“Rebecca, it wouldn’t happen any other way. Satan does not want your freedom, and he will attack it. Get ready, because it will only get worse. Be prepared, stay in the truth!” My friend, Steve, reminded me recently.
I told him of an upcoming Life Group I’d be leading on spiritual warfare and again he emphasized the importance of keeping my eyes on Jesus, His word, and what was true. Attack was inevitable. Attack was an understatement. If there is one thing Satan cannot stand, it is believers understanding their position in Christ and taking an active stand against his lies. He wants the Church to be ignorant of his plans. Sure, people can go to church, study their Bible, and teach classes, but as long as they ignore him, he’s fine with all of that other religious stuff.
On Sunday (February 10th) this new Life Group on spiritual warfare will be launched at New Life Community Church. I’ll also be sharing with you, faithful readers, our study notes and discussion topics as we go, but let me first share with you a few of the things that have happened between the time I believed God called me to lead this group, and today, just 24 hours shy of the group’s first meeting.
In the last two months I’ve had an unusually difficult time focusing during prayer—or even getting to prayer in the first place. For someone who talks/writes about the importance of putting on the armor of God, that might surprise you. But it shouldn’t. Satan wants to attack the area that I use to fight against him, which is putting on the armor of God through prayer. I couldn’t possibly describe each event here, but the attack on my prayer life has been a daily occurrence. I can sense a force that tries to keep me from my time with Jesus.
Being afraid of the devil is not something I would have admitted to under any circumstances a few weeks ago. If anything, I would have blown off the devil as a nuisance and nothing more. But today I recognize more clearly his power and how desperately he really does want to destroy me (and all believers). On the same note, I understand he can only do what God has allowed him to do.
About three weeks ago, while my husband was working out of town, someone tried to break into our home at around 12:30am. A friend had taken me to see a show earlier that evening, so by the time I picked up Samantha from the sitter and arrived home it was close to 11:00pm. So, I happened to still be awake at the time of this incident. When the noise first started, I was confused. “Am I hearing what I think I’m hearing?” As it continued I knew what was happening. Fear gripped my heart. It was a fear I had never in my life experienced, and something of which cannot be described in any adequate terms. My body physically reacted with shaking, sweat, and scrambled thoughts.
“He stole my security,” I told Steve the next day in an email. But Steve was good to remind me of the truth. Satan cannot steal anything from me–he can only take what I give him. Since this attack, fear has been a new companion in my life, one I have had to pray against repeatedly. I can almost hear the Enemy’s voice, “So you think you know about me, huh? Let me show you what I can do.”
Yes, Jesus has already defeated Satan, and yes, through Christ we already have victory. But, we still need to fight his attacks (see Eph 6:10-18, 1 Pet. 5:8)! Satan will use any means necessary to disable us, especially the things we think we’ve conquered. (In my case, physical fear had never been a major issue in my life, so I had rarely given it a second thought.)
Yes, you read that right—visions (and if you knew my denominational background you would understand how unusual this is). Only once before had I ever personally encountered a demon in the physical realm (that’s for another post on another day, though). But in the last two months I have seen, on more than one occasion, demons appearing in my home. Now, I’m not talking about a physical thing that I could touch, but rather an image in my mind. Unlike the experience of the home intrusion, these visions did not create a reaction of fear but of doubt. Each time I would “see” a demon I would immediately pray against it and focus on God’s word. But the visions have continued not only in the form of demons but in dreams.
My sleep has often been interrupted with disturbing images from the past–sinful behaviors, etc. I wake up with waves of doubt over my calling as a Christian, my competence as a teacher, and my effectiveness as a servant in Christ’s kingdom. These thoughts, visions, and dreams have left behind a residue, a sticky film that is difficult to eliminate. It is, yet again, another attack I have had to fight off.
And there have been many other attacks (marriage, financial, relational, physical…etc), but this post is already too long to list them all. I do, however, want to make one thing clear in all of this. I have not shared these experiences to bring an unhealthy attention to Satan, but rather to show that when we are in God’s will, when we are attempting to follow His plan, Satan will oppose it. And if you are not recognizing any attacks from your enemy, you might want to reevaluate some things in your life. If you are walking with Jesus, Satan is going to attack you. We don’t need to be afraid of him but we do need to understand his hatred towards us as we daily fight against his fiery arrows.
What type of opposition have you encountered as you’ve been led by God to serve in a ministry or in some other area?
Rebecca Aarup is an author and freelance writer. She is a health columnist for The Christian Online Magazine, creater of S.E.R.V.A.N.T. Sisters online women’s ministry, and has written devotionals/studies/articles for a variety of publications including The Secret Place (Judson press), Evangel (Light and Life Communications), and Mustard Seed Ministries. She just released a new Bible Study The Word: Six Lessons from Psalm 119 which is available as a free download on her website or in print form from Amazon. Beyond writing, Rebecca is a wife, home-schooling mom, and Bible student at Liberty University. She lives in Glendale, Az with her husband Chris and 5 year old, Samantha. You can read more from Rebecca by subscribing to her blog (it’s free) and following her on twitter and facebook.