We are all in ministry. We don’t have to be a pastor to be in ministry. Our ministry might mean ministering to our family, friends, or coworkers.
But that means that we are all a threat to the enemy. And the enemy doesn’t like it when we do something right or good for the Kingdom of God, so he will attack. He is an expert at using subtle tactics. You might not even give it a second thought. And you certainly won’t think it is coming from the enemy. These things work quite well for a while. But then when the enemy is really feeling threatened, he will up his game and use more aggressive techniques. Often times we still don’t realize that this is the enemy.
“Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.” – 1 Peter 5:8
I believe one of the most common approaches today is distraction. We are all constantly surrounded by so many things coming at us at once. Cell phones, tablets, social media, text messages, and emails. With all of these conveniences, everyone seems to be even busier than ever. But here’s the thing – all these things that we are busy doing might not be bad things. And they might even be considered good things.
But the enemy has us right where he wants us. We don’t have time to help a friend in need. We don’t have time to invite a neighbor to coffee. We don’t take the time to stop and listen to what our spouse said. We don’t have time to love like Jesus did, serve like Jesus served. And dear friends, that is what this life is all about.
I see this in my own life every single day. Running around at work and home, I barely have time to think. And then when I do have a spare moment, I sabotage it. I am so used to always being occupied, so when I have a moment to breathe I pick up my phone out of habit.
If I take a moment to stop and rest, I will hear God whispering to me, “I will help you face this. Be brave and let’s do this together. There will be victory on the other side.”
Another tactic that enemy likes to use is to stomp on our confidence. He has done this to me just about every single day of my life. Just when I start to think about doing something meaningful for the Kingdom of God, an ugly conversation begins in my head.
“Nobody is going to listen to you. What makes you think you’ll get anywhere? Ha, yeah right! You? Think again.”
“Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, for many false prophets have gone out into the world.” – 1 John 4:1
And the thing is, I don’t even know this is the enemy. I honestly think these are my own thoughts. And so of course I am in agreement with them. And then ultimately I get nowhere.
But if I turn to the Lord in the midst of this battle, I will hear Him whispering, “Let’s do this together. When you are weak, I am strong. I will take hold of your right hand. Do not fear. I will help you.”
There are also times when the enemy might use larger battles in our lives to hold us back. If he feels threatened, he will work hard to take us down. This could come in many hues. Often times he will use other people to get us upset or angry. But he might also use sickness, tragedy, and a slew of other problems.
“For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places.” – Ephesians 6:12
Recently when I made a decision to step in faith with something God had been stirring in my heart, I began to have a number of issues arise at work. Not only did all of my projects seem to be falling apart, but I also had a couple of instances where I was belittled publicly. I felt completely rejected and incapable of doing anything that God asked. Initially I didn’t realize this was an attack from the enemy. I just felt hurt and wanted to get far away from everyone and everything.
But in those dark hours I had to turn to the Father and seek His guidance. When we turn to Him for help, He gives us so much more than we asked for. He gives us love and comfort.
“The LORD your God is with you, the Mighty Warrior who saves. He will take great delight in you; in his love he will no longer rebuke you, but will rejoice over you with singing.” – Zephaniah 3:17
So I am learning to recognize trials for what they really are – spiritual warfare. That alone makes a big difference, because it shifts our mindset. Once we recognize the enemy’s tactics, we are better prepared to fight back. We have to take a stand. We have to fight for it. We have a calling on our lives and the Kingdom of God needs us. You can and will make a difference. You can and will do great things in your ministry,
Victory is ours! Jesus already paid the price. So don’t let the enemy tell you otherwise. You are free to live this life as God intended – The Redeemed Way!