Learning & Living Above The Attacks Of The Enemy In Your Life
Dear Visionary Leader:
In 1927, Charles Lindbergh flew solo across the Atlantic Ocean in the little airplane, The Spirit of St. Louis. Afterwards, Lindbergh told the story about how, having just gotten started on his flight, he found himself flying in dense fog over Newfoundland. There was a lot of moisture, and he had only a compass. He didn’t have any of the sophisticated instruments that our pilots have today. For example, he didn’t have an altimeter to show him at what altitude he was flying. Yet, he knew the direction he was going.
As Lindberg was flying, he could see that condensation was beginning to freeze on the plane’s wings. He knew that the ice would build up and, sooner or later, that little plane would sink into the sea-unless he turned around and went back. Lindbergh said that he thought to himself, “This great adventure is going to come to an untimely end.” And then he thought, “What shall I do?”
In a moment of inspiration, he pulled the stick back, and that little plane started to climb up and up and up for what seemed like an eternity. He kept climbing and climbing and climbing until, suddenly, he burst out into the dazzling sunlight. No more fog, no more moisture. He flew all the rest of the way in the sunlight.
We don’t have to fly in the fog of life. We don’t have to be blinded by the deceptions of the devil. When the enemy comes to you, trying to get you to fly lower and lower, I challenge you to ask the Lord to pull you higher and higher. When the enemy tells you that you will not make it to your final destination, begin to quote the promises of God at him and demand him to leave you alone! In the Visionary Coaching section below, I carefully articulate several more wicked tricks of our enemy.
As Nehemiah continued to move forward in the rebuilding of the walls, the enemy kept attacking him with all that he could throw at him. Satan was determined to stop the work of God. In addition to all the enemy had already done, he now came with a new series of attacks.
The next attack the devil tried was distraction. In Nehemiah 6:1-4, we read, “Now it came to pass when Sanballat, and Tobiah, and Geshem the Arabian, and the rest of our enemies, heard that I had builded the wall, and that there was no breach left therein; (though at that time I had not set up the doors upon the gates;) that Sanballat and Geshem sent unto me, saying, Come, let us meet together in some one of the villages in the plain of Ono. But they thought to do me mischief. And I sent messengers unto them, saying, I am doing a great work, so that I cannot come down: why should the work cease, whilst I leave it, and come down to you? Yet they sent unto me four times after this sort; and I answered them after the same manner” (Nehemiah 6:1-4).
What was the enemy trying to do? If the devil cannot defeat us as a roaring lion, he will try to defeat us as an angel of light. Sanballat invited Nehemiah to a Camp David-sort of meeting in a beautiful verdant valley called the plains of Ono. He said, “Well now, Nehemiah, don’t be so obdurate; just come on out here to the valley and sit down, and we’ll talk this thing over.”
Nehemiah was a man of God. He was wise enough to know that, while the world may sometimes pretend to be friendly towards the work of God, the motives and the methods of the world never change. Note in Nehemiah 6:2, “they thought to do me mischief.” Nehemiah wasn’t fooled. Nehemiah knew that there was mischief in the making.
Do you know one of the dangers of any successful work? When a church or a work for God becomes successful in the eyes of the world, and the world can no longer whip it, then the world tries to join it. The world wants to get in on the good side of the people of God, when it looks like their work is going to be successful. At first the world will try to stamp us out; but if they cannot stamp us out, then they will try to neutralize us by entangling alliances. They will try to distract us from the main work that God has called us to do.
The story is told of a big game hunter who was out hunting for a bear. He wanted a bear because he wanted a fur coat made out of bearskin. Finally, he saw his bear. As he took aim and prepared to squeeze the trigger, the bear said, “Now, hold on. Wait a minute. There’s no need for you to shoot me. Let’s go out here in the middle of the road, sit down, and talk this thing over. Be reasonable. After all, all you want is a fur coat, and all I want is a good meal.” So they met in the road, had a talk-and when it was over, the bear had a good meal, and the man had a fur coat.
That’s exactly what Sanballat was trying to do to Nehemiah. He said, “Now, come on-let’s sit down out here in the plains of Ono and talk this thing over.” But Nehemiah would not be distracted. He said, “I am doing a great work, so that I cannot” (Nehemiah 6:3).
The devil would love to get you distracted. He would love to divert your church or ministry from the work that you’re doing. He knows that, sometimes, good can become the enemy of best.
The devil would love to get a believer distracted and get them to step down from their God-given work. For example, there are mothers who have been called to raise their family. What a grand and glorious opportunity it is to be a mother and to raise those children for the Lord! But now, the world beckons and says, “Come on out here. You can be successful in the business world.” And, that lady steps down; she doesn’t step up. She leaves her baby and goes out into the world to be a success.
Now, my hat is off to any woman who has to work to put bread on the table. My hat is off to any woman who has to work to put a roof over the heads of her kids. But oh, what a tragedy, when a mother chooses to leave her babies in the hands of someone else, and leave the work to which God has called her! She ought to say, “I am doing a great work, and the devil is not going to distract me.” As someone said, “It used to be that children learned at mother’s knee. Now, they learn at some other joint.”
Sometimes I see church workers, and they’re good church workers-they’re deacons; they’re Sunday school teachers; they’re ensemble members-and they’re doing a great work, because it’s the work to which God has called them. And then, the world comes along and beckons, and the world gives them some honor. There’s some fraternity, some club, some civic organization that says, “We need you.” And, those people are so foolish as to be flattered by this world. They leave the work to which God has called them. They do something that someone else could do, and leave the work that God has called them to do.
They’re so honored, because they’ve been elected the first President of the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Orphan Grandmothers with Athlete’s Foot! They get out there, and they get neutralized. They leave the work that God has called them to do.
God has a plan for your life. God has something He wants you to do, and you had better not substitute the good for the best. You’d better find out what God wants you to do, and refuse, refuse, refuse to be distracted by the devil. You need to say, as the Apostle Paul said, “This one thing I do” (Philippians 3:13). Know what it is that God wants you to do, and do it-do it.
Sometimes churches get distracted. Do you know what the job of your church or ministry is? It’s not building buildings. It’s not raising money. It’s the Great Commission-to win this world to Jesus Christ, to preach the gospel. It’s amazing how many churches have put aside the task of evangelizing. They think that, every now and then, they might evangelize-like that’s just something nice to do on occasion. But God has called us, and we dare no-we must not-be distracted. We have a job to do, and by God’s grace, we will do it.
Until The Last Person Has Heard,
Dr. James. O. Davis
Global Church Network
Cochair / Global Networking