Do you ever have days when it seems like everything is against you? Every step you take seems to result in failure? Even when you try to do the right thing, or try to do something nice for someone, you are greeted with defeat?
Sometimes when we have days like that, it is the enemy who is trying to discourage us. (I am not saying every difficulty comes from him. Sometimes God allows difficulties in our lives for specific reasons, such as growing our character. And sometimes life just happens on its own. But I do believe that there are more obstacles coming from the enemy than we realize.) The enemy wants to take away our joy and our peace. He wants us to get angry or depressed. Jesus said in John 10:10, “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy.” The thief is the devil, and he comes to steal, kill, and destroy anything he can get his hands on. This includes our peace, our joy, our dreams, and much more.
But in John 10:10, Jesus didn’t end His statement there. He went on to say, “I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.”
I am sorry to say that sometimes I forget these truths. I forget that the enemy is out to get me. And I forget that Jesus has my back. Sometimes I fall into the traps the enemy sets out for me.
But one particular day not too long ago, I had a breakthrough. I was working from home and needed to get a particular task completed. I didn’t have the option to work late that day because my husband and I had something we needed to take care of that afternoon.
Enter the enemy… my internet went down around lunch time. I used my phone to check with the company and saw that they knew of an outage and they were working on it. Since it was around noon, I decided to take a lunch break while the company worked on the issue. Later the internet came back up and I got back to work. Or so I thought. The internet seemed to sporadically go down here and there for the next couple of hours. Each time I checked my internet provider’s website, they had a new time on when they estimated the issues would be resolved. I was so frustrated!
But then I remembered that there is an enemy who is out to get us. The enemy was trying to stop me from working, trying to ruin my day, trying to steal, kill, and destroy. So I took three steps that transformed my day.
1 – I prayed.
Most of the time my prayers are far from formal. Rather, I simply talk to God throughout the day. In this case I don’t remember my exact words, but I probably merely asked for the Lord’s help.
I am finding more and more that God loves for us to chat with Him during our day. We don’t have to use fancy words, or pray at length. Throughout the day we can just talk about what’s on our mind. And He is always there! Ready and waiting.
Yes, we can pray in the morning, and/or whenever we have quiet time with God. But let’s not think of prayer as a once a day task. Instead we have the privilege to communicate with God all day. Perhaps that is what Paul meant when he said, “Pray without ceasing” (1 Thessalonians 5:17).
2 – I told the enemy, aloud, to move on. I verbally told him to flee, in the name of Jesus.
James 4:7 says, “Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.” In this case, I believe James was telling us to turn from sin. But I think it is also good to keep these words in mind when the enemy attacks. That is because his attacks can still lead us down a slippery path. We might be tempted to get angry, especially when we don’t realize it is the enemy that is working against us. How often do we allow the devil to get to us, without us even realizing it? But when we realize he is behind many of our difficulties, that helps us to take the right steps to move forward. As they say, “knowledge is power.” So once we realize what we’re up against, we can resist the enemy’s tactics, and he will flee from us.
Notice that I said that I told the enemy aloud to move on. He cannot read our thoughts. That is why I spoke aloud.
Also notice I said “in the name of Jesus.” We don’t have power on our own. In Matthew 28:18, Jesus said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.”
Our victory comes from Jesus. That is why we often end our prayers by saying, “In Jesus’ name we pray.”
The name of Jesus is the highest name there is. Philippians 2:9-11 (NLT) says, “Therefore, God elevated [Jesus] to the place of highest honor and gave him the name above all other names, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue declare that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”
All of our authority and victory comes from what Jesus did on the cross for us. He has already defeated the enemy. Jesus said in John 16:33, “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” Notice Jesus didn’t say, “I will overcome the world.” He said, “I have overcome the world.” That means He already did. So we have nothing to fear.
3 – The next thing I did was put praise music on my phone, playing it out loud. And I sang along with the songs.
Praising God helps our heart, our attitude, and our mindset in a miraculous way. Why is praise so powerful?
– God is in the midst of our praises. Have you ever heard the saying that “God inhabits the praise of His people?” That comes from Psalm 22:3 in which the King James Version says, “But thou art holy, O thou that inhabitest the praises of Israel.”
– Praise takes our minds off of our problems and helps us to focus on the Lord. God becomes bigger and our problems become smaller. I like how Psalm 69:30 (ESV) says, “I will praise the name of God with a song; I will magnify him with thanksgiving” (emphasis added).
– The enemy hates our praises, so he runs in the other direction. It is believed that before his fall, the enemy played a big part in the heavenly music (see Ezekiel 28:13). But his pride got the better of him and he wanted to be exalted (see Isaiah 14:12-15). So it makes sense that he wouldn’t like hearing the songs we sing to the Lord. (Side note: I know this will not be something we all agree on and that is fine. But this is why I rarely listen to worldly music. There is a lot of great music out there from talented musicians. But I feel like if it is not of God, then it could be against God. We don’t realize how much spiritual warfare there is around us. C.S. Lewis said, “There is no neutral ground in the universe. Every square inch, every split second is claimed by God, and counterclaimed by Satan.”)
After taking these steps, things turned around. My internet issues improved, I was able to complete the project I was working on, and most of all I felt so much better. I had joy and peace.
When things don’t go well in our day, it’s important for us to remember that the enemy could be behind it. That is half the battle. And even if our problem is not something that the enemy sent our way, prayer and praise are always a good idea. These two steps in particular will transform our outlook. When our minds turn in the right direction, we can focus and use our energy more efficiently. Too often we are tempted to allow circumstances to defeat us. Instead we can cling tightly to the Lord in prayer and in praise.
Thank you for reading!
© 2022 Bridget A. Thomas