The other day I sat at a round table at my son’s preschool and cupped my hands around my coffee mug. All the moms at the co-op had just finished a tasty brunch and we were in the process of sharing prayer requests. I hesitated to share mine.
Some women were requesting prayer for big needs. Illness. Grief over the loss of loved ones. Medical conditions their children are facing that seem to have few answers or prescriptions for wellness. My request seemed a little out of place. But I was needy. I don't have a lot of close friendships or women in my daily life, so I shared it anyway.
“Will you please pray for my protection?” I asked. “I’m entering a season of writing and speaking and when I do that, Satan is on the attack. It’s already really really bad.” I could feel my voice quiver and so I stopped there.
Last year, when my co-author, Wendy Speake, and I wrote and launched our book Triggers, we came to a point where we honestly questioned if it was worth it. As soon as launch week came, every area of our lives began to fall apart of suffer in some way. Our kids. Our spouses. Our homes. Our cars. Our jobs. Our finances. Our friendships. Our health. You name it—it was under siege. Satan plays dirty.
If the past is any indication, it isn’t a big surprise that as Wendy and I are preparing to write together again, and as we both prepare and deliver messages that God has put on our hearts, that here we are in the thick of it again. Arrows are flying.
It’s true for any of us that seek to do the right thing. I hear from moms all the time who are trying to turn from anger in their parenting and as soon as they see some progress, our mutual enemy tries to derail them. Or there’s a wife who is choosing to love her husband and honor him even though she feels neglected. Satan sees her being successful in one area so he tries to undercut her in another. We are not defenseless, however.
The Bible spells out how we should handle these attacks:
“Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.” (I Peter 5:8, ESV)
“Because we wanted to come to you—I, Paul, again and again—but Satan hindered us.” (I Thessalonians 2:18, ESV)
“So that we would not be outwitted by Satan; for we are not ignorant of his designs.” (2 Corinthians 2:11, ESV)
“Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.” (James 4:7, ESV)
“Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil.” (Ephesians 6:11, ESV)
We need to be alert to the devil’s methods but we also need to be aware of his limitations. Fast forward to today. My son came home from preschool with a gift in his hands. One of the moms from the group sent me this:
It made me cry. I was so touched by her thoughtfulness. Even just this morning, I felt that cunning snake creeping up into my business. And just like that, he was put back in his place. Not today Satan. I'll be wearing this shirt a lot this month. My friend and I had a fight alright. We fought together against a mutual enemy, and we won.
Every one of us who loves the Lord is on the battlefield. Our swords often look like t-shirts wrapped in paper and gifted to friends. We fight for good and we defeat the enemy with every kind act, gentle word, and pure thought that we offer to others. We must not be naive enough to underestimate the devil’s powers but we can embrace wholeheartedly the fact that greater is He Who is in us than he who is in the world.
My friend’s kind gesture made me want to pay it forward. As soon as I dried my tears, I called a friend and mentor who asked me for prayer last week. Then I reached out to my friend’s husband to see if he and the kids could come over for a meal while his wife is out of town dealing with a sick relative. We defeat the enemy by resisting him and we make the world a better place by living out our love for others in intentional ways.
The Fruit of the Spirit in our lives is a one-two-punch to Satan’s gut.
It feels too good to win these battles on my own. Join me. Pay it forward today. Remember the kindnesses that have been shown to you and then double them. Let’s show the devil who’s boss. Hope rises. Depression scatters. Mercy triumphs. Guilt flees. Joy unfolds. Darkness is defeated. Love wins.
Not today Satan. And not tomorrow.