Notice: This is part 3 in a series of blog posts. I would suggest reading the series all the way through before reading this post. You can start at part 1 “here.”
So, what happens after we are rescued by God out of the shameful mediocrity that has been labeled “teenage Christianity?” What happens when we find the light in this dark world? What happens when we accept “The Covenant Life” and choose to truly follow our Lord? What happens when our eyes are opened and a desire for truth burns within us? The answer is simple. We must rise up and fight. We must fetch our swords out of our china cabinets (Ludy reference) and go to war! We must live a life devoted to our God. Now, that’s not necessarily easy, but possible? Oh yes, definitely.
So how do we keep the evil one from us once we are in God’s light? We must fight against Satan’s tactics. Satan has been around a LONG time, and he has come up with countless ways to deceive us. The Bible says he is the “Great Deceiver.” He’s VERY good at what he does, and without God, we will always fall to his attacks. We simply cannot win against sin on our own, but if we have God with us, we can stand up to Satan’s lies. Now, Satan has many methods to try and make us fall, but there are four general ones that he repeatedly uses and have repeatedly worked. I have taken these four methods from Eric Ludy’s book, “God’s Gift to Women,” and while I have made my own descriptions for them, the ideas are the same.
Satan loves to distract us. If he can get us focused on ANYTHING other than God, he will jump at the chance. Some of these distractions can be things like our reputation, our stuff (iPods, computers, video games, etc.), our hobbies, or our daily events. Distractions don’t have to be bad, either. Satan can just as easily distract us with our musical abilities, our organizing skills, or our business. If it’ll get your eyes off God, it works. We must stay focused on God and His word, and not let ourselves be distracted by other things no matter how good they may be. God must be number one in our lives.
Not the literal drugs, though those are extremely bad as well. These are things that in and of themselves are not necessarily bad, but will rule your life if not controlled and/or destroyed. Video games, for example; they can be harmless, but if they dominate your life and eat up your time, then they become “drugs” in your life. Satan loves to use these things, and we must keep a close watch in order to remain alert and aware of what’s happening in our lives so we don’t become controlled by “drugs.”
Satan knows that recurring little black sins cannot co-exist with a life truly devoted to God. That’s why he tries to defile us whenever he finds our weaknesses. One of his absolutely terrible but common defilement methods is lust. God tells us three times in “Song of Solomon” to wait on the beautiful gift of love God gave us (Song of Solomon 8:4; 2:7; 3:5). There are many reasons why (See my “Love Unawakened” post for more details on love), but sometimes we fall to temptation and activate “love” before we’re supposed to. The only thing is… this “love” usually comes out differently. It’s called lust. We lust after images on the internet, images in our minds, and people in our world around us; and Satan eats it all up. He loves it. The ability to love is one of the most powerful things God made, and it is NOT to be taken lightly. However, we so often treat these desires and feelings like a little escape from reality; a way to enjoy ourselves for our own selfish and dark desires. It’s one of Satan’s most regularly used methods, and it’s one of the most effective. It’s a very serious, temping, and potent sin, and we NEED to take hold of the strength God gives us and pierce Satan in the heart when we see it coming.
Satan knows how much we humans love our money and possessions. He knows that success in this world can quickly make us forget what God did for us. That is why we must never fall into the love of money. We should never devote our lives to the pursuit of money. Having a well-paying job is fine, but we shouldn’t get so involved in it that we forget about God or lose time on our job that should be God’s. We should stay away from business deals and “opportunities of a lifetime” in the money realm, and be content with what we have instead of chasing gold (1 Timothy 6:10).
So, now we know the methods. How do we avoid them? Here’s my advice for dealing with each of these four deceptive attacks Satan uses on our souls.
I get distracted. I get distracted a lot. I am something of a perfectionist, and I have a hard time focusing on things like schoolwork and projects. I end up procrastinating quite a bit if I’m not watching the clock on a normal school day. I realize that for those of you like me, distraction is not easy to overcome. In fact, it’s quite hard to overcome. But little by little, God’s been really helping me to deal with this issue in my life. God has helped me find a very useful tool to help me study recently. It’s a website called “simplynoise.com” that produces white noise, and it really helps me concentrate on my school. If you have concentration issues like me, I would encourage you to check it out. Otherwise, ask your parents to keep you accountable to not get distracted throughout your day. Another more important kind of distraction is forgetting to nurture our spiritual life. Read your Bible! If you are getting discouraged while reading through the Old Testament, then try reading some paragraphs in James, 1 Peter, Titus, or other short and punchy books in the New Testament. They are jam-packed full of Truth, and are very inspiring when talk of “Ehud son of Balor son of whoever” gets a bit discouraging. Also, never forget to pray. Talk to your God daily, making requests as well as thanking Him for all the blessings He’s given you. God loves to listen to our prayers. Talk to Him.
Tips For Drugs:
Drugs are addicting; both the real ones and the disguised ones. First of all, DON’T DO DRUGS. Ok, that’s pretty obvious, but what I really want to say here is that we need to keep a close watch on our lives to make sure drugs don’t creep in. Do you like video games? How much time do they take up in your day? Is a hobby of video gaming taking away from your prayer time or Bible study? And not just those important things, but is video gaming taking up time you could be spending to help others, have good conversations, get things done, or obey your parents? If it is, then you need to cut down the time you spend on it according to your parent’s suggestions and your own convictions. No, don’t just consider cutting back on it. Do it. Ask family members to keep you accountable, and stick to it. As you’ve probably guessed, this applies to many other hobbies or anything else that you can get addicted to instead of God. TV, food, music, social networking, video games, books, and more are all things that can easily be placed above God, and must be watched at all times in our lives. If you like TV, consider the time you’re spending watching it. If you like food, think about how much of it you’ve eaten and if God would be honored by the amount of sweets you eat. I’m working with these issues too. I personally don’t have that big a problem when it comes to gaming and TV, but I can definitely be found eating more food than is really needed at a meal. If that gets out of hand, it’s called gluttony. I need to be watching the sweets and food I eat to make sure I’m honoring God with that part of my life as well as every other part.
For many people, this is one of the hardest things to overcome. As I said above, defilement is mainly lust. Lust for people around us, images we see with our eyes, and images we create within the caverns of our minds. Lust is basically distorting God’s creation of love. A lot of times it starts with something visible like a billboard. The world knows how much our sinful nature is attracted to skimpy females or hot dudes plastered on a huge sign right in front of our face. That’s why there are so many perverted images on billboards, magazines, ads, and websites. All these things must be cautiously approached if we are to see, read, or study them. We must be constantly on our guard to quickly look away and shut out wrong thoughts if we discover something sensual in these things. When you see a billboard with a girl who looks like she just got back from the beach on it, look away, say NO to thoughts that might want to venture into your mind, and pray that the Holy Spirit would guard your heart. If you’re browsing through a magazine or website and see a suggestive image, either turn the page (quickly!) or click that small red “x” at the top right corner of your screen. Guys usually have the most trouble with this, but girls are very vulnerable to this sin as well. About a year ago, I myself was very accustomed to not turning the page when I saw something wrong. God has done incredible things with me since then, but let me tell you, I am far from immune to this danger. I’ll admit it; this is a very difficult sin to conquer! I would venture to say that every human being has struggled with this serious sin, and those without Christ are very likely addicted to it (as well as many who claim to have Christ).
Due to the length of this post and the fact that I pretty much already summed this point up in the description of it, I will be skipping this one. Like I said, if you want some tips, I gave a few in the description of “Delusion” above.
Here is a three part attack strategy for fighting off Satan’s lies. I’ve taken it from Eric Ludy’s book, “God’s Gift to Women,” and I think it’s a very good way to flee from temptation.
1. Find an identified point of attack (Find the area of your life that Satan is attacking most)
2. Target a prisoner of war for rescue (Pray daily for an unbeliever you know)
3. Fight, and fight HARD! (KEEP AT IT! Be strong and never give up! If you fall, repent quickly and thoroughly and pray for God’s strength, but get right back on the battlefield!)
So, those are some general ideas of Satan’s most often used methods and how to eliminate and/or avoid them. Remember these attack strategies daily and remind yourself to be alert and ready to fight off Satan whenever he tries to make you fall. And believe me, he will. In fact, the more you are enveloped within God’s presence, and the more you follow Him, the more Satan will hate you and want to destroy God’s life within you. BE ALERT.
Whenever you feel yourself slip, whenever that one perverted thought sneaks into your mind, whenever Satan’s lies start to look more attractive than God’s Truth… remember the Cross. It’s what I have done, and I think it works very well. If you start to sin and you know it, just picture Jesus’ bloodied, mangled, pulp of a body hanging there on that cross. And remind yourself that He died for you. Think about it. God, the Creator of all things, the King of the universe, the Ruler of all, the Prince of peace, the Lion of Judah… died for you. God died. GOD died. Not just a hero or a great man, but GOD. He died! For YOU! You are a broken, sinful, fallen, tiny speck of a human in this gigantic universe who deserves Hell, and you were running as fast as you could away from God… and He chose you. You! He chose you, and decided that instead of sending you to the fiery eternity you deserve, He would gently turn you in the other direction. He would open your eyes and let you see a narrow road before you. A better road; the road to heaven. Does this not make you want to jump up and down and sing for joy?! God DIED for you, and gave you the opportunity to spend forever… FOREVER… in His heavenly presence, laughing and singing with those you once knew on earth. He gave you this choice. The choice to either run the hard and painful race to glory and receive admittance into eternal life with God, or to wait around on this earth, wasting your short life and indulging in Satan’s lies until you burn forever in Hell. Either fight the good fight for the God of all things, or fight the fruitless struggle for exaltation of your Self. God or Satan. You MUST make yourself a slave to one of them. Now’s the time to choose.