What are the enemy’s top 4 strategies to silence believers?
Have you ever had a dream which was completely forgotten until you saw someone or saw something, and then it came back? That happened to me today during a prayer call as I walked my dog.
I was praying with Dorothy, a mighty prayer warrior from Uganda. She made a comment like, “In this time when people come in here (to Czechia/Prague), the enemy wants to silence them. He tells them “Shhhhh! You shut up. He will try everything to silence us and our prayers.” When she said that, I remembered a sinister lady in my dream who was aggressively shushing me. And nobody likes to be shushed!
Although we aren’t to focus on Satan and demons, we are called to be alert at all times. This article is important because WE been given the mandate to, “Go into all the world and preach the Gospel to every creature.” (Matthew 16:15)
Here are the main four strategies of the enemy in our time to silence us, as I see it.
As I was praying about 2023 in January, I suddenly remembered an incident which I hadn’t thought about in many years. As I remembered, I felt God speaking to me through the story.
When I was about 8 years old, around the time that I accepted Christ as my Savior, I was in the gym of my school attending a Girl Scout meeting. My mother was one of the leaders. I was sucking on a round, hard candy and I decided to place it in between my cheek and teeth with my tongue so that I could take a drink from the water fountain. As I bent over and drank, the hard candy slipped down and lodged firmly in my throat, blocking all air. I was suddenly choking.
I used to be a certified CPR instructor and I learned how to recognize a choking victim; the look of sheer terror on the face, hands around the neck and no sounds coming from the mouth.
The terror was real. Thankfully my mother saw and rushed over to perform the Heimlich maneuver. With one thrust, the candy popped out and I gasped for air. Then I cried in great relief.
There is also a spiritual suffocation which tries to squeeze the life and joy from our faith in God. In January I received this email from an old friend who read our Christmas newsletter:
The beautiful family picture you sent in this email kept coming to mind, and I saw a dragon trying to come around and wrap itself around the family, and Kelsie especially. I saw myself in the Spirit using the sword of the Spirit to slice it, and came against whatever the enemy has planned from the dragon. I prayed against any oppression, and believe Jesus took victory and authority over it. I pray whatever ministry or event you are engaging in now is full of God’s power, victory, presence and freedom.
Ruach is the Hebrew word for breath (speaking the Hebrew pronunciation engages one’s breath and lungs), spirit, or wind. The first mention of this word in the Bible was in the very beginning – Genesis 1:2, “And the earth was formless and desolate emptiness, and darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit (Ruach) of God hovered over the surface of the waters.”
Ruach HaKodesh is the Hebrew for the Holy Spirit in the Old Testament, (see as example Ps. 51:11). And Ruah Elohim means the Spirit of God (see as example Gen. 41:38).
In scripture it is Ruach that gives life, being present but intangible. In Ezekiek 37 Ruah gave life to the dry bones in the prophet’s vision. In the New Testament, Saul was temporarily blinded by the bright light on the road to Damascus until Ananias laid hands on him. The Ruach HaKodesh (Holy Spirit) came on Paul, and the scales fell from his eyes and his sight was restored (Acts 9:17-18).
The Ruach still breaths on us today, bringing salvation and new life!
There is a war raging around us twenty-four hours a day! And the battle begins in our minds. This is why the Bible has so many verses telling us- DO NOT FEAR.
Often I’m encouraging people to share their testimonies in the videos I create. We also publish monthly church newsletters and each publication contains a testimony. I have seen first-hand in my own life (and in other lives) the battle that rages, when we decide to SPEAK UP and share the truth about what Jesus Christ has done.
Mental illness. Depression. Confusion. I’ve seen what it looks like when people are unable to hear the voice of God because so many other voices create fear and panic. One of the most devastating effects of the recent global pandemic was the spiritual paralysis of the many in the Church. The battle was intense, vicious and unrelenting.
The reason why the warfare is so intense…
Because your greatest asset is your mind.
To have the mind of Christ is to destroy strongholds.
Second Corinthians 10: 3-5 says, “Though we walk in the flesh, we are not waging war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds. We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ.”
Solution: El Gibbor
Isaiah 9:6 lists four names for God that apply to the promised Savior, the Messiah, whom we know today as Jesus Christ, “He will be called Wonderful Counselor, Might God (El Gibbor), Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.”
The name El Gibbor points to the day when all God’s enemies, physical and spiritual, will be vanquished and all of creation will bow at the feet of Jesus. Can you think of a greater comfort, knowing that our God fights for us and has already won the eternal victory over Satan? We are not alone in the battle.
The movie Saving Private Ryan portrays the extreme trauma, pain and suffering associated with war. Many soldiers experience “battle fatigue,” as it used to be called. “Common symptoms among combat troops were dejection, weariness, hypersensitivity, sleep disturbances, and tremors. In air-corps personnel…the more typical symptoms were anxiety, frequently with accompanying dejection and depression, phobias toward combat missions, irritability, tension and startle reaction” (Abnormal Psychology and Modern Life, 5th edition by James C. Coleman, pg. 186).
Second Timothy 2:3-4 describes the Christian as a “good soldier of Jesus Christ.” The life of the believer isn’t always easy to endure. We can become weary in doing good (2 Thess. 3:13). First Timothy 6:12 shows that we are to “fight the good fight of faith.” When Paul looked back on his own life, he wrote, “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith” (2 Timothy 4:7). Paul encouraged Timothy to “wage the good warfare” in 1 Timothy 1:18.
The older I get the more I admire Apostle Paul, and I pray to have his endurance.
Solution: Yahweh Shalom
No one wants to become a victim of spiritual battle fatigue. Experiencing God as Yahweh Shalom (The Lord is Peace) is essential. But we must fully grasp the Hebrew word SHALOM which means much more than the English word “peace.”
The concept of shalom includes the meaning “wholeness,” “completeness,” “finished work,” “perfection,” and “safety.”
During extreme torment from his enemies which led to a deep distress and distrust of the Lord, Gideon and the people cried out to the Lord and He answered; “It is all right. Do not be afraid. You will not die.” And Gideon built an altar to the LORD there and named it Yahweh-Shalom (Judges 6:23-24). In the midst of terrible circumstances, Gideon experienced the shalom of God. We can too!
The fourth commandment tells us to observe a day of rest each week – Shabbat. I think about the common phrase “Shabbat Shalom” (peaceful sabbath). Perhaps the greatest remedy for our tired souls is to embrace Yahweh Shalom as we trust Him enough to stop working one day of the week and just BE with him in a place of great trust, vulnerability and rest.
DISTRACTION/BEING LED ASTRAY
We each have our personal goals and struggle to stay focused. Even those who consider themselves to be self-disciplined must fight to keep distractions at bay. Yet when something pulls our focus away from God, it is very serious. Never before in the history of mankind have there been so many things to distract and pull us away from our Creator!
Whether it’s our fleshly desires, temptations, social media, an unorganized environment, or even good things such as helping others, we can learn from the wisdom of Apostles John and Paul about how to deal with distractions. They warn us about being pulled away by the customs and behaviors of the world.
Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect (Romans 12:2 NLT).
Do not love this world not the things it offers you, for when you love the world, you do not have the love of the father in you. For the world offers only a craving for physical pleasure, a craving for everything we see, and pride in our achievements and possessions. These are not from the Father, but are from this world. And this world is fading away, along with everything that people crave. But anyone who does what pleases God will live forever (1 John 2:15-17 NLT).
Solution: Yahweh Nissi
Moses built and altar in Exodus 17 and called it Yahweh Nissi – The Lord is My Banner.
“Ancient armies carried standards or banners that served as marks of identification and as symbols that embodied the ideals of that people. A banner, like a flag, was something that could be seen from afar, serving as a rallying point for troops before battle. Though banners were first used in Egypt, Babylonia, Assyria and Persian, the Israelites carried them on their march through the desert. When you pray to Yahweh Nissi, you are praying to the God who is powerful enough to overcome any foe” (Praying the Names of God- A Daily Guide by Ann Spangler).
The Lord told Moses to make a snake and put it on a pole (Nissi) so that anyone who is bitten can look at it and live. It was prophetic according to John 3:14-15 – “Just as Moses lifted up the snake in the desert, so the Son of Man must be lifted up, that everyone who believes in him may have eternal life.”
A banner was to be looked upon and followed. It was the focal point during battle. With all the distractions around us, let us lift our eyes and look up to Yahweh Nissi – The Lord Jesus is My Banner. He is standing above all the earthly cares and circumstances that pull our affections away from God. He is our rallying point of focus!
In closing, I pray this over YOU.
Dear Heavenly Father,
I pray for anyone reading this who is being silenced. Open their hearts and mouths to testify about the redemptive works of God in their lives. I break all dark powers in Jesus’ name that would try to suffocate or intimidate them! We also break all fatigue and distraction. Thank you, Lord, that you have already made all the provision we need to experience your power, confidence, peace and focus. You are victorious, Jesus. Amen