The Tactics of Our Enemy

by Mike Ratliff

“Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm.” (Ephesians 6:10-13 ESV)

Before believers mature to the point where they can consistently mortify the sins that so easily ensnare them, they are not a serious threat to Satan and his subordinates in his war against God. However, when believers have matured so that they continually seek to grow in their knowledge of and obedience to the Word and to serve the Lord more faithfully they will soon discover that their walk before the face of God, serving Him, and living for His glory becomes more difficult instead of easier.

This difficulty is part of the battle against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. When believers become Spirit-filled, growing in Christ-likeness, they come under attack by our enemy because his goal is to rob God of His glory and those believers are living in such state of grace that their lives bring glory to God more and more as they obey Him in every part of their lives.

What tactics does our enemy use in opposition to believers in this battle? We must remember that Satan was once “the anointed cherub” (Ezekiel 28:14). He is known as the ruler of the demons in Luke 11:15, the god of this world in 2 Corinthians 4:4, and the prince of the power of the air in Ephesians 2:2. He opposes Gods work. How does he do it?

“Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. And after fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry. And the tempter came and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, command these stones to become loaves of bread.” But he answered, “It is written, “‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.’”
Then the devil took him to the holy city and set him on the pinnacle of the templeand said to him, “If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down, for it is written, “‘He will command his angels concerning you,’
and “‘On their hands they will bear you up, lest you strike your foot against a stone.’”
Jesus said to him, “Again it is written, ‘You shall not put the Lord your God to the test.’”Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory. And he said to him, “All these I will give you, if you will fall down and worship me.” Then Jesus said to him, “Be gone, Satan! For it is written, “‘You shall worship the Lord your God and him only shall you serve.’”
Then the devil left him, and behold, angels came and were ministering to him.” (Matthew 4:1-11 ESV)

As we see in this passage describing the temptation of Christ by Satan, that our enemy perverts God’s Word. From that He attempts to attack, question, and deny God’s character and credibility. Along with this, he works to create doctrinal confusion and falsehood within the Body of Christ.

He also works to undermine present victories by generating trouble that makes life difficult, thereby tempting believers to forsake obedience to God’s standards and calling. He works to hinder the good work of God’s servants.

“But since we were torn away from you, brothers, for a short time, in person not in heart, we endeavored the more eagerly and with great desire to see you face to face, because we wanted to come to you—I, Paul, again and again—but Satan hindered us.” (1 Thessalonians 2:17-18 ESV)

He opposes the work of the Gospel by blinding the minds of unbelievers to keep them from seeing the light of it.

“Therefore, having this ministry by the mercy of God, we do not lose heart. But we have renounced disgraceful, underhanded ways. We refuse to practice cunning or to tamper with God’s word, but by the open statement of the truth we would commend ourselves to everyone’s conscience in the sight of God. And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled only to those who are perishing. In their case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.” (2 Corinthians 4:1-4 ESV)

He works to snare the righteous. In the passage below we see how imperative it is for Christian leaders to be mature believers who have learned how to walk in the armor of God.

“The saying is trustworthy: If anyone aspires to the office of overseer, he desires a noble task. Therefore an overseer must be above reproach, the husband of one wife,sober-minded, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, not a drunkard, not violent but gentle, not quarrelsome, not a lover of money. He must manage his own household well, with all dignity keeping his children submissive, for if someone does not know how to manage his own household, how will he care for God’s church? He must not be a recent convert, or he may become puffed up with conceit and fall into the condemnation of the devil. Moreover, he must be well thought of by outsiders, so that he may not fall into disgrace, into a snare of the devil.” (1Timothy 3:1-7 ESV)

The whole world lies in his power. Genuine Christian believers are not to be conformed to this world. Why? The world is in the control of our enemy. It is used by him in his war against God through attacking the Church.

“We know that we are from God, and the whole world lies in the power of the evil one.” (1John 5:19 ESV)

As I studied spiritual warfare and the armor of God and what those have to do with our spiritual growth I was amazed at the parallels I saw between how Satan works against those obedient to God and the personal attacks I was receiving from various apostates and atheists via comments and emails. I never published any of them because they are vile. They are attempts to cast God as a villain. One fellow even told me that if God is real then the suffering in the world makes Him the greatest criminal. He told me today that if God did reveal Himself to him that he would attempt to kick Him in the crotch.

This same fellow has singled out several themes on Possessing the Treasure for attack including that God exists, that God is in control, and that our salvation is supernatural. This began when I wrote that series on the Resurrection a few weeks back. This fellow also attempted to claim that the fact that my nephew Travis had a brain tumor was proof that either God did not exist or, if He did, then He was impotent or evil. Here is a sample of one of his emails to me.

“For crying out loud, Mike! Do you worship something that would see one of “his creatures” burn forever? I want none of this monster! His “divine demand for perfection” leaves me stone cold.
The temperature of hell can be easily ascertained: Revelation 21:8 states, “But the fearful, and unbelieving… shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone.” A lake of molten brimstone demands that its temperature must be at or below the boiling point, 444.6C. No human can survive anything close to that temperature Mike, or do you have proof to the contrary? Man, the nonsense Christians believe – it’s embarrassing! Burning forever in a lake of fire. Pur-leaze!
The Christian doctrine of “Orginal Sin” is laughable Mike – this any freshman theology student should know if not blinded by “faith”. The doctrine is the result mostly of Augustine’s inability to read basic Hebrew. And his burning shame for a prurient youth.
And about this “sinful nature” of yours: Perhaps you should read at modern psychology for a month or two. Bronze Age nonsense cloaked in Dark Age ignorance and fear just don’t cut it, Mike. Why are “devout believers” so ignorant of the Bible and the history of theology?
I am still keen on an answer you have not attempted: Why praise “God” for Travis’ recovery if “God” could have saved you all the trauma by protecting Travis’ health in the first place? It’s like buying a band-aid from the guy that stabbed you. Ridiculous! God is nothing but a spoilt brat that needs discipline. He’s a sadist. His only excuse of course, is his nullity.”

He has also singled out a few of the commenters on Possessing the Treasure for ridicule, but I have refused to allow those comments to be posted. He especially hates it when we say that God is in control. Here is another sample of one of his emails.

“I visited your blog again and saw Sherry’s comment about God being in control. I wonder, Mike, why Christians think that God is “in control”. Can one reasonably conclude that a “loving God” is in control of our world? I think all evidence points to the contrary. Please tell me why you think that God – or any “deity” for that matter – is “in control””

Now what is the theme of these attacks. They are all designed to disparage God’s character and credibility. They are an attempt to discourage us and create doubt in our hearts. Why? If we can become discouraged and fall into despair then we will cease obeying God, perhaps, and that will rob God of potential glory. I hope you also noticed the liberal theology which our enemy has used to blind this person. Also, did you detect the voice of “deception” this fellow uses?

Has any of this fellow’s attacks discouraged me or caused me to doubt? No, not even a little. I have attempted to give the truth to him, but this has only exacerbated the viciousness of his attacks. I pray that you will continue to pray for me and this ministry and that God will give me wisdom and help me stand firm.

SDG

38 thoughts on “The Tactics of Our Enemy

  1. I cringe at the thought of this angry person attempting to spew his venom in the face of God. I will pray for him and for you, Mike. Mike, please keep up the good work and the great articles. They have certainly inspired me to draw nearer to God. Since our time on this earth seems to be coming to a close, it can only be Satan’s desperate attempt to use people such as the man you mentioned to try to discourage those chosen by God to teach the truth and to encourage them in their faith. Keep fighting the good fight!

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  2. Julie,

    Thanks for the encouragement and your prayers. I prayed for this fellow to be saved. I shared the gospel with him and the responses above were the result. I desire for no one to end up in the Lake of Fire, but obviously we will witness untold numbers of people end up there. God’s will be done.

    In Christ

    Mike Ratliff

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  3. You have my prayers on a daily basis Mike. I’m not the least bit discouraged by what he wrote but some of the statements he makes are very childish and I fear for the man. It’s very easy to see that he is controlled by the powers of darkness. I’ve gotten a taste of some of that myself. Thank you for being His faithful servant as we are also here to encourage one another in these dark times. Your really helping a lot of people and stand firm Mike!! It’s getting tougher but were here for the long run and were staying in the race! All for His Glory!!

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  4. Thank you Deb! I have missed your comments lately. 🙂 I agree, about his words being childish. Would you be surprised to hear that this fellow has a degree in theology? Amazing. Also, did you notice how he associated “faith” with “blindness?” This is the exact opposite of the truth.

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  5. I was wondering about that but as we can see, even Satan knows the scripture. Knowledge without the Holy Spirit doesn’t count for much, does it. Yes, I did notice that derogatory remark. 🙂 Very hard heart. I will pray for him, too.

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  6. What a battle – but it does belong to the Lord.

    I am not discouraged concerning this person’s comments, but my heart does ache. I do not like knowing that someone rejects God – I cannot help but feel broken for them. And I cannot even pretend to have all the answers to the statements he has spewed out about our Maker – – I just desire that all men come to the knowledge of Christ – and am ever so grateful that my heart has been opened to receive Him, for if not, I too would reject God and reject His tactics.
    Like this man, I hate the thought of hell – I understand his rejection of it. Who in their right mind can embrace the thought of hell and the thought of many of our loved ones going to such a place? If we are truly honest with ourselves, we all would like for it not to be a part of His plan. If our Maker was about to cast your son/daughter in this pit, who would not stand up and beg Him to stop – and question why this has to be done? Our “feelings” and “flesh” would arise.

    But I also understand that I am mere man (woman), and His ways are not my ways – and who am I to question the Potter? But my point is, that if we believers have a hard time excepting this (and I am not saying that hell does not exist, I am merely saying, I too do not like it, but submit to His Word regardless of my “feelings”), why would we expect an unbeliever to except this – why do we continue to act as if these are amazing or unbelievable thoughts? I realize you have not posted all of this man’s thoughts, but from what I read, they are reasonable – remember, he rejects God. I do not consider them childish – but from a lost man. This should more humble us, rather than make us proud.

    Mike, please do not take my comment meaning that I think you have become proud – absolutely not! I am just speaking in a “general” context – not pointing the finger at anyone.

    This is a very personal and heart felt issue for me, as it should be for us all. My husband and many of my friends reject God – I suffer a broken spirit because of the reality of its outcome. I am not questioning God, the truth of His word, or you, I am just saddened by the reality of it all. And yes, in spite of my “feelings”, our thoughts, our lack of understanding the whole nature of God – in spite of appearances, He is in control!

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  7. Brother, thank you for you labour in the Lord. Our Lord never disputed Satan’s claim to have authority to give him all the kingdoms of the world if we would fall down and worship him. It is clear this world is Satan’s kingdom, that is why we are told to not love the world. Is it any wonder that our world and lives are filled with harsh, cruel and unfair things? It is after all reflecting the nature of it’s god, he is a liar and murderer. But thanks be to God, when He rescues us from the kingdom of darkness and puts us into the kingdom of the Son whom He loves. We are not of this world. Brothers and Sisters, mortify the flesh, we are in a battle, and we can easily be discouraged and tempted to throw the whole thing away, if we do that, where would we go? What can we flee to that will give us the security that the Lord’s embrace can give us. No, we must hold on, get rid of the sin that easily entangles and look to Jesus the author and finisher of our faith. Remember we look for a city whos builder and maker is God. When we enter that kingdom, then all the evil, sin and corruption will be gone. Nothing unclean will enter that Kingdom. Continue in your labour, brother, we have something much better to look forward to.

    John Henderson
    Toronto Canada.

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  8. It seems we humans are pawns in the war between god and satan. If god is of infinite power, why does he allow satan to exist, or to tempt/pervert humanity at all?

    (This is a real question, not a combative email as you listed above – just a theological question I have wondered about for some time now).

    Thanks for your time!

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  9. How thankful I am that that man would have been me were it not for God’s grace. Remember, Mike, they don’t hate you, they hate Him. As Brother Roloff used to say, they hate the Holy Spirit, and since they can’t get a hold on Him like they did our Lord, they persecute us because they can see us.

    I find no animus in my heart for men like this, only compassion. I find it harder to deal with snarky Christians. Keep witnessing for Him, Mike. Persecution only substantiates that witness.

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  10. Daryl – you have asked a profound question, one that is beyond our capacity to evaluate with a finite perspective. The sun converts 600 million tons of hydrogen into helium every second. I do not understand that but I still can benefit from its effects. There is no way for the finite to understand the infinite based upon their own observational abilities, we can only know those things which are given to us on our own understandable level.

    That is why it is impossible to please God without faith. This is not a blind faith that goes against all evidence, this is a faith that flows out of what we do know. Why does God allow Satan to exist? We only know what God has revealed and He hasn’t chosen to let us in on that. Suffice to say He has His perfect reasons and the Scriptures declare that one day we will know. Another good question is why does God allow sinful and rebelluous man to exist?

    God is love. The particulars of that are in the Godhead.

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  11. Amen Sherry! Yes, without faith their attacks are very sensible. No argument there. That is why genuine saving Faith is supernatural and look at how it changes us. We believe what is unbelievable by the unregenerate. Well said sister and I ache for them as well.

    In Christ

    Mike Ratliff

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  12. Daryl,

    Satan is defeated. He can only attack believers to the level God allows. God allows it because it is in the fires of tribulation that our faith is proven. Read the book of Job.

    In Christ

    Mike Ratliff

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  13. He told me today that if God did reveal Himself to Him that he would attempt to kick Him in the crotch. I’m sorry but this is the part I found to be childish.

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  14. I am reminded in scripture about Saul who vehemently went about persecuting the church. He thought he was doing the right thing but thanks to the Sovereignty,Grace,and Mercy of our Loving God he was changed and went on to do a mighty work for Christ! He can change the vilest of men! I will stand in prayer and agreement for a great light of knowlege and truth to shine brightly in thieir hearts and that they will know by the redemption of the blood of Christ all of their sins are forgiven according to the riches of his wonderful grace! My prayers are also with you Mike..Blessings and Live!

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  15. Deb,

    Yes, there are times this fellows arrogance bleeds through with childish statements like that. I do believe that he is deliberately trying to provoke us into responding back to him sinfully. Yesterday, I told him that I would not respond to him at all unless he sent me an email with no sarcasm, Straw Man arguments, or innuendo. He did so I told him the truth. Then back came all of the hate-filled verbiage including the one about attempting to kick God in the crotch.

    Satan is smart, but stupid at the same time, know what I mean?

    In Christ

    Mike Ratliff

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  16. I never heard anyone threaten physical abuse against God before. It put me on the defense and I do fear for him. Yeah, he is just trying to rattle your cage. He isn’t here to learn anything.

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  17. Deb,

    I detect a certain level of rage in him. Why is it so important to him to try to destroy the faith of others who mean him no harm? I think it boils down to the fact that he refuses to submit some sin to authority of God.

    In Christ

    Mike Ratliff

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  18. Hi Mike,

    My prayers go out to you and others like yourself. I know the type, had a few friends that are Doctors that are that same way even more vile. I pray that God open’s their eye or if that is not in His will to move them on their way and have mercy upon their soul. And I’ve seen the Lord move many people on their way. At one time all the houses around me were empty. Not by my own doing but God moved them all out and cast them far away. The wicked flee yet no one is chasing them.

    In Christ,
    David

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  19. Hello.

    This is my first visit ~ and I am so encouraged.

    Our trials and the warfare waged at each of us who dwell under His wings might come at each of us differently, but war is war ~ and I can attest that the pain I am experiencing in the battles raging against me is as real as it gets.
    I see you understand.

    I am caught by your very wise comment, Mike, ” it is in the fires of tribulation that our faith is proven”.
    I am pleased to have my faith proven & refined to His glory. I hate the pain, but I have never known Him more intimately than now.

    I am going to look around some more – and be fed & encouraged.
    THANK YOU

    joy in the journey,
    kD
    ~~ “Though he slay me, yet will I hope in Him”. ~~
    http://blueyeduckstudios.blogspot.com/

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  20. Mike, apparently your words are upsetting to this lost soul, he is lashing out with earthly wisdom, in defiance, and is ignorant to what he will face if he stays in his current lost condition. It is proof you are right on target, God is using you mightily and Satan is not happy. Stand firm, as we all pray for you and each other. The battle intensifies, but God is sovereign!!

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  21. Amen Laurie B! God is sovereign and in Him alone do I trust. One thing that has struck me through this is how my faith has only grown stronger through it. I know things can get a great deal rougher for us and probably will very soon, so God is preparing us to stand in the thick of the battle and never retreat.

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  22. Hey Mike…….sometimes the ones who ‘yell’ the loudest are the ones that God will regenerate. Like the apostle Paul. There are times I really believe the wheel that sqeeks the loudest gets the oil. 🙂 We will continue to hold everyone up in prayer. I think the Lord can work with ‘cold’. Like He said, He’d rather have you hot or cold. This guy is very cold, but hot (headed that is).

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  23. That’s what struck me today,too. I just didn’t know how to phrase it. The intentions of the dark spirits actually has the opposite effect on us. More faith and strength. I really believe He is preparing us for a much larger battle. I think were surrounded, don’t you? Look what’s happening in the world and I still haven’t figured out who is going to persecute us the most. It looks like everyone is against us but I would much rather be on this side than that one. We already know that God has already won the battle so we can’t loose anything but our physical life.

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  24. Deborah – I just re-read my comment – I apologize, I really did not mean to make it sound as if I was pointing my finger at you for using the word childish. I understand what you are saying – I just see it not so much as immaturity or silliness, but rather, darkness.

    It does sound as if he has more of a hard time accepting (not ‘excepting’ as I wrongly said in the previous comment 🙂 what is construed as the “negative” side of our Maker – like a lot of believers do today?…all paths lead to the same God, has become almost the norm in Christianity. Woe to us, for we are a people of unclean lips.

    But may we always remember to appreciate this God given grace – and may we never lose sight that we too possess unclean lips. And as Rick (Henry) mentioned above – may we not become a “snarky” (I think this may be a made-up word by Rick, but I like it:-) Christian.

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  25. Sherry,

    Not offended. 🙂 I just get defensive when someone attacks my brothers and sisters and God. I’m not sure if it’s a good thing or a bad thing but it’s me. 🙂 So I guess as soon as I saw that statement then all I saw after that was calling God a monster, being cruel by using Travis’s illness to get to Mike, and just his sly demeanor.( Come on Mike.)Reminds me of Satan in the Garden talking to Eve. Surely you don’t think you will die. (paraphrase) I hope I didn’t offend you Sherry! I feel for the lost myself as I have two believing unregenerate children and one non believing one. I pray for them everyday! I also thank Him for all of you as I also don’t know any regenerated Christians either and I know how hard it is to deal with by youself. Rick, I don’t want to be snarky whatever that is. 🙂

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  26. Man, all these comments are great. I am among a great crowd. 🙂

    Deborah – in no way have you offended me. I am SLOWLY learning that Christians better get tough skinned (not so fleshy in their thinking) – for the times now and even more ahead of us, we will be attacked and called all sorts of things – and if we do not get rid of this flesh, we will have our “feelings” hurt all the time – and when we get our feelings hurt, we then turn this battle into ‘about us ‘ and not about Him. It is such a hard thing to rid ourselves of ourselves, but if Christ is going to reign in us, we have to go! John 3:30 states is simply, “He must increase, but I must decrease.”

    I am so thankful for this blog – like Deborah, and many others I’m sure, we ‘feel’ alone in this battle, so this blog is pure comfort – for it provides strength to us and glorifies our Father. I am not only grateful for Mike, but all of you as well… and even the atheist who is attacking this blog, for he too has been sent our way to reveal something to all of us – to test our faith, and renew a steadfast spirit in us. Though he may not acknowledge our Maker and the fact that even his steps are directed our way – does not change anything. Lack of acknowledgement does not change reality.

    So as the first chapter of James informs us, “My brethren, count it all joy when you you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience…and if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God.”

    In Christ,
    Sherry

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  27. Mike, I thank you for this site, it’s so encouraging to read what my brothers and sisters have to say; even when something might be taken out of context, we lovingly explain and quickly forgive! God is awesome!! I believe the road is about to get very bumpy, we are all headed for more severe persecution here in America. Not to worry, we are not alone, we have the Spirit of the Most High God within, strengthening each step, and renewing with each blow from the enemy our weak hands and feeble knees! It is amazing how God allows tribulation, then uses it to draw us closer to Him…to God be the glory!!

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