Tactic #6: Doubles Efforts on the Hopeful

Ezra 4:16
We inform the king that if that city is rebuilt and the walls finished, as a result you will have no possession in the province beyond the river. (NAS)

We touched on Ezra earlier and return to it now.  This is a terrific book, because it shows specific tactics the enemy uses to inhibit growth, and to distract and discourage the people.  To recap, as the nation of Israel tries to rebuild itself, certain enemies strive to do everything in their power to stop them.  This verse is part of a letter they send to the king.  It threatens him that if the city gets rebuilt, the nation of Israel will start to grow and will eventually conquer him.  So the king decrees a halt to the building, and it ceases.

Once the people got a glimmer of hope, and started to see their work produce something, the enemy redoubled his efforts to stop them.  This is one of their bureaucratic attempts to thwart the progress.  The same thing happens in our lives.

Once we start seeing progress in our battle against sin, once we start experiencing God firsthand and begin to hear His voice and know His presence, once we begin to know the power of His grace and the effectiveness of His word spoken through our mouths–the enemy realizes he is losing, and he singles you out and increases his attacks.  In other words, success brings even harder battles.

As long as you are mired in apathy and hopeless despair, wallowing in porn sites with DVDs littering your floor and trips to Vegas every other month, the enemy isn’t too worried about you.  His basic tactics of fear and discouragement are running smoothly.  But once you sabotage the machine and start looking for a way out, he comes after you with renewed force.  You must expect increased pressure once you get serious about your purity and spiritual walk.  This is one of the best reasons to have a group of people around you who can help you through this period.  Why?  Because it doesn’t last forever.

James 4:7
Therefore, submit to God, but resist the devil and he will flee from you. (NT Transline)

You may have heard this verse a lot, and maybe felt discouraged by it, because it doesn’t seem to ‘work’ for you.  I’ve been there.  But this is due to a lack of understanding about faith and the power of God within us.  An army doesn’t resist its most vicious enemy for just one day and then expect the skies to clear and the sun to shine from then on.  You have to fight them for an extended period of time.  The enemy isn’t going to flee from you because one night, one time, you decide not to surf the web for porn.  He’ll come back at you a different way later that night or the next day.

The word “resist” here can also mean “stand against, oppose, withstand, set oneself against.”  This is not a one time event.  It is a lifestyle.  You resist continually.  But if you stand against the enemy long enough, he will flee from you.  God is on your side.  And maybe in several weeks, you will get attacked again if the enemy thinks your guard is down.  Maybe it is down.  Keep resisting.  But, how do I resist?  Keep reading; that’s coming in a later section.  Though, as I’ve already said, it’s not by willpower.  This is not a new year’s resolution.  For now, what you must believe and understand is the need to be aware.  Jesus several times exhorts us to be “alert.”  We should be paying attention to the spiritual battles going on in and around us, and in the world.  Know how the enemy operates, and then you can defeat him.  He doubles his efforts against you when you try to break free.  Eventually, if you persevere, he will relent.  And when he does, you’ve taken back ground, and are ready for the next step.