There was a time when someone suffering from a heart attack had little chance of survival because he or she didn't know what was happening and ignored the symptoms until it was too late. Medical advancements began identifying common warning signs such as discomfort and pressure in the center of the chest, pain in one or both arms and shortness of breath. Spreading awareness of the warning signs has greatly increased the survival rate for heart attack victims.
In a similar manner, many Christians seem to be blindsided by spiritual attacks. The goal of any spiritual attack is to turn you away from what God wants to do in your life. When it comes to a spiritual attack, it is crucial to recognize the warning signs for survival. Though there are more signs than this, here are seven major ones to be on the lookout for.
1. Loss of Spiritual Desire
We don't live by feelings alone, but there is a difference between doing something merely out of obligation and doing something because you delight in it. Spiritual desire is evidenced by a heart on fire for God. As David said, "O God, You are my God; early will I seek You; my soul thirsts for You, my flesh longs for You, in a dry and thirsty land with no water" (Ps. 63:1). When you delight in the Lord, nothing else compares. Someone passionate for God finds pleasure in the things of God.
Losing your spiritual desire rarely happens deliberately. It happens slowly, and the changes in your heart are subtle. Life issues arise and begin cutting into your time in the Word. Before long, you are just too busy to read your Bible and renew your mind.
You start feeling a disconnect when you pray, and before you know it, you start spending less and less time in prayer. Soon you find reasons not to be in church. Worldly pursuits start taking the place of your pursuit of God. Instead of your heart being on fire, it becomes merely lukewarm.
You should have things you enjoy outside of the church—hobbies, skills, sports, activities, travel and so forth. But I have watched many Christians who were at one time passionate for the things of God begin finding all of their enjoyment in worldly things rather than the things of God.
2. Physical Fatigue
We are created beings—spirit, soul and body. If my body is weak, it allows things to get into my mind (soul), and that allows things to negatively affect my spirit.
A good example of this from Scripture is Elijah after his run-in with Jezebel. After having fire fall from heaven and consume his offering and then killing 850 of her prophets of Baal and Asherah, Elijah delivered a sound blow to Jezebel's kingdom. That had to be tiring work. Physically exhausting.
That is when Jezebel attacked, sending her messenger to Elijah with her threat to kill him within 24 hours. Already worn down, he fled, traveling a full day into the wilderness. When the adrenaline finally wore off, he sat down under a tree and prayed that he would die (1 Kings 19:1-4). Then he fell asleep.
Many times we face our greatest attacks just before a great promotion or just after a great victory. Keep that in mind when you're going through it—an attack could very well be an indication you are about to be promoted or have just had a great victory.
3. "Lack Attack"
There are times when it seems all your resources dry up at the same time. Don't get me wrong, I am not implying MasterCard and Visa are demons. You cannot simply rebuke debts you have incurred. You can't pray bills away; you have to pay them.
But when everything starts breaking down at the same time, when business dries up or layoffs are announced, when the car breaks down, the appliances are on the fritz and all the kids are sick, you could be under a lack attack. The enemy attacks in this way to get you to take your eyes off God and put your eyes on money. If he can get you worrying rather than worshipping, you will start making decisions based on opportunity rather than anointing.
I have seen people who were fully committed to God and growing spiritually, and then the enemy hit them with a lack attack. They got their eyes off God and on money. Then along came an opportunity—but not an anointed opportunity.
Not every good offer is from God. The devil can make some very tempting offers. He even tried to sway Jesus from His purpose, offering Him all the kingdoms of the world and a way out of the cross. Of course, there was a catch. The devil added, "All these things I will give You if You will fall down and worship me" (Matt. 4:9). Your enemy can orchestrate circumstances to give you what you are looking for at a vulnerable moment in your life and to steal from you what matters most.
Always remember there are two times in your life when you are especially vulnerable to temptation: when you have nothing and when you have everything. Stay close to God in both the good times and the bad times. Whether you are in a season when things are going well or a season when nothing is going right, God has promised to supply all of your needs according to His riches in glory as you seek Him first and honor Him with your finances.
If you are going through a lack attack, focus your mind on God's promises, not your problems. Remember Scriptures like, "I have been young, and now am old; yet I have not seen the righteous forsaken, nor their offspring begging bread" (Ps. 37:25).
4. Weak Prayer Life
"Could you not watch with Me one hour? Watch and pray that you enter not into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak" (Matt. 26:40-41). Hours later, Peter found himself under attack and denied he even knew the Lord. The temptation came. The flesh was weak.
Prayer is a discipline. There is no "gift" of prayer. It takes action on your part. It takes faith and persistence. However, there are times when even though you are faithful to pray, your mind may work against you.
I often go out in the woods to walk and pray and focus my thoughts on the Lord. But sometimes after walking 2 or 3 miles, I realize my thoughts have been on everything but God. The enemy wants to circumvent God's will. You'll think of hundreds of things you need to do the moment you try to go pray.
Remember, it's not only the normal or natural duties and cares of life that keep you from your place of prayer and time of prayer; it is also an unseen spiritual tactic of the enemy to choke prayer out of your life. If you are not reading your Bible on a regular basis and praying, you are under spiritual attack.
The key to spiritual life is breathing—inhaling the Word of God and exhaling with prayer. The Bible is the inspired Word of God, which means it is "God-breathed." So when you read the Bible, you breathe in your spiritual life. When you pray, you exhale. You can't just breathe in; you must also breathe out, and that means you need to pray.
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