The enemy tried to take me out last week. He slammed me with accusations, blame, and judgment. And it sent me into a tailspin.
When I’m confronted with stuff like that, I have several options. I can absorb all the condemnation and conclude that I am a hopeless loser. Or, I can try to sift through it and try to evaluate what is true and what is not—I know I’m not perfect, after all. A third option is to simply dismiss it all without any consideration whatsoever.
Many spiritual warfare-savvy folks would say that the third option is best—“Consider the source,” they would say. And they’re right—one of Satan’s names is “Accuser.” He’s not about constructive criticism. He is always about destruction. So why should I listen to him?
But it’s not so easy for me to just write off accusations and criticism. I don’t trust myself. I know that I am prone to sin and error. I don’t want to be self-deceived and arrogant. I don’t want to be oblivious to my errors.
So, even though I realize the enemy is not interested in my good, it’s still hard for me to completely write off his accusations. Instead, I often go for the second option: I try to evaluate them. (Mind you, I am not recommending that you try this!) I set up a little court in my head and put his claim on trial. Then I try to see look at the evidence for and against his accusation. (Again, I caution you, do not try this yourselves. It is patently dumb. I’m just making a confession.)
You, being wiser than I, can undoubtedly see the frustration toward which this exercise leads. I set up court in my head. I appoint myself judge, jury, and attorney for the prosecution and the defense. It’s ridiculous. I just go ‘round and round in circles. It never leads anywhere good.
The Apostle Paul said it well: “It is a very small thing that I should be judged by you or by any human court. In fact, I do not even judge myself. … It is the Lord who judges me (1 Corinthians 4:3-4).
So I am happy and very relieved to say that the Lord has given me a grace-filled alternative to my futile habit of self-judgment. He reminded me of the ancient “Jesus Prayer”: “Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy on me, a sinner.”
When He whispered that idea into my swirling mind and confused heart, I knew immediately it was His offer to rescue me. That simple, time-proven prayer, provides everything I need. Here’s what I mean:
The accuser shoots his arrow of condemnation at me. Instead of asking, “Is he right? Is any part of what he is saying true?” I can appeal to my Advocate, Jesus. He is my Lord. He is my Savior. He is the Christ, the Messiah, the one who came to save His people from their sins. Am I a sinner? Yes! Have I sinned in the particular way the enemy proposes? Maybe. Maybe not. But that’s not the point. The point is, I am a sinner, but Jesus has covered all my sins with His own blood. The enemy’s accusations against me cannot stick when the Lord Jesus Christ is standing with me. Jesus offers mercy for all the places where I’ve sinned.
For the next few days the condemnation continued to come at a steady rate. But instead of entertaining it in my inner courtroom, I simply prayed. “Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy on me, a sinner!” Breathing that simple prayer—often repeatedly—re-focused me. It turned my eyes off of myself and onto Jesus. It reminded me that He is full of mercy and that when I come to Him, I find mercy and grace in my time of need (Hebrews 4:16). It kept me from trying to justify, defend, or excuse myself of wrong doing—I simply admitted to Him that I am a sinner. And I remembered with deep gratitude that He came into the world to save sinners (1 Timothy 1:15).
Until last week, I’d never thought of using the Jesus Prayer as spiritual warfare—but I am finding it to be very effective. I wonder if any of you have tried something like that? Or if you have other ways of deflecting the enemy’s accusations? I’d love to hear from you!