There is an old phrase that is utterly untrue – for the follower of Jesus anyway. It goes like this, “The Devil made me do it.”
No he didn’t. He can’t make you quit either. That is totally up to you. However, recognizing the strategies he uses to try to get you to quit is extremely helpful. That is what my sermon was about yesterday. It is so important that you are not “ignorant of his schemes” (2 Corinthians 2:11), that I am going to do a brief recap of yesterday’s message in today’s post.
The last time I taught I shared “4 Keys to Rebuild Anything”. Many of you are building or rebuilding something in your life after the last couple of years of chaos in our country. As you rebuild, Satan is going to try to stop you. In the same way we looked at the things you need to rebuild from the book of Nehemiah, we are going to use the same book to look at 5 Ways the Devil Tries to Stop You.
He will mock you
“But it so happened, when Sanballat heard that we were rebuilding the wall, that he was furious and very indignant, and mocked the Jews. And he spoke before his brethren and the army of Samaria, and said, ‘What are these feeble Jews doing? Will they fortify themselves? Will they offer sacrifices? Will they complete it in a day? Will they revive the stones from the heaps of rubbish—stones that are burned?’ Now Tobiah the Ammonite was beside him, and he said, ‘Whatever they build, if even a fox goes up on it, he will break down their stone wall.’” Nehemiah 4:1-3 NKJ
Satan is a mocker. When people mock you for your dreams, ridiculously big prayers, or for your faith in Jesus, know that it is the enemy trying to weaken your hands.
So, what should you do? Do what Nehemiah did in four of the five examples we will look at – pray! Keep turning to God and get HIS perspective. What is GOD saying to you about it? You must do what Nehemiah did and rightly discern the voice of God from the enemy.
God’s Word/God’s voice is where you get your vision and faith for the task!
He will attack you
“Now it happened, when Sanballat, Tobiah, the Arabs, the Ammonites, and the Ashdodites heard that the walls of Jerusalem were being restored and the gaps were beginning to be closed, that they became very angry, and all of them conspired together to come and attack Jerusalem and create confusion. For they all were trying to make us afraid, saying, ‘Their hands will be weakened in the work, and it will not be done.’” Nehemiah 4:7-9a NKJ
If the enemy cannot get you to stop by mocking you, he will plan to attack you. He may try to afflict you with sickness, or unjust treatment at work, or get someone to turn on you, or a financial setback…
Sometimes you cannot stop the attack, but you can pray and ask God for strength to get through the attack.
“Now therefore, O God, strengthen my hands.” Nehemiah 4:9b NKJ
God will give you the strength to outlast the devil.
He will try to Intimidate you
“And our adversaries said, ‘They will neither know nor see anything, till we come into their midst and kill them and cause the work to cease.’ So it was, when the Jews who dwelt near them came, that they told us ten times, ‘From whatever place you turn, they will be upon us.’” Nehemiah 4:11-12 NKJ
Often the enemy won’t attack, he will just tell you he is going to attack. This is never from the Lord. God will not speak to you, give you a dream, or have someone prophecy to you with something that will fill you with fear. He may warn you about something coming, but that will simply be to prepare for it. But He won’t scare you.
Satan will paint the worst picture possible for you and whisper it to your mind. His goal is to get you to live in fear. Fear will paralyze you, steal your strength, and confuse your thoughts. F.E.A.R. is False Evidence Appearing Real.
Fear is faith in reverse. It is believing that bad things are going to happen.
Nehemiah did not allow fear to dictate his behavior. Rather, he responded in faith and with a strategic plan. He knew that God was with Him and that he was doing God’s work! So are you.
“Therefore I positioned men behind the lower parts of the wall, at the openings; and I set the people according to their families, with their swords, their spears, and their bows. And I looked, and arose and said to the nobles, to the leaders, and to the rest of the people, ‘Do not be afraid of them. Remember the Lord, great and awesome, and fight for your brethren, your sons, your daughters, your wives, and your houses.’ And it happened, when our enemies heard that it was known to us, and that God had brought their plot to nothing, that all of us returned to the wall, everyone to his work.” Nehemiah 4:13-15 NKJ
He will accuse you
“Then Sanballat sent his servant to me as before, the fifth time, with an open letter in his hand. In it was written: It is reported among the nations, and Geshem says, that you and the Jews plan to rebel; therefore, according to these rumors, you are rebuilding the wall, that you may be their king. And you have also appointed prophets to proclaim concerning you at Jerusalem, saying, ‘There is a king in Judah!’ Now these matters will be reported to the king. So come, therefore, and let us consult together.” Nehemiah 6:5-7 NKJ
This was a lie. Has Satan ever lied to you? Gossiped about you? Threatened to ruin your reputation?
He will accuse you of wrong, selfish motives. He will try to get you to doubt and to second-guess yourself. Of course your motives aren’t always one hundred percent pure because you are human, but Satan will pick on the selfish parts of your motives rather than highlighting the godly parts of your motives. Jesus, on the other hand, will commend the godly parts of your motives, and help you with the ungodly parts.
Only listen to Jesus and respond to Satan the way Nehemiah did:
“Then I sent to him, saying, ‘No such things as you say are being done, but you invent them in your own heart.’ For they all were trying to make us afraid, saying, ‘Their hands will be weakened in the work, and it will not be done.’ Now therefore, O God, strengthen my hands.” Nehemiah 6:8-9 NKJ
He will threaten you
“Afterward I came to the house of Shemaiah the son of Delaiah, the son of Mehetabel, who was a secret informer; and he said, ‘Let us meet together in the house of God, within the temple, and let us close the doors of the temple, for they are coming to kill you; indeed, at night they will come to kill you.’” Nehemiah 6:10 NKJ
Nehemiah was able to discern and overcome this attack because he had already decided that the task that God had given to him was more important than his own life.
“And I said, ‘Should such a man as I flee? And who is there such as I who would go into the temple to save his life? I will not go in!’ Then I perceived that God had not sent him at all, but that he pronounced this prophecy against me because Tobiah and Sanballat had hired him. For this reason he was hired, that I should be afraid and act that way and sin, so that they might have cause for an evil report, that they might reproach me.” Nehemiah 6:11-13 NKJ
The book of Revelation says that the believers overcame Satan by the blood of the Lamb, the word of testimony, and they loved not their lives even to the point of death. (Revelation 12:11)
Jesus said that if we come to Him, we must die to ourselves and live for Him.
If you have already died to yourself and are living for Jesus then the devil’s threats will have no power over you.
If you will not allow Satan to stop you, you will finish your task just like Nehemiah did.
“So, the wall was finished on the twenty-fifth day of Elul, in fifty-two days. And it happened, when all our enemies heard of it, and all the nations around us saw these things, that they were very disheartened in their own eyes; for they perceived that this work was done by our God.” Nehemiah 6:15-16 NKJ
THINK ABOUT IT
- How has Satan been attacking you? Is he mocking you, attacking you, intimidating you, lying to you, or threatening you? If so, how have you been responding? Are you living in fear, doubt, and unbelief? Are you second-guessing what God has called you to do or be?
Today I would like to ask you to pray this prayer: “Oh God, I turn my eyes to you, and you alone! You are the source of my strength and strategy! Speak to my heart, Oh God. Strengthen my hands and my heart for the life you have called me to live and the job you have called me to do. Fill me with your Spirit of love, power, and a sound mind right now. Give me fresh vision and new hope so I can serve you will all my heart. Satan, I rebuke you in the name of Jesus! You are a liar, and I will not listen to you anymore. From this day forward I will only listen to the voice of my Savior, Jesus Christ!