Perseverance (Part 5 of 5) - Resist Satan's Evaluations

1 Peter 5:8-9 tells us: “Be sober, be vigilant; because[a] your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. 9 Resist him, steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same sufferings are experienced by your brotherhood in the world.”

If we could always recognize the devil, we would resist him more.  However, he doesn’t always come with horns wearing red pajamas, and holding a pitch-fork.  He sometimes tries to hand us a report card through a close relative, friend, or church member.  We need true evaluations of performance from time to time, but not from an enemy coach.  

The devil tried to do that to many people in the BibleHe tried it on David right before his mighty victory over Goliath.  Even when he was to be anointed by Samuel, the Spirit of God told Samuel, in 1 Sam. 16:7 , “But the Lord said to Samuel, 'Do not look at his appearance or at his physical stature, because I have refused him. For the Lord does not see as man sees; for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.”  God had already evaluated David’s heart and found it to be better than his brothers.   Then, David’s father sent him to see how his older brothers were doing in the war against the Philistines.  He found them in a forty-day stand-off with the enemy.  They were in fear.  David asked — “Who is this uncircumcised Philistine that he should defy the armies of the living God?”  1 Sam 17:26That made his brothers angry.  Then Satan used his oldest brother in 1 Sam. 17:28 , to say, “Why did you come down here? And with whom have you left those few sheep in the wilderness? I know your pride and the insolence of your heart, for you have come down to see the battle.”  He was telling David that he was insignificant, irresponsible, conceited, and inadequate.  If David would have believed any of it, he would never have done anything.  Hypocrites are great at accusing their own hearts and others of the same problems they have.  David refuses to believe it so the enemy used the king.  King Saul said, 1 Sam. 17:33 “You are not able to go against this Philistine to fight with him; for you are a youth, and he a man of war from his youth.”   What if David had accepted this evaluation as truth?  He would have said, “That's right, I’m too little”.  He resisted that thought, but then the enemy used Goliath himself.  1 Sam. 17:43 says, “Am I a dog, that you come to me with sticks?” And the Philistine cursed David by his gods.”  He was trying to attack David’s mind.  However, he listened to the Holy Spirit, fought the giant, and won.  That was a victory for all of Israel.  God wants to win some through you, as well.  

The devil wants to tell you that you’re only a woman, too old, too young, or too ugly.  Do not listen to himResist him.  It’s not about us.  The devil wants to make us self conscious so that he can hinder our faith.  He’ll speak through others to destroy your faith.  Sometimes, they are jealous and others are just plain ignorant.  They can have very distorted viewpoints.  Sometimes the devil will even use people to prophesy, or as I have come to call it, proph-e- lie!  If you come to believe those, it will tear you up inside and render you powerless.  You will not be able to do anything for God.  We want God’s correction, but will not take anything from the devil.  His words are condemning and push us away from God.  We must never listen to Satan’ s evaluation.  We have to reject demonic prophecy with fervor, while we continue to love those who give them.  That’s easier said than done.  We have to be secure in what God has called us to do.

You can be sure that if you do something great for God, Satan will try to get you to quit obeying GodHe will speak things through others, and if you believe it, you will quit.  If you do not, you still have to be careful to not become bitter, angry, or hurt.  Otherwise,  you will probably quit or become ineffective.  You can’t go around thinking about it all day long and have your focus shifted from what God is doing to what the devil did.  When you get chosen and others do not, they will speak things to you like David’s oldest brother spoke to him.  We have to ignore it and still love people.  

We have to totally depend on the Holy Spirit.  He is called the Spirit of Truth.  We should ask Him if our way of seeing things has been twisted.  If it is, can start to feel terrible about ourselves.  He wants us to turn that around and focus on Him.  It’s dangerous to self-focus.  Our image will always be distorted one way or another, either to think more highly of ourselves than we ought, or to self-hatred.  We are to put our eyes on Jesus, not on us.  David’s focus was not on himself, but God.  1 Sam. 17:26says, … For who is this uncircumcised Philistine, that he should defy the armies of the living God?” “Satan knew this young man was dangerous to his kingdom.  He had to get his focus off the Lord and onto himself.  He slammed David with insults against his character, body, and mind.  However, David’s words were still full of supernatural faith that came from his dependence and focus upon God.  

Elijah also went through something similar.  He ran from Jezebel, who was trying to kill him.  He thought he was the only prophet left, but God told him that He still had seven thousand prophets.  Satan had distorted Elijah’s perception.  He wanted it to look so bad that he would give up obeying God.  After the Holy Spirit showed him how it looked from God’s perspective, his faith became unstoppable again.  We need to ask God what things look like from His perspective.  You can look at things and feel like you have failed.  Sometimes God lets us know that we are in a stand and have successfully held off the enemy’s attack and advance.  Successful stands are important even though you are not going forward at that moment.  The enemy tried to defeat you.  He could not and God is pleased.  It’s time to find new courage.  

In the letters to the seven churches of Revelation, two of those churches were pure, but suffering from the sins of others coming against them.  What if a pastor who was pure and Godly, and the only kind of sin the devil could use against him were the sins of others in the form of persecution?  Daniel and Joseph were some of those.  You have to qualify to be persecuted.  2 Tim. 3:12 “Yes, and all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution”.   MATT. 5:11-12says, “Blessed are you when they revile and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for My sake. 12 Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.”

When people in the church mistreat a godly pastor, the devil says to him, “None of this would be happening to you if you were a good leader.  Your leadership ability is so bad you should quit and let someone else have a try.”  Why did Cain kill Abel?  Was he a bad leader?  No.  It was because he was righteous and his brother was evil.  If a minister lives above sin, the only thing Satan has to use against him will be the sins of others.  The devil hopes that when those attacks come, persecuted people will either get bitter and retaliate or get so discouraged that they’ll quit.  

If you are a man or woman of God, you will be persecuted.  How you view it will determine whether or not you survive it.  You can’t view it though the devil’s glasses.  Ask God to give you eyes to see it the way He does.  I will never forget a time that I was ministering in Fairbanks, Alaska at a pretty large church.  Before the meetings my friend, Jean Thomas and I, were involved in a prayer meeting with the leaders of the church.  One of them was requesting prayer because his engine needed to be replaced in his van.  My friend Jean began to laugh, almost hysterically.  I was devastated and embarrassed.  Then she began to prophesy about how small that engine was from where God was sitting.  It was like a little toy from the heavenly perspective.  All at once, we could see how easy that thing was for God.  Contagious joy spread to everyone.  His prayer was answered supernaturally.  Look at things from God’s perspective.