“Stand firm therefore…” –Ephesians 6:14 “Standing firm” is a Greek word meaning establishment. The very essence of the word implies victory already in hand, a Christian battling tall and upright, not from his back or knees, and certainly not being carried away on the stretcher. Satan, with all his cleverness, may shoot down a Christian armed with grace, but he cannot slay him, nor take him captive. In the Bible, every servant sifted by Satan, be it David, Job, Peter, or Paul, all proved victorious.
It is easy to write of victory but it is incredibly difficult to live in victory. Everyone has been rattled by temptation, floored by sin, or entrenched in guilt. Many Christians live with decades worth of guilt and consequence clinging to their soul and clawing at their joy. At home. At church. At the office – One Satanic whisper from hopelessness.
Satan is cursed by God. Genesis 3:14 says, And the Lord God said to the serpent, “Because you have done this, cursed are you more than all cattle, and more than every beast of the field; on your belly shall you go, and dust shall you eat all the days of your life…” This proves an irrevocable curse from God upon evil, which simultaneously dethrones the presiding power of evil, while promising victory to God’s children. Verse 15 continues, “He shall bruise you on the head, and you shall bruise him on the heel.” The curse throws Satan to his belly, prophetically placing him under the feet of each saint in Christ Jesus. Thus, Satan may strike and cause a limp to the Christian, as he did Christ on the cross, but ultimately the saint in Christ will see him broken by the head.
Satan only does what God allows. When Jesus walked into the wilderness, He was led by the Holy Spirit, not by evil. Matthew 4:1 reads, “Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil.” All that transpired in the desert temptation of Christ was by God’s allowance. Lucifer will devise his plans and choose his methods, but God overwhelms him on every battle-front. “The foolishness of God is wiser than men,” thus God is wiser in man’s weakest sermon, than Satan is in his deepest ploy. A most supreme illustration is shared by the Apostle Paul, who being inflicted by a messenger of Satan, requests God’s help three times. Instead of removal, God allows the messenger remain and instructs Paul, “My grace is sufficient for you…” (2 Cor 12:9)
“When you find your soul adrift in a heavy fog of tribulation; Neither accuse God foolishly of your enemy’s mischief, nor charge yourself with belonging to the enemy. God can chart a straight course in the worst storm. He can be righteous when He uses wicked instruments, and gracious when He dispenses harsh providences. Do not over-react to changes in your temporal estate. Christ told us to expect some rough sailing before we reach heaven’s shore.” – William Gurnall
The Christian should view things very different than the non-Christian, specifically as it relates to blessing and curse. Lost people assume that blessings are things they define as blessings – Cars, homes, sex, money, and power. But, we know that our heavenly Father defines blessing much differently. Prosperity can be a great curse, while the providences of struggle, humility, work-ethic, long-suffering, patience, and even pain, may be of greater blessing because they train the heart towards eternal focus and eternal reward. Thus, do not attribute loss to Satan and gain to God. Rather, any circumstance that leaves you further from God is of your flesh and Satan, while any circumstance that brings you to greater longing for heaven, is quite holy.
When under assault do not shrink back in fear. Instead, stand firm:
- Make a memory book of God’s previous providences. Often when mired in muddy temptation, one can only look down at the quicksand ahead. But, a quick turn to glance back will showcase the miles of treachery over which the Savior has carried His child. Write down the prayers answered previous, the joys of worship once lived, or even the mercies granted at confession. The Savior of yesterday didn’t disappear and is the same tomorrow, and forever.
- Repent again. Satan’s greatest tool is to prompt the child believe his Father’s refusal. Yet, if the child beats him to his game and repents of all sin, relishes the Father’s forgiveness, and accepts the justification given apart from any human condition, Satan’s greatest weaponry has absolutely no power. If you admit hypocrisy, slander, pride, or lust first, Satan has no guilt to aim. Go to the courthouse yourself, stand before the Judge, beseech Christ’s verdict, “Not guilty” and wave at Satan upon exit.
- Read the evidence again. Listen less to Satan and study more of the promise. Argue less with Satan and pray more to God. You will quickly be reminded of love and victory. Do not sit around and argue with a liar! Satan will pretend to back away, only to deceive you again. How many men spend their entire life battle fatigued by praying against evil spirits, instead of relishing their relation to Father almighty.
- If still assaulted by temptation and taunts, call for help. Yes, the devil will tell you to keep your improprieties hidden, “If you friends know such a thing, what will they think?” “Do you think they’ll allow you in church?” Satan keeps souls in misery by having them swear a secret oath. Fellow soldiers are given for counsel and for prayer.
RESOURCES FOR FURTHER STUDY
Gurnall, William, “Christian in Complete Armour”
More, Beth, “Breaking Free”
Sanders, J. Oswald, “Prayer Power Unlimited”