James 4:7 KJV “ Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.”
Right from the onset I should state that I am by no means a spiritual authority on Satan’s realm. I can only tell you what I have experienced and learned and that is what I am sharing in this post.
I’m not big on blaming everything on Satan. There’s a lot of garbage out there in the media and in some so called biblical schools of thought, on how Satan is responsible for all illness, all discord, all hatred. And, ultimately, I understand that all evil, according to God’s Word, originates from Satan (John 8:44 NIV). But I’ve also been around long enough to know that Satan is definitely real and he and his forces can at times oppress us and attack us. This is a spiritual reality.
I just went through a couple of days where it seemed my legs were cut out right from under me. It wasn’t fun but it’s gone now. Unreal. I could probably count the number of times when I have experienced this on both of my hands. That covers a lot of years. It is infrequent but rest assured, if you are one of God’s children, it can and will infrequently happen to you.
There is a real danger in attributing all negativity that we experience to Satan’s influence because what this thinking does is it takes our spiritual eyes off of Jesus. We start to attribute everything negative that we see to Satan and we basically become spiritually paranoid about his influence. And coupled with this, we also take our spiritual eyes off of our own fallen nature, the source of the negative thoughts or deeds are taken off of ourselves and placed on him. This involves areas where God’s Holy Spirit brings something that we have said or done to our awareness and instead of confessing it and asking God for His forgiveness, we ignore our own accountability and attribute it to Satan. Satan doesn’t mind this at all, in fact I think he thrives on it.
My norm is having strong confidence and faith in God. It wasn’t always like this for me but for the last few years, that’s where I am. I am NOT blasted with constant doubts or uncertainty. My awareness of communion with God has a base line that is constant. There may be occasional dips and rises but the consistency is always there. I know that I know.
It is extremely important to understand that in the vast majority of cases, it is our own fallen nature, the way we sometimes think, the manner in which we sometimes look or see and the actions that we ourselves sometimes do, that are primarily responsible for what transpires between us and others and especially our relationship with God. Our own self centred need to be recognized, appreciated and focused on.
James 1:14 NIV “. . . but each person is tempted when they are dragged away by their own evil desire and enticed.”
Jeremiah 17:9 NIV “The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it?”
Yet, above and beyond the internal source of our own deceitfulness there are times when we will be attacked by Satan. There are many scriptures verses that confirm this. But there is a distinct difference between our own deceitfulness and a full frontal attack by Satan.
Have you ever heard people say that they haven’t been themselves lately? That’s a close analogy because when you are being attacked there is a distinct change from the norm, a totality of opposition from, as it seems, all fronts, especially in areas that you don’t normally have difficulties with. And the intensity is much higher and the awareness of separation or being alone prevails. The inner peace that you normally have dissipates. Isolation is the goal. Isolation from our source, that’s always been Satan’s goal.
These occurrences of oppression by Satan are RARE. Rare as in VERY infrequent, for a born again child of God. Normally they persist for a day or two, the longest that I have ever endured was slightly over a week and in my 74 years that has only happened twice. I have no idea if this is the norm for everyone but for what it’s worth, this is my experience. The durations may vary but the process and the results should be the same.
RECOGNIZE THEM FOR WHAT THEY ARE!
Then, as the holy scriptures tell us, submit yourself to God. How do you do that? It’s relatively straight forward.
When you submit yourself to God you are putting yourself in His care. You are re-affirming your faith and trust in Him. He is your shepherd. He will sustain you, He will keep you in His care, just like He always does.
Prayer to our God, time in God’s Word, more prayer, more time in God’s Word and repeat as required. To a non-believer, this may sound ludicrous but we are talking about spiritual realities here and these realities are real. Non-believers can ignore these realities at their own peril. Personally I don’t care what non-believers think, I’ve seen enough and experienced enough to know better.
Stand on your position in Christ. Declare who you are, a child of God. Prayer dissolves the isolation, reading God’s Word and declaring the truth that Christ came in the flesh to destroy Satan’s work (1 John 3:8 NIV) is a great way of resisting. The Holy Scriptures give us all kinds of spiritual ammunition and armour to use. Sing spiritual hymns. Pray continuously as you are able. And by the way, Satan really hates it when you quote sound scriptural truth back at him. You may feel absolutely nothing, it doesn’t matter, eventually the oppression will lift. It always does.
AND HE WILL FLEE FROM YOU
Once the oppression has ended, you will know. It’s like coming through the front door and feeling safe and at ease within your own home. Your “norm” has returned. You are at rest, in God’s Kingdom. Satan didn’t change anything, he just tried and it didn’t work. For those who have never gone through one of these oppressions, it’s hard to put it into actual words. It’s like a weight of emptiness that encompasses your spirit. That is Satan trying to stand between you and God. Don’t fear it when it happens. Value the experience when it’s over, learn from it.
I have many scriptural verses memorized but when these times come, and they will, this has always been one of my favourite responses:
1 John 4:4 KJV “Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world.
I am so thankful for the peace that God gives us. I am thankful for His enduring presence and assurance and I’m just so thankful that He is. I love being one of His sheep. I think God allows Satan to test us at times so that we learn to appreciate and take joy in our “norm” with Him.
Worthy is the Lamb! Blessings!