“When two humans have lived together for many years it usually happens that each has tones of voice and expressions of face which are almost unendurably irritating to the other. Work on that. Bring fully into the consciousness of your patient that particular lift of his mother’s eyebrows which he learned to dislike in the nursery, and let him think how much he dislikes it. Let him assume that she knows how annoying it is and does it to annoy–if you know your job he will not notice the immense improbability of the assumption. And, of course, never let him suspect that he has tones and looks which similarly annoy her. As he cannot see or hear himself, this is easily managed.”
― C.S. Lewis, The Screwtape Letters
I got married at the young age of 23. I will never forget some of the best marital advice I received from an elderly woman who informed me “Never forget who your real enemy is!…It’s not your husband!”
Indeed, as a young, starry-eyed bride, I couldn’t imagine seeing Joel as my enemy, but over time I saw how the advise she gave me was spot-on. When times were hard, tempers got the better of us both, selfish choices stole from servant-hearted intentions, it was easy to be tempted to believe this lie: “he just cares about himself!”
The Father of Lies
Jesus said that Satan is our enemy and he comes “to steal, to kill, and to destroy” – John 10:10a.
Where you see evidences of stealing, killing, and destroying, you can be sure he has been at work. He comes to steal your joy, to kill your hope, and to destroy your closest and dearest relationships.
His strength is weakened when we recognize his lies, expose them, and resist him. 1 Peter 5: 6-9 gives believers in Christ these clear instructions:
“Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you. Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. Resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same kinds of suffering are being experienced by your brotherhood throughout the world.”
When we humble ourselves before the Lord and ask him to reveal to us any lies we have been believing, He most certainly will!
I find it helpful to write that lie down on paper (expose it) and then write what I know to be the truth (based on God’s Word) next to it. The contrast can be startling at times. It is also helpful to share in confidence these things with your spouse or a trusted friend: “Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working” (James 5:16).
Use the Right Weapons
When Christ was tempted by Satan in the wilderness, he didn’t just use catchy comebacks. He resisted the Devil with the Word of God. Read Matthew 4 and you will see that for every temptation Satan brought, Jesus had a specific word to use as His sword of defense.
God has given us the weapons of prayer and of His Word to resist the enemy of our souls. He calls us to be alert and ready for battle at any time, to not let our guard down.
If you know that you are tempted in a certain area, don’t wait until you are feeling low. Prepare now for how you will resist him when that moment of temptation comes!
For example, if you know that worry is a regular temptation for you, you could write out scriptures that declare how God provides our needs and instructs us to trust him rather than worry. You can cast your cares on God daily and look to Him for peace.
Remember, your enemy is not mere flesh and blood, so earthly weapons won’t do! You need to put on the full armor of Christ to stand firm against evil (Ephesians 6:10-18).
See beyond the person or situation that may be troubling you to the greater enemy that is at work. Resist the devil, and he will flee!