"I was brutish and ignorant; I was like a beast towards you. Nevertheless, I am continually with you, you hold my right hand. You guide me with your counsel, and afterward you will receive me to glory.
"Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that the family of believers throughout the world is undergoing the same kind of sufferings." -1 Peter 5:8-9
Welcome to the first day of Strong not Strongest, a seven day series about the devil! Hopefully, God willing, this will help shed some light on the secrets and tricks of the devil, and we'll see some chains be broken! I pray that He would speak to you through this and that it would change your life- possibly forever. I love you all, and I am so thankful for the opportunities I am given to share about our God and His greatness.
If you asked me last year who Satan was, I might've said something like the following: "Oh, he's the enemy of God and us. He's all bad and we're not supposed to follow him." To be frank with you all, I did not know much about the devil! But this year, my knowledge of it has grown, thanks to our pastor's messages and also reading my Bible a lot more.
One night a month or two ago, I was sitting on the edge of the (empty) bathtub in my bathroom, crying. Why, you ask? Uh…I was upset because my mom told me not to do something that I thought I should be able to do, because she wanted to protect me and others. Yeah, I know…weird thing to cry over. But let me give you the context- this was also during a hard season in my life, when my self-doubt started relapsing and I starting questioning everything again. Everything seemed against me, and in that moment, it was all my mom's fault. I thought all these unfair thoughts about everyone and anyone, especially my parents. I felt so rebellious, so full of anger, and I didn't know what to do with it. So, I cried.
I probably stayed in that bathroom for a full half an hour, maybe forty-five minutes, trying to compose myself, so I could walk out all "pulled together." I was feeling really alone, and I felt like no one cared about me. I was stressed, anxious, fearful, upset, and hurting inside. This is actually one of the days that inspired one of the posts in the next 7-day series (I'll add the link later). I was letting Satan control my emotions, keeping me from receiving the peace my God wanted to give me.
To help myself calm down, I tried playing worship music, praying (a little) and keeping my mind off of reality. I remembered something someone had told me previously, about rebuking the devil out loud in the name of Jesus. James 4:7 says, "Submit yourselves then to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you." Notice that it says he will flee from you. It doesn't say he might flee from you, or he'll flee from you if you say it really fancy or something. No, it says that he will flee. He has to flee. Friends, please resist him!!
But, back to the story, because I'd done it before and felt so much better after, I didn't want to do it. I didn't want to forgive my mom, or anyone, and I didn't feel like putting in all the work again into being "good." I was afraid - afraid of coming back into the light of Jesus. By not rebuking the devil right away, I simply opened the door he had his foot in a little wider, and a little wider, until he was half-way in. Therefore, I continued to get discouraged, and tell myself lies and listen to the lies he told me about myself and my friends and family. Well, fast forward maybe twenty minutes, and I'm like, okay, I gotta do it. And so, I say, out loud, "I rebuke you, Satan, in the name of JESUS. Get behind me, be gone, and leave me alone!"
Immediately, like immediately (I'm not exaggerating), I felt ten times lighter. I asked God to fill me with His peace and help me to love my mom, and He answered- the negative thoughts and anger evaporated and my breathing steadied. Don’t tell me my God isn't real- I've felt Him in various and numerous ways, and if that's not God, I don't know what that is! Family, listen: those lies the devil tells you have NO POWER over you unless you let them have power over you. Don't wait to rebuke the devil in Jesus' name (and you have to do it out loud, even if it's whispering) like I did - no, do it right away! It works- no joke. After I rebuked the devil in Jesus' name, I felt the anger fade away and be replaced with something else- love. Love. Instead of heading straight back upstairs without saying goodnight, like I do when I'm upset (I try to always say goodnight to my parents), I went and hugged my mom and wished her a goodnight (I can't remember where my dad was at the time). I then went to bed with a clear conscience.
Satan may be smarter and stronger than you, but the God that we serve is STRONGER than Satan. I mean, Satan has to ask permission to do anything to us! In Job 1:6-12, we read about Satan going before God to ask if it was okay to strike Job. And God allowed it. That word allowed is very important - we know that in James, it says that every perfect gift is from above, and that God can do no evil. God did not necessarily desire it or do it, He allowed it to happen because He knew something good was going to come out of it.
But do you realize the significance of that- Satan has to ask permission, like a child asking a parent, from God to do anything to us! Satan may be strong, but God is stronger. The God we serve has not left us to ourselves to fight this enemy, no- He has given you His Word, which is sharper than a double-edged sword. He has given you the Holy Spirit, who is with you always and will guide you and protect you and fight for you. He has given you power in the name of Jesus, so that you can drive out the devil, break down strongholds, fight, heal, and pray with and in it. He has given you the gift of eternal life and salvation, which, when accepted, will free you from being a slave to sin and fear and all that ugliness and make you a child of God, someone who can rebuke the devil in the name of Jesus and he will flee! Don't let the devil tell you that you are weak, because in God you are STRONG! And remember- Satan is already defeated! He has been conquered, once and for all, and has NO power over you, unless, again, you let him. Don’t give in. Pray for strength to resist the devil and to stand firm in the faith. And remember - Satan may be strong, but he's definitely not strongest- that title belongs to our living God.
"I have said these things to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation, but take heart;
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"I will give thanks to you, Lord, with all of my heart; I will tell of all your wonderful deeds."