By Rosetta Thomas
In as much as God has a plan for the life of every believer, the devil equally has a plan. The plan of God is to give life and to give it more abundantly while the plan of the devil is to kill, to steal and to destroy (John 10:10b). God has placed a protective edge around every child of God to secure us from the agenda of the enemy, but it can be broken through sin, at which point the serpent will bite (Eccl. 10:8). The bite of the serpent simply refers to the destructive schemes that the devil can bring in our lives, should we give him legal access to operate by way of sin. The devil does not come to us with horns and long forks but rather through craftily engineered schemes and plots. In this regard, we are warned in scriptures that we should not be ignorant of the Devil’s devices, lest he takes advantage of us (2 Corinthians 2:11). I will briefly look into this subject matter to uncover some of these devices and additionally, to look at a way out that God has provided for us.
1. Our Own lust and enticed
The Devil keeps a record of all our weakness including the ones that can easily sweep us off our feet. He does not have the power to get anyone to sin but because “… every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed” (James 1:14), he constantly tempts us with the things we desire so that we can sin and break the edge.
If we are not constantly walking in the spirit, we can easily become his prey. The Devil wanted to destroy the children of Israel, so he provoked Balak to hire Balaam to curse them. His efforts were futile initially because there was no open door through which they could be attacked. Balaam counselled Balak into understanding that the only way he could succeed in destroying the Israelites was to entice them to sin against God. He further told King Balak how to entice them to commit sexual immorality and sacrifice food to idols (Rev. 2:14), to which the Israelites fell prey. This resulted in them breaking the edge of protection that God placed on their lives and the result of this is that they brought a self-imposed curse on their heads which caused them to be destroyed by a plague (Numbers 31:16).
2. Breaking Covenants
God relates to us through covenants. A covenant is an agreement or contract between God and man in which both parties must keep their end of the bargain in order for the said agreement to remain in effect. As for God, He has promised that he will keep this covenant towards us for generations to those that love him and keep their end of the bargain by obeying his commandments:
Know therefore that the LORD thy God, he is God, the faithful God, which keepeth covenant and mercy with them that love him and keep his commandments to a thousand generations (Deut. 7:9).
A covenant which is honoured will cause us to have victory on every side, but one that is broken will lead to defeat. Samson was a very powerful man who had a Nazarite covenant on his life, but he heeded to the devil’s provocation by breaking all the pillars of that covenant one by one. In this regard, Samson who was not to drink wine broke this pillar by drinking wine prepared by Delilah. He was not to touch a dead animal, yet he broke this pillar by eating honey taken out of a dead carcass. He was not to marry an unbeliever, yet he got married to an enemy of God on the bases that “she pleases me well” (Judges 14:3). He broke the last pillar when his hair which was not to be cut was shaved off by Delilah. Samson’s broken covenant ultimately left him exposed to the attacks of the devil so much so, that his eyes were plucked out, his ministry was destroyed, his assignment was aborted, and he died a shameful death.
Is there a covenant on our lives of which we are breaking the pillars one by one by wallowing in the pleasures of sin? The truth is that sin over-promises, under-delivers and ultimately leads to self-destruction. We should therefore ensure that we do not sacrifice the covenant of God upon our lives on the altar of sinful practices but rather resist the devil at all cost to ensure that we maintain our covenant relationship with Him.
3. Evil Association
Association is one of the ways in which we can make or break our lives and evil association is one of the devices that the enemy uses to ensnare us to compromise our edge of protection. 1st Corinthians 15:33 warns us that we should not be deceived because evil communications corrupt good manners. In this regard, many people walk into destruction because of their association with people who have a judgment on their heads. Jehosophat did great exploits for the Lord, but towards the end of his reign when he had riches and honour in abundance (2 Chronicles 18:1), he formed an alliance with wicked King Ahaziah and the result of this was that his works were broken in pieces:
“And after this did Jehoshaphat king of Judah join himself with Ahaziah king of Israel, who did very wickedly: And he joined himself with him to make ships to go to Tarshish: and they made the ships in Eziongaber. Then Eliezer the son of Dodavah of Mareshah prophesied against Jehoshaphat, saying, Because thou hast joined thyself with Ahaziah, the Lord hath broken thy works. And the ships were broken, that they were not able to go to Tarshish” (2 Chronicles 20:35-37).
We must be very careful with whom we create partnership. The ministries of many innocent pastors are broken in pieces, because they are connected to someone who falls into error. The devil may have seen their potentials from a far and stirred up a connection. The result is reputational damage, of which they may not be able to recover because people will always believe that birds of a feather flock together. On this same point of evil association, Jonah was in trouble with God and was under judgment. He boarded a ship to Tarshish but everyone who was on board was affected by the judgment that was meted out to him. People onboard may have borrowed money to buy their goods, but they lost it. People may have their entire live savings or retirement money onboard, but they lost it. They had no idea what Jonah was up to, but because he was in their company, they became a shareholder of his judgment. Is there anyone in our lives that will cause the edge of protection from God to lift from us? Let us be vigilant with respect to the people we associate with, lest the enemy use it as an occasion against us.
4. Taking us by surprise
Another subtle device that the devil uses to accomplish his mandates in our lives is to attack us at unawares especially at the point of great weaknesses. The scripture tells us that we must be vigilant and sober because the devil goes about like a roaring lion seeking whom he may devour (1 Peter 5:8).
When David was at a point of physical weakness in battle, Goliath’s brother almost killed him:
“Moreover the Philistines had yet war again with Israel; and David went down, and his servants with him, and fought against the Philistines: and David waxed faint. And Ishbi-benob, which was of the sons of the giant, the weight of whose spear weighed three hundred shekels of brass in weight, he being girded with a new sword, thought to have slain David. But Abishai the son of Zeruiah succoured him, and smote the Philistine, and killed him. Then the men of David sware unto him, saying, Thou shalt go no more out with us to battle, that thou quench not the light of Israel.” (2 Samuel 21:15-17)
Ishbi-benob was waiting for years to avenge the death of his brother Goliath, and he got the opportunity when David lost his strength. Without the intervention of Abishai, the story would have been different.
It is important for us to understand that the devil is very patient, and he will wait for years for the right opportunity to launch an attack. Many people have lived a very upright life but at a point of a small moral weakness, they were ensnared and that turned out to be a tool to destroy their lives. Similarly, many persons go into spiritual battle for which they are not prepared, and it causes them to come under serious demonic attack to the point where some have even lost their minds. The truth is that we must ensure at all times that we are on-guard, lest the devil take us at unawares.
Way Out – Submitting Ourselves to God and Resisting the Devil
Having examined a few of the devices that the enemy uses to derail us, there is also a need for us to look at a solution which we can apply in the first place. One such solution is a package that is wrapped up in James 4:7 which has two distinct instructions, namely submitting ourselves to God and resisting the devil, the result of which God assures us will cause the devil to flee and by extension will help to secure the edge of protection that God has placed around our lives. But how exactly can we submit ourselves to God and resist the Devil?
Submitting to God
First, we submit ourselves to God by walking in the spirit (Gal. 5:16). Indeed, by strength shall no man prevail and so we must always ensure that we fortify ourselves and walk in the spirit by spending quality time in the presence of God as well as putting under subjection our flesh through Fasting and Prayer and deep repentance.
We also submit ourselves to God by knowing and applying His Words to our lives. Jesus was able to overcome Satan through the application of the Word and when he did that the devil eventually left Him. We must also know and apply the Word because it is the truth that we know and apply that will set us free.
In addition to this, we also resist the devil by meditating on the Word of God. In Joshua 1:8 the scripture tells us:
This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success.
Meditating on the scripture both fill our minds with fruitful thoughts as well as keeping us in alignment with the Word of God.
Resisting the Devil
Once we submit ourselves to God, we must also resist the devil, and we can do this by taking practical steps to avoid all appearance of evil. This means for example that we must not honour any invitation to any place that will compromise our faith and we must also take practical steps to live a life that is transparent before man and God, so that we will not be brought to disrepute.
Additionally, resisting the Devil also includes putting on the full armour of God. The scripture tells us:
“Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.”
The wiles of the devil are many but the whole armour of God is one of the most effective tools to combat them even in the day of evil. This essentially helps to secure our edge of protection and bar out the devil from our lives.
In conclusion, we have learnt that while God has a plan for our lives, the devil equally has his own plans, and he can only carry out those plans if we break the edge of protection that God has placed on our lives through sin. The devil cannot force us to sin however he can employ strategies to ensnare us, such as by drawing us to our own lust and entice, by stirring us to break covenants we have with God, by engaging in evil association and also by strategically attacking us at unawares when we are at our point of weakness. We can however overcome these strategies by submitting ourselves to God and resisting the devil. Satan will never come to us with horns and long forks but rather through craftily engineered schemes and plots. Let us therefore make effort to ensure that we are not ignorant of his devices, lest he take advantage of us. God bless you.
The Intro and Exit Music used for the audio podcast included in this article is: “He didn’t throw the clay away” by Michael English. The background music is unknown. I do not own the rights to any of the music used in this or any of my audio compilations.
Whole Armour of God Picture – Source: http://icomequickly.com/spiritual-warfare-or-combat-faith-2/