Many years ago, I learned firsthand how to apply Philippians 1:28 when terrible dreams began to torment me. I would often wake up in a panic at seeing two large, glowing red eyes watching me from the foot of my bed. (I know this sounds like a scene from a horror movie, but it is true).
This went on for months. I tried everything I could think of to get it to stop. I rebuked the thing in Jesus' name. I read Scriptures to it for hours. I worshipped God while it watched—nothing seemed to phase it. Then one day the Lord gave me the Philippians principle: In no way be alarmed by your opponents, which is a sign of destruction for them, but of salvation for you. He called this "the power of ignore."
That very night the demon returned. I woke up to the same scenario, but this time I was ready. With my heart pounding out of my chest, I looked up at that demon with red, glowing eyes and said in a calm voice, "Oh, it's just you again." And then I rolled over and went to sleep. It never came back after that night. I realized that when the evil spirit lost the ability to scare me, it no longer had power over me.
Through these battles, I have learned several principles that are important to remember in these times. First, evil spirits have no power over Christians (even though it feels as though they do) unless we give it to them. We have power over them! Second, these battles come in waves, and they will not last forever. And third, we probably did nothing wrong to cause the battle. As a matter of fact, we are usually in a battle because we are doing something right.
Engaging in Conflict
I want to identify some "rules of engagement" I have drawn from the epic story of Nehemiah that will help us recognize and defeat these demonic impulses and attacks. Understanding the rules of engagement is paramount if we are to win these battles instead of becoming POWs in a demonic prison camp. The book of Nehemiah gives us several great insights into these rules.
"When Sanballat heard that we were rebuilding the wall, he became angry and was greatly irritated, and he mocked the Jews. He spoke before his relatives and the army of Samaria and said, 'What are these feeble Jews doing? Are they fortifying themselves? Will they make sacrifices? Can they complete this in a day? Can they revive the burned-up stones out of the rubbish heaps?' Now Tobiah the Ammonite was beside him, and he said, 'Even what they are rebuilding, if even a fox climbed it, that would break down their stone wall'" (Neh. 4:1-3).
Let's see what we can glean from Nehemiah's diary. Here, the enemies are not employing any subtle tactics like temptation; they are resorting to a full-on accusatory attack. They use the same five accusations that our enemy most commonly levels at us as believers.
1. "What are these feeble Jews doing?" First, the devil attacks our personhood.
2. "Are they going to restore it for themselves?" Next, the accuser questions our motives.
3. "Can they offer sacrifices?" Then he tries to get us to doubt our relationship with God.
4. "Can they finish it in a day? Can they revive the stones from the dusty rubble?" The enemy tries to convince us that we do not have the ability to accomplish the mission.
5. "Even what they are doing, if a fox should jump on it, it will fall down." Finally, he attacks the quality of our work.
The schemes, plots and plans of the enemy have not changed in thousands of years. You would think by now we would recognize his devices and circumvent his conquests. But I am stunned by how often I see people gunned down at the same crime scene, even though it is clearly marked with the CAUTION tape of hundreds of Scriptures.
Keys to Overcoming the Assaults of the Enemy
Here are a few keys to overcoming these common assaults. First, it is imperative that we never talk to the devil without our attorney present. Jesus is our Advocate (1 John 2:1), and we should by no means negotiate with a terrorist! We should always let the Lord take up our case.
Observe how the Lord dealt with Satan when he brought charges against Joshua the high priest. I am sure Joshua was experiencing one of those hard seasons in his life when the devil was reminding him day and night of his failures, shortcoming and sins:
"Then he showed me Joshua, the high priest, standing before the angel of the Lord, and Satan standing at his right hand to accuse him. And the Lord said to Satan, 'The Lord rebuke you, Satan! The Lord who has chosen Jerusalem rebukes you! Is this not a burning brand taken out of the fire?' Now Joshua had on filthy garments and was standing before the angel. And he said to those standing before him, 'Take off his filthy garments.' Then he said, 'See that I have removed from you your iniquity, and I will clothe you with rich robes'" (Zech. 3:1-4).
The Lord's work in our lives is an open rebuke to the powers of darkness. When evil princes mess with us, they trespass into dangerous territory. We are made righteous by God's works and not our own, and the truth of His grace overrides the devil's facts and fallacies.
Jesus has invited us to "draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need" (Heb. 4:16). When terrorist spirits are hunting us down, we can run into the palace, jump up on the throne and be seated with Christ. In fact, if things get too bad, we can play dead and hide in Christ (Col. 3:3).
When my soul is under siege, I often have this vision of myself sitting on this huge throne with Jesus. The chair is so high that He has to help me up onto His lap. With my legs dangling several feet from the floor, I whisper in His ear, sharing with Him how someone is stalking me and will not leave me alone. The enemy seems terrified as he peers through the window of the palace and sees me whispering to the Lord. He suddenly flees the premises as the Lord gives the order to punish him for harassing me.
What ways does the Lord help you overcome the accusations of the enemy? Let me know in the comments below.
Kris Vallotton is the senior associate leader of Bethel Church in Redding, California, and co-founder of Bethel School of Supernatural Ministry (BSSM). Kris travels internationally training and equipping people to successfully fulfill their divine purpose. He's a best-selling author, having written more than a dozen books and training manuals to help prepare believers for life in the kingdom. He has a diverse background in business, counseling, consulting, pastoring and teaching, which gives him unique leadership insights and perspectives. Kris has a passion to use his experience and his prophetic gift to assist world leaders in achieving their goals and accomplishing their mission.
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