Rebuking the Devil’s Deadly D’s (Part 1)

Rebuking the Devil’s Deadly D’s

Rebuking the Devil

 

In order to defeat the enemy we must first know our enemy. In our last post we studied the character of Satan. Knowing his character will help us understand what kind of thoughts originate from him (or his demons) compared with our own fleshly thoughts and desires.

Today we will talk about the various weapons of warfare Satan uses to attack believers. I’ll be using some references from the course I just finished at Liberty: The Doctrine of Satan. In it, my instructor lists the sixteen deadly “D’s” and I’ll be sharing his insights with you over the next several posts. I have no doubt you’ll recognize some of them in your life.

The Deadly D’s of the Devil

 

1.      Disappointment

 

What Christian (or human being) hasn’t experienced disappointment? Let’s face it; we all have expectations that are not met. We all have wants and desires that never come to fruition in our lives. Satan loves to capitalize on the demoralizing feelings of disappointment in the believer’s life. If we’re not standing guard with our weapons of war (the Armor of God—see Ephesians 6:10-18) we will be ill equipped to fight through disappointment successfully.

“To be disappointed is to forget Romans 8:28, ‘And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are called according to his purpose.’

Disappointment is God’s appointment.”¹ <<<<(Click to Tweet!)

When the fiery arrow of disappointment is aimed at our heart, we need to take the Sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God, and deflect the attack with the truth. We need to pray out loud (this is VERY important because the devil cannot read our minds, he can only place thoughts there), “Lord, I am disappointed, but I know that this disappointment is merely Your divine appointment in my life, and You are working these circumstances out for my greatest good. I choose to reject the lie that I can only be happy when I am getting my way and believe Your word that you care for me and have provided all I need to be complete.”

2.      Discouragement

 

When disappointment is left unchecked, it deteriorates into discouragement. It’s important to note that any form of discouragement has its origins in the devil. Discouragement cannot come from God. When we walk around with a sore countenance, griping and moaning about our circumstances, we give over a place of our hearts to discouragement (a spiritual stronghold for Satan to gain ground in our lives), which completely contradicts our New Life in Christ. Not only are we opening the door for Satan, but we fail to display the joy and peace of Christ to a world that needs His hope.

“To be discouraged is to forget 1 Samuel 30:6, ‘And David was greatly distressed; for the people spake of stoning him, because the soul of all the people was grieved, every man for his sons and for his daughters: but David encouraged himself in the Lord his God.’”¹

If we’ve allowed discouragement to take root in our lives, we must pray out loud, “Lord, I confess my attitude of discouragement to you. I now choose to repent of this sinful spirit and renounce the lie that my joy and peace depend on favorable circumstances in my life. I choose to believe that my joy, security, and peace can only be found in You, Lord. From this moment on I am choosing to focus on the comforting truth available to me through Your Word.”

3.      Despair

 

Despair is the final result of disappointment and discouragement left to fester in one’s spirit. The despairing believer has no joy, purpose, or peace. I know a lot about despair because I lived a decade of my life in that place. I tried to commit suicide and suffered with addiction, eating disorders, and severe mental illness. It is impossible to effectively serve God  or experience the fullness of His presence in such a state of mind. The despairing believer has willfully traded the truth of Jesus for the lies of the devil.

“To despair is to forget 2 Corinthians 4:8,‘We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair.’”¹

If we’ve found ourselves in this destructive place, we need to pray out loud, “Lord, I confess that I have believed the devil’s lie that I am __________ (worthless, purposeless, unusable, etc.) and I now renounce that lie and replace it with Your truth. I know You love me, have created me for a specific purpose, and have assigned good works for me to do while I am here on this earth. You have a plan for my life, and I now embrace that plan and choose to trust Your Sovereign control over my life and circumstances.”

The best way to keep these first three deadly d’s from gaining ground in our lives is to recognize where they are coming from (Satan) and fight against it with the Word of God and prayer. It all starts with a little disappointment, so remember—Disappointment is God’s appointment. Give it to Him the moment it occurs and choose His truth over Satan’s lies.

How about you? Have you ever seen these deadly d’s take root in your life? What was the end result?

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1-      Dr. H.L. Willmington, Willmington’s Guide to the Bible, ©1981, 1984 by H.L. Willmington–all rights reserved.

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Check out these posts for more:

Is Spiritual Warfare real?

What’s the difference between the flesh and Satan?

Can Satan’s influence affect children?

**If you enjoyed this post and others, please take a second to enter your email address into the space provided on the right hand side of the computer screen (or scroll to the bottom of your screen if using a smartphone) and you will receive new posts in your email inbox. This is absolutely free and your information is never shared!**

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profilepic3Rebecca Aarup has written devotionals and Bible teaching 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.

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The Voices in My Head: God, Satan, or My Flesh—(Part 1)

Every single day thousands of thoughts flood our minds. Many of those thoughts lead to actions. For example, every morning I think, “A cup of coffee would really help me wake up.” I choose to act on that thought by stumbling to my coffee maker in a sleep-induced haze and brewing a cup. So how can we really know whose voice we are hearing at any given time? Let me give you a real-world scenario, one that plays out in my own thought life nearly every week.

It’s 6:30 Sunday morning; my alarm clock rings out with a favorite song I specifically chose to help wake me up (Like a Lion-Kristian Stanfill). Once again I stayed up too late the night before, and have less sleep than my body probably needed. I think, “I really don’t feel like going to church today. Maybe I should just stay home; I’m so tired.”

A)     God’s voice:

In His omniscience, God knows that my presence at home is required. Through the Holy Spirit, He causes me to consider staying home so I won’t miss out on a “divine appointment”.

B)      Satan’s voice:

Having observed my actions/countenance in the past, Satan knows how my attitude and behaviors are changed after I attend a worship service. Through observation, Satan also notices the physical reaction my body is having as a result of a poor choice I made to stay up late the night before. Taking advantage of my weakness, he places a thought in my head, tempting me to stay away from God’s house and His will, which will probably pave the way for more temptations that, based on past behaviors, Satan has a good idea I will fall victim to.

C)      My Flesh:

I stayed up too late, I’m tired, and because I would rather be comfortable I contemplate on how nice it would feel to sleep in. It has nothing to do with God or Satan; it is just me being my sinful, prideful self. I don’t want to be challenged, I don’t feel like changing my behavior, I just want to SLEEP!

So, which is it; A, B, or C? Let me help you out a little by eliminating A. The Holy Spirit will never, I repeat—never, “lead” us to do something contrary to God’s written word, no matter how spiritual it sounds. Remember, Satan is an angel of light, so he often uses such a ruse to encourage us to think we are spiritual while we are, in fact, sinning. Scripture clearly instructs us to fellowship with other believers, and not to forsake that act as some might be inclined to do (Hebrews 10:25). (Occasionally we are sick, and in some instances, some are stricken with chronic illnesses that keep them from attending church regularly; that is not what I’m talking about here.)

Well, that leaves us with B or C. This is when we need to consider the surrounding circumstances. If I told you that I had been struggling with depression, feelings of regret, or was having difficulty with someone else at church, you may be more apt to lean towards B as your answer. But if I told you that everything was fine, I had no outstanding debts of bitterness, money was raining down from heaven and all my financial problems had been solved, you would likely consider C as your answer. In reality, it could be either. In my case, knowing my life and circumstances, I am about 99.9% certain it is a tempting thought strategically placed by my Enemy.

If I didn’t show up to church one Sunday, most people wouldn’t consider that abnormal because those close to me know that my husband is not a Christ-follower and that he wants to spend time with me on his days off (the weekend); church could be a conflict for us. However, I know that for the most part, my husband couldn’t care less if I go to church or not, as long as I am spending time with him and being flexible with my church-activities schedule (not spending every waking moment at church throughout the week), he really isn’t bothered by it.

But do you see how Satan can use all that he knows (through observation—he is not omniscient) to “scheme” against me (and you)? Suppose I decide to hit the snooze button and sleep instead of going to church (which I have done). My husband wakes up and sees I haven’t gone to church like I said I was going to and asks me about it. Feeling defensive I might whip out a lame excuse, “I wasn’t feeling well,” which is a lie because even though I was tired, I wasn’t legitimately sick or unable to get up. Now my credibility as a Christ-follower is diminished in my husband’s eyes. He notices my lack of commitment and how easily I am swayed from God (after all, he goes to work every day whether he’s tired or not, so God must not be that important). Do you see, friends, how subtle this is? A simple little thought, “I’m tired, maybe I should stay home” could negatively affect my husband’s view of Christianity, and even his salvation!

Stay alert! I will be getting more in depth on these “voices” in the posts to come. Remember that our circumstances play a huge role in determining what voice we may be hearing.

“Lest Satan should get an advantage over us: for we are not ignorant of his devices [noema-schemes].” 2 Corinthians 2:11

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Related posts:

Demonic Schemes

Every Story Has a Villian, Even Yours

Spiritual Warfare 101: Is it Real?

Satan, God, the Flesh, and Spiritual Warfare

Before Your Feet Hit the Floor: An Essential Daily Prayer

How Food Paves the Path to Forgiveness and Faith

**Originally published in The Christian Online Magazine, December 2012 Issue**

Food is more than a tasty treat, a temptation for over-indulgence, or an excuse to spend obscene amounts of money at fancy restaurants. No, food has a much greater significance. Food is a ministry—at least it can be. The following article highlights just a few examples from the Bible concerning food and its significance in our lives beyond tickling the taste-buds.

Food for Forgiveness

     Passage: Genesis 41-45

In the midst of a seven year famine, God paved the way for a divine appointment of familial restoration. Joseph’s brothers were forced to travel to Egypt to save the lives of their family by purchasing food from the Egyptian storehouses. Of course, they had no idea their brother Joseph, who they sold into slavery over a decade prior, would be the one standing between them and their hungry tummies.

In what is probably one of the most famous stories of the Old Testament, we see that Joseph chose to extend forgiveness to his wicked brothers (after first giving them the scare of their lives) instead of retaliating in anger. They came to him helpless and hungry, and through the use of food, God ushered in one of the most famous verses used by millions of Christians throughout generations:

“You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good, to accomplish what is now being done.” Genesis 50:20

God used a famine, a store-house full of grains, and some hungry men to bring forgiveness and healing to many wounded hearts. The food was the vehicle, but the deeper purpose was restoration. We need to look at our lives and see if there is unrelenting bitterness, anger, or resentment either in our hearts or the hearts of our loved ones. We are fast approaching Christmas but how many families will remain divided because of unresolved hurts? Maybe we are the vehicle God wants to use to bring the family back together. Ultimately we are only responsible for our own attitudes, but we can “set the table” for the rest of our loved ones to give that thing called “forgiveness” a try. Perhaps a holiday meal would be the perfect time for such an act of peace.

• Food for Faith

     Passage: Matthew 14:13-21

Jesus had just been told the news: John the Baptist, his cousin and beloved friend, had been killed. At a time when most of us, in the light of such news, would have curled up in the fetal position and checked out of life for a while, Jesus was afforded no such luxury. Instead, he was followed by mobs of people anxiously awaiting His every move—would he heal again? What would He say next? No one wanted to miss a thing!

The disciples urged Jesus to force the crowds to leave; besides, it was late and the people were probably hungry—they should just leave Jesus alone and let Him grieve. But what was Jesus’ response? He chose to sacrifice his own comfort and focus on the needs of the people. They were hungry—he fed them. In fact, he fed five thousand of them!

When we are met with difficulty and pain, we tend to turn our focus inward and withdraw from companionship. But in that pain we are offered an opportunity to reach out and help someone else. And yes, we can do that with food. Someone out there is hungry; someone out there has a need. Perhaps God wants to use our pain, not to feel sorry for ourselves, but to reach out and touch someone else with the generous spirit of giving our Lord demonstrated for us.

So as another year comes to a close and we gather at tables full of buttered biscuits, pumpkin pies, carved hams, and candied yams, let’s purpose to reflect a spirit of love, forgiveness, and selfless service to the world around us.

“In a word, what I’m saying is, grow up. You’re kingdom subjects. Now live like it. Live out your God-created identity. Live generously and graciously toward others, the way God lives toward you.” Matthew 5:48 (MSG)

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profilepic3Rebecca Aarup is a health columnist for The Christian Online Magazine, a contributing writer for Encourage 365, founder and creater of S.E.R.V.A.N.T. Sisters, and has written devotionals/studies/articles for a variety of other publications. She just released her latest 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 following this blog and following her on twitter and facebook.