Have you ever experienced a prolonged mental or physical battle that literally sucks the life out of you? It may have been an hour, a day, a month, a year or a decade. Maybe it was something that happened in the natural realm that others have dealt with as well, but it seems like you cannot forget what happened or get free of it. It just keeps returning, beating you down, bringing with it guilt, shame, and condemnation. Maybe it was a lust-filled thought or image and you knew in your heart you weren’t intentionally dwelling on those kinds of things. You wonder…“Where did this come from?”
Unless you knowingly and willingly opened yourself up to wrong appetites and behaviors, you probably were experiencing the stratagems of Satan. Webster’s Dictionary says a stratagem is: a) an artifice or trick in war for deceiving and outwitting the enemy, b) a cleverly contrived trick or scheme for gaining an end.
The Bible says in John 10:10 Amplified, the thief (Satan) only comes to kill, steal, and to destroy, but Jesus came to give us life and give it to us in abundance. It also says in 1Pet. 5:8: Be well balanced (temperate, sober of mind), be vigilant and cautious at all times; for that enemy of yours, the devil, roams around like a lion roaring [in fierce hunger], seeking someone to seize upon and devour.
It’s All in Your Mind
Please understand this vitally important truth. If you’re reading this article and you’re not a Christian, a believer in Jesus, this information is just as true for you as it is for someone who is a Christian. Satan is the archenemy of God’s creation…period! And that means you!
Please understand, if Satan tempted Christ in the wilderness during a 40-day fast to try and keep Him from fulfilling His purpose, we can absolutely expect him to come after us.
Once you become a Christian, you are a threat to the kingdom of darkness because of Who possesses you. If you’re not a Christian, Satan still hates you and will exert any amount of effort in distracting and deceiving you with the hopes of capturing your soul eternally.
Satan attempts to captivate and deceive all of us by means of mental and spiritual deception. He is a spirit and his demons—cohorts or fallen angels—are also spirits. They cannot simply take over someone without their will first being compromised or without that person willingly yielding to them (see Romans 6:16). If a person is ignorant of how satan works or is uneducated spiritually about his tactics, he then has uncontested access in the spiritual realm and uses deceptive thought impressions, carnal appetites and weaknesses that can and will ultimately destroy a person if satan is allowed to go unchecked in that person’s life.
However, there is no reason for us to ever be defeated by satan or his minions because there is more than enough battle strategies in God’s word for us to experience victory continuously when we engage our enemy.
Engaging Our Enemy
For this section, I’m including a rather lengthy excerpt from a book titled, Spirit Wars, authored by Kris Vallotton, one of the pastors from Bethel Church, in Redding, CA. In my opinion, the revelation that follows is some of the most accurate and helpful information I have ever read about Satan’s strategies and plans to defeat us.
“Spiritual conflicts most often occur when we advance into new territory currently inhabited by evil spirits. Just as enemies fought Joshua in the Promised Land and Nehemiah as he rebuilt the walls of Jerusalem, so will our enemy fight us when we begin to take the spiritual terrain God has promised to us. Most Christians, however, are completely unaware that the resistance they encounter as they step into God’s promises is actually part of a spirit war. They retreat at the first sign of conflict because they fail to recognize the true source of the battle or the way in which war is waged in the invisible realm.
One of the most common ways demonic spirits attack is by giving us thoughts that the Bible describes as flaming arrows (see Ephesians 6:16). Because these thoughts are actually manifestations of the evil spirits and not just bad ideas, they are compelling—in other words, there is an unction [or motivation] to “do the act” that we are contemplating, even though these ideas are contrary to our new nature. Then these same spirits accuse us of originating these thoughts and impulses. If we believe their accusations, we lose confidence in our identity and digress into emotions like depression, anxiety and self-hatred.
The enemy and his cohorts also attack our imaginations by inspiring terrible visions or pictures that wrestle against our minds and can be deeply troubling, especially if we do not understand the source of these assaults. The same unction [or motivation] that accompanies false thoughts usually accompanies these false visions.
Some people experience warfare without a thought or picture in their minds, but with awful “feelings,” false impulses or unction’s that rage against their souls. But no matter what manifestations spiritual warfare takes on, the most important fact to remember is that these are symptoms of the enemy’s devious plot to steal our inheritance, kill our offspring and destroy our very lives.”
You Already Have the Victory
As Kris mentioned previously, Satan first comes against our thoughts and imaginations. This triggers negative, debilitating emotions that keep us from enjoying our lives and ultimately fulfilling our God-given calls and destinies.
But, I have really good news for you if you’re a Christian. Regardless of how long you have been following the Lord you can experience victory in your life because it’s already been paid for and deposited in your account.
While your enemy can come against you with many different temptations he can never come up with anything new that God does not already have the answer for.
In 1 Corinthians 15:57, the apostle Paul said, “Thanks be to God who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ” (NKJV). He also mentioned in 2 Corinthians 2:14 that God always leads us in triumph. In Romans 8:37, he said that no matter what things Satan brings against us, “We are more than conquerors through Him” (Christ).
You see, when Jesus said, “It is finished!”, in John 19:30, He really meant what He said! It was finished! We have to remember that Jesus wouldn’t have left and then sent the Holy Spirit to us if He went wasn’t capable of making us victorious over the enemy.
Second Corinthians 10:4-5 gives a clear strategy against the enemy when he oversteps his boundaries and assaults our thoughts. We must act immediately and take authority over him in every thought if we are to enjoy the victory Jesus paid for, as well as maintaining it.
I know this was a lot of scripture, but I wanted to drive the point home that we already have the victory and we do have the weapons of warfare to be successful in the spiritual realm (see Ephesians 6:10-18). But we have to put them on daily and the Holy Spirit will not do it for us.
I pray that this ministers to you and that you will experience victory in every area of your lives in the coming days, weeks, months and years.
Serving You Truth,
Side note: I intentionally “did not” capitalize the name of satan. I don’t want to give him the credit.