Exactly one year ago, my husband, son and I went on vacation for spring break to Yosemite National Park. I had just spent the weekend before the trip in the hospital after going to the emergency room for heart palpitations. After getting an abnormal EKG, the doctors admitted me to the hospital for various cardiac tests. At that time, my fibromyalgia pain was at an all-time high, I battled constant fatigue and I was still recovering from an episode of major depression. I was convinced that Satan was determined to destroy me by whatever means possible, and that he might even succeed.
Needless to say, I desperately needed this vacation! We usually choose national parks or nature-oriented destinations when we travel as they provide a welcome reprieve from the noise and busyness that defines our lives in Orange County. I was looking forward to spending quiet time with God and hopefully receiving some strength, hope and encouragement from Him. And He did not disappoint!
One day on our trip, we hiked a trail to one of Yosemite’s world-famous majestic waterfalls. As we climbed the enormous boulders the mighty falls had transported and smoothed out over time, I enjoyed the thundering crash of the cascades and the refreshing water spray on my face. At that moment, God firmly yet lovingly spoke to my heart: “Don’t you dare ever think the enemy is more powerful than me! Look at all that I’ve created. Only I have the power to make all this. I AM GOD!”
Somehow I had forgotten the victory that is mine through Christ, and I’d given Satan way too much credit. I had been buying into his lies. Because I was feeling discouraged, Satan saw a perfect opportunity to whisper doubt into my ear about God’s power and authority. It’s not surprising that the enemy lies to us when we’re vulnerable given that the Bible describes Satan as “a liar and the father of lies” (New International Version: John 8:44b). The Apostle Paul understood Satan’s trickery all too well, and he expressed his concern to the church in Corinth about the influence the devil’s lies may have on them:
But I am afraid that just as Eve was deceived by the serpent’s cunning, your minds may somehow be led astray from your sincere and pure devotion to Christ. (2 Corinthians 11:3; emphasis mine)
How can I avoid being duped by Satan, especially during those times my faith is weakest? First, I must put my trust in Jesus for only He is “the way and the truth and the life” (John 14:6; emphasis mine). Next, I put what I’m believing to the acid test: Is it something that gives life or destroys it? If it destroys, it’s from the enemy, but if it gives life it’s from the Lord. As John’s gospel explains, “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I [Jesus] have come that they may have life, and have it to the full” (John 10:10). Then I must heed Paul’s advice to the church in Ephesus:
Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. (Ephesians 6:10-13; emphasis mine).
Perhaps it’s no coincidence, Valiant Warriors, that the first piece of spiritual armor Paul lists is the belt of truth. Because we are prone to fall prey to Satan’s lies, one of his principal weapons, Christians must “stand firm” with the Lord’s “belt of truth buckled around [our] waist[s]” (Ephesians 6:14a).
If we hold to the truths in God’s word, it’s easier to recognize and reject Satan’s lies. Every lie may be countered by God’s truth. For example, when I see ISIS killing Christians in the Middle East and I’m tempted to believe the bad guys are winning, Scripture offers the following refutation:
Why do the nations conspire
and the peoples plot in vain?
The kings of the earth rise up
and the rulers band together
against the Lord and against his anointed, saying,
“Let us break their chains
and throw off their shackles.”
The One enthroned in heaven laughs;
the Lord scoffs at them.
He rebukes them in his anger
and terrifies them in his wrath, saying,
“I have installed my king
on Zion, my holy mountain. (Psalm 2:1-6; emphasis mine) AND
The Lord foils the plans of the nations;
he thwarts the purposes of the peoples.
But the plans of the Lord stand firm forever,
the purposes of his heart through all generations. (Psalm 33:10-11)
When I start believing the lie that I’m insignificant, the Bible says that conversely,
You [the LORD] created my inmost being;
you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
your works are wonderful,
I know that full well.
My frame was not hidden from you
when I was made in the secret place,
when I was woven together in the depths of the earth. (Psalm 139:13-14; emphasis mine)
And when I’m convinced that God doesn’t care about me or my struggles, Scripture reminds me:
Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 8:35, 37-39)
The Lord your God is with you,
the Mighty Warrior who saves.
He will take great delight in you;
in his love he will no longer rebuke you,
but will rejoice over you with singing. (Zephaniah 3:17)
Warriors, is the enemy trying to get you to believe any of his lies? I pray that God’s truth will enter your hearts, comfort you and give you strength and courage in the battle, that you may stand firm in the knowledge that “greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world” (King James Version: 1 John 4:4).
This awesome song by Mercy Me expresses my sentiments exactly!