The Tactics of Satan - Fear & Doubt
To win battles you need to know your enemy, but more importantly, you need to know your enemy's tactics. This is especially true in a spiritual battle.
We know that our number one enemy is Satan. He is a "liar and the father of lies" (John 8:44). He is "Your enemy [who] prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour" (1 Peter 5:8). He is "the accuser of the brethren, who accuses them before our God day and night" (Revelation 12:10); and because he wants to steal souls from the Lord, Satan uses our weaknesses against us in order to cause us to sin, in hopes that we will stray from God and continue to live in sin.
The Bible reveals to us the tactics that Satan uses and it also tells us exactly how to resist him so he will flee from us - and the good news is we are victorious in Christ!
Today we will look at one of the tactics that Satan uses in his battle against us -
FEAR & DOUBT.
Fear is the belief that someone or something poses a threat. It is the anticipation of danger, evil, or pain that may be real or imaginary. It can be crippling and/or controlling and this is why fear is one of the tactics Satan uses to grab hold of us.
The truth is, Satan knows the weaknesses of our minds and uses these weaknesses to influence fear over us. He uses fear for several reasons.
Diminishes our courage and causes us to retreat
Affects our ability to do the things we need to do
Steals our peace of mind
Influences rational thoughts and actions in a negative way
I think the most important reason why Satan uses fear as a weapon against us is that fear is in direct opposition to our faith. Being fearful completely contradicts an important promise of God in 2 Timothy 1:7 which says:
"For God has not given us a spirit of fear,
but of power and of love and of a sound mind."
If you feel anything other than power, love or a sound mind in any situation, it's not coming from the Lord and goes against what the scriptures say about God's promises.
Let's be honest, most of our fear is conjured up in our own minds. That is to say that most of what we are fearful of isn't a real threat or will never happen anyway. When we are faced with the unknown, we go through every "what if" scenario and usually end up landing on the worst case scenario as what we think the outcome will be. It's a crazy cycle but we allow ourselves to go through it.
So...why does Satan want us paralyzed by fear?
Well, fear causes weakness and weakness will break us down. There are many reasons why the devil uses fear to attack us (and every reason is related to our relationship with God).
Satan wants to:
Stop or slow our spiritual growth
Decrease our faith in God
Confuse us in our calling
Control us and keep us bound
Turn from God completely (Satan's ultimate goal)
The Bible uses the words "fear not" or some version of these words multiple times throughout the scriptures. If you are prone to fear, write out some of these scriptures and use them to affirm God's promises to you. You can start with these:
"Have I not commanded you? Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:9
"I sought the Lord, and He heard me,And delivered me from all my fears." Psalm 34:4
"Be strong and of good courage, do not fear nor be afraid of them; for the Lord your God, He is the One who goes with you. He will not leave you nor forsake you.” Deuteronomy 31:6
"Fear not, for I am with you; Be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, Yes, I will help you, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand." Isaiah 41:10
"So we may boldly say: “The Lord is my helper; I will not fear. What can man do to me?” Hebrews 13:6
Satan has been using doubt as a weapon since the Garden of Eden so why would we think that he would put this tactic on the shelf? It worked then and it certainly works now.
In Genesis 3:1-4 we see the serpent at work:
"Now the serpent was more cunning than any beast of the field which the Lord God had made. And he said to the woman, “Has God indeed said, ‘You shall not eat of every tree of the garden’?” And the woman said to the serpent, “We may eat the fruit of the trees of the garden; but of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God has said, ‘You shall not eat it, nor shall you touch it, lest you die.’ ”Then the serpent said to the woman, “You will not surely die."
The serpent's words sowed seeds of doubt in Eve's mind but rather than tell the serpent that God had commanded them not to eat from the tree, Eve succumbed to the devil's tactics; she let his words influence her actions. Imagine if she had stood firm on God's words and not eaten the fruit...but I digress....
Anyway, we can learn a lesson from this...stand firm on the Word of God when doubts creep in.
How do we do this?
Be honest about your doubts and face them
Commit your doubts to the Lord
Fill your heart and mind with God's Word
You know, Satan uses doubt in order to move us away from God. He uses several tactics to do this, but with doubt, he makes it personal - he uses it in our relationship with God.
Satan wants us to doubt:
God's love, grace and mercy towards us
The Word of God
If we will doubt even one of these things above, the devil thinks he's got us!
Remember...it's God's love, grace and mercy that led Him to send Jesus Christ to the earth to lay down His life for us. Jesus giving up His life is what leads to our salvation. When you accept the gift of salvation you begin to understand and accept all that the Word of God says and realize the TRUTH of His Word. Satan doesn't want any of that for us.
Have you ever wondered how in the world God could love you? Have you ever questioned your salvation? I know I have. These are things that the devil puts in our minds to make us doubt. It is up to us to seek the truth in the Word of God and stand up against the devil when he tries to use doubt against us.
Now, I must say this....I believe that if we let these doubts go on for too long, we will be held responsible for them. In Luke 1:11-20 we read the story of Zacharias when he was visited by the Archangel Gabriel who had news that he and his wife would have a son.
11 "Then an angel of the Lord appeared to him, standing on the right side of the altar of incense.
12 And when Zacharias saw him, he was troubled, and fear fell upon him.
13 But the angel said to him, “Do not be afraid, Zacharias, for your prayer is heard; and your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you shall call his name John.
14 And you will have joy and gladness, and many will rejoice at his birth.
15 For he will be great in the sight of the Lord, and shall drink neither wine nor strong drink. He will also be filled with the Holy Spirit, even from his mother’s womb. 16 And he will turn many of the children of Israel to the Lord their God.
17 He will also go before Him in the spirit and power of Elijah, ‘to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children,’ and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just, to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.”
18 And Zacharias said to the angel, “How shall I know this? For I am an old man, and my wife is well advanced in years.”
19 And the angel answered and said to him, “I am Gabriel, who stands in the presence of God, and was sent to speak to you and bring you these glad tidings.
20 But behold, you will be mute and not able to speak until the day these things take place, because you did not believe my words which will be fulfilled in their own time.”
What I want to point out here is that Zacharias heard the news, straight from the throne of God via Gabriel, and we see in verse 18 clearly that he has doubts about the blessing he is to receive. Upon hearing Zacharias' doubts, Gabriel informs him that "because [he] did not believe [his] words" he would be made mute until the fulfilling of the blessing. Wow! That seems severe for just a little bit of doubt OR...
Could it be that even a little bit of doubt within us breaks the heart of God?? After all, even if Satan plants seeds of doubt aren't we supposed to "resist the devil"? (James 4:7)
James also tells us in chapter 1, verse 6 that we are to "ask in faith, with no doubting, for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea driven and tossed by the wind." (emphasis mine).
If we doubt God's power, His love, His gifts...anything, then why would we pray to Him or make a request or even trust Him??? There would be no need. We need to learn to stop the doubt in its tracks before it takes root.
How to Stop Fear and Doubt
Remember that God's Word is TRUTH. And the truth is that Satan cannot touch you unless you let him.
The cure for both fear and doubt is FAITH!
Affirm God's Word to Overcome Fear and Doubt
Affirming God's Word will help to overcome any fears or doubts that may arise.
Here are just a few examples of affirmations of God's Word that you can speak out loud when you feel fear or doubt:
I believe in the Name of Jesus Christ, therefore I am a child of God. (John 1:12)
I am born again so the wicked one cannot touch me. (1 John 5:18)
God in me is greater than he who is in the world. (1 John 4:4)
I have authority from Christ Jesus to trample on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing by any means can hurt me. (Luke 10:19)
God is with me wherever I go, so I will not be afraid. (Isaiah 41:10)
In any scenario where you find yourself falling for the enemy's tactics, remind him that he has no power over you - that includes when you are fearful or have doubts.
Fear and doubt do not come from the Lord. They are weapons used against us by the enemy to try to get us to turn away from God. We have everything we need to stand up and stand firm against every single thing the devil throws at us.
As we grow in our faith the devil becomes weaker and weaker, but that doesn't mean that he gives up trying to influence us. To grow in our faith, we need to make it a point to get with God daily in prayer and keep our focus on Him at all times and in every situation. We need to read and study the Word of God in order to implant it on our hearts. And we need to give thanks and praise to the Lord for all He does for us.
The Word of God is true....when we resist the devil, he WILL flee from us!!