I recently read an article in which John Piper admitted that some mornings he wakes up and it feels like Satan is sitting on his chest. I’m sure we have all had mornings like this. Most of us probably want to roll over, cover our heads and go back to sleep! But, as Christians, we shouldn’t be surprised. Paul gave us a clear warning in Ephesians 6:12. For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places.
None of us is immune from Satan’s attacks, especially if whatever we are doing threatens his domain. I recently had an experience that felt like a full-fledged attack. Initially, I didn’t realize I was under attack. In fact, I blamed myself for the situation (score one for the evil one). However, the closer I got to stepping out in obedience, the more intense the attack became. It was at that point that I started to put the pieces together.
Let me explain.
Several months ago another ministry for Christian educators, We Teach Joy, reached out to me on social media. What is the likelihood of that? Some may think it was a coincidence. I do not. I immediately felt a connection with their founder and the mission of the ministry. As a result of this connection, I was asked if I would consider speaking at their upcoming Dallas event. I promised God when I started VEM (Victorious Educator Ministries) this past year that if He opened a door, I would walk through. This was obviously an open door, and I didn’t hesitate to say yes. I guess Satan was not pleased. Take a look at what happened next.
1. Two months prior to the event, my work schedule changed, requiring me to travel on the same day as the workshop. I contacted Ashley (founder of the ministry) and she was able to make sure my session was in the morning. Problem averted. Thank you Lord!
2. I began prepping for my session a month in advance; at the same time, my traveling with work increased significantly. I became distracted and fell behind in my preparation. Time got away from me, and I blamed myself. Now, I know I need to take responsibility for my part in all of this, but it isn’t like me to let this happen. Something else seemed to be going on here!
3. Two days prior to the event, I started getting sick—body aches, chills, cough. I have not been to the doctor for an illness in over three years. Everyone else around me can be sick, but I just keep drinking my water and the virus usually bypasses me. I started popping the Vicam and asked God to just get me through the next couple of days!
4. The day before the event, I still didn’t feel ready to present. It felt like Satan was sowing seeds of anxiety and confusion. It felt crippling.
5. On the day of the event, I was ready. Everything started out so wonderfully—worship time and an inspirational talk put all of us in the right frame of mind for the day. When everyone left for the first session, I got busy setting up my technology. I only had 30 minutes, which should have been plenty of time. This is when it really got interesting. First, the projector in the room only had a HDMI connection. I was pretty sure I only had cables for VGA. We found another projector that had an VGA connector. Once set up, we discovered the bulb wasn’t working. Back to HDMI. I didn’t think I had my adaptor, but after much rifling through my bag, I found it! I was so excited as we hooked everything up—we still had 15 minutes to go! However, the victory was short-lived. For some reason, the projector kept searching but could not find my computer. We tried everything. It simply wasn’t working. I then thought I could put my PowerPoint on a flash drive which I always carry with me…except today. At this point, I began silently telling the Lord that I was not going to be pleased if I had to do this presentation without visuals. After all, teachers need visuals! While I tried to put a smile on my face, the worship leader jumped in to help. She suggested I connect to the Internet (I had to use my phone as a hotspot) and put the PowerPoint in my google drive. We would attempt to open it and download it onto her computer. With one minute left (and I am not joking) V-I-C-T-O-R-Y!
The attack was finally over! I can honestly say I experienced a dose of James 4:7: So humble yourselves before God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.
As I look back over the past few weeks, I can see God’s hand providing protection and deliverance from Satan’s attacks just in the nick of time on multiple occasions. Remember earlier when I said I would have to travel the day of the workshop? Three weeks before the date of my session, my schedule changed again. No traveling required. My preparation? I confessed my sin of procrastination and asked God to empower me with his Holy Spirit. Not only did He guide me in my presentation, He replaced the anxiety and confusion with passion and purpose. Though my sickness still lingers, God provided the energy I needed to share what was on my heart.
While this type of spiritual attack may pale in comparison to other’s experiences (and I’m sure it does), it felt very real to me. As I reflect back on what happened, I have learned some things I feel are worth sharing. There are actual steps I plan to take in the future when another attack comes. I plan to push back—to resist Satan’s attack. I’m hoping you will find these steps helpful, too!
1. Recognize when you are under a spiritual attack.
I Peter 5:8 reminds us of an important truth. Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour. When you step out in obedience to God’s call on your life, Satan will try to derail you. If we allow Satan to persuade us that our uncomfortable circumstances are just coincidental or insignificant, he can keep us from plugging into our power source.
2. Identify unconfessed sin. This may not always be an issue for us, but I often find when we are under attack, we can sometimes respond inappropriately and/or seek to solve the situation on our own. In James 4 we are learn that God stands waiting to help us, but first we must come
humbly before him.
Come close to God, and God will come close to you. Wash your hands, you sinners; purify your hearts, for your loyalty is divided between God and the world. Let there be tears for what you have done. Let there be sorrow and deep grief. Let there be sadness instead of laughter, and gloom instead of joy. Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up in honor. James 4:8-10
3. Remember who you are in Christ Jesus. In the first chapter of Ephesians Paul reminds the believers that they are blessed, chosen, adopted, loved, forgiven, sealed by the Holy Spirit, rich in mercy….and the list goes on! When under attack, we can’t forget who is fighting our battle with us! Paul’s prayer many years ago is still relevant for us today.
I pray that from his glorious, unlimited resources he will empower you with inner strength through his Spirit. Then Christ will make his home in your hearts as you trust in him. Your roots will grow down into God’s love and keep you strong. And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep his love is. May you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully. Then you will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God. Ephesians 3:16-19
4. Talk back! I first read about this strategy in one of Christine Caine’s books, and it has become one of my favorite things to do! When Satan attacks us, we can do as Jesus did in the wilderness—talk back with Scripture! On the way to my event, the verses below came to mind.
Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. In all of your ways acknowledge Him and he will direct you path. Proverbs 3:5-6
The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness and self-control. There is no law against these things. Galatians 5:22-23
I’m not sure why God brought these exact verses to my mind, but when things started to derail, I had an uncanny peace that it was all going to work out. And this time it did.
The next time you feel under attack, RESIST! We are meant to be victorious!