Don’t be surprised when the enemy hits you when you are down.
One of the key strategies of the enemy is to wait until you are weak, depressed, sad, grieving, angry, frustrated, hungry, oppressed, sick, in a bad mood, struggling, or having a bad day for whatever reason — and that is when the enemy chooses to pile on because it appears to them to be their greatest chance of fully defeating you.
Maybe you lost a loved one. Maybe you lost a job. Maybe you lost a house. Maybe you failed a test or were passed over for a promotion. Maybe you received a negative lab report at the doctor’s office, or woke up under the weather. The list goes on.
The enemy is like a terrorist who plants two bombs in the same location, one to go off to destroy the primary target, and a second one planted in the same place to go off and kill anyone who comes to the aid of those injured in the first blast. It’s not fair. It’s not just. It’s not right. It’s evil doing its worst. And it’s a key strategy of the enemy in trying to defeat you.
So, don’t be surprised by the secondary blast, plan for it. Realize that when you are down, the enemy wants to take you out. Which means you need to be prepared so that you are not carried away by their follow up attack.
It’s like in boxing, the jab is a straight punch that doesn’t necessarily carry the power to achieve a knock-out, but it can create an opening for an uppercut or a hook that will deliver the real damage.
When you are the most vulnerable will be when the enemy seeks to overcome you. When you are hurting. When you are afraid. When you are tired. When you are anxious, doubtful, worried, or confused. When you are not at your best, flawed and flailing. When you are in pain already, that is when the enemy will seek to destroy your confidence, eliminate your faith, compromise your relationship with God, and establish their foothold in your decision making.
It can seem so justified. It can be almost too believable. It appears so reasonable and expected that no one would hold it against you if you failed under the pressure and weight of the attack.
And yet, this moment of vulnerability, weakness, and defeat can be the foundation for your greatest victory.
Consider this, when the enemy wanted to take Jesus down, they waited until He went into the desert and lived in the wilderness without any food for 40 days. He was pushing to the limits and the enemy knew it, and so they took the invitation and attacked.
“For forty days and forty nights he fasted and became very hungry. During that time the devil came and said to him, ‘If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become loaves of bread.’ But Jesus told him, ‘No! The Scriptures say, ‘People do not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.’'” – Matthew 4
Notice that the enemy waited until Jesus was hungry to attack. They waited until He was weak and then attempted to leverage His weakness to their advantage, but Jesus wasn’t surprised. He saw it coming. He knew their plan and so He turned the tables on them and defeated the enemy in spite of and in the midst of His hunger.
It is the same with you. You might be thinking your situation isn’t fair. That everything seems to be going wrong or that just when you think you have it handled you find out it was worse than you expected. Don’t be surprised. Don’t let it interrupt your faith. Don’t let it justify poor decision making. Don’t let it determine the outcome. Don’t let the enemy own you.
You were designed to conquer. You were planned to succeed. You were built for victory. You were created for eternal life.
The enemy only attacks when you are down because they are terrified of you and what you are capable of. They know that God fights for you and that the truth is on your side. They know that they don’t have a chance unless you give them the victory. And so they are simply looking for the moments when you are most likely to hand over the keys to your castle without a fight. So, don’t ever give them what they are looking for.
You cannot be conquered unless you give them the keys to the fortress that God has built around you. Your salvation is certain unless you surrender it. Your victory is guaranteed unless you accept defeat in its place.
So, the next time you have a bad day, the next time you are in a bad mood, the next time you fail or are challenged beyond your ability to respond, the next time you discover you are up against unbeatable odds, look around for the enemy and don’t be surprised when they attack. Stand firm in your relationship with Jesus Christ and let the enemy know that no matter what comes against you, you can do all things through Christ, who is your strength, your guide, your shield, your fortress, your way, your defender, your savior, your healer, your redeemer, your hope, and your salvation.
“Then who in the world can be saved?” they asked. Jesus looked at them intently and said, “Humanly speaking, it is impossible. But not with God. Everything is possible with God.” – Mark 10
Don’t let the enemy determine the outcome. Don’t let them own you. Don’t be surprised when they hit you when you are down. Don’t give them the keys to your castle. Don’t accept defeat when you are on the brink of a lasting victory.
God is for you. God is on your side. God is ready to save you. And the enemy doesn’t stand a chance against the infinite and eternal power of God.
So, don’t worry if the odds look stacked against you, don’t fear the lies and the arguments of the enemy, don’t accept the terms of surrender that the enemy draws up and presents at the very worst of moments, and most of all don’t be surprised when the enemy doesn’t play fair, when the enemy fights dirty, and when the enemy keeps hitting you when you are down.
You may be down, but you are not out.
You may be wounded, but you are not destroyed.
You may be oppressed, but you are not defeated.
You may be compromised, you may be hurting, you may be frustrated, you may be opposed, you may be flawed, you may be weak, but the one who is with you is greater than everything that stands against you.
So don’t give up, don’t give in, don’t sign the surrender papers, or hand over the keys to the fortress of your soul, because God is coming for you. When you least expect it, things are going to turn. When all you can see is darkness, God’s light is going to shine. When you get to the end of what you believe is possible, God is going to overcome with the impossible.
Remember this, when the enemy appears the strongest is when they are pushing their own limits, giving you an opening, and stepping into the light where you can defeat them once and for all.
And so, if you can remember not to be surprised by their assault, and instead open your heart to receive the power of God’s grace to press onward and upward, you will be able to stand strong in your darkest moments, and rejoice in the victory that God delivers into your life.
“So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me. That’s why I take pleasure in my weaknesses, and in the insults, hardships, persecutions, and troubles that I suffer for Christ. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” – 2 Corinthians 12