Recognizing the lies the enemy cleverly slips into our minds is not enough in and of itself. It's a part of the process of reigning in the Kingdom of God, but it is incomplete with out its counterparts. Recognizing we are responding a certain way because of shame or condemnation if a good place to start, but if we don't do something to resist this type of response then it will only continue.
After recognizing untruth we must then resist it from taking root in our lives. There are times I have been quick to recognize the lies of the enemy, but slow to do anything about them. Not because I enjoy being lied to, more so because resisting is hard. Have you ever used those harmless looking resistance bands during a workout? What was a simple walking lunch has now become a deadly force to be reckoned with- all because of a little resistance. Recognizing alone leaves me walking in oppression, allowing the heaviness of defeat to control my thoughts and actions.
It's sly how the enemy leads us to believe the work of resistance is harder than the heaviness of deception.
It helps me to think of it like this: We have the privilege of resisting the lies the enemy speaks over our lives. It is my privilege not to partner with him. I have been empowered to tell him, “No.” I get to push him off and there is nothing he can do about it. I will not miss out on the adventure God has for me because the enemy slips a thought of deception into my minds here or there, but when the lie goes unrecognized and undetected it often takes root and grows into something more, causing us pain and frustration for many years to come.
In one way or another, we eventually have to deal with the prisons the enemy builds in our minds. How many times have you allowed a thought to turn into something more? How many times has a simple word spoken out of context become a massive offense? Or a hurt turn into such harmful bitterness? The initial thought was not the issue. The issue came by not recognizing and actively resisting all that followed. As lies collect, the enemy builds. Brick by brick the he works, leaving us captive to the control of something other than our perfectly loving Heavenly Father. In our negligence the seed sown takes root and begins to grow into what it was never meant to be.
Don't put off for tomorrow what you've recognize for today. The work done in resisting will build the muscles necessary for tomorrow's journey.
In the book of Nehemiah, God invites Nehemiah into a great adventure. It was something he could never do outside of the spiritual partnership of His Father. In fifty-two days, Nehemiah and God’s people, worked and rebuilt the walls surrounding Jerusalem. It was an unheard of DIY project for this day of age. All along the way Nehemiah battled physically to do the work in front of Him, but He also battled mentally to believe the promise before him.
We don’t know what thoughts ran through Nehemiah’s head as he processed the broken state of God’s people. But he couldn’t have allowed his mind to entertain lies such as, “they brought this on themselves, if only they had followed the Lord instead of idols, they need to learn their lesson.” Or even doubts like, “I can’t rebuild an entire wall, my job as cup-bearer is too important, the King will never approve this ridiculous request, I might as well not ask.” These are just a few. Sometimes it's easy to come up with reasons why we can't do what God is asking us to do. Have you ever wondered if the enemy has anything to do with that?
Nehemiah battled both inside and out to embrace the plan God put in front of him. The enemy recognizes when more is on our horizon and he steps up his game. He, no doubt, went after Nehemiah with everything he had during the time the Lord was putting the dream of rebuilding in his heart. The enemy feared once Nehemiah embraced the call God put in front of him, it would be hard to change his mind. Nehemiah pushed through and recognized Truth from deception. He turned his back on the enemy and determined in his mind to follow God to breakthrough.
“Commit everything you do to the Lord. Trust him, and he will help you”
Psalm 37:5, NLT
The enemy only advances as far as we allow him, because he holds no power over us and he does not have what it takes to outlast our resistance.
“Resist the devil and he will flee from you.”
James 4:7, NIV.
What does resisting the devil look like? It looks like us telling him no. Over and over again some days. It looks like refusing to take in his lies, even for a minute. It looks like, training our minds to filter truth from untruth and having the courage to toss the untruth out with the garbage, the minute it rears it’s ugly head (or beautiful in some cases). It looks like, getting a little righteously angry when he thinks he can sneak one in while you aren’t looking. That’s not his place. We don’t belong to him. We have the power of the Almighty God living within us, the authority to take every thought captive and make it obedient to Christ. It is our identity to recognize we are sons and daughters of the King and our authority to resist anyone who tries to tell us otherwise.
What has the enemy been whispering into your ears lately? Has he snuck something in the form of fear, anxiety, doubt, discouragement, depression or condemnation by while you let your guard down. Can you recognize him (hint: he's the one that doesn't sound like your good, pleasing and perfect Father)? Will you strap on your resistance bands and refuse to allow His lies to go deeper than skin surface, brushing them off as if they were as light as dust?