Just like any excellent military commander or athletic coach, Satan has a strategy—a game plan—for accomplishing his agenda.
One of the devil’s main tricks is to cause you to miss the goodness of God. Like he did with Eve in the garden, Satan wants to get you to question the value of all of the trees that God did provide by getting you to focus on the one tree He has said to avoid. Satan wants you to complain about what you don’t have because in focusing on what you don’t have, you will lose sight of what God has given you.
However, God instructs us how to counteract this scheme in Philippians 4:6-8 where we read, “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things.”
God tells us to start by praising and thanking Him for all of the things that He has provided. He wants us to begin by giving thanks for all that He has done, as well as to think on all of His goodness—not only in our own lives, but in the world around us.
Satan tries to get us to remove our focus from the goodness of God; because he knows that the only way he can defeat us is through deception. Truth exists within the goodness of God and wherever the truth of God is present, Satan’s ability to deceive is diminished.
Satan’s intention in spiritual warfare is to cause us to miss out on the goodness of God, leading us onto a path of destruction. As James tells us, “… and when sin is accomplished, it brings forth death” (James 1:15). Sin produces death in a variety of ways, all bringing about the diminishing ability to experience God’s promise of the abundant life. This death can show up as the death of a dream, relationship, career, virtue, or in any number of areas. Primarily, sin produces a death within the fullness of our spirits as our fellowship is broken with God.
Breaking fellowship with God makes us ineffective as believers who have been designed to experience God and to glorify Him in all that we do. Oftentimes, the death in our relationships, hopes, careers, families, or in other areas will lead to depressing thoughts and discouragement. Depression and discouragement are Satan’s aim because he seeks to make our lives void of the abundance that Jesus has promised. As a result, we often question God and His promises. Not only that, but when our lives feel miserable, we are frequently too miserable to give God any glory or to tell others about Him. In fact, many of us end up not only withholding giving God the glory that is due Him, but we also blame God for the misery that we are living in.
Satan’s agenda and his strategy are all-encompassing, but there is something that you and I need to know about both: They have already been defeated!
The foundational principle behind living a life of total victory is this: We do not wrestle against flesh and blood. The people are real. The problems are real. The health issues are real. The challenges are real. The conflicts are real. The strongholds are real. They are just not the root against which we wrestle.
The job of Satan and his demons is to keep you and me from experiencing the abundant life God has in store for us, and that is done by distracting us from focusing on the root and complaining about what we see and experience.
But God, who is not bound by time or space, has already won this battle. Living out His strategy of gratitude is one key to overcoming spiritual warfare and living a life of victory.