“Mom, you should really try this pizza. It’s delicious!”
“Thank you, sweetie, but I can’t. Mommy’s all–“
“Ohhhh right, right–you’re allergic to cheese.”
“Yup. But thanks for offering.”
“You know what I’m allergic to?”
“…Ary, you’re not allergic to anything.”
“I’m allergic to Satan!”
Not for the first time, God used my 4 year old to teach me a profound spiritual truth: if we are a believer in Christ, we are allergic to Satan.
I know, it sounds like this post is about to get super hokey real quick, but give me a chance to explain.
I have had a dairy allergy my entire life. I don’t remember my first allergic reaction, because I was an infant. But my mom sure does. She tried giving me my first bottle of formula but after a few minutes, I broke out in systemic hives, scarring the then first time mom for life. The doctors said that I might grow out of it, but I never did. I’m not quite as sensitive, but I still can’t eat any dairy products.
If I do ever get slipped any dairy on accident, I know right away. It starts with a tingle on my tongue, that spreads to the back of my throat. Then my whole esophagus gets itchy. If left long enough, my throat starts to close up, making it hard to breathe.
But since I’ve been dealing with allergic reactions my entire life, I know what the signs are. So the moment I feel that distinct tingle on my tongue, I know that I’m having a reaction and can take a benedryl to stop it in it’s tracks before it gets any worse. The symptoms of my allergic reaction are my body’s way of communicating to me that something is wrong. It’s my body’s way of alerting me to the attack happening within that I can’t see.
In the same way, our spirits have allergic reactions to spiritual attacks.
Have you ever had a day that was going just fine, just to be completely turned upside down by one little thing, suddenly making it the worst day ever?
Or a day where a bunch of little, irritating things keep happening to you, until it all piles up into a mess of a day? (Your alarm doesn’t go off so you are running late; you spilled or forgot your coffee; you hit every. red. light; the elevator closes just as you were about to hop on)
Or a time when one of your best friends or close family member or spouse is suddenly on your last nerve, even though they really didn’t do anything?
You know, just those days or moments when you feel the world is against you because it feels like life is really awful?
The worldly person would just chalk it up to bad luck or a bad day, but totally normal and you’ll be fine.
But as Christians, we should see all of that for what it truly is: spiritual attacks. The Bible says that Satan is a devouring lion.
Just like a lion silently hiding in the brush, waiting for the perfect moment to strike his prey, Satan waits in the shadows for the perfect moment to hit us. The gazelle has no idea that his life is in danger; he’s just going about his day just as he always does. Then out of nowhere, the gazelle is getting attacked. It goes from everything-is-fine to life-is-in-danger in an instant. Satan does the same thing to us.
We can’t prevent the attacks from happening, but we can equip ourselves with the right tools so that we can fight back.
So what can we do when our spirits recognize a spiritual allergic reaction?
Pray in the Spirit at all times and on every occasion. Stay alert and be persistent in your prayers for all believers everywhere.
When you notice the enemy attacking you, your first defense should always be prayer. Stop whatever you are doing and reconnect your spirit with God through prayer: “Lord, I feel Satan attacking me right now. But I know that You are so much bigger than what I am facing in this moment. Please keep my focus on You so that I can stay on track with Your will for my life.” Satan’s main prerogative is to separate us from God. Don’t allow yourself to become distracted.
Dive into Scripture.
Put on salvation as your helmet, and take the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.
When Satan is trying to feed us lies, we have to fight it off with the truth, which can only be found in God’s word. Read the Bible every day so that you can start to memorize these life saving words, so they will be easy to recall in the heat of a spiritual attack. Just like I have to have benedryl on my person at all times just in case I accidentally eat dairy, Christians need to have the word of God locked away in our minds, at the ready for when we are under attack.
Hold on to the Promises.
In addition to all of these, hold up the shield of faith to stop the fiery arrows of the devil.
Let’s be real here–God’s timing is often (read: always) slower than any of us would prefer. Scripture contains story after story of God taking His dear sweet time to fulfill promises made. Abraham did not receive the child God promised him until he was 100 years old. David had to wait 15 years after God said he would be king to sit on the throne. The Isrealities wandered in the desert for 40 years after being promised a land to call their own (which had followed 400 years of slavery). Our wait times may vary, but we will all find ourselves in seasons of waiting. It is in those seasons when Satan will prey on our insecurities and try to make us believe that God forgot about us; that He will not fulfill His promise to us; that we maybe heard Him wrong. In these moments we will have nothing to use to fight back except our faith. Our nonsensical, foolish, cannot-be-backed-by-evidence FAITH. Even though you might feel foolish at times holding on to a God given promise because it seems that impossible, hold on to it for dear life, my friends. Just think of how foolish Abraham felt believing that he would have a child through his 90 year old wife. Think of how silly the scrawny, overlooked shepherd boy David felt being anointed king. Choose to believe God over what your eyes can see so that you can endure your season of waiting.
Therefore, put on every piece of God’s armor so you will be able to resist the enemy in the time of evil. Then after the battle you will still be standing firm.
Just as it took a lifetime of allergic reactions for me to become attuned with my body’s defensive response, it takes time for our human minds to become attuned with our spirits. But every time you catch a spiritual attack, you become stronger and will recognize Satan’s schemes faster the next time.
How attuned are you with the Holy Spirit? Do you easily recognize Satan’s attacks, or do you easily fall prey to them? If you are in the latter group, take heart–we’ve all been there. Ask God to realign your spirit with His Spirit; for Him to open your eyes so you can spot the threat that surrounds you; for Him to make you more sensitive to the Spirit’s guidance so you will better recognize the next attack. Equip yourself with spiritual weapons found in God’s word.
So the next time Satan fancies himself a lion, stand firm and remind him that God has already won the battle, and he is but a tiny snake already crushed by Jesus’ heel.