I renounced my old life and began to walk with God in 1990. At that point, my life took a turn for good. I knew I had eternal life. I knew the power of the devil was crushed in my life. I had been delivered from demonic attacks which I experienced as a young boy.
Few months after, I became filled with God’s Spirit. And I knew that, too. I began listening to great men of God like the late Kenneth E. Hagin, Benny Hinn, Francis Wale Oke, Rev S.M. Leigh, and so forth. I was about 16 years of age, and I was so excited to be saved.
I was also growing pretty fast, spiritually. I spent my school breaks witnessing about Jesus, praying for people all around me, and helping friends and family deal with difficult spiritual crisis. When I started seeing the hard evidence of my life and others being changed, my faith intensified and I spoke openly about Jesus all the more.
However, I had people in my life who didn’t support my new life – people I had counted on – and my faith took a major blow a year later. I fell into sin and opened a door for demons to harass me. I remember being tormented for weeks after I had confessed my sins to God and sought to renew my faith. I found myself struggling internally, and just didn’t get the sort of help I desperately needed. I felt alone, and completely crushed under the weight of intense fear and guilt.
God did deliver me at some point and I recovered from that failure. I felt forgiven and made a bolder decision to follow Jesus. I recommitted to studying God’s Word, Prayer, fellowship and the ministry. But not long after, the enemy struck again.
He attacked my relationship with my parents, and slandered me to the leadership of my Christian youth Club. He attacked my academics through confusion, fear, distractions, etc and my grades fell drastically. He also attacked my health and I became frequently ill, which made my grades worse, and hurt my witness for Jesus.
I’m now in my 40s and the same devil is still scheming to hurt me. In the last 10 years, he has attacked my marriage, career, health, finances, spiritual relationships, not to even mention attacks during sleep.
I have heard contrasting views on how to deal with the devil and live a life of victory on a consistent basis. One view embraces the idea that the devil can never harass a Christian because the person has eternal life and the Spirit of God, while another view suggests that Christians though saved, can be attacked and used by the devil. Hence the need for frequent ‘prayers of deliverance from the evil one’ (Matthew 6: 13)
Having had my share of the enemy’s direct and subtle contentions, and being an ardent student of God’s Word, which is the Truth (Ephesians 6), I would tell you that Christians, though filled with God’s power and Spirit, do face real attacks from the devil and his minions, and very often, fall prey to him. This isn’t because the Word of God is unreliable but because we for many reasons unwittingly open doors to the devil, or already had an open door in our lives which we have failed to close before, during, or after an attack.
Yes, I believe in Jesus Christ. I’m more than convinced that through faith in Him, we have received the power guarantying our full benefits as heirs of God.
“But to all who did accept him (Jesus), and believe in him he gave the right to become children of God.” – John 1: 12, NCV
I also believe in the theme of power that runs through the synoptic gospels, Acts of the Apostles, Epistles of Paul, and the teachings of John the Beloved in the New Testament. I believe in the Word of Faith, in the gifts of the Spirit, in the Name of Jesus, and in the Word of God.
“You know about Jesus from Nazareth, that God gave him the Holy Spirit and power. You know how Jesus went everywhere doing good and healing those who were ruled by the devil, because God was with him” – Acts 10: 38, NCV
However, I mistook the one-time baptism in the Holy Spirit for a trump card I can deploy lazily against demons. I thought all of the power now available to me in Christ, ushers me effortlessly into the ‘sweet by-and-by. I thought I could literally walk rough-shod into the world and preach Jesus, and get people saved and live a cool, fulfilling life, without contention.
How wrong I was!
Yes I still believe Satan (and his demons) fear believers in Christ. But I have now learnt that the devil’s fear and defeat often makes him all the more contentious. He doesn’t always run at first contact; he attacks, often subtly, working the angles of your life, one thread at a time until the ‘whole fabric’ is destroyed, if you fail to discern and stop him with your spiritual arsenal (Ephesians 6: 10 – 17)
I am not in any way suggesting that the devil can gain access to Christians anytime he wants, and ransack our lives. But I’m writing to wake us all up. The devil can attack the Christian. He will attack you at some points – if he hasn’t already! He can and will attack Christians until the Lord calls us home. He will come against your testimony, your family, career, health, wellbeing, children etc, because he is an Accuser of God’s people.
“Then he showed me Joshua the high priest…and Satan standing at his right side to accuse him” – Zechariah 3: 1, NIV
“…For the Accuser of our brothers and sisters, who accuses them before God day and night, has been hurled down” – Revelations 12: 10, NIV
Satan’s goal is to hinder or destroy God’s work on earth through us. His goal is to put out our Light and “de-salt” us, so we are rendered tasteless to the world (see Matthew 5: 13 – 14)
Please bear in mind that this does not mean he can hurt you anytime he wants. No. Spiritual warfare doesn’t work that way. I have had the enemy come against me and fail woefully because I was sensitive to God’s Spirit, understood the angle he was working, and resisted him firmly. For instance, there have been times when he would launch an assault at my mind with a defiling thought, or inflammatory comment from a sibling, co-worker, or stranger, and I would ‘switch on’ my acceptance in Jesus (Ephesus 1: 6) and confess who I am in Christ, thus hindering anger, resentment, rejection or depression from destroying my peace. And there have also been times when a difficult situation in my home life would’ve escalated but I would remember God’s word that warns against acting impulsively (Ecclesiastes 7: 9), and would defeat the devil’s intentions by deliberating prayerfully and answering gently.
“A soft answer turns away wrath: but a harsh word stirs up anger.” – Proverbs 15: 1, NKJV
The enemy often hurts us when we unwittingly leave a door open to him and his minions. Looking at my own defeats, I admit that though people and circumstances were instrumental, the bigger flaw laid squarely with me. I carried chinks in my spiritual armour for so long and didn’t heed the warning signs of the Holy Spirit. I would later learn that disobedience to God is a beachhead for Satan.
No prayer or faith would put you over the devil if you neglect the disciplines, corrections, and directions of God’s Spirit.
“Reproofs of instruction are the way of life” – Proverbs 6: 23, KJV
At this point, it’s important to mention that not all attacks of the devil come as a result of our faults. Satan attacks followers of Jesus mainly because we carry his testimony and possess the real potential to the change the world.
“Then the dragon was enraged…and went off to wage war against…those who keep God’s commands and hold fast their testimony about Jesus…” – Revelations 12: 17 (NIV)
This is the singular reason for believers in Jesus to guard against personal sins, or they would leave us vulnerable to demonic assaults, torments, and shame.
So yes the devil can and will attack you regardless of the level of your walk with God. However, you can defeat him and his minions through prayer, God’s Word, and heeding the corrections, guidance and warnings of the Holy Spirit.
In my next posts, I shall expound on various doors Christians open for the devil, the consequences of demonic assaults; how to stop demonic assaults; and how to regain lost spiritual grounds.
Please feel free to post your (pertinent) comments, questions and experiences below. God bless you all through Jesus Christ our Lord!