Earlier this week, I wrote on ways the enemy attacks the church. In this post, I want to suggest some anecdotal signs of attack I’ve seen on individuals– particularly, if not primarily, on those Christian leaders who are taking steps of faith to get the gospel to a lost world:
- Unusual marital and family conflict. I’ve seen some of the healthiest homes face surprising strife when they take strong steps of obedience. Marriages are particularly a target.
- Recurring and uninvited temptations. We’re ultimately responsible for our wrong choices, but the tempter delights in setting traps for us. For example, the man who has lived in purity for decades is shocked by past images that suddenly erupt in his head.
- Returning, controlling sin. The enemy particularly wants us to return to actions of our “old self” (Eph. 4:22) so we begin to question the power of the gospel to transform. Battles won long ago now become sites of defeat.
- Strong discouragement and defeat. One day, hope and faith resound; the next day, disbelief and struggle reign, at least temporarily. Nothing has changed, except the enemy is attacking.
- Crippling doubt. You may have been moving in faith for some time, but you begin to hear messages like, “God is not going to use you. You’re not going to make much difference.” The enemy’s goal is to get you to quit.
- Evangelistic apathy. This happens when we focus more on ourselves and our situation than on others and their spiritual condition. If the enemy entices us toward personal recognition and hardens our hearts toward lostness, he’s gained some ground.
- Team disunity. From the Garden of Eden, Satan has sought to turn people against each other. A divided team doesn’t pose much threat to the enemy.
- Personal isolation. Under attack, even extroverts will sometimes withdraw in the battle. The problem is that leaders who fight battles alone most often lose.
- Inward focus. Satan has a way of turning faithful believers away from the blessings of obedience to the potential loss because of obedience. “Look at what you’re giving up,” he says.
- Prayer struggles. Sometimes, the leader who has always prayed diligently finds prayer unexpectedly difficult as he moves into the front lines. Prayerlessness equals powerlessness, and the enemy knows that fact.
- Physical persecution. It happens around the world, even if you don’t face this reality today. Our enemy, who is bent on destruction (see Rev. 9:11), wants to destroy the work of God by destroying the people of God.
- Reading distractions. The Word of God is the sword we use in the battle (Eph. 6:17). Distractions that keep us from reading—including the “good” work of ministry at times—can be a tool of the enemy.
- Demon hunting. This one might be a surprise to you, especially given the topic of this post. But, if you come out of this reading and find a demon behind every rock – a demon that’s causing every issue you face – you’re likely under attack. Satan often distracts us by claiming more power and influence than he really has.
Based on this list, let us know how we can best pray for you.