A defensive game plan against the devil

Resist the Devil's Three Attacks

by Pastor Jim Feeney, Ph.D.

Summary: The devil tends to attack us primarily in three areas: physical, intellectual, and moral. Resist the devil’s attacks biblically, and you will find consistent victory over the enemy of your souls.

When Senator Robert Kennedy was assassinated in 1968, evangelist Billy Graham said, “It seems as if a horde of violent demons [has] been let loose in our country.”

John 8:44  ...the devil ... was a murderer from the beginning...

(1) The devil is "a murderer" = PHYSICAL attacks against mankind.

•• For example, the bent-over woman in Luke 13, “who had been crippled by a spirit for 18 years ... whom Satan [had] kept bound for 18 long years.”
 
•• The numerous physical healings in the Gospels by exorcism. [Explanatory note: I do not believe that a born-again Christian can be demon-possessed.]
 
•• I remain uncertain to what precise extent the devil can afflict Christians, but we do know, broadly speaking, that Satan’s intent always is to steal, kill, and destroy (John 10:10). It can be said with certainty that we are in an ongoing spiritual warfare against the devil and his demons.

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John 8:44  ...the devil ... there is no truth in him ... he is a liar...

(2) The devil is "a liar" = INTELLECTUAL attacks against mankind, attempts to deceive the mind.

•• The devil said to Eve, “You will not surely die (Genesis 3:4). And yet, contrary to the devil's lying promise, Adam and Eve most surely did die. And through their sin, mortality has come upon the entire human race.
 
•• To couples in an unhappy marriage the devil might whisper: “Just leave him (or her); this will never get better.”
 
•• Satan to the Christian weary of the day-to-day grind of life: “That’s the way religion is, too, so don’t get too involved with it; you’ll only be disappointed.”

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1 John 3:8  ...the devil has been sinning from the beginning.

(3) The devil is an experienced sinner and never ceases to bring temptations against the MORAL side of mankind.

•• To a Christian man battling against lust: “Those girlie magazines are OK; you’re just looking, not really ‘sinning’.”
 
•• To a Christian woman addicted to the TV soap operas: “There’s no problem with a little fantasizing; you’re not really going to act out those fantasies.”
 
•• To a Christian student during final exams: “Go ahead and copy that other student’s answer. It’s no big deal, and you really need a high grade in this course.”

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So the devil attacks us from three directions: PHYSICALLY ... INTELLECTUALLY ... and MORALLY.

What provisions has God made for us to overcome these Satanic attacks?

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1 John 3:8  ...The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the devil's work.

(1) Remember: Jesus has already come to destroy the devil’s work.

•• Eliminate the fear factor. Satan has been defeated. Fear God, not the devil!

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Ephesians 4:27  Do not give the devil a foothold.

(2) Give no place, no foothold, to the devil. Give him no occasions to “get his foot in the door” of your heart.

•• Set no vile thing before your eyes ... don’t frequent places of temptation (like magazine racks and R movies) ... don’t let compromising, male-female situations develop ... watch out for weariness and your moral guard dropping.

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1 John 5:18  We know that anyone born of God does not continue to sin; the one who was born of God keeps him safe, and the evil one cannot harm him.

(3) A godly walk (“does not continue to sin”) will bring about the second part of that Scripture — “the evil one cannot harm [you].”

•• This is probably the ultimate fulfillment of giving “no place” to the devil. That is, your pure and godly walk with God shuts the door to the devil’s seductions.
 
•• “The devil has been sinning from the beginning.” In God there is no sin. So you can see what “directional” effect sin has in our lives — away from God and towards the devil.

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Matthew 4:3-4  The tempter came to him and said, "If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread." Jesus answered, "It is written: 'Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.' "

(4) “It is written — resist the devil with the word of God, which the apostle Paul calls “the sword of the Spirit” (Ephesians 6:17).

•• Fill yourself with the word of God. My wife has a set of index cards with her favorite Scriptures written on them. She takes them out often and reinforces her faith from them, especially in the area of God's healing power.
 
•• Psalm 119:9, 11  “How can a young man keep his way pure? By living according to your word.... (11) I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you.”

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James 4:7-8  Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Come near to God and he will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded.

(5) Resist the devil — living close to God, submitted to God, and living pure lives without and within.

•• Now — (1) confident in the fact that Jesus came to destroy the devil’s work ... and (2) determining to give the devil no foothold in your life ... and (3) walking a godly walk ... (4) fortified by the word of God ... (5) you can resist the devil and he will flee from you.

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©1993, James H. Feeney. Copyright statement.