Life is at times a bit of a battle. We love it when life is clear sailing, but at times we face disappointment, concerns, frustration, loss, opposition, fears, and the like. At times we can even face depression and hopelessness if things don’t work out.
The Bible reveals that the sense of battle is at times based on direct attacks from the evil one who wants to keep us from God, faith and the blessings that are ours.
The Bible talks of the enemy having strategies and using fiery darts against us.
“Don’t let Satan take advantage of us; for we are not ignorant of his devices.” 2Corinthians 2:11
“Above all, take the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one.” Ephesians 6:16
So the feeling that life is a battle is at times because … Life is a Battle.
“Be sober-minded and alert. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.” 1Peter 5:8
The enemy looks for ways to rob you of faith, blessing, joy, fruitfulness, breakthrough, peace, direction and much more.
However none of these things should make us afraid. The devil is a defeated foe and we have authority to resist and overcome him.
“He (Jesus) Himself also shared in our humanity, so that through death He might destroy him who had the power of death, that is, the devil” Hebrews 2:14
“This is why the Son of God was revealed, to destroy the works of the devil.” 1John 3:8
“Now the prince of this world will be cast out.” John 12:31
“Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.” James 4:7
The picture of our life is that we have placed our faith in Christ and are children of God, but we have an enemy who will try many tricks and attacks to spoil our life and our walk with God, to stop us being fruitful for God.
We don’t have to be ignorant of what the devil is doing. We can employ God’s equipment to take authority over the devil and his work and to win against him.
Our authority over the devil comes through Christ.
“Take courage; I have overcome the world.” John 16:33
“But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ!” 1Corinthians 15:57
The challenge for us in this journey, facing various interference from the enemy from time to time, is to remain victorious. The Apostle Paul counsels us to stop being overcome by evil things, but to overcome them.
“Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.” Romans 12:21
Let me share two responses to the instruction to not be overcome by evil.
Firstly, we are wise to know what the enemy is trying to do against us and what resources we have to resist him. If we are ignorant we can be swallowed up by things we don’t understand.
“My people are destroyed due to lack of knowledge.” Hosea 4:6
The lessons I give are helpful, but so too are lessons from all those who love God’s Word and walk with God. So make a point of understanding the battle and the battle lines, so you can stand firm against the enemy.
Look out for such things as unforgiveness and bitterness, fear and anxiety, pride and self-righteousness, jealousy and vengeance, lust and sensuality, occult and new age practices, feelings of being hurt and offended. Each of these things is an area where the devil loves to mess with us.
Also look out for lies and deception, emotionally disturbing things, things that create division, people with an argumentative attitude, those who want to punish others, and similar evil things.
If there are things that attack your faith, confidence in God’s Word, fellowship among believers, peace, assurance of salvation or relationship with God, then you can be sure the enemy is behind it.
Look for the weapons God has given you, such as resisting the enemy, binding evil and releasing blessing, the truth of God’s Word, faith in God, gifts of the Holy Spirit and much more.
Another insight provided by the call to not be overcome by evil is the instruction to ‘overcome evil with good’.
That is confirmed by the words of the Apostle Peter.
“Do not return evil for evil, or railing for railing: but contrariwise blessing; knowing that you are called to such things, so you will inherit a blessing.” 1Peter 3:9
The enemy wants to create strife at times and cause people to have bitter feelings and attack others. This is completely contrary to Jesus’ teachings about loving one another and loving even our enemies.
“This is how everyone will know you are My disciples, if you love one another.” John 13:35
“I tell you, Love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you.” Matthew 5:44.45
I recently felt weighed down with some anxieties, busy with a number of projects and cares for several people I was helping. It took several days for me to realise I was actually under attack. I thought it was just a product of the pressures I was working through.
Once I realised I was under attack and evil was trying to overcome me, I took authority against anxiety, seeing it as a spirit that was trying to tie me up and disable me. To my delight the anxiety quickly lifted, even though the challenges remained. So those feelings were not natural, but from the enemy.
I have had such experiences many times and I want to urge you to see your capacity to do the same – to resist being overcome by evil. It’s the Bible instruction, but, like me, you might think some of the things weighing on you are just natural pressures.
Take time today to reflect on the things I have presented here, and see where the enemy has engaged you in battle. Look to the Lord for His empowering, wisdom and victory. Learn to stand against evil. And in each step of your journey from here, Don’t Be Overcome.