THE DEVIL MADE ME DO IT
When you look around the world and see destruction, oppression, injustice, racism, and abuse, it seems as if there is something bigger at play. If there is a real war being waged in a realm we can’t see, and there are dark forces at work in this realm, should we be afraid? Can we really say “the devil made me do it,” or is this a battle we can win?
Work through the following questions and Scriptures on your own, and get together with your running partner, life group, or friends and family to talk through what you are learning
1. What’s one memory, maybe from your childhood or teenage years, where you were a bit rebellious or did something bad that as you look back on it is a bit comical or funny to think about? What did you do? Why do you think you did that?
2. Are you onto Satan’s use of lies as his primary tactic? Are there any areas in your life you struggle to believe you can trust God with? Perhaps you think what you’re asking for needs to be done now (there’s no time to wait on God) or that you can handle your struggles on your own? Are there other lies you find yourself believing?
3. Read 1 Peter 5:8-9. What are some of the ways you “resist the devil”?
4. Read 2 Corinthians 10:4-5. What are examples of “divine weapons” you can use to demolish arguments or the lies Satan throws at you about God, about yourself, and about your life?
5. Read Ephesians 6:14-17. While we are called to put on the full armor of God, is there a specific piece of armor described that has been particularly beneficial to you in the past? Or is there one that could be particularly helpful in a spiritual battle you are currently facing?
6. Read Ephesians 6:12. What comes up for you as you consider that there is a spiritual war being waged all around you? How confident do you feel in regards to fighting spiritually? What areas might you still need more training and equipping in?
7. This week, spend some time reflecting on truths you can use to replace any lies you believe. Write down on a piece of paper some of the lies you find yourself thinking. For each thought, cross out the lie (or throw it in the trash) and write out a truth from God’s word to focus on instead.
**Due to space limitations, key scriptures have not been included in this week’s Message Next Steps.
To dig deeper into the topics of this week’s message, read Ephesians 6:10-17.
As followers of Jesus we’re in a spiritual battle. Though the ultimate war has been won, Satan will do all he can to leave us discouraged, doubting, and defeated. But God has not left us defenseless. He has provided spiritual armor for this spiritual battle—including a key offensive weapon—the Sword of the Spirit—God’s Word.
How can we “put on” this armor God has provided? Here’s a prayer for you to pray moving forward, based on Paul’s exhortation in Ephesians 6:10–18, that can help as we struggle, “not against flesh and blood, but against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms” (v. 12).
Jesus, equip me today:
• With the belt of truth (v. 14). May your truth rule in my heart and be in my mind and on my lips today.
• With the breastplate of righteousness (v. 14). Apart from You there is no righteousness, but through Jesus I have been “born again” and made righteous in Your sight. May I live as a righteous person.
• With feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the Gospel of peace (v. 15). May I reflect the Gospel in my words and actions, that through me, with my every encounter, others may be drawn one step closer to You.
• With the shield of faith (v.16). May I take You at Your word concerning promises about the present and future— promises of everlasting love, abundant life, and so much more.
• With the helmet of salvation (v. 17). Remind me that nothing can separate me from Your love and that I’ve been saved by grace. In Your grace, help me to say “no” to all ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live a self-controlled, upright, and godly life (Titus 2:12,13).
• And with the sword of the Spirit, the Word of God (v. 17). May Your Holy Spirit reign in my life and bring to my mind just the right Bible verses to be in my heart and on my lips. May I be “filled with the Spirit” and ready with Scripture as You were, Jesus, when the devil tempted You.
• Finally, keep me in an attitude of prayer (v. 18). Remind me to “pray in the Spirit on all occasions.” Cause me to be alert and always praying for Christ-followers; to be joyful and to give thanks in everything (see 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18).
*Adapted from Navigators.org
For additional reading on Spiritual Warfare Consider Reading:
The Essential Guide to Spiritual Warfare by Neil T. Anderson & Timothy M. Warner
I Give You Authority by Charles Kraft
SPIRITUAL OUTCOMES— gatewaychurch.com/spiritual_outcomes/trust-god