Why does it feel as if the closer I become to Jesus the harder the evil one attacks me?
Marjie — No city given
The occasion for attacks (Part 1)
Many people say they have the same experience: the closer they walk with the Lord; the stronger the devil seems to attack them. I’m not sure if it is actually true or if a closer walk with Jesus makes one more sensitive to what is going on in the spirit realm nearly all the time.
1 Peter 5:8 says; “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.” From that passage, it almost appears that he doesn’t care particularly who he is attacking; he’s just looking for opportunity. Our job is to; “Resist him, steadfast in the faith.” (Verse 9)
However, make no mistake; there is strategy in the evil empire. He may not care “who”, but Satan will always press in hardest when he has the most at stake – the most to lose. First, he is into “prevention”; he wants to prevent people from becoming free in Jesus Christ with heaven as their assured eternal home. So I believe people are probably under quite intense attack right before they get saved.
Next, he is going to target the new believer for back sliding. Can he get them to renege on their commitment to Jesus Christ? Can he tempt them back into the sin that kept them enslaved and in the dark before? Can he convince them they never really got saved? Can he render them impotent through doubt and discouragement?
Satan is also going to intensely attack anyone who is a threat to his maintaining his own territory or who may effectively advance the kingdom of God. The higher the calling from God, the more Satan will press in to prevent that destiny from becoming reality. Maybe this is where you are now. You will need to evaluate the nature of the attacks you are having.
Next: Evaluating attack versus trial.
Attack versus trials versus our own messes (Part 2)
Many Christians blame everything bad that happens in their life on the devil. That is not really accurate. Bad things happen to good people and good things happen to bad people. Solomon said in Ecclesiastes 8:14; “There is a vanity which occurs on the earth, that there are just men to whom it happens according to the work of the wicked; again, there are wicked men to whom it happens according to the work of the righteous.”
There is a question we can ask ourselves regarding whatever difficulty we are going through. Is this an attack of Satan, is it a trial from God, or, did I make some bad choices and am I reaping what I sowed? Sometimes the answer is not very clear and the line blurs a little bit but we should still pursue the discernment to understand the nature of any hits we are taking. We do this so we can counter any schemes of the devil most effectively.
If we examine our conscious with all honesty and ask the Holy Spirit to reveal any hidden sin and we come up empty we can narrow our search down to actual enemy attacks or trial from God. You do not discuss the exact nature of your attacks in your question. Is Satan playing with your mind? Things such as doubt, fear, unbelief, depression (I’m not talking about a physically based problem here), or hopelessness are never trials from God. Neither does God author temptation.
You are the best person to decide what’s really going on, perhaps with some godly counsel from a mature Christian who knows you well and who knows the details. The good news is that it doesn’t matter as much that you are being attacked as it does what you do with it. You can turn things around.
Next: How do I get out of this?
The antidote (Part 3)
You have choices when you are under attack. You can cower in a corner, cover your head or cry out “poor me.” You can shut down any ministry work you are doing in the hopes that the enemy will withdraw from attacking you. OR, you can go on the offensive. I think going on the offensive is the best choice.
Counter attack! This could play out several ways depending on the nature of the attack. One thing that works for any kind of attack is wielding your sword of the Spirit which is the Word of God. “And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God; praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit.” (Ephesians 6:17-18)
Declare God’s Word and his promises over your life. Assert who you are in Christ because of the atoning work of Jesus on the cross. Confidently proclaim that; “No weapon formed against you shall prosper, and every tongue which rises against you in judgment you shall condemn.” (Isaiah 54:17)
Also, if you are under attack, you need the closeness and presence of the Lord in even greater measure. Increase your prayer and praise time. Listen to worship music, sing to the Lord, bless and pray for your family and friends, your pastor and your church but especially pronounce blessings on your enemies.
Remember that nothing on this earth lasts forever. Attacks come, attacks go. Things change and you will have seasons of rest and refreshing again. You may have to fight now but later God will give you a furlough for a time and then you will probably return to battle again. Be assured that you have the greatest potential for spiritual growth while you are under attack. In this way, Satan’s attacks only play into God’s hands to bring you to full maturity. In the meanwhile, continue to pursue closeness with Jesus; he is our only true place of immunity.