As we all know, Satan comes to steal, kill, and destroy. (John 10:10) Sometimes, he will come to do those things before we even know why. Satan knows that God has great things in store for us and he will try to prevent those things by raging against us. I was thinking the other day and I realized that both of Satan’s attacks on my mind and spirit came just before God moved in my life in a major way. I went through those things not knowing that they were just the before battle.
The Battle with Depression.
When I was a pre-teen, I went through the worst mental battle I had ever faced. A spirit of depression had been brought into our home by my then-step-father a year or so before. When he left that spirit remained and, for some reason, attached itself to me. I struggled silently while everything inside of me became mixed up. Give me a physical battle and I knew how to conquer that, but faced with this mental challenge, I felt helpless. I couldn’t even articulate to anyone what was going on! I just knew something wasn’t right and that I was in so much pain.
Later on, I would sit in a room full of adults and tell them that I went through the “typical teenage depression,” but that it also brought me back to Christ. Back then I was trying to downplay it, which I did for years until I finally sat my mom down and told her the truth of what had happened. Even then I don’t think I realized the full scope of what had happened.
The first time I operated in the gift of prophecy was actually before I entered that first mental battle. However, about a year after that battle with depression ended, I began to get glimpses of the future. It sounds totally cheesy, but it honestly scared me because I knew that God had instructed us to stay away from divination and fortune-telling (Deut. 18:10) and here I was, seeing things that hadn’t happened yet.
They weren’t huge things, either. The one that is clearest in my mind happened when I was sitting on a neighbor’s front porch. Me and a girl about my age were sitting on patio chairs with a table between us. We were just talking, taking a break from playing, and as I was sitting there, I had this image of ants crawling all over my foot. I looked down and my foot was completely ant free, but there was an ant pile at the edge of the patio and I knew that if I didn’t move my foot, it would be swarmed with ants. I’m pretty sure this instance is so clear in my mind because it was the first time I told another person, the neighborhood girl, what was going on.
Shortly after, I sat down with my pastor and told him what had been happening to me. He then pointed me to scripture, I believe it was John 16:13, and told me that I was operating in a gift of prophecy. I felt so much relief. I finally understood what was happening.
The Wrong Path.
When I became a freshman in high school, I began walking down a path that was not good. Instead of being an influence for God on those around me, I was the one being influenced. I had surrounded myself with people who were not godly people and it really began showing. I knew that some of the things I was doing was wrong or was affecting me negatively, but I was harvesting bad seeds that had been planted in my heart that I had not dealt with.
When my mom decided to move us away, I was not happy. I did not want to leave, but of course that was not up to me. We ended up moving two and a half hours away. It was just far enough away that I was removed from the influence and destruction that I was allowing myself to be a part of. As I’ve said, I realized years later that this move was actually God removing me from that destructive path.
Away from the Path.
For little while we commuted every weekend back to our old town so that we could see family and still be a part of our church. When God called the others in the church elsewhere, we attempted to find a new home church. Funnily enough, the first church we tried is the church we have attended since I was sixteen, but at the time it was clear that we were not supposed to be there. God had other plans for us. We ended up in a church that was so new, it took place in someone’s home. After awhile, it took place in our home. It was while we attended that meager church that I really began operating in the spiritual gift of prophecy.
It’s been years (and I mean years) since those days, but I can now clearly see the why’s and how’s of Satan’s attack. He attacked my spirit so mightily because that was where my next step of growth in Christ would come from. I had already faced his physical attacks, almost losing my life multiple times by that point, but these attacks were something I had not really dealt with before. He attacked because he knew that God was about to move in my life in a mighty way.
What’s Your Before Battle?
So now I want to ask, what battles are you facing? If you’re going through something and you feel like you’re about to break, know that God is there with you. Psalm 55:23 says, “Unload your burden on Adonai, and He will sustain you.“(CJB) God will not only carry you through, He’ll carry you beyond whatever you are facing.
Satan comes to kill, steal, and destroy, and if he can, he will do those things before the harvest. If he’s attacking you, it’s because you have something he doesn’t want you to have. He knows that God has plans for you, plans for your well-being and not disaster, plans that will give you a future and a hope. (Jer. 29:11) You see, God knit His plans into the very fabric of our being and those plans are a major disruption to Satan’s plans. So of course Satan wants to stop God’s plan from happening, even if he’s just delaying the inevitable, and he does that by attacking us.
We are God’s children, His ambassadors, and Satan will do everything he can to keep us from promoting the Good News of God’s Word. Satan will do anything to stop us from going to all nations and making fishers of men. He will attack us by diverting our attention away from God and onto something else, a new way of life or problem. Really, no tactic is above or below Satan when he comes against us. Thankfully for us, no weapon formed against us shall prosper (Isa. 54:17) and we serve a God Who steps in and fights for us (Deut. 3:22), we have a Father Who is a refuge and fortress (Psa. 18:2), Who will help us in the time of trouble. (Psa. 46:1)
Know that if Satan is attacking you then you’re doing something right and that God is right there to fight for you. Satan will fight you and try to divert you from the breakthrough, the growth, and the blessings that God has in store for you. Keep focusing on God. Keep trusting and relying on God. In time, you’ll know why Satan fought against you so hard. This is just the before battle.