Paul says very plainly in Ephesians 6:12 that our fight is against wicked spirits, and he tells us not to be ignorant of their schemes (2 Corinthians 2:11). They know us and understand our potential weaknesses, and they plan strategies against us because they are real beings.
The number one aim of Satan’s plan is to keep you from Christ. If he misses that target, then his second aim is to keep you from serving Christ effectively.
The things in your life that entice and distract you are not coincidental. How many of you have ever become interested in a TV program or a movie and found yourself still wide-eyed and awake at 2 o’clock in the morning? But several nights later when you decided to read your Bible and get in some study time, before nine o’clock you couldn’t keep your eyes open! We’ve all been there and done that! These things are not accidental. Satan has schemes!
You may be thinking, “What can it hurt to occasionally use my plan B or to reason something out apart from God’s Word? What can it hurt if I blow off a little steam every once in awhile? After all, I’m entitled—I’m doing it right most of the time! What can it hurt to indulge in a little self pity every so often? What can it possibly hurt to spend this week in the TV and take a little break from my Bible study routine? I don’t plan to make a habit of it.”
That is like the person who takes his first drink or smokes just one cigarette. It establishes something in the spiritual realm. Any time we sow to the flesh we will reap some degree of corruption. Walk in the Spirit and you will not fulfill the desires of the flesh (Galatians 5:16). Notice that this verse does not say that if you will not fulfill the desires of the flesh then you can walk in the Spirit. You walk in the Spirit to be able to resist the desires of the flesh.
A well-known evangelist made this statement about demons: “They (demon spirits) are intelligent beings who plot and plan, work out how to frustrate you, how to defeat you, how to keep you miserable, how to make you sick, and, if possible, to kill you.”
Jesus very simply said exactly the same thing in John 10:10—“The thief [that includes all his demon powers] comes to steal, to kill, and to destroy....” Most people take that statement too lightly. What Jesus was saying is very literal. But in the counterpart to that—Jesus said, “...but I have come that you might have abundant life.” And the way we have that life is by thinking and acting dependently upon God rather than independently on our own.
Until we recognize demon spirits to be real enemy beings, waiting to take advantage of our flesh (not imaginary figments of someone’s imagination), we will go right along with their game plan because of our lack of knowledge. Their targets are those unrenewed areas in our lives that we’ve pushed aside and not dealt with. And that is easy to do because it is more pleasant to think about those areas where we have obtained victory. But when we realize that a particular, unconquered area is the strategic place that the enemy has targeted against us personally to destroy us, we will much more quickly do something about it. Suddenly, we won’t be saying, “Oh, well, what can it hurt this once?” No! We will be saying, “That’s an area that Satan has targeted in my life to destroy me, and it is as deadly as a rattlesnake, and I am determined to do something about it.”
The first step is realizing that the enemy is real and that he can and will do us damage until Galatians 2:20 becomes a reality in our spirit man:
I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.
-Peggy Joyce Ruth
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