It’s dark. You hear a noise and you know someone is there. As if eyes you cannot see are piercing hatred through your very soul you start to become aware that you are being hunted. If you think its all just in your head, that is exactly right and that is exactly the problem.
Our mind is a place easily manipulated and in our thought life a series of games that we have already lost begin to take place. Our enemies ability to bend reality is unmatched in skill. He is the enemy of our soul, his hatred for us is a hatred founded in despising Love and all that it represents. He never sleeps and he has legions of disciples; demons who carry out his plans. Why am I so concerned with revealing this reality? Although I am not trying to scare anyone, I do desire to shed light on a very dark intruder. I have become lazy and unconcerned about the spiritual realm, as is the atmosphere and temperature of the world these days. I have turned a blind eye to the enemy only recognizing his schemes after they have already been set into motion or completely realized. I have seen many of his attacks as my own sufferings and my own sins, my faults, my problems. I have lost serious ground in my attempt to ignore him and I want back what the thief has stolen while I kept a blind eye.
Let me explain with an example of the attack on my mind that I have faced the last two days. On Sunday a couple hours before a church worship event I was taking a nap and my dreams were taken hold by a spiritual force. I couldn’t have told you if it was from God or the enemy in that moment but I knew it was a very important dream specifically created for me. The dream involved me in ministry and was a well forged series of events that as I awoke, it had unearthed and dredged up a bunch of my insecurities and growing offenses toward some leadership. I felt very determined to stop the offense and to speak out against it. I Thankfully did not do anything in the moment. Then last night I had a dream that my husband had been unfaithful to me. The most alarming part of these dreams is that I had recently asked the Lord for more discernment in spiritual things. Having two disturbing dreams that had the calling card of a spiritual nature was more than a coincidence but weather it was God or the devil I could not tell.
Let me tell you that these imaginations of the mind did a very serious toll on my heart. I realized very quickly as the Lord started bringing scripture to mind that it was not from Him. But without the foundation of his words I would have fallen for the (much improved) schemes of the devil. Let me tell you now that if you want discernment you need the word of truth, His truth is the belt in our armor that keeps our pants up! The Word of God is our sword and the shield of faith that flows from his word keeps us protected. Both offensively and defensively the devil will win if we do not stand protected by God’s truth.
Thankfully the Lord brought this wisdom to mind and I was able to see the schemes of the devil for what they were. One amazing thing that came from all of it was that the enemy stirred up some very sensitive issues that I felt the need to defend and fight in my flesh. I would have gone after the wrong enemy. The fight was right it was just misplaced. The word of truth is our sword and shield. God only gives a weapon to us if He is intends for us to use it and I am pleased to say that I don’t have to repress my need for being a warrior, I just have to keep in mind who my enemy is!
The Bible is constantly telling us to guard ourselves.
1 Peter 5Be alert and of sober mind. The 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.
I want to point out a few very key things in this passage.
1. Be alert and of Sober mind
2. “Like” a lion
3. Looking for someone to devour
4. Resist, Stand Firm
5. Family of Believers are also going through this
1. Be alert!
Are we aware? Are we sober enough to see it coming? I was more interested in blaming myself or others to realize that I have an enemy and I can ignore it all I want but it won't change the fact that he is on the prowl. By staying alert I can divert! I can keep myself from falling prey. I love the Sober part because if I let my mind dwell on the bad seed, the offense, the doubt or fear, all of a sudden I feel like a crazy person who is out of control with emotion. But by recognizing that I am being attacked I can divert my thoughts to what God says and avoid becoming trapped by insecurities.
2. “Like” a Lion
His not called a lion but it says he is acting the part of one. We have a true Lion of Judah and we must be aware that it is our true Lion who sits on the throne, not the imposter of power that prowls around “Like” a lion. It is his pride that reveals his true nature. And although we have no need to be afraid we are told to be alert.
3. Looking for someone to devour.
His intentions are not merely to bother us or inconvenience us or if we are truly ignorant to think he wants to help us. He whispers prideful thoughts of our deserved offenses and as we hold those grievances against the world he has managed to stop the flow of love, mercy and grace, turning brother against brother. And as we stand firm in our justification to be offended, He sits and devours us as we devour one another.
4. Resist, Stand Firm.
These words indicate our tactical advantage that the enemy wishes for us not to recognize. WE are to resist and stand firm. Location is important and he wants us to move further away from the places that God has set our feet upon, the stronghold of our God will hold during attack but if we step away from our advantage we find ourselves quickly loosing to his schemes. We have the true Lion of Judah watching Guard over us. That is why we must Stand our ground and resist wanting to get into the middle of his games. This is also where knowing the word of God becomes vital. I know we think of God’s word as our Bread and I am guilty of being able to go without food but when you realize that you are in the middle of a battlefield being without a sword and shield isn’t a good position to be in. We need to hold onto his truth and that means daily putting it into our hearts and minds.
5. Family of believers are also going through this.
It is also important to recognize that the fight is universal and we are not one isolated case. It isn’t for us alone that we need to be filled with the truth, it is for all of God’s family that we fight. We are part of a family of believers and when your family is being attacked, you stand and fight for them. Growing up with siblings you fight every day but if someone else is trying to take down your brother or sister some kind of natural defense mechanism sets in and you want to protect them from the foreign foe. Don’t let the enemy distract you from the truth that we are brothers and sisters and he is at every turn trying to take down our family. Get your fight right! God has given us power to defeat, defend and Stand up against this foe.
When I woke up to the dreams that literally filled me with doubt and fear and seeds of discontent and offense, I could have gone down the path of destruction instead of standing firm. I could have emailed my offenders with my desire to defend myself, or I could have woke up my husband and asked him questions that I didn’t need the answers to. That path of distrust feeds the insecurities rather than subdues them. I will do as Christ did in the desert when the enemy pressed him with half truths and temptations to prove himself, I will not be moved. The enemy hands us seeds for a garden of darkness. Doubt, fear, discontent, offense, jealousy, envy, hatred, lust, or pride are the seeds that he tempts us to plant. We are good gardeners but our garden doesn’t have room for both the seeds that thrive in darkness and the seeds of God that thrive in light. What kind of garden have we been watering?
We have to recognize that if we are feeling the fruit of the enemy growing inside of us that our garden needs to be pruned. God says in John 15 that he prunes, cuts away and burns in the fire that which bears no good fruit. Do you realize that this is not a hateful act but one of true love? He wants to remove the things in us that bare no good fruit, let him kill the plans of the enemy in our lives that have become thorns of distrust and vines of suffocating envy. God has pruned these thorns away until his hands are bloody from the task. I have pruned roses before and walked away with scars. Our savior was given a crown of thorns that pierced his brow and nails that pierced his hands and feet, he was pierced in his side with a sword. He did this so that we could be free from the curse of those seeds of darkness. When he prunes us it is at no cost to us but to him who loves us extravagantly more than we understand. And yet we wince at the thought of the pruning and we moan at the sight of the sheer.
The opening scene to mankind was a garden. And the enemy has been trying to steal our Eden every since that first seed filled fruit that he presented to Eve. What a pretty little lie. A seed of doubt, of pride, of independence. It was the idea that God is holding out on us. Eve took the fruit and the seed was planted deep inside all of mankind. It was with her belief that if he truly loved her than he would let her have this fruit that then in turn all of mankind has been under the misguided understanding that our true garden is of this fruit. That fruit was never intended for us, it was the fruit of a world that God in his love never wanted for us. Do you realize it is from that same tree that the enemy has been using the same seeds to grow in us a spirit of rebellion and pride, a spirit of jealousy, fear and doubt. The seeds of depression are also fruit from this vine and we have God who has been pulling these weeds as furious as he can, all while we water them.
I am determined from this day on to reduce the need for pruning in my life by cutting off the liar and his seed to my garden. When I feel offended I will use that as a sign that dark seed is in my presence, When I feel alienated, alone, jealous, afraid, ashamed, annoyed, frustrated, restless, stupid, alone, intimidated, alarmed, incapable, depressed and abandoned I will know that the enemy has sown, but he will find no available place to sow in this garden for the Lord has planted beautiful roots of his vine deep within me, intertwining my heart and mind with his. And I will water the seeds of God's will so that I may bare the fruit of one who is not just filled with peace but embodies it, not just one who is aware of love but one who is becoming love. We can not grow two competing gardens of dark and light, we must choose what we will sow, what we will tend, what we will allow to be cut off. What garden are we growing?