Continued from here.
So, what does Christlikeness look like amidst spiritual attack? Let’s look to our model: Jesus himself. Read Matthew 4:1-11.
Note that spiritual attack came when Jesus was vulnerable: he was hungry after 40 days and nights of fasting. Satan typically strikes when we are vulnerable because he has the best shot of knocking us off our feet. Be mindful of meeting your physical and emotional needs as best you can while fighting spiritual warfare: eat healthy foods, get enough sleep, exercise, drink plenty of water, and take other proactive steps to meet your physical needs, which can also help with your emotional needs.
Refuse to allow Satan to cause you to question God’s character. Notice the repetition of “if you are the Son of God…” This was Satan’s way of trying to get Jesus to doubt God. Jesus did not even dignify that “if” with a response. You ARE a child of God, just as Jesus IS the Son of God. Satan wants to place a wedge into your relationship with God, causing you to question whether you really belong to God or if God is really who He says He is. Don’t fall for it. God’s character as declared in the Bible is truth. Do not allow your thoughts to stray from this reality. Stay focused on God’s character.
Replace the thoughts that Satan tries to give you with truth. You will find that truth in God’s Word, just as Jesus did. Speak that truth aloud. For example, Satan used to try to deceive me into believing that I was fundamentally unlovable. I would respond aloud with Scripture:
It is written that God loves me ‘with an everlasting love;’ he has drawn me ‘with unfailing kindness.’” ~ Jer. 31:3
By doing this, you will reorient your thoughts onto God’s truth and away from Satan’s lies. This is how we take our thoughts captive and make them obedient to Christ. If Jesus had to do this to resist Satan’s temptations, we are going to need to do it as well.
Satan did not stop after the first try. He kept coming at Jesus from different angles. However, Jesus continued the same strategy by quoting Scripture aloud, which reoriented his thoughts to God’s truth. In other words, he submitted to God’s authority, even when tempted to believe Satan’s lies. This is a beautiful demonstration of James 4:7:
Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.
Resist the devil, just as Jesus did, and he will flee, but you first must submit to God.
[Graphic: Cartoon of Grace slumped over and holding a wooden club while saying, “Me hungry.” Courtesy Bitmoji.]