1. OUR GREAT ADVERSARY
a. Who is our greatest enemy, and how does he manifest himself? 1 Peter 5:8.
“The more nearly the Christian imitates the divine Pattern, the more surely will he make himself a mark for the attacks of Satan.”—The Great Controversy, p. 510.
“Men under the influence of evil spirits will work miracles. They will make people sick by casting their spell upon them, and will then remove the spell, leading others to say that those who were sick have been miraculously healed. This Satan has done again and again.”—Selected Messages, bk. 2, p. 53.
b. Why is he working so hard against us? Revelation 12:12.
“Satan is a diligent Bible student. He knows that his time is short, and he seeks at every point to counterwork the work of the Lord upon this earth.”—Testimonies, vol. 9, p. 16.
“The great conflict that Satan created in the heavenly courts is soon, very soon, to be forever decided. . . . Now, as never before, Satan is exercising his deceiving power to mislead and to destroy every unguarded soul.”—Ibid., vol.7, p. 141.
2. PROTECTION FROM OUR ENEMIES
a. When we are overwhelmed by the work of the enemy, what can give us courage? Psalm 61:1–3; Isaiah 59:19 (second part).
“The enemy cannot overcome the humble learner of Christ, the one who walks prayerfully before the Lord. Christ interposes Himself as a shelter, a retreat, from the assaults of the wicked one. . . .
“There is no power in the whole satanic force that can disable the soul that trusts, in simple confidence, in the wisdom that comes from God.
“Christ is our tower of strength, and Satan can have no power over the soul that walks with God in humility of mind. . . . In Christ there is perfect and complete help for every tempted soul. Dangers beset every path, but the whole universe of heaven is standing on guard, that none may be tempted above that which he is able to bear. . . . If we will give ourselves unselfishly to the work, never swerving in the least from principle, the Lord will throw about us the everlasting arms, and will prove a mighty helper. If we will look to Jesus as the One in whom we may trust, He will never fail us in any emergency.”—My Life Today, p. 316.
“In the daily life you will meet with sudden surprises, disappointments, and temptations. . . . Look unto Jesus at all times and in all places, offering a silent prayer from a sincere heart that you may know how to do His will. Then when the enemy comes in like a flood, the Spirit of the Lord will lift up a standard for you against the enemy.”—The Adventist Home, p. 214.
b. How can we rise above our enemies? Psalm 119:98; Proverbs 16:7.
“Could our spiritual vision be quickened, we should see souls bowed under oppression and burdened with grief, pressed as a cart beneath sheaves and ready to die in discouragement. We should see angels flying swiftly to aid these tempted ones, who are standing as on the brink of a precipice. The angels from heaven force back the hosts of evil that encompass these souls, and guide them to plant their feet on the sure foundation. The battles waging between the two armies are as real as those fought by the armies of this world, and on the issue of the spiritual conflict eternal destinies depend.”—Thoughts From the Mount of Blessing, p. 119.
3. ENEMIES WHICH CAUSE DEEP WOUNDS
a. Where do our “enemies” sometimes come from? Micah 7:6. Why? Amos 3:3.
“Between the believer and the unbeliever there is a radical difference of tastes, inclinations, and purposes. They are serving two masters, between whom there can be no concord.”—Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 174.
b. Who turned against David? Psalm 41:9. As David sought comfort from the Lord, what assurance was he given? Verses 11, 12.
“When your names are cast out as evil, and friends turn against you, remember how Jesus was treated on earth. Spies were constantly upon His track, seeking to catch Him in His words, that they might find accusation against Him. Can His followers expect better treatment than He received?”—Historical Sketches, p. 234.
c. Tell how Jesus had a similar experience. Luke 22:48.
“Judas the betrayer did not forget the part he was to act. When the mob entered the garden, he had led the way, closely followed by the high priest. To the pursuers of Jesus he had given a sign, saying, ‘Whomsoever I shall kiss, that same is He: hold Him fast.’ Matthew 26:48. Now he pretends to have no part with them. Coming close to Jesus, he takes His hand as a familiar friend. With the words, ‘Hail, Master,’ he kisses Him repeatedly, and appears to weep as if in sympathy with Him in His peril.
“Jesus said to him, ‘Friend, wherefore art thou come?’ His voice trembled with sorrow as He added, ‘Judas, betrayest thou the Son of man with a kiss?’ This appeal should have aroused the conscience of the betrayer, and touched his stubborn heart; but honor, fidelity, and human tenderness had forsaken him. He stood bold and defiant, showing no disposition to relent. He had given himself up to Satan, and he had no power to resist him. Jesus did not refuse the traitor’s kiss.”—The Desire of Ages, pp. 695, 696.
4. DELIVERANCE THROUGH LOVE AND KINDNESS
a. How should we treat those who hurt us? How did Jesus give us an example of this? Matthew 5:43–47; Romans 5:6–8.
“Not because we first loved Him did Christ love us; but ‘while we were yet sinners’ He died for us. He does not treat us according to our desert. Although our sins have merited condemnation, He does not condemn us. Year after year He has borne with our weakness and ignorance, with our ingratitude and waywardness. Notwithstanding our wanderings, our hardness of heart, our neglect of His Holy Word, His hand is stretched out still.”—The Ministry of Healing, p. 161.
“Even sinners whose hearts are not utterly closed to God’s Spirit, will respond to kindness; while they may give hate for hate, they will also give love for love. But it is only the Spirit of God that gives love for hatred. To be kind to the unthankful and to the evil, to do good hoping for nothing again, is the insignia of the royalty of heaven, the sure token by which the children of the Highest reveal their high estate.”—Thoughts From the Mount of Blessing, p. 75.
b. How can we practically love our enemies? Romans 12:20, 21.
“We may never know until the judgment the influence of a kind, considerate course of action to the inconsistent, the unreasonable, and unworthy. If, after a course of provocation and injustice on their part, you treat them as you would an innocent person, you even take pains to show them special acts of kindness, then you have acted the part of a Christian; and they become surprised and ashamed, and see their course of action and meanness more clearly than if you plainly stated their aggravated acts to rebuke them.”—Medical Ministry, pp. 209, 210.
c. Tell of a time where this spirit was practiced. What were the results? 2 Kings 6:18–23.
“Every word of love, every act of kindness—even the cup of cold water that has been given in the name of Christ—is recognized and rewarded.”—The Signs of the Times, February 10, 1888.
5. GOD GIVES THE VICTORY
a. How can we have victory over our great enemy, the devil? James 4:7–10.
“To us, as to Peter, the word is spoken, ‘Satan hath desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat: but I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not.’ Luke 22:31, 32. Thank God, we are not left alone. He who ‘so loved the world, that He gave His only-begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life’ (John 3:16), will not desert us in the battle with the adversary of God and man.”—Thoughts From the Mount of Blessing, p. 119.
b. When does God promise to deliver us? Psalm 50:15.
“Sweet and abiding will be the influence emanating from Him who seeth in secret, whose ear is open to hear the prayer arising from the heart. By calm, simple faith the soul holds communion with God and gathers to itself rays of divine light to strengthen and sustain it in the conflict with Satan.”—Steps to Christ, p. 98.
“Satan trembles and flees before the weakest soul who finds refuge in that mighty name.”—In Heavenly Places, p. 256.
“When it becomes the habit of the soul to converse with God, the power of the evil one is broken, for Satan cannot abide near the soul that draws nigh unto God. If Christ is your companion, you will not cherish vain and impure thoughts; you will not indulge in trifling words.”—That I May Know Him, p. 250.
PERSONAL REVIEW QUESTIONS
1. What should we consider if we find life easy, without any struggles with the enemy?
2. What makes the soul invincible to the attacks of the enemy?
3. Why do we sometimes clash with relatives and supposed friends? Who else had this experience?
4. What works most effectively in dealing with the inconsistent and unreasonable?
5. How does prayer give us the victory over our enemies?