As a new year begins, the enemy doesn’t hibernate. He is busy working against our families and looking for ways to hurt our children. Spiritual warfare isn’t pretty, the enemy doesn’t want families strengthened or unified. However, the Lord has given us tools and spiritual practices to use against him. Although not an exhaustive list, here are some ways I’m inviting us to stand strong:
- See people as God does, forgive liberally, listen well. 19:11 It is to a man’s benefit to overlook an offense. This works against his desire to divide people, cause strife, and create conflict– perhaps our enemy’s favorite tactic. If he can stir up trouble among God’s family, then we spend our energy working against each other and not against him.
- Take thoughts captive and focus on Him, not our fear. Isaiah 26:3 You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast,because they trust in you. If we are busy worrying about what has, is, or could happen, then gospel advancement screeches to a halt. When we are overwhelmed with fear/anxiety, the first place to run is to Him.
- Know yourself and your weakness, get accountability. James 4:7 Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resistthe devil, and he will flee from you. This fights We are imperfect people and can have an appetite for the wrong things. When anyone succumbs to temptation, we are forgiven, but not exempt from consequences.
- Ask Him for His perspective. Our hope comes from the Lord. Deuteronomy 31:8 The LORD is the one who goes ahead of you; He will be with you. He will not fail you or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed. This will dispel doubt/discouragement and hopelessness. Setbacks are a normal part of the rhythm of warfare, and knowing they are coming goes a long way in dispelling them. Our job isn’t results, it’s obedience.
- Test and approve. Stay in fellowship. 1 Peter 5:8-9 Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. Resist him, steadfast in the faith. This strategy works against He is the father of lies and can make what is wrong seem right. He can impact our perception, entice lying, and foster hiding, trickery, cheating, fraud, duplicity, and deceit.
- Teach children how to call on the “name of Jesus” and discern when something is happening to them, instead of because of them. 2 Thes. 3:3 But the Lord is faithful, and he will strengthen you and protect you from the evil one. This equips kids to fight as the enemy seeks to harm the family. When the enemy can’t get to you, he goes after those around you. God is ultimately our Shepherd, but He’s given us authority over our families and we can use that spiritual authority in this fight.
- Remember who you are in Christ. Remember you’ve been forgiven and your identity is as His child. You are not what you’ve done or has been done to you. Confess your sins and fears to the Lord and one another. 103:3-4 God forgives all your iniquity, heals all your diseases, redeems your life from the pit, crowns you with steadfast love and mercy. These tools fight shame- what he uses to separate us from each other and from God.
Sometimes, when we see an artist rendering of spiritual warfare, God is represented as the same size as Satan, however these are not equal rivals. This enemy has to submit to the spiritual reality he doesn’t have God’s power. We are co-heirs with Christ, and because of that birthright, we can fight with confidence for ourselves and our families. This New Year, let’s stay connected to each other and the Lord, anticipating the opposition and ready to celebrate the victory.