“For whatever is born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith.” 1 John 5:4………………
“This is the enemy. He is tempting you. Don’t take the bait,” the Spirit of God said to me plainly and clearly one morning.
The Holy Spirit is ALWAYS plain and clear, mind you, but that particular morning His warning seemed extra plain and extra clear. Maybe you too need this warning – extra plain and extra clear.
I had been getting barraged with thoughts, with what at first seemed like random thoughts, then thoughts concentrated on a certain subject. Not a pleasant subject, I confess. The thoughts started slowly. Then they sped up. Over and again they came. About a situation. Then about some people. Then about how some of the people had treated me in the past. The thoughts sped up. And what began as random thoughts were all of a sudden like soldiers lined up on a battlefield. A battlefield? Yes.
I hadn’t recognized what was happening until the Spirit of God – as my loving Lord, protective Father, and awesome commander-in-chief – mercifully stepped in. He wanted me to see my arch enemy, Satan, the devil, was barraging me with thoughts about a difficult situation and about some difficult people who had hurt me terribly with lying and deceit and some other people whom the enemy was trying to convince me could hurt me, and on and on it went. What exactly was he doing? The devil was baiting me. He was tempting me to engage in all-out spiritual war. He was trying to get my mind off the Lord, off of God’s Word, off of my ministry work, off of love and righteousness, and to intimidate me and cause me to fall into worry, fear, doubt, unbelief, bitterness, hurt, anger, and on and on. The devil was using one thought after another to bait me. He wanted to snare me. He wanted to capture my full focus and attention. He wanted to draw me away from God so that ultimately I would not only fall into the sin of fear, worry, doubt, etc., but that I would act out of a sin-ridden heart and start causing harm. Lash out at someone. Try to control something. Hurt the people who had hurt me. Anything at all. The devil wanted me to turn my back on the Lord – even for just minutes – so that I would fall into wickedness. I was already well on my way as my heart began to fill with the worry, and as my thoughts took me to an old place of darkness. Fear, fear, and everything that goes with it.
The Spirit of God rescued me. He reminded me to put my trust in God almighty. He reminded God is and has all I need. He reminded me He will lead and guide and protect me. He reminded me God will take care of the people who do wrong. He will deal with them. He reminded me all I needed to do was to yield utterly to the Lord and to the Word and to let Him carry me through. He reminded me that no weapon the devil uses against me will give the devil victory (Isaiah 54:17) so long as I walk in the will of the Lord with the Lord as my defense. With the Lord as my provider of all I need.
The key to victory that day began with recognizing that Satan was trying to bait me. And with realizing the Lord would give me the strength to refuse the bait and to follow Jesus instead. I knew the day might not be easy, I knew I might face more temptation that day, but I also was confident that in and through the Lord Jesus Christ I would have victory. It all began with the Holy Spirit bringing to light that the devil was trying to bait me.
Keep your heart and eyes wide open, my friend. If the devil is trying to bait you, recognize what he’s doing and turn to the Lord, placing your trust in Him and His Word to lead you to victory. Remember to give the glory to the Lord who gives us all we need when we devote ourselves to Him through Christ to be overcomers in Christ, amen!