Several years ago I accompanied my second grader on a field trip to Salato Wildlife Center in Frankfort, KY. We went into a classroom to see “Birds of Prey” up close. One of the birds they brought in was a gorgeous Great Horned Owl. The handler began describing the characteristics of this amazing creature. He pointed out the pattern of his feathers, and how it mimics tree bark, so the owl can camouflage himself among the bark and blend in, right with his environment. To an unsuspecting squirrel searching for nuts in the tree, the owl is nearly inches away, undetected, until it’s too late for the squirrel. As the handler was talking, I imagined that this is similar to how Satan sets traps for us. He blends in, right with our environment and surroundings, going undetected and unnoticed, until we are in his trap. We are warned of this in 1 Peter 5: 8, “Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour”.
A time that I fell into this trap was when my husband was on a mission trip to Guatemala. He was gone for eight days, and I was home with both kids and all four pets. It is always a bit taxing when he travels- juggling work, the kids’ schedules, getting everyone to school and taking care of all the tasks around the house. But this time was especially difficult. Every single day there was a “catastrophe” of some sorts. I literally mean, Every. Single. Day. By the end of the week I was exhausted, worn down and over it. On the last night he was gone I couldn’t sleep, so I began scrolling through social media. I came across a post that I completely began to overthink. Now, I have blogged about my insecurities before, and fear and anger began to set in. I reacted. I believed a lie. Jesus had this to say about Satan, “He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the TRUTH because there is no TRUTH in him. When he LIES, he speaks what is natural to him, for he is a LIAR and the father of LIES and half-truths” (John 8: 44b AMP). Satan had been blending in with my environment all week, enticing me and provoking me to become angry and focus on ME, and not God. I reacted by picking a fight with my husband through text messages who was on a mission trip over 2,000 miles away. Now, let me interject here. Brad and I celebrated 20 years of marriage in January 2019. We have an incredible marriage, one that I’m so proud of. It is strong and God-honoring, and other than my relationship with Jesus (which comes first), my relationship with Brad is the MOST important relationship I have! But we aren’t perfect, I’M NOT PERFECT, and let’s face it, in 20 years there’s bound to be some quarreling! And you know what, he had told me that on THIS particular trip, he had felt the closest to God in years. He loves going to Guatemala with our church (he’s been 4 times). And he has such a heart for helping and impacting God’s Kingdom and Eternal glory. Yet, I was a squirrel that fell into the owl’s trap. My friends, THAT is spiritual warfare. Yes, those are scary words, but ones we need to explore and be aware of. Ephesians 6:12 tells us, “For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places” (NLT). So why would the enemy of my soul attack ME while Brad is the one on the mission trip? I used to wonder why Satan would bother at all when my salvation is secure. He isn’t concerned with my salvation, he’s concerned when we try to lead others to salvation. So any way he can put up a barricade to try and stop people from making a positive impact for God, he’s going to try. Satan knows how to target us. He watches us and knows our weaknesses (remember the roaring lion? I think a lion knows his prey’s weaknesses). He knew that he could get to Brad through me. He knew that if I could DISTRACT Brad and take his mind off God that he would be rendered LESS effective on that trip. And I fell for it. Jesus said, “Every kingdom divided against itself is doomed to destruction; and a HOUSE divided against itself will fall” (Luke 11: 17 AMP).
So what can we do?
Be on guard, “so that we would not be outwitted by Satan; for we are not ignorant of his designs” (2 Corinthians 2:11 ESV). Going back to 1 Peter 5:8, some translations say, “Be alert!” (NIV), “be watchful” (ESV). If you are doing anything related to what God has asked you to do, “your adversary the devil” is coming after you! He wants division, he wants destruction, he wants to keep us from doing God’s work that is set before us. “The thief comes only in order to steal and kill and destroy” (John 10:10 AMP). BUT…
“The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet” (Romans 16:20 AMP). Satan does NOT win! We can put on our Armor of God (Ephesians 6:12- 18), we can stay in God’s Word, “For the Word of God is living and active and full of power” (Hebrews 4: 12), we can pray for discernment and wisdom, (“If any of you lacks wisdom to guide him through a decision or circumstance, he is to ask of our benevolent God, who gives to everyone generously and without rebuke or blame, and it will be given to him” James 1: 5 AMP). We can seek wise counsel, “Listen to counsel and receive instruction so that you may be wiser in life” (Proverbs 19:20). I have two spiritual mentors, they both pray for me and with me and guide me in God’s ways. Finally, ask God for confirmation. I have done this so many times, and He is always faithful with this! If you feel you are under spiritual attack, ask God to expose it! Seek Him, and He will come through for you because He loves you!
I want to be honest and open. I know someone else has gone through, is going through, or will go through something similar. If something I have shared triggers a response to turn to God, or helps you see your situation for what it really is (for our enemy is not flesh-and-blood) then my hopes and prayers will be answered. Leave a comment, or contact me with how you recognize and combat spiritual warfare! I’d love to hear from you and gain wisdom through your experiences. Thank you for taking the time to read my post and God Bless you!!