Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil … above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one. Ephesians 6:11, 16
We looked last week at an example from Scripture of Satan’s ability to attack the mind of the believer. Our second striking example is seen in the life of John Bunyan, author of The Pilgrim’s Progress. I am only including a short portion of this section of his book, Grace Abounding, but I would encourage you to find and read the rest of chapter 5, as it describes in painful detail his experiences:
“For about the space of a month …, a very great storm came down upon me, which handled me twenty times worse than all I had met with before; it came stealing upon me, now by one piece, then by another; first, all my comfort was taken from me, then darkness seized upon me, after which, whole floods of blasphemies, both against God, Christ, and the Scriptures, were poured upon my spirit, to my great confusion and astonishment. These blasphemous thoughts were such as also stirred up questions in me, against the very being of God, and of his only beloved Son; as, whether there were, in truth, a God, or Christ, or no? and whether the holy Scriptures were not rather a fable, and cunning story, than the holy and pure Word of God?
“Now I thought, surely I am possessed of the devil; at other times again, I thought I should be bereft of my wits; for instead of [praising] and magnifying God the Lord with others, if I have but heard him spoken of, presently some most horrible blasphemous thought or other would bolt out of my heart against him; so that whether I did think that God was, or again did think there were no such thing; no love, nor peace, nor gracious disposition could I feel within me.”
These two paragraphs vividly describe the kind of brutal warfare that we sometimes experience as God’s servants! More than a single “fiery dart,” Bunyan was assaulted with a continuous barrage of them. But he is not alone in this experience, for though we might not like to admit it, many of us have faced similar attacks.
Having established that the enemy frequently attacks our mind and emotions, we will take a closer look next time at some of the “wiles of the devil” so that we can avoid being ensnared by them.