiction… I do try to have the faith that this will pass and that there is a hope for the great healing that is long overdue. The faith is disappearing day by day. I try to show strength and stay positive but in the inside I’m screaming for someone to save us as I’m starting to feel we can’t save ourselves…
In every battle, you have allies and adversaries. In Part 1 of my answer to this question, we looked at three spiritual allies in the battle to keep our faith: God, the Bible and Christian community. In this article we will look at our main adversary and several ways he comes against our faith in God.
The Bible makes it clear that our first and foremost adversary in the fight for our faith is the devil. “Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.” (1 Peter 5:8)
Now anytime the topic of Satan comes up, it is common to find two extreme viewpoints. On one end of the spectrum you find people who do not believe Satan exists or they just ignore his existence out of fear.
Truth be told, ignoring Satan will not make him go away. It is better to be “aware of Satan’s devices” than to ignore him. (2 Corinthians 2:11) The truth will ultimately set you free. (John 8:32)Truth be told, ignoring #Satan will not make him go away. The #truth will set you #free. Click To Tweet
Now on the other end of the spectrum, you find Christians who have an unhealthy preoccupation with Satan. They pay more attention to what the devil is doing than to what God is doing. This extreme leads down the road of living in fear instead of faith.
People who focus too much on Satan can also fall into “the devil made me do it” trap. Instead of being accountable for their own mistakes, they blame the devil for all their problems.
God wants us to be aware of Satan’s tactics without becoming preoccupied with them. Spiritual discernment helps us to know the source of what comes our way in life. Without spiritual discernment, we can blame God for problems that are truly the work of Satan, the fallen world we live in or the sinful choices people make.
Now here’s the thing you need to realize about Satan. He does not come after you in a red suit with a pitchfork in hand. He is way too crafty for that! Instead he uses several other means to access your heart and life. Here are “4 D’s” that Satan uses to attack and destroy our faith in God:
It is amazing how quickly our mood can be lifted up from a simple word of encouragement. (Proverbs 15:23) Someone tells you how great a job you have done or that you are special to them and almost immediately, you begin feeling better about yourself and about life.
Just as a word of encouragement can take us up to new levels of hope and joy, so too a word of discouragement can make our heads hang low. Satan is a master discourager. He knows the fickle and emotional nature of human beings. He knows that one word of discouragement has the power to debilitate us if we allow it to take root in our hearts.
A near relative of discouragement is disappointment. Patrick Morley has said, “Disappointment is the result of unmet expectations.” When things do not work out as we had hoped or expected, we are tempted to be disappointed. The wise thing to do is to turn our discouragement and disappointment over to the Lord trusting Him with the end results. (Proverbs 3:5-6)
If you continue to dwell on the things that do not turn out right in life, you are at risk of your discouragement growing worse and turning into despair. Despair is defined as “the complete loss or absence of hope.”
Satan wants us to feel hopeless because hopelessness leads to helplessness. And when we believe there is nothing we can do to improve our life’s circumstances (helplessness), we quickly lose the inspiration and drive to live. We become trapped within the walls of our own mind.
At this point when our sense of hope is lost, despair can lead to depression. Depressed people believe life is without hope and not worth living. Depression is discouragement on steroids! If you want to help a depressed person in a practical way, start by giving them some genuine, positive encouragement.If you want to help #depressed people start by giving #genuine #positive #encouragement. Click To Tweet
God is pleased by our faith. (Hebrews 11:6) When we come to God in prayer, God wants us to have simple faith and not to doubt. (Mark 11:23) “But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind.” (James 1:6)
Similar to doubt is the problem of being double-minded. Doubt and double-mindedness both make us unstable. (James 1:8) It is for these reasons that Satan finds pleasure in filling our minds and hearts with doubts about God, his promises and our future. Satan wants us to second guess everything because he knows that second-guessing creates spiritual instability. Instead of being doubtful, we can choose to put our confidence in the Lord.
Jesus called Satan “the father of lies”. (John 8:44) Satan’s main weapon for robbing our faith in God is the deceptive lies that he whispers to us. It is through the lies he speaks to our hearts that we succumb to the vices of discouragement, despair and doubt.
In a battle like yours, here are some of the lies Satan and his demons will persistently whisper in your ear:
- God has abandoned you. He doesn’t care.
- If God were truly good, none of these bad things would have happened.
- Your situation is hopeless. You might as well give up.
- Prayer does not work. You are wasting your time.
- The Bible is not true. You can’t rely on it.
- You need to numb your pain to feel better.
- You are a failure.
- You are condemned.
- You are worthless.
- You are alone.
For every lie Satan speaks, God has an even greater truth to overcome.
- God will never leave you or forsake you. (Hebrews 13:5)
- Satan is behind the evil in the world, not God. (Revelation 12:9)
- In God we always have hope for He is the “God of hope”. (Romans 15:13)
- Prayer and faith can move mountains. (Matthew 17:20)
- The Bible is true, reliable and powerful. (Proverbs 30:5, Hebrews 4:12)
- Holy Spirit will comfort you in your times of trouble. (John 14:26)
- You are not a failure because Jesus is your victory. (1 John 5:5)
- You are not condemned because Jesus has forgiven you completely. (Romans 8:1)
- You are of great value to God. (Romans 5:8, Matthew 10:31)
- God is with you in this battle. (2 Chronicles 20:17)
All of this talk about Satan can lead us to fear, if we are not grounded in this one final and most important truth. Satan is a defeated foe!
When Jesus Christ died on the cross and rose again, He proved himself victorious over Satan. (Colossians 2:15) By receiving Jesus as our personal Lord and Savior we gain the power of the Holy Spirit to walk in victory over Satan. (Colossians 1:13,14)
This is not to say we will not still battle with these temptations. Every one of us experiences temptation! (1 Corinthians 10:13) It is to say that Jesus Christ has purchased our victory at the cross and that Satan’s days are numbered. (Romans 16:20)
In my next post, I will share the strategy you need to live victoriously and have a strong faith no matter what life circumstances you face. Stay tuned!
Readers, in addition to discouragement, despair, doubt and deception, what other ways do you recognize Satan at work in the world?
Have a question about life and faith? Ask Pierre!