There are some Biblical strategies for overcoming the devil's tactics -- some positive things we can do in spite of his opposition!
We can get the roller coaster going back up - and the devil will not win!
The first thing we need to do is to know the enemy. Starting in the Garden, the Bible shows us just how craftily the devil works to tempt and deceive us. It's important to know your enemy!
Be aware of his tricks:
The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel that displays the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. (II Corinthians 4:4)Be aware of his cunning disguises:
Be aware that he is always looking around:
Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. (I Peter 5:8)Be aware he wants to destroy:
The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; (John 10:10)Knowing our enemy arms us to stand and fight when he attacks.
We know our enemy; we know his attacks are coming -- put on armor and resist!
(Ephesians 6:10-11, 13)No special amulets needed. No rabbits foot here. James tells us to submit, and to draw near to God:
Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Come near to God and he will come near to you. (James 4:7-8a)If God allows the devil to cause us trials, it's our part to submit to God -- we know that He can lift away those trials in a skinny minute! If He does, that's awesome. If He doesn't, there's a purpose. Rather than pulling away from God, and asking "Why?" we can draw near to Him, knowing and trusting that He cares for us. (I Peter 5:7-11)
In the face of the devil's opposition, it helps to remember that it's a lifelong battle. If we try to do anything significant for the Lord, the devil will hear about it. He will hear what we're building and he will stir up opposition.
If we give up, he wins. God's kingdom slows down.
If we persevere, he loses. God's kingdom advances.
The people in Ezra 4 endured eighteen years of delay. Our delays may be long, and hard, and even hurtful as well, just as theirs were. There will be false accusations, denied opportunities, slanderous lies, maybe even physical abuse to go along with the verbal stuff. It's all meant to hinder God's work. And as challenging as all of this can be, God's grace is sufficient to help us keep on keeping on.
Praise the Lord!
We have a Redeemer Who understands.
Judas took a bribe and betrayed Jesus.
The Sanhedrin used their power and privilege to to come against Jesus and put Him through a mock trial. Then they petitioned Roman leadership for His crucifixion.
As He hung on the cross, it seemed the devil had won until . . .
Until His followers saw the empty tomb on the third day!
There is hope for us, too, no matter how long the delay seems to drag on. Yes, we have an enemy that wants to oppose us, delay us, and defeat us. But he is under the authority of our all-powerful Father.
Jesus will complete the good work He started in us. He has promised.
Let's get that roller coaster going back up the hill!