God is Releasing Encounters that Strengthen Identity
Recently, my FaceBook account was hacked and deleted. My personal passwords were changed and as a result I was no longer able to access my personal page with over fifteen years of history. I spent hours upon hours trying to reinstate my page. Unfortunately, I was not successful and finally relented and started over by setting up a new page.
In the midst of all the mess that this debacle created, God begin to speak to me. He showed me that though identity theft in the natural realm is a big problem, the identity theft in the spiritual realm is a much bigger issue. The enemy has ramped up his efforts to steal, kill, and destroy the identity of the sons and daughters of God. Though his efforts to do this are as old as humanity itself, his specific plans and means of doing so may change from generation to generation.
"Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that the family of believers throughout the world is undergoing the same kind of sufferings." I Peter 5:8-9
Peter wisely tells us that we must be alert and of sober mind when it comes to the devil's advances towards us. We are not to live in fear, but understand that though there will be attempted attacks, God has not left us defenseless. In knowing how to resist our enemy, it is important to understand the methods of operation that he has used since the beginning. Even in military operations, it is key to understand how the enemy operates and it is the same in spiritual matters. Below are some of the ways you will be able to identify satan's activity and the keys that will ensure you overcome him and walk in victory:
Obedience Prevents Deception
In I Peter 5:8 it says that "the devil prowls around like a roaring lion". I use to wonder how the devil could be a lion when Jesus is clearly the Lion of the Tribe of Judah. Then, the Holy Spirit showed me the word "like". The devil prowls around like a roaring lion. He is not a lion, but attempts to portray himself as one. He is a liar, imposter and deceiver.
Most are familiar with the serpent's deception of Eve and then Adam in the garden. Genesis 3:1 says, "Now the serpent was more crafty than any of the wild animals the Lord God had made. He said to the woman, "Did God really say, 'You must not eat from any tree in the garden'?"
The word "crafty" in Hebrew is aruwm, meaning cunning (usually in a bad sense). I believe his craftiness could have been a blessing had he chosen to submit himself to the love and authority of the Father before He fell. But, he did not make that choice and instead rebelled, and then used his ability to be crafty to deceive Eve into eating the fruit from the forbidden tree.
We see another example of craftiness leading to deception in the story of Jacob and Esau. Esau, hungry after a hunt, sold his birthright to the shrewd Jacob (means one who deceives) for a bowl of lentil stew. Then later, Jacob and his mother Rebekah devised a scheme that would deceive Isaac into speaking his blessing over Jacob instead of Esau, the one Isaac favored.
In each of these cases it is important to note that deception took root where there was compromise. We must know and understand this if we are to be victorious in overcoming the cunning and craftiness of our enemy. Our enemy normally gains ground in his victim's hearts and lives, little by little, step by step. This is why obedience is so vitally important as compromise, even in small things, can open the door to deception.
When the serpent deceived Adam and Eve, he caused them to question the command they had been given, and ultimately the Father who had given them the command. Our obedience to God will be greatly affected by how we perceive Him. If we perceive Him to be a "hard man" then we may respond to obedience like the servant in the parable of the talents.
"Master," he said, "I knew that you are a hard man, harvesting where you have not sown, and gathering where you have not scattered seed. So I was afraid and went out and hid your gold in the ground." Matt. 25:24-25
We must receive healing in our hearts for incorrect perceptions of the Father that we might have received over time. It is a time right now for powerful encounters with the Father, Jesus, and Holy Spirit that will displace every falsehood and open door for deception to enter.
God's Word Displaces Doubt
We all know the story of Eve's deception in Genesis 3 very well. It is the story of Adam's deception, too, as Gen. 3:6 reveals "...She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it."
We can clearly see the serpent's tactic in Gn. 3:1 when he said, "Did God really say, 'You must not eat from any tree in the garden'?" The serpent was zeroing in on God's words to them and attempting to create doubt in believing those words.
Though we easily see his plan to create doubt in Adam and Eve's mind, we do not always see his plan to create doubt in us when he attempts a similar thing. The enemy will always try to undermine God's children by undermining God's word to them. He plants seeds of doubt to try and choke out the true identity and call of God's children.
The key to overcoming the enemy in this area can be found in the life of Jesus as He dealt with the devil in the wilderness following His baptism. Notice that immediately following Jesus' baptism, His Father in Heaven spoke and lovingly released an identity blessing over Jesus when He said, "...This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased," Matt. 3:17 The Holy Spirit was also present, "descending like a dove and alighting on him."(Matt. 3:16b) It was a family event!
The enemy was ready and waiting for Jesus as He was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by him. Satan was scheming to attempt the ultimate identity theft. Right off the bat, he comes at Jesus with the challenge, "If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread." Jesus would surely have been in a somewhat weakened state since He had been fasting forty days and forty nights. The enemy timed his attack to coincide with this vulnerable moment and launched his assault on Jesus' identity...."If you are the Son of God.... ".
But, Jesus knew exactly who He was in the very core of His being. This is why He also knew exactly how to respond and live while on mission from His place by His Father in Heaven. Jesus was resolute that he would live "by every word that comes from the mouth of God." If this was Jesus' mode of operation during His time on earth, it is to be our mode of operation as well. Scripture reveals that Jesus answered the enemy's challenge succinctly and without hesitation.
"Jesus answered, "It is written: 'Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God'."
Satan knew that he had lost that particular match and then moved on to his next challenge. In each temptation, Jesus was unfazed by what Satan was offering. He drew from the well of the word that lived within Him that came from the mouth of His Father.
We war against doubt with the word of God. This can be His written word (logos) to us found in scripture, or it can be the rhema or revealed word where the Spirit highlights a particular passage and speaks to us personally through it. Finally, we war with the prophetic words spoken to us as Timothy was instructed to do by the apostle Paul.
"Timothy, my son, I am giving you this command in keeping with the prophecies once made about you, so that by recalling them you may fight the battle well, holding on to faith and a good conscience, which some have rejected and so have suffered shipwreck with regard to the faith." I Timothy 1:18-19
In his craftiness the enemy attempts to shipwreck each one of us to try and prevent us from believing and embracing our true identity and walking in the fulness of our destiny in Christ. Thankfully, God has given us the powerful sword of His Spirit, His word that will shatter strongholds and refute every lie that comes against us.
Father Encounters Shield Against Demoralization
The Cambridge Dictionary defines demoralization as "the process of making someone lose confidence, enthusiasm, and hope."
I have experienced this and in ministry have witnessed this process take place in the lives of many individuals. In essence, demoralization is the losing of morale or to "de-morale" someone. Morale has to do with the confidence we feel. Is it any wonder that satan attempts to subvert our confidence? Our confidence is vital to moving forward in every aspect of our Christian walk.
The key to overcoming the enemy's attempt to demoralize us is to know and grow in our true God given identity. A head knowledge of identity is a starting point, but will not suffice to ward off the enemy's attempts to undermine morale. Revelatory encounters with our loving Father are the key that will awaken our hearts to know, believe, and embrace the identity that He speaks over us. We often tell people to come before the Father and ask Him to show you how you are known in Heaven. These encounters with the Father are life changing for many. God is not unaware of the enemy's attempts to hi-jack identity and is releasing revelatory encounters that will shore up the foundations of our identity in Him.
Before Jesus came to earth as a baby, He had been by His Father's side in Heaven. Yet, the Father still chose to speak and release an identity blessing over Him at His baptism. I believe the Father has identity blessing moments in store for each and every one of His sons and daughters. It is in these moments that God builds a steadfast foundation in each one of us that cannot be easily toppled by the enemy.
We know that satan was one of the most beautiful creatures that God created. He had the opportunity to live and be in relationship with the Father. We know that he rebelled and chose to reject that relationship with the Father when he exalted himself to want to be like God. Now, he actively opposes and attempts to harm God's children by causing them to forfeit their identity as the sons and daughters of God. He wants to hurt the heart of God by hurting His children. But, our God is so much more powerful! He has made a way for us to be victorious overcomers who walk in intimate relationship with Him. He fights for us and will release the power of Heaven to ensure that you and I are nurtured, protected, and empowered to become all that He intended. He will protect us from the enemy's attempts at identity theft as we place our trust in Him through walking in obedience, valuing His words to us, and embracing our God given identity.