How Satan tries to put out the fire
Satan will attack the on-fire Christian with everything in his arsenal. If outright trials and tribulations do not work, he will employ subtle distractions and excuses to slowly quench the original fire. Here are some of the tricky techniques Satan will use to try to quench your sensitivity to the Spirit.
- Busyness If Satan can not make you bad, then he will make you busy. Sometimes people get so entangled in the web of life, that they stop spending time with God. Working, shopping, making dinner, going to soccer practice, and watching TV can make your life so hectic, that it is impossible to keep the fire burning. If you want to keep the fire hot, make God your first priority. “But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well” (Matthew 6:33).
- Tiredness I have a friend who was once on fire for God. He regularly went out witnessing, and he was excited about being a Christian. Sadly, he is now living in sin and never goes to church. When I asked him why he was no longer serving God, he told me, “I was tired of resisting all the temptations.” Some people become tired of going to church or of reading the Bible. This attitude produces apathy. “…never tire of doing what is right” (2 Thess. 3:13).
- Self-pity When things begin to go wrong, Satan quickly attacks the emotions by whispering thoughts of insignificance and inferiority. As the on-fire Christian begins to listen, self-pity wells up and quickly strangles the fire. Self-pity occurs when someone removes their eyes from Jesus and starts focusing on their problems. Don’t feel sorry for yourself. “I can do everything through him who gives me strength” (Philippians 4:13).
- Discouragement A newly, born again Christian enthusiastically begins to share the gospel with others. When there is little or no response, it is easy to get discouraged. The original fire begins to go out, leaving nothing but a memory of the first fervor. Do not be discouraged, Jesus is with you. He promised, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you” (Hebrews 13:5).
- Worry What am I going to eat tomorrow? What am I going to wear? Am I going to have enough money? These tiny, everyday questions can act as a fire extinguisher. Stop worrying, God will take care of you. “…Do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear…” (Matthew 6:25).
- Distractions The world around us demands our attention through cell phones, e-mail, television, music, newspapers, and advertisements. It is all too easy to be distracted from spending time with God. These distractions can quickly snuff out one’s enthusiasm for serving God. Keep your eyes on Jesus instead of on distractions. “Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith…” (Hebrews 12:2).
- Strife Jealousy, envy, and fighting – such is the currency of the devil’s realm. Since the beginning of time, Satan has been stirring up strife. Wars, murders, and church splits all stem from this deadly disease. The fire of God can not fall when people are bickering with one another. The solution to strife is to walk in love with those around you. “For where envying and strife is, there is every evil thing” (James 3:16 – KJV).
- Unforgiveness, Bitterness, and Hate Your spiritual passion for God can not coexist with your unforgiveness towards others. An old saying tells us that love is blind, but I think hate is even more blind. Hate can actually prevent you from seeing reality. When you build a wall of bitterness around your heart, it cuts you off from God’s blessings and guidance. Unforgiveness blinds you to what life is really like. If you walk in unforgiveness, you walk in the dark. “Whoever loves his brother lives in the light, and there is nothing in him to make him stumble. But whoever hates his brother is in the darkness and walks around in the darkness; he does not know where he is going, because the darkness has blinded him” ( I John 2:10‑11).
How to resist Satan
How can we resist these cunning strategies of the devil? First, we must recognize what the great deceiver is attempting to accomplish. Each of these potential fire extinguishers take our minds off of Christ and place the focus on ourselves. So, the solution is to be continually focused on God. If we submit to God and resist the devil, the Bible promises that the evil one will flee from us (James 4:7).
Second, we must be fervent in the Spirit. “Never lag in zeal and in honest endeavor; be aglow and burning with the Spirit, serving the Lord” (Romans 12:11 – Amplified).We should never be lax in our relationship with God. We should maintain the same zeal we had for God when we were first saved. We must always keep our first love for God by glowing and burning with the Spirit.
Third, we need to remember that God’s presence is precious. Esteem and value the anointing of the Holy Spirit. Strive to never do anything that would quench the fire of God. There are several things we need to do to remain in God’s presence. In the next chapter we will examine several keys to keeping the fire bright. These include: prayer, Bible reading, praise, and staying around those who are on fire.