Book Excerpt: Fight the Darkness with the Light of God's Word

From Charles F. Stanley’s "Waiting on God"

By Charles F. Stanley
  • January 22, 2015

There is a principle that is crucial to understand if you wish to endure a difficult season victoriously—and that is to realize that you are in a spiritual battle. In Ephesians 6:12, the apostle Paul affirms, “Our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places.” That is, the reason the disheartenment strikes so deep within you is because there is a dangerous enemy striking at the very core of your personhood. How does he do so? Through what you think and believe (2 Cor 10:4-5).

I can recall experiencing one of the enemy’s spiritual attacks as a pastor at my first church, Fruitland Baptist, just outside Hendersonville, North Carolina. I had just graduated from seminary, and I poured my heart into developing my messages—I studied and prayed over every sermon as if it were the only one I would ever preach. Of course, we only had a handful of members in those days, and during those cold North Carolina winters, even fewer people would show up to the services. So when I would stand behind the pulpit and see those empty pews, the devil would take the opportunity to dishearten me, “Look at that. What a waste of time—all that preparation and nobody’s here. It appears that no one wants to hear you preach. Well, what did you expect, anyway? God can’t use you.” Discouraging thoughts kept rushing into my mind, and I knew they weren’t from the Father.

So I would pray and God’s still small voice would comfort me, “Charles, this isn’t all there is. You do your best every Sunday. Study diligently and seek My face for every sermon. Just wait upon Me, trust Me, and see what happens.” Don’t you know, that’s just what I did. And I can truthfully and gratefully say that He has done vastly more on my behalf than I could have ever dreamed.

However, what is important for you to recognize is that the enemy will attempt to discourage you as well. And, friend, there is no more effective time for him to torment you than when you are waiting on God. I warn you of this because it is so easy to believe him and lose heart. His attacks are especially brutal. He knows exactly how to pinpoint the most painful, vulnerable places in your life: the areas of fear, insecurity, rejection, anger, bitterness, pride, and guilt that so readily lead you to despair.

Thankfully, Jesus showed us how to guard ourselves against the enemy’s attacks in Matthew 4. He did not argue with the devil, defend Himself, or engage in a discussion. Rather, the Savior confronted Satan’s lies with the truth of Scripture.

  • When the tempter said, “If You are the Son of God, command that these stones become bread” (v. 3), he was enticing Christ to misuse His power for selfish purposes. But Jesus quoted Deuteronomy 8:3, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God’ ” (v. 4).

  • When the devil had the Savior stand on the pinnacle of the temple and said to Him, “If You are the Son of God, throw Yourself down” (v. 5), he was trying to persuade Christ to attract followers by performing sensational miracles. But Jesus cited Deuteronomy 6:16, “You shall not put the Lord your God to the test” (v. 7).

  • And when Satan showed Christ all the kingdoms of the world and said, “All these things I will give You, if You fall down and worship me” (vv. 8­–9), he was tempting the Savior to circumvent the crucifixion. But Jesus repelled his attack by stating Deuteronomy 6:13, “You shall worship the Lord your God, and serve Him only” (v. 10).

Friend, you will spare yourself untold heartache if you realize the negative thoughts that dishearten you are the fiery darts of a spiritual attack and that you can stop them with Scripture. God’s Word is your principal weapon in enduring the dark moments of your life courageously and triumphantly (Eph. 6:16-17).

This article has been adapted from Charles F. Stanley's Waiting on God.

Related Topics:  Devil  |  Discouragement  |  Doubt

Most Recent

What happens to my notes

1 Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil.

2 And after He had fasted forty days and forty nights, He then became hungry.

3 And the tempter came and said to Him, If You are the Son of God, command that these stones become bread."

4 But He answered and said, It is written, `MAN SHALL NOT LIVE ON BREAD ALONE, BUT ON EVERY WORD THAT PROCEEDS OUT OF THE MOUTH OF GOD.'"

5 Then the devil took Him into the holy city and had Him stand on the pinnacle of the temple,

6 and 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, SO THAT YOU WILL NOT STRIKE YOUR FOOT AGAINST A STONE.'"

7 Jesus said to him, On the other hand, it is written, `YOU SHALL NOT PUT THE LORD YOUR GOD TO THE TEST.'"

8 Again, the devil took Him to a very high mountain and showed Him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory;

9 and he said to Him, All these things I will give You, if You fall down and worship me."

10 Then Jesus said to him, Go, Satan! For it is written, `YOU SHALL WORSHIP THE LORD YOUR GOD, AND SERVE HIM ONLY.'"

11 Then the devil left Him; and behold, angels came and began to minister to Him.

12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places.

13 Therefore, take up the full armor of God, so that you will be able to resist in the evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm.

14 Stand firm therefore, HAVING GIRDED YOUR LOINS WITH TRUTH, and HAVING PUT ON THE BREASTPLATE OF RIGHTEOUSNESS,

15 and having shod YOUR FEET WITH THE PREPARATION OF THE GOSPEL OF PEACE;

16 in addition to all, taking up the shield of faith with which you will be able to extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one.

17 And take THE HELMET OF SALVATION, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.

3 He humbled you and let you be hungry, and fed you with manna which you did not know, nor did your fathers know, that He might make you understand that man does not live by bread alone, but man lives by everything that proceeds out of the mouth of the LORD.

13 You shall fear only the LORD your God; and you shall worship Him and swear by His name.

14 You shall not follow other gods, any of the gods of the peoples who surround you,

15 for the LORD your God in the midst of you is a jealous God; otherwise the anger of the LORD your God will be kindled against you, and He will wipe you off the face of the earth.

16 You shall not put the LORD your God to the test, as you tested Him at Massah.

12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places.

1 Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil.

2 And after He had fasted forty days and forty nights, He then became hungry.

3 And the tempter came and said to Him, If You are the Son of God, command that these stones become bread."

4 But He answered and said, It is written, `MAN SHALL NOT LIVE ON BREAD ALONE, BUT ON EVERY WORD THAT PROCEEDS OUT OF THE MOUTH OF GOD.'"

5 Then the devil took Him into the holy city and had Him stand on the pinnacle of the temple,

6 and 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, SO THAT YOU WILL NOT STRIKE YOUR FOOT AGAINST A STONE.'"

7 Jesus said to him, On the other hand, it is written, `YOU SHALL NOT PUT THE LORD YOUR GOD TO THE TEST.'"

8 Again, the devil took Him to a very high mountain and showed Him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory;

9 and he said to Him, All these things I will give You, if You fall down and worship me."

10 Then Jesus said to him, Go, Satan! For it is written, `YOU SHALL WORSHIP THE LORD YOUR GOD, AND SERVE HIM ONLY.'"

11 Then the devil left Him; and behold, angels came and began to minister to Him.

12 Now when Jesus heard that John had been taken into custody, He withdrew into Galilee;

13 and leaving Nazareth, He came and settled in Capernaum, which is by the sea, in the region of Zebulun and Naphtali.

14 This was to fulfill what was spoken through Isaiah the prophet:

15 THE LAND OF ZEBULUN AND THE LAND OF NAPHTALI, BY THE WAY OF THE SEA, BEYOND THE JORDAN, GALILEE OF THE GENTILES--

16 THE PEOPLE WHO WERE SITTING IN DARKNESS SAW A GREAT LIGHT, AND THOSE WHO WERE SITTING IN THE LAND AND SHADOW OF DEATH, UPON THEM A LIGHT DAWNED."

17 From that time Jesus began to preach and say, Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand."

18 Now as Jesus was walking by the Sea of Galilee, He saw two brothers, Simon who was called Peter, and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea; for they were fishermen.

19 And He said to them, Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men."

20 Immediately they left their nets and followed Him.

21 Going on from there He saw two other brothers, James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother, in the boat with Zebedee their father, mending their nets; and He called them.

22 Immediately they left the boat and their father, and followed Him.

23 Jesus was going throughout all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom, and healing every kind of disease and every kind of sickness among the people.

24 The news about Him spread throughout all Syria; and they brought to Him all who were ill, those suffering with various diseases and pains, demoniacs, epileptics, paralytics; and He healed them.

25 Large crowds followed Him from Galilee and the Decapolis and Jerusalem and Judea and from beyond the Jordan.

16 You shall not put the LORD your God to the test, as you tested Him at Massah.

13 You shall fear only the LORD your God; and you shall worship Him and swear by His name.

16 in addition to all, taking up the shield of faith with which you will be able to extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one.

17 And take THE HELMET OF SALVATION, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.

4 for the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh, but divinely powerful for the destruction of fortresses.

5 We are destroying speculations and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God, and we are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ,

Background Color:
Light
Aa
Dark
Aa
Font size:
A
A
A