This series is dedicated to a Man of God who is after God’s own heart. My Pastor, Elder William Eakins, II wrote a book titled Conversations with the Devil and in this book, he goes into great detail about the different strategies and tactics that the devil uses to wreak havoc in our lives. The Bible tells us in John 10:10 that the devil comes to steal, kill, and destroy. That is his job, but Pastor Eakins exposes how the devil plans to do that in his book. Being a student of the Word under the guidance of this Man of God, I am blessed to learn how to navigate this world and maintain my righteous walk with the Lord.
This is part 8 of an 8-part series about the different conversations we have with the devil on a regular basis. This last part is based on the scripture Acts 19:11-16, and it deals with intimidation. What does it mean to intimidate? Pastor Eakins tells us that it means “to make afraid or to fill with fear.” When Satan speaks to us Christians, he tries to make us believe that he is an enemy that we cannot beat. Pastor Eakins goes on to say that Satan “presents himself as a roaring lion seeking someone to devour.’ He tries to act like he is “as big as God.”
Satan likes to catch us when we are in stressful situations, telling us “there is no escape.” He wants to “distort how we see reality,” so he “uses intimidation to attack our perceptions.” In those instances, we need to hold fast to our faith because faith is the recognition and acceptance of reality as it truly is.
We need to put on the whole armor of God so we can stand against Satan’s attacks. We need the belt of truth that tells us Satan is already defeated and he can do no more to us than what God allows. We can put Satan in his proper place, which is not only beneath God, but beneath us as well. We need to put on the breastplate of righteousness, which is anchored in and connected to the belt of truth. We need to shod our feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace, or the foundation of the good news of peace with God. God can give us peace that passes all understanding when we have that solid foundation in the good news of Jesus Christ. We need to put on the helmet of salvation that gives us hope and protects our mind from the devil playing tricks on us. We need to arm ourselves with the sword of the spirit and use it as the precision instrument that it is, to stab the devil in his eye. If he cannot see us, then he cannot attack us. The final piece of armor is prayer. We need to seek the face of God and get into His presence because that is where our safety is.
In his book, Pastor Eakins talks about how we tend to make things seem bigger than they truly are. We essentially make a mountain out of a mole hill. We are always measuring things for size, strength, feasibility, or probability of success. We analyze our resources to determine if they are adequate for us to overcome obstacles and opposing forces. Oftentimes, we conclude that “we don’t have what it takes.” It is too much for us to handle. It costs too much for us to pay. We just cannot do it. However, such conclusions are usually not based in fact, but in perception. If the enemy can control your perception, he can use intimidation to defeat you.
The problem is that we forget sometimes that we are not alone in whatever we are going through. God is with us and there is nothing too hard for God. The bible tells us in Philippians 4:13 that we can do all things through Christ who strengthens us. So, even if the things we face are too much for us, we can still be victorious by bringing God along for the ride. Even better is when we allow Jesus to take the wheel. Let God be in control since He is the best one equipped for the job. Once we shift our perception to the truth that is in God, there is nothing the devil can do to us.
In his book, Pastor Eakins tells the story of the Seven Sons of Seeva. They mistook the power that Paul exhibited as coming from Paul himself, instead of realizing that the power was from God. As a result of their mistake, they tried to intimidate an evil spirit, but the spirit knew they had no power, so he jumped on them, beat them, and they all ran away naked and wounded. Their perception of themselves was too high. They thought “they were no match for the devil,” but they were actually intimidated by the evil spirit.
In his efforts to intimidate you, the devil “talks a good game.” Well, HE thinks it is a good game. He wants you to believe things like: God does not care about you, so you have to fend for yourself. He wants you to believe he has a great power that you cannot resist. He wants you to believe that you cannot overcome your problems. However, in his book, Pastor Eakins asks: How big is your God?” and “How big are you?” Your response about God should be, “My God is bigger, better, greater, and stronger than that crazy devil because my God is omniscient (He knows everything), omnipotent (He has all of the power, which is why He is in control), and omnipresent (He is everywhere all at once).” Your response about yourself should be, “I am bigger than that old serpent the devil because my Jesus has given me power to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy: and nothing shall by any means hurt me.” That is straight out of the bible in John 10:19. In addition, God gives us His “response to Satan’s intimidation” in 1 Peter 5:6-9.
In his book, Pastor Eakins tells us that the first thing we need to do as Christians is humble ourselves before God. When we put God in His proper place, we will see that He is the only one on top. Satan is not equal to God, no matter that he says. The second thing we need to do is “see ourselves as being able to stand up to Satan.” The Word of God says that He has made us a little lower than the angels. Yes, Satan was an angel, but he is a “fallen” angel. Since Satan has fallen from grace, he is no longer above us. He is beneath us because he has been taken down a notch, or two, or more. If you can remember that he is beneath you, it will be easier for you to resist him and his schemes. Satan “has no real power over us.” He can only do what God allows him to do, and God has already declared our victory over him, as long as we maintain our righteous walk. To conclude this conversation with the devil, Pastor Eakins reminds us that we can expect to be intimidated sometimes. Situations will arise that make us feel defeated. Satan is always whispering to us that we will “fail and there is no hope,” but as you will see in the next excerpt from his book, the devil is just a big fat liar. So, don’t listen to him. God is in control, and He is with us as long as we continue to be with Him. He said He will never leave us nor forsake us, so we do not have to be intimidated by the devil.