The Ways of the Enemy: Opportunist
This is the first of two posts on The Ways of the Enemy. Today we look at what an opportunist he is, and next week discover that he is truly a counterfeit.
Last week I spoke to a small group of women about spiritual warfare: We who follow Christ have an enemy, and He is wily and tricky. And when I speak about this reality, it always becomes real.
Why am I surprised?
I had learned it well in the years of living on a roller coaster with a prodigal. I thought we were past it—that he had learned well and was consistently making better choices, showing growing maturity and stability.
Then, several years ago, he crashed again. Hard things happened, pain seared, despair overcame. Old patterns and bad choices returned. It felt like we had reverted five years, and the downturn lasted almost a year.
Yes, why am I surprised.
It happens to me as well, though not on such a destructive scale. You see, I have an addiction. To sugar. Especially in the form of ice cream or cookies. My body and my health are affected by too much sugar. Many times I make commitments to myself and to God to limit my sugar intake.
And I do it successfully, sometimes for long times. But then, at the buffet lunch where I was speaking, they offered luscious cookies for dessert. I resisted. But then someone brought a plate of cookies to our table. I surrendered. I ate not one, but two.
No, this is not the most important trick the evil one plays on me, but it is day-to-day real and significant for my life.
Again, why am I surprised.
Even the trip down to Miami bore evidence of an enemy. Our online maps sent us to wrong places three times. He knew I would be talking about him, and perhaps thought he could waylay us.We have an enemy. And that enemy is after us and those we love.
“Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion … looking for someone to devour.” (1 Peter 5:8)
“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy….” (John 10:10)
He is wily and smart. He studies each of us—to know the right temptation, the most-likely-to-succeed stumbling block, the best time to attack.
Again, why should we be surprised? He did it to our Lord.
When he followed Jesus into the wilderness, he was intent on destruction. But he was clever. He waited until Jesus was weak from hunger and thirst. He used the Father’s own words—quoting Scripture repeatedly. He offered Jesus shortcuts—an easier way—to what was already to be His: power, authority, immortality.
Jesus, of course, was not deceived. He saw through the devil’s schemes. He used Scripture to rebuke the devil, to resist him, to say “No!”
And then, “When the devil had finished all this tempting, he left him until an opportune time.” (Luke 4:13)
Satan is such an opportunist.
He is ever vigilant to capture us or our loved ones, to regain the advantage, to remind us of the pleasures of sin, or the sweetness of sugar, to woo us back into places we have left. He watches for an opportune time.We have some clear instructions: “Submit yourselves, then, to God.
Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.” (James 4:7)
We can ask the Spirit to remind us of the teaching we have received and thus be able to resist the devil. We can ask friends to stand in the gap for us and pray. We can ask God to be our strong fortress, to protect us, to strengthen us.
We must take the offensive against the evil one, according to scriptural patterns. We must walk with Christ in humility and holiness and in the power of the Spirit so we have supernatural resources to resist the devil and his temptations directed at us. All that we ask God to do for us, we also pray on behalf of our loved ones.
We must stand firm then, always wearing the full armor of God so that we can stand against the devil’s schemes. (Ephesians 6:10-18)
And thus we deny the devil his chosen time.What about you? How do you resist the devil’s opportunism?
C2017 Judy Douglass
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