“For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.” (Ephesians 6:12)
We know this is true and all too real, but are there practical ways to help us to take a stand?
One of the best ways to defeat the enemy, rather than be defeated, is to know the tactics. If you know what the enemy is up to, you can be on guard. You don’t need to be paranoid or fearful, but possess a quiet confidence that…
“…the one who is within you is greater than the one who is in the world.” I John 4:4
The Enemy’s Top Five Tactics:
1) Prevent humility, by promoting self-sufficiency.
It’s not likely that full on pride will be your downfall. You can see that coming. But pride can be sneaky. (The enemy is a schemer.) It often comes in the form of “I can do it.” Things aren’t working so you work harder instead of leaning more on God. Lean into your humble heart, depend on God.
2) Prevent unity, by creating division.
The enemy loves it when churches split, staff teams compete, and church leaders don’t get along. Division is the quiet killer of the church. It starts behind closed doors, and when it gets out it’s a monster. Fight for unity in spirit, vision, and oneness on the team.
3) Prevent joy, by causing discouragement.
If I had listed the tactics in order, this may be #1. I’ve seen discouragement take out more church leaders than anything else. Discouragement comes when your perspective becomes askew. When you think things like you are alone, no one cares, and nothing is working. Get some time with a trusted friend to help you see more clearly. God is with you and you are doing something that matters!
4) Prevent commitment, by encouraging complacency.
On many a Monday morning pastors want to resign. Have you been there? Yet you rethink that and stay, but perhaps pull your foot off the throttle just a little. It’s not that you don’t care, but slide into a more comfortable place of complacency thinking “This is good enough.” That’s what the enemy wants. He knows you will likely not quit, so he’s happy to have you let up on your fierce commitment. Hang tough. Remember your calling!
5) Prevent peace, (and closeness with God), by busyness.
The peace of God is such a great gift, of course the enemy doesn’t want you to have it. And what better way to steal it from you than your work in ministry. Don’t let busyness crowd out your time with God, your family and some fun along the way.
Humility, unity, joy, commitment and peace are not new to you, but perhaps you see them in a different light. Don’t make them another to-do list. Don’t make this more work for yourself, or you may end up inadvertently stepping in more busyness. This is a lifetime process. Know that God is with you and provides you with protection.
“Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s scheme’s.” Ephesians 6:11
“Therefore, put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.” Ephesians 6:13 (See full armor – Ephesians 6:14-17)
We can see this is not a passive process and that we are called to take action. Paul closes this passage by reminding us to pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests! With this is mind, be alert.