Things You Need to Know When the Enemy Tries to Hold You Back
Have you ever known that God is calling you forward in your faith? That you need to take a step? And then you took it, and it was so good?
Or have you ever had one of those surprising moments of breakthrough? You weren’t even expecting it and God blessed you with an amazing revelation?
Have you ever been afraid of those things happening to you?
Weird question, I know. Why would someone be afraid of God doing awesome things in their life?
I’ve had some big, wonderful God-moments like that, and immediately after EVERYTHING GOES DOWNHILL. Like, how could every possible area of my life go wrong all at the same time? That kind of downhill.
I have found so many times when I’ve made a big step forward in my faith, that that is when the enemy likes to come knocking.
The Devil is a Thief
The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy... – John 10:10a NIV
The enemy – he is a thief!
Here’s the problem – the enemy has a decent strategy. He attacks at moments of vulnerability. When we’ve just made a huge step forward, we’re flying high, things are going good, we feel a little untouchable and get comfortable in how strong our faith is.
The enemy comes and hits us. He sees that shiny faith we have, and he wants to take it away.
He tries to bury us in hardship so we forget about the progress we made.
He tries to sow doubt, making us question if that big step really happened.
He tries to clog us up with comparison, making us discouraged that our faith step wasn’t as big as that other person’s.
He tries to drag us down and make us ineffective.
Honestly, it can be a little scary.
Don’t Make Devil’s Work Easy
A while ago at church, our pastor was calling all the young people forward to make a commitment to be bold for Jesus and be prayed over.
I didn’t want to go up.
Not because I don’t want to be bold for Jesus. Not because I don’t want prayer. (And no, not even because I’m shy and didn’t want to go to the front.)
I didn’t want to go up, because I was afraid of what was going to happen after.
Life had not been so easy as of late, but things were finally starting to get back to some semblance of normal. Stable.
I didn’t want to go making waves for Jesus and attract the attention of the enemy again.
Of all the reasons, that is by far the worst.
I was doing the enemy’s work for him. I was tying myself down in fear of what could possibly happen. I was afraid of the enemy’s attacks, despite the knowledge that God could easily overcome it all. And because of that fear, I was willing to miss out on God’s blessings and power.
Not a good trade.
Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you. Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that the family of believers throughout the world is undergoing the same kind of sufferings. – 1 Peter 5:6-9 NIV
The enemy is going around, watching for the opportune moment to attack. While opposition from the enemy is guaranteed, failure most certainly is not. God equips us with all we need to stand against the enemy and his attacks.
1) Humble Yourself
First things first, living by faith is actually impossible on your own. You need to know that everything you do, every step you take, is by God’s strength.
That’s a relief.
The enemy can be pretty wily sometimes, making us think he’s stronger than he really is. We think we couldn’t possibly have the strength to stand against him. Whether that’s true or not doesn’t even matter. We don’t stand against the enemy in our own strength; we stand against him in God’s strength.
That’s a strength the enemy can’t fight.
Read more about God’s strength in spiritual warfare here.
2) Cast Your Anxiety
Look. Right there. God knows fear and anxiety is a thing that can get to us when we’re trying to live by faith. And he cares about that. But he doesn’t want that to hold you back. He wants you to give all that anxiety to Him.
Fear is no reason to hesitate in stepping out in faith. God knows we’ll be afraid, but he doesn’t want us to hang onto it. We can give all that fear over to Him.
Read more about fighting spiritual attacks of anxiety here.
3) Be Alert
The first step to fighting a spiritual battle is knowing that you’re in one. You ever have someone come at you, all snarky, out of the blue and you’re just like, “I’m sorry, I didn’t know we were fighting?” That is a position you don’t want to be in when it comes to spiritual warfare.
The enemy is going to come at you, and he is not going to hold back. You want to be alert – know he is coming, and be watching for his attacks. It’s possible to prepare when you know what’s coming.
4) Be Of Sober Mind
“Sober mind” doesn’t just refer to soberness in relation to substance use. Sober mind can also mean “sound” or “right” mind. Things can happen in life that make us not of our right mind. Fear, for example. When fear takes over, we are not behaving as ourselves, we are acting out of fear.
God doesn’t want us to be acting out of a place that isn’t us (or more importantly, isn’t Him). How do we be of sober mind? Go back to #1 and #2. We humble ourselves to God and we give Him everything that isn’t from Him.
5) Resist the Enemy
Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. – James 4:7 NIV
So, we’ve done #1-4, and then in waltzes the enemy, trying to shake you and throw you off your game.
Our next step is pretty simple: don’t move.
You stay planted in your faith and in God, tell the devil, “Nah, I’m good,” and he’s going to have to leave.
Take the Step
A few weeks after that day in church, when the enemy almost scared me away from taking a step of faith, we had another similar time in our church service. When our pastor invited us forward for prayer, my heart started beating super fast and super hard – but not because I was scared. It was because I knew I had to go forward. It was more of a signal of the step I was about to take, than a reaction of fear to that step.
And God blessed that time of prayer that I had with Him. Taking that step forward in church was a step forward in my faith.
And guess what?
The enemy totally came at me and tried to steal it away.
I got home from church and the atmosphere of home clashed with the atmosphere of church and I got grumpy and frustrated, and got more frustrated that I was feeling frustrated... But I knew that it was the enemy and I was prepared for his attacks.
I knew it was God’s strength and power working in me that made that morning so incredible.
I knew that I didn’t have to be afraid because God cares for me.
I knew that the enemy would come.
And I told him, “Nah, I’m good.” And he had to go.
The enemy comes to steal and destroy. But God is incomparably more powerful, so we don’t have to fear what the enemy might do. We can stay strong in our faith and keep moving forward, knowing that the enemy will attack, but resting in the fact that God is fighting with us and while the enemy may come to steal and destroy, he can’t when we’re standing in God.
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