Understanding the tactics the enemy of our soul uses to keep us from growing in the grace we have been given in our walk with Christ can keep us from believing his lies and attending to his voice. As we look at the tactics of the enemy, we can gain some insight into the methods we should use to resist. By definition, a tactic is the awareness of our every movement, so as to form strategies to make that movement impossible. The purpose of any enemy's tactics is to quickly dispose of the forces he opposes. Such is the case with the enemy of our soul - he wants to destroy the grace we have been given, bringing us down into the pit of sin and shame he lures us toward.
The main tactic we saw outlined in yesterday's passage of Scripture from Ezra that their enemy used was sthat of “beating down the morale of the people”. We often think of morale as nothing more than the state of well-being that we enjoy when we have a sense of common purpose or confidence in our circumstances. Morale carries many meanings, but probably one of the most significant meanings we need to see is that of moral principles, teaching, or conduct.
A principle puts us under some obligation in our lives – it defines for us the conduct or behavior we exhibit. The people of God are placed under moral obligation to live according to the standards and teachings he has outlined for the safety of our daily walk - they are outlined for us in the Bible. Our conduct is affected by these standards and teachings – they impact the core of our being; they become the basis of our decisions; they challenge our perspective in every situation.
If the enemy of our soul can beat us down in the area of our moral conduct, causing us to compromise our principled living, then he has nothing to fear by our presence in his midst. Therefore, he is relentless in his efforts to beat us down – to repeatedly strike in the areas of our weakest link. He repeatedly delivers the blows in an effort to dislodge us from our standing in God – seeking to bring fatigue and exhaustion. In a fatigued or exhausted state, he knows our ability to resist his blows are lowered – we become more likely to become confused, sapped of that which gives us purpose, and stalled in our forward progress toward God’s finished work within us. His is not a battle without purpose – his are not the blows that simply graze us. His is a battle of oppressive magnitude that begins with the simplicity of words aptly spoken in times of our greatest exhaustion or struggle.
Never let yourself be duped by the words of the enemy – recognize that they are specifically chosen to counter all that God is doing within your life. They are words of “power” only when we give them “power over us”. They are words he designs to affect our conduct – first by entering into our minds, then by contaminating the moral character of our hearts, and ultimately stalling the moral basis of our conduct.
The enemy is never threatened by our “presence” - he is only threatened by our conduct. A heart that is truly touched by the hand of God is a challenge to the complacency of the enemy. That holy center which God rebuilds within us becomes a significant threat to the morally bankrupt surrounding us. We can expect their resistance – but we do not need to succumb to the power of their words. Keep God’s Word first in your mind and the words of the enemy will not be able to derail the work he is doing deep within your character.