Peter likened the devil to a “roaring lion … [who] walks around seeking whom he may devour” (1 Pet. 5:8). As I explore in my book, Activating the Power of God‘s Word, Peter’s comparison of Satan to a lion is no coincidence. For instance, because a lion has a small heart and lungs in relation to the size of its body, it has one of the least amounts of stamina in the animal kingdom. Accordingly, this changes how the lion hunts. Because its victim would likely outrun it, the lion doesn’t charge it the moment it sees it. Instead, the lion studies to determine what is the opportune time to attack.
The enemy works similarly to concoct a unique plan of attack against each of us. Throughout our lives, he and his minions study us to determine our “signature struggles” and the times we’re most likely to fall to them.
The 4 Unexpected Times
Through Bible study, reflection and observation in my life and the lives of others, I realized there are at least four common moments the enemy waits for in order to present his bait. As you read through these, be introspective to determine which one of these issues is primary in your life.
Be aware that when the pressure is on, so is Satan. Stress keeps the body and mind in a state of tension and unable to think clearly. In these seasons, the devil comes to offer “stress relievers.” These might sound like insistent suggestions to “Cast your cares on the bottle;” “Cast your cares on those websites to escape from reality;” “Cast your cares on the TV” or “Cast your cares on that person.”
In the end, these “stress relievers” become stress creators because they only add guilt and shame to what you were originally trying to escape. And then the cycle just continues. It’s no wonder medical experts say that stress is one of the greatest influencers of food, drug, alcohol and tobacco addictions.
Times of disappointment are critical times that make people highly susceptible to the devil’s lures. When we are let down from events or situations that hurt us or don’t go as planned, there’s a temptation to be disappointed or upset with God. Once this happens, almost anything goes.
I remember a time when I was scheduled to interview a hugely popular evangelist. For months, I lived with tremendous anticipation for this interview because I believed it would provide great momentum for the ministry. The day before we were set to film, however, the man’s assistant phoned me to say that the man was sick and could no longer join me. Admittedly, I suffered weeks of disappointment. And while I wasn’t disappointed with the man (because he couldn’t help that he got sick), I found myself disappointed with God. “God, you knew this, why did you let this happen?” I often complained.
It was in this moment of disappointment that I found myself battling extra hard with temptations. And it’s the same for many of you. What often happens during disappointment is that the enemy comes to present offers that promise to fill the void for the “happiness” that we believe we aren’t getting. Or if a person lets us down, we tend to believe that if we “binge out” on something, we’ll get that person back. Yet in the end, the only person harmed is yourself.
Perhaps it’s no coincidence that anger is only one letter away from danger. Paul warned the Ephesians to be especially careful when angry because anger can “give place to the devil” (Eph. 4:27).
The danger of anger is that it is a highly emotional state that clouds godly judgment and reason. Instead of acting on what is right, anger causes us to behave based on what feels right at the moment. And what feels right when a person is angry is often destructive behavior, including judgment, vindictiveness, violence or even various means to soothe yourself.
God designed sleep to be essential for health and well-being. Scientists say that during sleep, our bodies “restore and rejuvenate … grow muscle, repair tissues and synthesize hormones.” Exhaustion from lack of proper sleep and rest has the opposite effects and is known to dramatically impede decision-making. This is why the devil almost always brings temptation during times of exhaustion. Sleep-deprived minds can’t properly process consequences, and sleep-deprived bodies don’t have the energy to withstand certain offers.
Interestingly, hidden inside the word resist is the word rest. Perhaps that’s no coincidence. Many of us might be surprised just how much less we fall to temptation or deal with spiritual attack after a good night’s sleep or a vacation.
After reviewing this list, do you recognize one of these times as more effective against you? Knowing the weaknesses you’re most susceptible to fall to and the moments you’re most susceptible to fall to them is key to avoid Satan’s plot against you. In the least, when you do find yourself under attack, you’ll have a better understanding as to why and what to do to get out of it.
Kyle Winkler equips people to live in victory. His mobile app, Shut Up, Devil!, is the #1 spiritual warfare app; and his book, Activating the Power of God’s Word, uncovers 16 strategic declarations to transform your life. Kyle holds a Master of Divinity in biblical studies from Regent University. Get daily encouragement from Kyle on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.