Don't swat at a snake
How to rise in victory during spiritual warfare
It doesn't take extensive biblical wisdom to figure out that swatting at a snake is a dumb idea. It's common sense, right? And yet, here I am, telling you not to swat at a snake.
Here's my story
Last week, I was going through spiritual warfare that was some type of fierce. Last week was one of my most triumphant weeks since quitting my steady paycheck in favor of working on my writing career full-time. (For reference, it's been 5 months.) On Tuesday, I had my first meeting with a professional consultant, and afterward I distinctly remember exclaiming, "I have never felt so hopeful that my dreams will become reality so soon!"
So you'd think I was on the up-and-up, right?
Wrong! I've learned that when we Christ-followers are making the most progress in advancing the Kingdom of God is precisely when the enemy is attacking us the fiercest. He's scared, as he should be.
Last week, as triumphant as it was, as much progress as I made, as hopeful as I felt...was also terrifying. I was faced with lies from the (not proverbial) devil on the shoulder. The spiritual warfare was so heavy, that I began asking my friends if I was crazy...literally out of my mind. I asked, "Do you hear the voice of satan in your ear, constantly tearing you down?"
To my surprise and relief and dismay, the answer from every single friend was, "YES!" Cool, so I'm not alone in this. But I'll ask you, friend...
Do you hear the voice of satan in your ear, tearing you down?
If the answer is yes, please keep reading! I have a good word for you!
By Friday, I was worn out emotionally, spiritually, and consequently physically. I felt like I had been sprinting uphill all week. Exhausted, I got down on my knees and prayed something really deep and spiritual:
God, ya there? Cause I'm getting my butt whooped.
Of course He responded something really deep and spiritual back to me:
Child, You've been swatting at a snake all week.
Do you ever feel like God has a sense of humor? Not in a mean way. It's just that He knows every move I'll ever make, and He knows I'll figure it out eventually. But when I greet Him with, "Yo, where ya at?", He's like, "Yeah...I never left. That's the whole omniscient thing I got going on."
Liar, Liar, Pants on Fire
God continued to unravel His perspective on my week. I heard these lies from satan -- a snake -- all week, and rather than confronting, refuting, and killing the lies, I just swatted at him. As if he's just an annoying fly buzzing around my ear. Although our childhood stories have created the idea that satan is a little, menacing cartoon character, we have a clearer picture of who our enemy is within Scripture:
He was a murderer from the beginning and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks out of his own character, for he is a liar and the father of lies.
He's a murderer, a liar, and the father of lies. Oh, that doesn't sound like a guy I should be swatting at. He's a fierce enemy, hell-bent on taking down anyone he can into his fiery pit of torment. And he does that by lying to us. See, he doesn't actually have to "do" evil, because he convinces everyday people to do evil. Which is why Peter urges believers to:
Be on guard; be watchful. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.
1 Peter 5:8
The devil is not your sparring buddy in a high school fencing match. He isn't using a plastic sword to battle you. He is an evil, sinister, manipulative liar who is waging war against you. And more than that, he tries to invade the ranks of God's army -- that's you! -- by pretending he's one of us and then filling our heads with messages of defeat.
Wooo!! I definitely sound like I've been reading Priscilla Shirer's book, Fervent. Oh wait...I have! ;) If you haven't read it, and my words are hitting hard, I want you to Prime it right now and read it this week. No joke -- this has been one of the most hard-hitting, applicable books I've ever read:
I'm so passionate about this topic, because I'M WOKE! I'm not asleep to the spiritual war anymore. I'm no longer pretending the wicked serial killer monster is a pesky little fly. I'm done with the lies, and I'm done with exhaustion from swatting at a snake.
Get Woke, Stay Woke
If you're fed up with losing in spiritual warfare, and if you're fed up with HEARING lies, I got news for you! You and I don't have to listen anymore. There is one strategy I have learned to defeat the lies that has worked for me throughout my 18-year spiritual journey with God. It's super simple and easy, so let's go!
Step 1: Don't ignore the lies. It's tempting, but ignoring a problem won't fix it. Trust me!
Step 2: Write down the lie, and identify it as "a lie". Literally write down: this is a lie from the enemy: _______.
Step 3: Pray and ask God for Scripture on the TRUTH from the Bible that proves the lie to be wrong. Here are a few ways I do this:
- Meditating until I remember a verse I've read a few times which suddenly becomes pertinent to my situation. (Holy Spirit, I see you!)
- Asking God to guide my Google search for Scripture. This is only for the really, really spiritual people. :P
- Consulting a friend. Sometimes a friend will text me at just the right time with a word from God for me. And at other times, I simply ask for their prayer, and God reveals to them what I need!
Step 4: Repeat this biblical truth every time a hint of the lie comes into your mind. This week, I did that so much that I ended up memorizing several verses simply as a by-product of declaring them repeatedly. Win-win.
That's it then! Don't ignore the lie. Write down the lie. Find truth in the Bible. Repeat the truth over and over again. Simple, right? I mean...yes it takes time. But I wasted the last week getting punched in the face by a very real enemy because I was too busy to confront all the lies.
If you're itching to know what I mean by "punched in the face", let me tell you specifically how this played out in my life last week.
My personal truth from God is that I'm becoming a writer who will minister to millions of people with a fresh outpouring of His love. That's not a flimsy dream. It's the dream God placed in my heart. However, my current reality is that I'm literally not making any money right now and I often question what affect my writing is really having on my readers.
Please tell me I'm not alone in this. Like I know what God says about me, but I also know what is reality. And the difference between what I see in reality and what I believe from God is faith.
Faith is the assurance of things we hope for, the proof of things we do not see, and the conviction of their reality. (We perceive as real fact what is not yet revealed to the senses.)
There are 3 primary ways the enemy attacks me, and they're so rudimentary, that he attacks all of us this way:
- Who you are
- What you can and can't do
- Who God is
1. Who you are
For me, last week, this looked like lies constantly being whispered in my ear:
"You're not that great, Priska. You're certainly not good enough to be a professional writer. And you are DEFINITELY not good enough to change lives. God doesn't even believe in you."
God gave me this Scripture to defeat that lie:
And I tell you, you are [Priska], and on this rock I will build my Church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.
2. What you can and can't do
Last week, I kept hearing:
"You're not enough to defeat me (the enemy). You're just going to have to keep listening to me until you start believing my lies as truth."
And God gave me this Scripture:
I will give you the keys to the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.
3. Who God is
It doesn't really matter if I believe who God says I am if He isn't really who He says He is, right? So the next way the enemy attacked me was:
"Fine, so you believe you're loved and accepted and chosen and gifted. Fine. But God isn't all He's cracked up to be. What if He doesn't really love you? What if He's an evil dictator who is orchestrating everything for His betterment at the cost of your betterment?"
Good thing I have this Word from the Lord:
And we know that for those who love god all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his son.
The thing is, God's glorious purpose is for us to become like Jesus. All things work together toward that purpose...isn't that a music album? Oh yeah...hey Lecrae! :)
If you find yourself being bombarded by the lies, always refer back to the Bible. God is extraordinary enough that He can reach your searching heart with the right words of truth. Soak in it. Meditate on it. Dwell. Keep it in front of you so much that anytime you hear those dumb lies, you know the words that will defeat those fiery arrows trying to defeat you.
I shared in my previous post how writing identifying words such as "faithful, chosen, loved, wise, compassionate" on a mirror helps me to see God's truth every time I look in the mirror and am tempted to see lies. Try that! And try the oldie but goodie Post-It note on the fridge. Write down the verse you need to see on a Post-It, and put it on your refrigerator. I open my fridge multiple times a day, so that's an easy place for me to read truth. I've also resorted to the Post-It on the alarm clock, so I see truth IMMEDIATELY upon waking up, before the enemy has whispered his first lie of the day. Lastly, find a phone background with that Bible verse. We look at our phones more than anything else, even the mirror! Purposely place truth everywhere you look, and the lies won't have a place to stick.
How Can I Help You
Look, I'm going to be praying for each person reading this blog post, that you would rise into your Warrior Queen role and begin combating the lies with the Truth of God's Word. I pray your awareness of the Spirit working within you would be heightened as He brings to mind Bible verses that you don't even remember learning. I pray that you walk in Jesus' victory with realization that the enemy is already defeated. I pray that every day you will fasten the belt of Truth around your waist (see Ephesians 6:10-20).
If I can help you with a Word, a Scripture to defeat a certain lie you're facing, please reach out. You can comment, email, Insta DM. I'd relish the opportunity to work with you and find the truth you need.
Most of all, know that you are not alone. So many of us face these spiritual attacks, but we are not alone. We are an army of blood-bought believers, fighting from a place of victory won by Jesus Christ. We cannot be defeated. Kicked, punched, smacked down for a week...yes. I would know! :P But when you're ready to fight back, arm yourself with Scripture and watch the enemy flee before you.
With love from one Warrior Queen to another,
P.S. Can I recommend another book that I absolutely savored? It's titled GIRLS WITH SWORDS by Lisa Bevere. She is the person I picture when I think of "Warrior Queen". She's also the person who posted that gram I used above. Basically...read her book ;)