Recognizing Spiritual Attacks

Recognizing spiritual attacks

2 Corinthians 2:11 lest Satan should take advantage of us; for we are not ignorant of his devices.

As God’s children, we have a common enemy in this world—Satan and his demons. They hate us and never cease to find an opportunity to attack us. Satan is a liar and his biggest lie is telling people that he doesn’t exist, so there is no need to resist him. One of Satan’s powerful demons, that he commonly sends to attack us, is the spirit of fear. Fear is not of God. Jesus has given us authority, in His Name, over the spirit of fear, Satan, and all his demons.

2 Timothy 1:6-7 Therefore, I remind you to stir up the gift of God which is in you through the laying on of my hands, for God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.

1 John 4:4 Little children, you are from God and have overcome them, for he who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.

There are many other ways Satan attacks us and we must not be ignorant of them.

1. We must recognize the attacks of Satan in causing people to sin and deny Christ. Jesus recognized the attack of Satan on Peter and prayed for him that his faith should not fail. Jesus told Peter that Satan would attack him and cause him to stumble and sin.

Luke 22:31-32 “Simon, Simon, behold, Satan demanded to have you, that he might sift you like wheat, but I have prayed for you that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned again, strengthen your brothers.”

Peter did not realize the severe attack of Satan upon him and boasted that he was willing to die for Jesus. Jesus told Peter that he would deny him 3 times before the cock crowed twice. This was an intense satanic attack on Peter to cause him to sin and deny Christ. Rather than criticize Peter for his weakness, Jesus prayed for Peter’s faith to be strengthened. He encouraged Peter to strengthen others after he repented. Therefore, we must have discernment in recognizing satanic attacks on people to cause them to sin and pray for their faith, repentance, and restoration.

When we sin, Satan brings condemnation and feelings of worthlessness. We might feel that we are not a Christian because we see how far we fall short of God’s holiness.  In spite of how we feel, this is when we need to be in the Word of God and read Romans 8, which begins “Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.”

On the other hand, when we sin, the Holy Spirit brings conviction instead of condemnation. We must learn to confess sin immediately and give thanks to God for His conviction and discipline.  But, when we are under spiritual attack, prayer also, is the last thing that we feel like doing, and guess who is making us feel that way. The only time that Satan really fears us is when we are praying in Jesus’ name with a contrite heart.

2. We must recognize the attacks of Satan in causing sickness. I would not say that all sickness is the result of Satan’s attacks but there are times that it is. If he doesn’t cause the sickness, he will surely attack when we are sick. Whenever we are weak physically, emotionally, or mentally, Satan’s attacks can become so furious a person feels like giving up on life. Satan does not fight fair. If we show any weakness, he will attack those areas of our life.

Jesus could discern whenever sicknesses or disabilities were caused by demonic oppression, so we know demons can cause these. When Jesus cast out a demon, the blind and mute man was healed.

Matthew 12:22 Then a demon-oppressed man who was blind and mute was brought to him, and he healed him, so that the man spoke and saw.

Jesus also healed a woman, bent over for eighteen years by a disabling spirit.

Luke 13:10-13 Now he was teaching in one of the synagogues on the Sabbath. And behold, there was a woman who had had a disabling spirit for eighteen years. She was bent over and could not fully straighten herself. When Jesus saw her, he called her over and said to her, “Woman, you are freed from your disability.” And he laid his hands on her, and immediately she was made straight, and she glorified God.

We must ask the Holy Spirit to give us discernment to recognize sicknesses caused by satanic attacks and learn how to pray and deliver them by the power of the Holy Spirit.

3. We must recognize the attacks of Satan in causing suffering in our lives. Job was an upright man who feared God. But Satan brought unbearable loss and suffering in his life. Although God allowed Satan to attack Job, it was not God but Satan who brought all this suffering in the life of Job.

Job 2:7 So Satan went out from the presence of the LORD and struck Job with loathsome sores from the sole of his foot to the crown of his head.

The friends of Job did not have this discernment and revelation about the cause of Job’s suffering. Therefore they argued endlessly about the reasons why Job was experiencing this suffering. Even though Job himself did not know the real source of his suffering, he remained faithful to God and did not blaspheme Him. We need discernment to recognize the attacks of Satan in causing suffering in our lives and not blame God unjustly for the attacks of Satan.

4. We must recognize the attacks of Satan in causing storms in our lives. When Jesus and his disciples went in a boat to cross over to the other side, a great storm arose on the way. We can suspect the source of the storm when we read what happened when they got to the other side. There was a demon possessed man waiting for them and Jesus delivered him from the demonic bondage. The demons may have been trying to prevent Jesus from reaching the other side by causing a fierce storm. If so, Jesus recognized this demonic attack and rebuked the storm and calmed the sea.

Mark 4:39 And he awoke and rebuked the wind and said to the sea, “Peace! Be still!” And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm.

We need discernment to recognize the attacks of Satan, who may send “storms” in our path whenever we obey Christ, and in the Name of Jesus rebuke the demons creating those “storms”.

5. We must recognize the attacks of Satan in hindering the answers to our prayers.

Daniel 10:12-14 Then he said to me, “Fear not, Daniel, for from the first day that you set your heart to understand and humbled yourself before your God, your words have been heard, and I have come because of your words. The prince of the kingdom of Persia withstood me twenty-one days, but Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me, for I was left there with the kings of Persia, and came to make you understand what is to happen to your people in the latter days. For the vision is for days yet to come.”

Daniel prayed for 21 days before he received the answer to his prayers. The angel who brought him the answer told Daniel that God had heard his prayer on the first day and had sent the answer through His angel. But there was a satanic hindrance that caused the angel to be delayed for twenty one days. But Daniel had been faithful to pray till the answer reached him. He did not get discouraged and give up praying. We must have discernment to recognize the attacks of Satan in causing delays and hindrances to the answers to our prayers and we must persevere until the answer reaches us. We must not blame God for the delays caused by Satan.

6. We must recognize the attacks of Satan in causing blindness to the spiritual sight of people.

2 Corinthians 4:4 In their case, the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.

This satanic blindness prevents them from understanding the truth of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. To enable them to understand the Gospel, we must pray for their deliverance from the spiritual blindness caused by Satan. Then they will have, as Jesus said, “ears to hear” the Gospel.

7. We must recognize the attacks of Satan in the nice sounding deceptions that we hear.

Mark 8:31-33 And he began to teach them that the Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders and the chief priests and the scribes and be killed, and after three days rise again. And he said this plainly. And Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him. But turning and seeing his disciples, he rebuked Peter and said, “Get behind me, Satan! For you are not setting your mind on the things of God, but on the things of man.”

Peter was very concerned about the welfare of Jesus and did not want Jesus to suffer the shame and agony of the cross. But his concerns were against God’s will. Jesus recognized the cunning trick of Satan to use Peter’s sympathetic words to lead Him away from the cross and thus destroy the very purpose of His coming to this world.

We must have discernment to recognize the attacks of Satan to deviate us from the will of God for our life. We must be determined to follow the Lord in the path that He has chosen for us even if many sincere well wishers try to persuade us to choose an easier path.

8. We must recognize the attacks of Satan to discourage us from doing what God wants us to do. For example, enemies and naysayers were sent to Nehemiah to discourage him from rebuilding the wall around Jerusalem.

Nehemiah 6:9 For they all were trying to make us afraid, saying, "Their hands will be weakened in the work, and it will not be done." Now therefore, O God, strengthen my hands.

Some the most frequent attacks of discouragement come when you begin sharing the Gospel.  The Enemy hates this.  So, that’s when Satan or his demons will send this accusation, “You hypocrite!  How can you share the Gospel after what you have done?”  We need to recognize that discouragement is not from God, and when the Devil reminds you of your past, remind him of his future.

9. We must recognize the attacks of Satan to divide us and keep us from doing what God wants us to do. Satan continually tries to weaken the Church through division.

1 Corinthians 1:10-13 I appeal to you, brothers, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree, and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be united in the same mind and the same judgment. For it has been reported to me by Chloe’s people that there is quarreling among you, my brothers. What I mean is that each one of you says, “I follow Paul,” or “I follow Apollos,” or “I follow Cephas,” or “I follow Christ.” Is Christ divided? Was Paul crucified for you? Or were you baptized in the name of Paul?

Ephesians 4:1-6 I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit—just as you were called to the one hope that belongs to your call—one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.

The enemy also uses division to destroy the nuclear family, which is a father, a mother, and children. Today, due to demonic influence, that type of family has become the minority. Satan is the instigator of unwed parenthood, homosexual marriages, and divorces. To destroy the family is to weaken society, bringing it ever closer to destruction and creating chaos. So, when conflict comes to your family, pray and don’t let the Devil incite you to anger and division.

By recognizing the ways Satan attacks us, we can fight the instigator of the attacks instead of fighting one another. Since we are all under Satan’s attacks, we can be more sympathetic, kind, and patient with one another. We can also pray for one another, and together defeat our common enemy.

Knowing that we might be under attack may be somewhat intimidating, but Jesus said in John 14:1, “Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me.”

Our main line of defense and offense against Satan and his demons is Jesus Christ. Jesus is greater than Satan and He has given us authority and power to defeat evil spirits.

Luke 10:19-20Behold, I have given you authority to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall hurt you. Nevertheless, do not rejoice in this, that the spirits are subject to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven.”

Jesus is our source of power and the one who gives us the ability to fight evil in the world. To have that power, Jesus must be the Lord of our life. He must be our standard of living. He does not give His Spirit and power to those walking disobediently in darkness.

As we become more like Jesus, our life begins to produce His fruit, a by-product of being in an intimate relationship with Jesus and filled with His Spirit. When Jesus fills our life with His Spirit, then we have His power to counteract the evil in this world.

Jesus was able to defeat Satan when He prayed, listened, and did what His father told Him to do and to say. Jesus tells us what to do and say through the means of the Holy Spirit. The Spirit of Jesus is able to open our eyes to what is Truth and what is the right path to follow. He is the one who is able to empower us so that we can discern evil and attack it in His Name.

Drawing closer to Jesus will cause us to spend more time in prayer and God’s Word. This is important because it helps us to know the Truth and to discern that which is evil in this world.

Ephesians 6:10-12 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.

Therefore, while we wait for Jesus to return, and while we face persecution from unbelievers, we do not have to sit idle and suffer defeat. We are to let the light of Jesus Christ shine by being filled with the Holy Spirit and actively battle Satan by sharing the Gospel, healing the sick, and driving out demons.

However, you may be one who is under spiritual attack. If you are tired of Satan influencing your life and suffering the consequences of evil and sin, then turn away from Satan and choose to follow Jesus.

 To begin following Jesus, publicly confess your faith in Him as the Son of God who atoned for your sin on the cross. Repent of your sin and die to your old life by following Christ in baptism. Then your sin will be forgiven and will be born again of the Holy Spirit, who will give you discernment about Satan’s attacks and power to defeat him.