The Bible describes Christians as being in a major battle, or we can call it a Spiritual War. Our enemy is described as a ‘roaring lion’ seeking someone to destroy. Thankfully, we are not fighting an enemy that we cannot prepare to battle against. The Bible highlights the tactics that our enemy will use against us to try and discourage, condemn, and render us ineffective in our Christian walk.
Satan, is the god and controller of this world
The first thing that the Scripture’s tell us about our enemy is that he is the “little g” god of this world. Notice I said “little ‘g’ god.” We know that there is one God over all. Satan and Jesus are not equal. Jesus as defeated the works of the enemy and is our ruling and reigning King of kings and Lord of Lords.
However, for God’s purposes in our lives, he has allowed satan to be present in our world. Satan, is not in control, nor does he have power over God, but God is using Satan as a pawn to bring about God’s ultimate plan of redemption in the world.
Knowing that Satan is the god of this world, and at war with believer’s, we are told to do something about it.
First, we are told to be mindful of the schemes of our enemy. Satan uses played out tactics. He uses the same old attacks that he has used for millennia. The challenge is for Christians to be mindful of the attacks. Sadly, many times, we do not recognize his schemes until great damage has been done. This is why 2 Corinthians 2:11 tells us,
“so that we would not be outwitted by Satan; for we are not ignorant of his designs.”
This passage is instructing us to be mindful of the schemes of satan so we can stand against his attacks and not be led astray.
Second, we are told to protect ourselves. Ephesians 6:11 instructs us to, “Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil.” When we have to put on armor, as the Bible describes, it is a great warning to us that we are in a war. When we do not fully suit up, we become susceptible to the schemes of the devil.
Finally, we are told to resist the work of the devil. James 4:7 instructs us to, “Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.” In order to resist the devil, we must first recognize his designs, attacks, and tactics.
The enemy is in the fiery darts throwing business
We have to be mindful that our enemy is constantly throwing “fiery darts” at us. He won’t stop. If you think of what a fiery dart is meant to do, it is meant to cause pain and ultimately destroy us. For this reason, the Bible instructs us to be mindful of the war that we are in on a second by second basis.
The rest of this paper paper is designed to help you understand the way the enemy will throw fiery darts at us. It is imperative for you to recognize the enemies hand at work in your life. Here is a list of twelve fiery darts that satan will throw at us.
How the enemy attacks us individually
1) Satan will attack our Salvation
Ephesians 6:17- “and take the helmet of salvation”
The greatest fiery dart that satan will use against you is your assurance of salvation. Our enemy does not want you to be secure in your salvation. He wants you to constantly doubt your eternal destiny. He will whisper in your ear and say that you are not good and you are not worthy for salvation. He will bring up sin (past and present) as an “evidence” that you are not saved.
How do we fight against this attack? We fight with truth. The truth is you are not worthy and you are not good, but Jesus is. Jesus became worthy and good on your behalf and that is why He said, “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. 28 I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand. 29 My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of tthe Father’s hand. 30 I and the Father are one [John 10:27-30].” This is a pretty straight forward Biblical truth. But even now, as you read this, the enemy will be whispering lies in your ears to get you to try and not believe this simple truth.
2) Satan will try and steal the Word of God from our hearts
Mark 4:15- And these are the ones along the path, where the word is sown: when they hear, Satan immediately comes and takes away the word that is sown in them.
Satan knows that the Word of God is our source for everything that is good. The Word of God is our means for knowing the Lord, knowing who we are in the Lord, and knowing what it means to be a follower of the Lord. Is it any surprise that our great enemy would want to snatch the Word from our hearts?
He will whisper, “did God really say that?” Or, “does the Bible really mean that?” He will get us to try and figure out our lives apart from the authority of the Scripture’s. This is an extremely harmful place to find ourselves in.
If we find ourselves in a place like this, what should we do? This is a very easy answer,; take God at His Word. Believe the seeds that have been planted in your heart. Trust God and know that He has preserved for us, through His Word, all the we need in order to know Him and follow Him.
3) Satan will come when we are physically and spiritually vulnerable
Matthew 4:2–3- And after fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry. And the tempter came and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, command these stones to become loaves of bread.”
There are times when God calls us to seasons of hardship. Maybe we are called to fast; maybe we are called to seasons of struggle; maybe the Lord has called us to a life of poverty. Whatever the Lord has called us to, it is important that we remain faithful and walk with Him during these seasons.
There is nothing wrong with wanting ‘more’ in life, whatever that may be, but when it becomes sinful is when we remove ourselves from the will of God and begin trying to do life apart from His desires. In the above passage, Satan tempts Jesus with something good, bread! There is nothing wrong with bread, or eating, but when it becomes wrong is when you pursue it at the cost of denying what God wants from you.
To fight this attack, we must do as the Scripture’s encourage us to do, “seek first the Kingdom of God!”
4) Satan will come at the “opportune” time
Luke 4:13- And when the devil had ended every temptation, he departed from him until an opportune time.
Have you experienced a death that hit close to home? How about the loss of a job? Are you having financial struggles? How about relational struggles? These areas are all areas that we would classify as an “opportune time” for the devil to come to you to try and lead you away from God and His plan for your life. Our enemy loves to show up when you are vulnerable and at a weak place in life. I’ve seen him destroy marriages during this season; I’ve seen him lead people away from the church; I’ve seen people curse God during these seasons.
Friend, I know that times get rough and that life is hard. We are promised this much in the Scripture’s. During our rough seasons, it is imperative that we press into the Lord and not run from His will in our lives. Nothing is greater than the love that we have received in Jesus!
5) He will come when we are alone and isolate ourselves
Matthew 4:1- Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil.
When we isolate ourselves from a faithful biblical community, WATCH OUT! You cannot isolate yourself from the one thing that God wants for you. When you step away from a Christ-Centered family of believers, you are making yourself susceptible to the schemes of the enemy. You have believed a lie that you do not need to be involved with a church family. You are believing the lie that you can feed yourself alone.
Jesus died for two main reasons. First, He died to destroy satan, sin, and death. Second, He came and died to establish His church. You NEED to be plugged into a church family. I keep saying family, because it is not good enough to just show up for an hour on a Sunday, hear some songs, and a message and then head on your way. You need people that will fight with you. You need people that will be there for you during hard seasons. You need people that are willing to walk with you through this life.
Removing yourself from a church family, is isolating yourself and believing the lies of your enemy. Think about this. The Bible says, as we mentioned earlier, that our enemy is like a roaring lion seeking someone to devour. Does a lion attack a pack of animals when it is hungry? No, it attacks the isolated animal. Likewise, when you remove yourself from the “pack” expect to be attacked.
6) Satan will get you to believe lies
John 8:44- You are of your father the devil, and your will is to do your father’s desires. 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 out of his own character, for he is a liar and the father of lies.
Our enemy is a liar. As a matter of fact, his native tongue is lying! One of the way our enemy will attack you is getting you to believe lies. He will unsettle your heart towards people that love you because you are believing a lie about them. This may be a lie that he whispered in your ear, or it may be a lie that he presented to you through ungodly gossip.
The great challenge is getting to know what is true and what is a lie. How do we do this? Once again, through the Word of God which is truth. If you find yourself believing a lie, ask yourself, “why am I believing this?” If you are believing something about someone because of a gut feeling, or because of second hand information, you have been attacked by the enemy and he as made you to believe a lie.
7) Satan will bring wolves (false teachers) into your life to lead you astray from the truth
2 Timothy 4:3–4- For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths.
Do you find yourself leaving churches often? Do you find yourself looking for the “right” pastor? Do you have no grace in your heart for opposing points of view? Do you think that you and only you know what is truth? Do you flock towards teachers that tell you what you want to hear and never challenge you? Do you think that you alone know what is truth and everyone else is wrong? Do you form church positions based off of preferences and not biblical truth?
These are all ways that satan uses against us to help destroy us.
Jesus’ final prayer for His church was that it would be a church that is united and one. If this is the desire of our King, it is pretty obvious that satan would rise up against the desires of Jesus. We can be assured of one thing, the church of Jesus is far from united. Everyone has an option, or preference and these opinions and preferences sadly divide the church of Christ.
8) Satan will get you to lie
Acts 5:3- But Peter said, “Ananias, why has Satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit and to keep back for yourself part of the proceeds of the land?
Earlier we talked about satan being the father of lies and one of the darts that he will throw at us is the desire to lie. We lie because we want to uphold an image. We want to make ourselves look better than we are. This is a great enemy of Christianity. The Bible is very clear in showing us that we are not good. In order to defeat the enemy in this department, we must be honest and open about ourselves. We must confess that we are weak and that we do not have it together. The only way the we can grow in christlikeness is to confess our need for Jesus and allow Him to change us and grow us. We cannot lie about our weaknesses for the sake of trying to make ourselves look better.
9) People will betray you
John 13:2-During supper, when the devil had already put it into the heart of Judas Iscariot, Simon’s son, to betray him,
Have you ever invested time in individuals just to have them walk away from you with apparent ease? Well, this is to be expected. Abandonment happened to Jesus. Jesus invested in Judas for three years and loved him well, only to have Judas abandon Him when He needed him the most. Likewise, Paul (a New Testament author) was abandoned at the end of his life. Paul poured his life into people, only to have them abandon him at a time of need.
You will be abandoned. It is important for you to understand this. If you do not recognize this important fact, you will fall to the fiery darts of the enemy. Hurt, resentment, and callousness towards people will creep into your heart and that is what the enemy wants. We must put all things into the sovereign grip of our loving Savior’s hands. Some people fall away from pride. Others fall away because they are not truly followers of the King Jesus. Some fall away because they are being misled by Satan. Regardless of why you have been betrayed, and why some fall away, Jesus is still in control of all things and we must submit ourselves to this truth.
10) Satan hinders your Gospel ministry
1 Thessalonians 2:17-18- But since we were torn away from you, brothers, for a short time, in person not in heart, we endeavored the more eagerly and with great desire to see you face to face, because we wanted to come to you—I, Paul, again and again—but Satan hindered us.
Satan does not want you to be successful at presenting the gospel and seeing others grow in Christlikeness. One of the most frustrating things as a pastor is to have people walk away from the one thing that they need. Additionally, he will also hinder you and put up hindrances to your ministry. He will cause divisions in the Body. He will create gossip. He will stifle finances. He will do everything in his power to render your gospel ministry ineffective.
I have literally had people at times tell me that they went through a season of “hating” me. This confused me. They got to the point that they realized that they were being attacked by satan. In their words they had no reason to “hate” me, but realized that they were believing a lie of the enemy. Our enemy is ruthless and he hates Jesus and he hates you. He will not go quietly into the night. He knows that his end is drawing near, and he will do everything that he can to try and cripple you and destroy your ministry to others.
11) Satan accuses us
Revelation 12:10- And I heard a loud voice in heaven, saying, “Now the salvation and the power and the kingdom of our God and the authority of his Christ have come, for the accuser of our brothers has been thrown down, who accuses them day and night before our God.
The very meaning of than name satan is accuser. Satan is day and night standing before God accusing you. In a day-to-day walk, he will not stop accusing. He will remind you of your sins, but accuse you for stuff that is not true. Many times, this attack presents itself in the third person. So what you hear is, “you are no good,” “you are worthless”, “look at your sin.” Rarely do you hear accusations in the first person. Why is this? This is because your enemy is the one whispering to you these accusations! It is important for us to combat that accusations with Gospel truth. You are good, because Jesus is good. You are not worthless, because Jesus has made you worthy. The Gospel is good news and part of the good news is the knowledge that we do not have to believe accusations!
12) Satan gets us to justify our sin
1 John 3:8- Whoever makes a practice of sinning is of the devil, for the devil has been sinning from the beginning. The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the works of the devil.
Well, it was just a white lie. Everyone else is doing it. Well, the government says…
It is not harming anyone else. It is just an image on a screen.
These are all statements that I have heard at one time or another. These are all ways that we try to justify our sin. Satan is a sinner and he wants us to sin. One of the ways that he attacks us is by trying to get us to justify our sin and belittle it. Our sin leads to destruction and if we get into the habit of justifying our ‘small’ sins, then that justification will lead to bigger and bigger sins. Eventually what will happen is we will get to the point of being desensitized to our sin to the point that we do not even wrestle with our sin nature. When this occurs, the enemy can claim victory!
Our life will be a constant life of repentance. We are secure in Christ, but we are still called to mortify the flesh and wage war against our sin. Never stop fighting. Never get comfortable with your sin. Depend on Christ for help, but stay in the fight!
You now have some knowledge of how the enemy works. Be mindful to stay on guard and try to be ever vigilant about the schemes of the enemy. There is one monumental truth that I want to leave you with and it is this:
“Little children, you are from God and have overcome them, for he who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.” ~1 John 4:4
The only power that satan has over us is when we give him the power over us by not recognizing the fiery darts that he is throwing at us. Christian, be on guard; Stand firm; Jesus is greater!