I hear it a lot: “The devil has it in for me.”; “I’m in the middle of a spiritual battle.”; “I’m being attacked by ‘the enemy’.” Such phrases are then inevitably followed by a request for prayer about a personal issue. The attacked battler is having financial difficulties. He or she just lost their job or, while they may still be employed, are looking, yet again, for another job. They are unable to get along with their boss and/or co-workers. The person has the cold, the flu, or some other viral infection. The person is “suffering” from any one of numerous physical or emotional maladies.
I most certainly believe what the Bible says about spiritual warfare – “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.” (Eph. 6:12, NIV). Yet, I ofttimes think that many Christians give credit to the devil when, in fact, the credit lies elsewhere – themselves.
I’ve watched people make irresponsible financial decisions. They run up credit card debt. They purchase items that are wholly unnecessary and completely outside of a sane budget. They spend every last penny they earn. They save nothing. Then, when they’re hit with an unexpected expense and are unable to cover it, they claim it’s the devil’s doing. Sometimes, too, that expense is not (or should not be) altogether so unexpected, at least to a responsible person.
I’ve watched people jump from job to job. Seemingly never happy at any of them. They complain about their co-workers. They complain about their boss. The complain about the work they do (or perhaps don’t do). For some reason, not a single person in any of their workplaces can seem to get along with them. For some reason, every boss they’ve had is a jerk. For some reason, their work is always daunting or unfulfilling. This discomfort is, of course, because Lucifer is dogging them.
I’ve watched people overly indulge in unhealthy eating and drinking habits. They don’t exercise. They don’t sleep correctly. Then, when sickness comes upon them, well, you know, it’s yet another case of Satan picking on them. That dastardly creep made them sick, and they “need a healing touch.”
Let me repeat, I do believe that there are times when people are indeed attacked by the devil. I truly do. Too many times, however, people use this as an excuse for their own irresponsible actions or inactions. That way, they don’t have to accept fault or responsibility.
To them, I so badly want to shout, “Here’s an idea, maybe it’s you!”
Instead of praying that God get them out of the mess they got themselves into, they should instead pray for wisdom. James 1:5 says, “If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.” (NIV). Wow! So, God not only gives wisdom, He does so generously and with no strings attached? Bring on the wisdom.
Wisdom, more than anything, will keep us from the personal, financial, professional, and health issues that are far too often blamed on the devil and his minions.