Every counselor has heard that lament many times, and many counselees have voiced the same complaint over my twenty years in ministry. I’ve had to help many try to sort out the root or roots of their problems. How can you determine if it’s Satan or you who’s primarily to blame?
Let me state the obvious: both dynamics can be involved. The devils are at work to kill, steal, and destroy (John 10:10) and will attack our thought life and conspire through others and life situations to harass us. Our unrenewed minds, however, often make poor decisions that can also lead us into harm’s way.
How is one to know? I’ve determined that the demonic realm often takes the fall for life situations and decisions that they had no significant part in. We need wisdom and discernment to sort it all out, and even then, we may not be sure.
I once heard a well-known Christian teacher declare something I thought was profound. He contended that when we get to heaven, we’re going to find that Satan was much less involved in our misfortunes than we believed on earth. I wish I could remember the name or find a quote, so I could give him credit.
Jesus told his disciples that in this world, we would have troubles and be persecuted but, to take heart, because He has overcome the world (John 1:33). Sadly, I believe that for many individuals, churches, and ministries, it’s easier to blame the devil when things go awry than to take a critical look at our own walk to see if we have gone astray.
Indicators that the Issues May Be Yours
- You have not set direction from the Lord (and others) for significant decisions
- You fail to heed the voice of the Lord within you regarding a particular course of action
- Godly counselors (people who know God and also know you) have shared their insights, and you have chosen to ignore them
- You have made some poor choices and are now in a season of reaping what has been sewn.
- You have taken leaps of foolishness rather than steps of faith. God will not sanctify ignorance, although He will work all things together for good.
- You are undergoing financial torment but have not been faithful in your giving to God, based on the level He (not man) has called you to give.
Indicators that Demons May Be the Prime Culprit
- You have laid out a God-inspired plan and followed it to the best of your ability,
- You are hampered by physical infirmity or illness. The demonic realm, not God, is the source behind sickness and disease. Period.
- You are experiencing financial torment but have been faithful in your giving to God, based on the level that He (not man) has called you to give.
Do you see what’s missing from both lists? There is no mention of:
- How much faith you have
- Whether or not you are tithing (giving a tenth)
- Whether you are praying enough
- Whether you attend church
The four points mentioned above are essential elements of a maturing walk with the Lord, but they do not guarantee that you will avoid struggles.
God allows the demonic kingdom access to our lives, bodies, and situations. We have power and authority over the demonic realm, but we must exercise it to the knowledge and faith that each has. We must also fight our own mind battles, take thoughts captive and replace them with godly thoughts (2 Cor 10:5, Phil 4:8). God has given us free will and we must learn how to exercise it properly to avoid silly and damaging decisions. To whom much is given, much is expected (Luke 12:48).
God’s ways are not our ways and are much higher (Isa 55:8-9), but He wants us to move in the full power and authority Christ has given us. Each believer has a different level of revelation of our true identity and all that we have at our disposal. Life situations, even of our own doing, are all meant to draw us closer to the Lord and trust Him for all.
Are you facing a difficult situation now? How can you sort this out?
The key is to pray for wisdom and discernment as to what’s going on. Without that, you will continue to flounder in darkness and flail.
Take stock of where you are and gain peace about understanding how you got to where you are.
Get help, competent help (not opinions), if you need it. Plans fail for lack of counsel, and with many advisers, they succeed(Prov 15:22). Making the right decisions based upon this wisdom, and the mind of Christ trumps emotionalism every time.
Attacks from the demonic realm must be countered with spiritual weapons. While there are not demons behind every problem, those that present themselves must be discerned, resisted, and driven out as necessary (deliverance). Learning how to bind demons and loose the Holy Spirit (Matthew 16:19) will up your game tremendously. Study and make use of the spiritual armor that you have been given (Ephesians 6:10-18).
Whether we get into a mess because of our own folly or due to circumstances truly beyond our control, you must draw comfort from biblical truths:
- God knew you would be where you are. He’s allowed it to happen, even if He did not want it all to happen.
- He’s not mad at you or disappointed. He loves you, will be with you and bring comfort and wisdom to you if you will allow it.
- He will work it together for good (Romans 8:28) if you will cooperate with His plan going forward.
- As you go through the trial, however, you got there, your faith is being tested, and as you persevere and follow Him, you are becoming more mature and complete. (James 1:2-4). That passage also tells us to consider it as pure joy and then, in verse 5, reinforces the directive to seek wisdom from God, who will give it generously.
Our own actions (or inaction), coupled with demonic activity, often lie at the root of a current mess. To respond appropriately, we must gain the right understanding.