“Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.” James 4:7-8 (NIV)
Scripture is full of contradictions.
OK, I can see the steam coming out of your ears. I sense the cry of “heresy” forming on your lips. So let me gently assure you: I totally affirm the inerrancy of Scripture. It is factually and spiritually trustworthy from cover to cover.
But let’s face it: it does contain “seeming contradictions.” I mean, we’re told not to murder—yet God told His friend Abraham to kill his own son (only as a test, of course). We’re told to honor our parents (Ex. 20:12; Deut. 5:16; Matt. 15:4)—yet Jesus tells us to “hate” our family in order to gain His Kingdom (Luke 14:26). We’re told to eschew jealousy (Romans 13:13; 2 Corinthians 12:20) by the very God Whose very name (per Ex. 34:14) is jealous!
This brings us to the subject of how to react to opposition. Doesn’t God tell us to love our enemies? Then why does He go to great lengths to tell us how to defeat our ultimate enemy?
The answer, of course, is that our enemies are not our enemy. Our enemy is Satan himself.
So how do we defeat him?
By DRIVING HIM CRAZY (or “MESHUGA,” as my Jewish people would say). That’s how.
Below are some practical steps to not only drive him crazy but to send him packing.
Step #1: Worship God!
The first and foremost way to drive Satan crazy is simply by worshipping God. He (Satan) specializes in creating distractions, trials, afflictions, and (yes) offenses to get our eyes off of the only One worthy of our worship. Why? Because Satan wants that worship for himself! When we take his bait, we cede a portion of our hearts to him. When we don’t, we frustrate his plan.
To put it succinctly: worshipping God in the midst of our adversity tells Satan he does not—and will not—occupy the throne of our heart. And believe me, that drives him “meshuga” (crazy)!
Step #2: Speak the truth!
We also confound our enemy by speaking God’s truth. When we’re hit with bad news, we can respond by declaring God’s victory over the circumstance. When we’re depressed, we can respond by declaring God’s goodness. When our emotions scream at us, “GUILTY!,” we can respond by declaring our forgiveness by the blood of Jesus! (Oh, how the enemy hates that blood!) When even other people tell us to “curse God” (a la Job’s wife), we can respond by declaring truth.
Indeed, declaring God’s truth thwarts the enemy’s purpose of believing lies about God. And that drives him even more “meshuga” (crazy)!
Step #3: Love your enemies!
A close friend of mine grew up with an alcoholic father. This friend learned real well how to hate their dad—until the day God pealed back the curtain and revealed the real enemy behind the “perceived enemy.” From that point on, my friend’s heart was radically transformed. The alcoholic dad was no longer the enemy.
Loving our enemies exposes the real enemy. And believe me, he can’t stand that spotlight. Talk about driving him crazy!!!
Step #4: Forgive your enemies!
If all this isn’t enough, extending radical forgiveness drives him BONKERS! Forgiveness releases our enemies (that is, the human ones) from any indebtedness toward us. It closes the door to bitterness, which is the devil’s lifeblood.
Most importantly, forgiving our enemies is a declaration of the radical forgiveness of God toward us through the cross. And the cross is something Satan never, ever wants to be reminded of.
This earth is a spiritual war zone. All around us are spiritual landmines, waiting to take us down. Nary a day goes by without a distraction, trial, affliction, or offense lying in wait to blindfold us and take us captive. For those of us who have never given their hearts to Jesus, these serve to strengthen Satan’s grip upon our hearts. For those of us who do follow Jesus, they serve to take our eyes off of our Master and render us ineffective in His Kingdom.
Satan likes to imitate a lion (1 Peter 5:8). By refusing his bait, we not only rebuke his phony roar. We remind him of that his days are numbered. We allow him to hear the sound of the real Lion—the sound that drives him CRAZY and makes him flee.