It is not the first priority of the devil to bother us, but bother God. In fact the devil will always wage war against God. All attacks to us are in fact attacks to God.
Let's see how that is possible.
"43 Why is my language not clear to you? Because you are unable to hear what I say. 44 You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father's desire. He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies."
The devil is the father of lies, not holding to the truth. Opposite is the Word, Jesus, full of grace and truth.
"The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth."
Jesus is not only full of truth, He IS the truth.
"Jesus answered, "I am the way and the truth and the life. No-one comes to the Father except through me."
The devil is an enemy of the truth, therefore he attacks the truth: the Truth who Jesus is. The truth who is IN the Word and IS the Word. The truth which is from the Spirit, the Spirit of truth. And because we, Christians, have that truth inside us, the devil attacks us too. The devil will try to decrease, or even take away, our trust in the Truth, who is Jesus.
The same with righteousness. The devil is an enemy of righteousness.
Paul says here to Elymas the sorcerer: "You are a child of the devil and an enemy of everything that is right! You are full of all kinds of deceit and trickery. Will you never stop perverting the right ways of the Lord?"
Because the devil is an enemy of righteousness, he attacks it.
And we, who received righteousness by faith, will be attacked as well.
The devil will try to minimize that mighty righteousness we got. He tries us to believe that we fail constantly. He will give us the idea that we are not DOING enough for the Lord. He wants us to believe that we don't deserve this righteousness. The goal of the devil will always be to minimize the great and unselfish love of our God in our minds. When we think, we have failed, or are not doing enough, we make this great gift of God smaller. We are just doing if it was not enough what Jesus did. We do exactly if we don't trust that sacrifice which justifies us. We want to add our part to it. And that's sin.
Every time when we agree to those "devil's schemes" it is like God is slapped on His face. That's why it is not a battle we have to fight, but it is Gods battle.
Happily we may know that the Truth: Jesus, has conquered. The lie: satan, lost.
Ephesians 6 is clearly no guarantee for an easy life, but when the armor is functioning like it is written, it a life full of victories.
ARE PROBLEMS ATTACKS TOO?
Is every problem in your life an attack of the devil? No, a lot of our problems proceed from, for instance, not being satisfied. When somebody steals he's doing that because he's not satisfied with what he has. When he then is caught, he's in trouble. These problems are coming forth from the temptation which is in discord: "he has this and I haven't."
This is a clear example, but there are a lot more subtle discords, which are coming out of desire. At the time I was not converted, I was discontented about the amount of money the government thought I could keep. I thought the taxes are much too high. I saw things which I was attracted to. We needed money for our, rather luxury, life and so on. The consequence of all of this was I took the law into my own hands and earned black money. In fact I stole from the government. If you steal from your neighbor or from the government, their is no difference for God. Was it the devil who tempted me to steal? Let's see what James has to say about this.
"13 When tempted, no-one should say, "God is tempting me." For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone; 14 but each one is tempted when, by his own evil desire, he is dragged away and enticed. 15 Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death."
The temptation not to pay all the taxes came from my own desire. And when I agreed, I sinned. And that's how you come into a vicious circle: by sinning no blessing of God, then again more sinning. What a problems does that give. I'm happy to say the Lord showed me it was wrong in His eyes. And though I still think the taxes are much too high, I have chosen to obey Him. He has blessed overwhelming.
But discord can also be found at the level of feeling. Jealousy is for instance a result of that. When you feel jealousy is coming up, is that then an attack of the devil?
No, it comes forth out of your own desire. You wanted yourself so badly.... And when you admit to it, you are sinning.
An other way of discord is not being satisfied with your partner, or brother, or sister or parents etc. Here too a subtle form of own desire. Thinking yourself more important then the other. Is this from the devil? In principle no. It is coming forth out of your own desire.. At this point 1 Corinthians 13 is very clear.
1 Corinthians l3:4-5
"4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs."
Relationship problems are, in principle, not attacks of the devil. That doesn't mean of course that the devil will not gratefully take advantage of it.
There are also problems of total different order. For instance the problem of ultra-ventilation. The dizziness which is the result of ultra-ventilation causes fear. Fear to faint, fear to look like a fool, fear for everything. But fear starts ultra-ventilation and that makes the circle round again. How do you become fearful?
Let's look to an example. When a small child starts learning to walk, it grasps his fathers hand and just starts to make his first steps. Is it afraid? No, because he knows that father holds him. When we, children of God, hold ourselves to Him, we don't need to be afraid. He is holding us, and He is in control. Where then does that fear come from? It is the fear, which set fire to the arrow of unbelief. This is an attack of the devil. When we see such a burning arrow we have to raise the shield of faith. In this case: belief in the love of God and His readiness to help.
An other problem is, for instance, we are thinking about things which are not good. I already talked about desires, but now I mean things which comes in our minds which are negative. Negative thoughts about ourselves or others. People who are depressive have often such thoughts. Let's take the line, in principle there is nothing the devil can hold over that person. I mean there are no sins which are not confessed and where about no sorrow is. Because when these kind of things are there, it is not possible to fight the battle. And that we are talking about battle is for sure.
Depressive people are very sensitive for whisperings in their ear ears as: You're not worthy, or: You can't do anything. These kind of whispering in your mind are a lie, because Gods Word speak differently about us. God thinks we're so worthy, that He gave Himself in Jesus "that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life." (John 3:16).
God want to bless us. He doesn't say we're nothing worth and we can't do anything.
He says in Psalms 1:
"1 Blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked or stand in the way of sinners or sit in the seat of mockers. 2 But his delight is in the law of the LORD, and on his law he meditates day and night. 3 He is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither. Whatever he does prospers."
And in an other Psalm:
"With your help I can advance against a troop; with my God I can scale a wall. As for God, his way is perfect; the word of the LORD is flawless. He is a shield for all who take refuge in him. For who is God besides the LORD? And who is the Rock except our God?"
For people who are depressive it is good to realize, there are two important battle-kits in the armor of God:
- The shield of faith. Trust in the Lord. Belief He will make true what He promised in His Word.
- The sword of the Spirit, that is the Word of God: "... it is written...".
There are lots of problems. It is good to speak about those problems with somebody who has spiritual insight, so it will be clear what the source of that problem is.
God gave people, whom gave themselves to Him, the possibility to get insight in this kind of problems. He gave the fruits of the Spirit for anyone who loves Him and is reaching out for those gifts. And one of those gifts is the gift of distinguishing between spirits. (1 Corinthians 12:7-11)
1 Corinthians 12:7-11
"Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good. To one there is given through the Spirit the message of wisdom, to another the message of knowledge by means of the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by that one Spirit, to another miraculous powers, to another prophecy, to another distinguishing between spirits, to another speaking in different kinds of tongues, and to still another the interpretation of tongues. All these are the work of one and the same Spirit, and he gives them to each one, just as he determines."