Three Arrows in Satan’s Quiver (Arrow # 2)
Read – Hebrews 12:1-4
Key Verse – Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour (1 Peter 5:8 NKJV).
Key Thought – Satan wants to use things in our past to defeat us, but we need not be defeated by our past, if we are in Christ.
As I mentioned last week – I’ve been thinking about the devil lately.
The Bible says, in 1 Peter 5:8 – Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. That is a verse we all ought to have underlined in our Bibles, for it reminds us that there is a devil, he is real, he is our enemy, the enemy of our souls.
He wants to destroy us, but he cannot, for we who are saved are safe and secure in Christ forever. Jesus said, Most assuredly, I say to you, he who hears My word and believes in Him who sent Me has everlasting life, and shall not come into judgment, but has passed from death into life (John 5:24 NKJV). My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me. And I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand. My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of My Father’s hand (John 10:27-29 NKJV).
Satan wants to destroy us, but he cannot, for God has said that all we need do as Christians is resist him and he must flee. Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. (James 4:7 NKJV)
He wants to destroy us, but he cannot, for You are of God, little children, and have overcome them, because He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world. (1 John 4:4 NKJV)
No, be assured brothers and sisters, that he cannot destroy us as Christians.
But know also that he CAN cause a lot of mischief and trouble. He can wreak havoc in our lives if we let him. And that last phrase is an important one, isn’t it? If he is able to get a foot hold in our lives, it is because we let him. And as we learned last week, there are three areas where he likes to attack, and where we often find ourselves letting down our guard, and taking a hit from one of his arrows. Three arrows in Satan’s quiver that are particularly able to strike us, and specifically to strike the relationships in our lives, for that’s a goal he has – to break down your relationships – with God, with His church, with your spouse, with your kids, with others in your lives.
Last week we spoke about the first of Satan’s 3 arrows – getting us to take offense at something somebody said.
We’ll save Arrow # 3 – convincing us that we are not getting what we want from the relationship… convincing us that our needs just aren’t being met… until the next time.
Today, let’s take a look at Arrow # 2 – getting us to dwell on some past hurt, and convincing us that we just can’t get over it. Let’s look at the arrow first, and then how we can defend against it.
Our churches are filled with people who have experienced bad things in their past. Sometimes these experiences are the result of personal sin in their lives, and they then live with the shame of that sin until Christ calls them home. Sometimes these experiences are the result of sin in somebody else’s life, such as when a husband or wife is hurt by the actions of their spouse, and live with that experience. Sometimes it is not sin at all, but rather God working through the temporary pain and suffering of an individual to bring glory to Himself. (cf. And as Jesus passed by, he saw a man which was blind from his birth. And his disciples asked him, saying, Master, who did sin, this man, or his parents, that he was born blind? Jesus answered, “Neither hath this man sinned, nor his parents: but that the works of God should be made manifest in him. (Johns 9:1-3)
We have to ask some questions:
– Should any of these things in our past color our lives in the present?
– Is there anything that happened in the past that is a reason for quitting on God?
– Is there anything that happened in the past that is a reason for leaving a marriage or ending a relationship?
One thing I know to be true, and I would encourage you to accept, too – We are NOT VICTIMS OF OUR PAST. No matter what has happened, we can rise above it. The Bible is filled with people who suffered from sinful failure, either in their own walk with God, or that of others’, and they continued to serve God.
– Consider, for example, the story of Joseph’s imprisonment (cf. Genesis 39-41), and how he dealt with it. What was the reason for the painful things in his past? His brothers hated him and wanted to hurt him. They sold him into slavery, and he lived for years in a foreign land, imprisoned, and enslaved. We might find certain parts of that story that point a tiny bit of blame on Joseph, but not much. He was almost entirely victimized by others and suffered because of others. But he didn’t quit on God, nor did he quit even on those in his family who had so hurt him. He rose above all that and was mightily used by God because of it.
– How about Job’s disasters? (cf. entire book of Job). We read a bit of the first chapter last week, where we saw that Job was put through a horrible time of testing and not a bit of it was because of something he had done. Satan simply wanted to try and break him and God wanted to prove to Satan that Job was unbreakable. Despite suffering as few ever had, Job stayed true, didn’t quit, and in the end experienced victory and joy again.
– How about David? After his trist with Bathsheba his life turned into a seeming disaster. His son turned against him and tried to take his kingdom. He lost a child that he loved. He seemingly suffered from the results of that one moment of passion with Bathsheba for the rest of his life. Unlike with Joseph and Job, David’s problems were plainly traceable to sin in his life, but was he a VICTIM from that point on or a VICTOR? He repented of his sin, and continued to live for God, and died a winner rather than a loser.
– Paul said, We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; Persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed; Always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our body. (2 Corinthians 4:8-10)
There are many many many others in the Bible who experienced great problems in the past, but overcame them and lived a victorious life rather than a life of defeat. THAT IS OUR MODEL. We are Christians, indwelt by the Holy Spirit of God, filled with His very Presence! We know that the end of the story is total and complete victory! How then can we allow ourselves to be defeated by some trivial thing that has happened in the past?
And yet many leave churches for that very reason – they were hurt in the past, and they just can’t get over it. And many leave marriages and enter into divorce because of something that has happened in the past. “He hurt me…” “She should never have done that…” My brothers and sisters, these things ought not to be. We need to be VICTORS not VICTIMS! Satan is laughing as he flings this arrow at you and I!
ILLUS – Vernon Grounds told of an incident that happened while he was in seminary. Since the school had no gymnasium, he and his friends played basketball in a nearby public school. Nearby, an elderly janitor waited patiently until the seminarians finished playing. Invariably he sat there reading his Bible. Vernon recalled how one day one of his friends asked this man what he was reading.” The man answered, “The book of Revelation.” Surprised, the friend asked if he understood it. “Oh, yes,” the man assured him. “I understand it.” “What does it mean?” Quietly the janitor answered, “It means that Jesus is gonna win.”(Source unknown)
Christians! That is how you and I should view things! Jesus is gonna win! (As a matter of fact, He has already won.) And because we Christians are literally “in Christ”, we win too!
ILLUS – Lyle Arakaki of Honolulu, Hawaii tells the following story about himself. “In Hawaii, because of the time difference with the continental U.S., the National Football League Monday night football game is played in mid-afternoon; so the local TV station delays its telecast till 6:30in the evening. When my favorite team plays, I’m too excited to wait for television, so I’ll listen to the game on the radio, which broadcasts it live. Then, because they are my favorite team, I’ll watch the game on television too. If I know my team has won the game, it influences how I watch it on television. If my team fumbles the ball or throws an interception, it’s not a problem. I just think, ’That’s bad, but it’s okay. In the end, we’ll win.’”
What an illustration. We can view failures as temporary set backs, but we already know the ending! WE WIN! We are victors, so why act like victims?
Former British Prime Minister, Benjamin Disraeli, once said, “Grief is the agony of an instant; the indulgence of grief the blunder of a life.”
And yet, so many believers indulge their grief and their pain and let it color their lives from that moment on. What a mistake! We are VICTORS, not VICTIMS, as Satan would have you to believe.
– Most of us know Babe Ruth set a record with 714 home runs in his baseball career. But few remember he struck out 1,330 times on the way to that record.
– Most people know Jonas Salk discovered the polio vaccine, but few realize he had to fail two hundred times before he found the right one.
– Nearly everyone who watches professional basketball agrees Michael Jordan was one of the greatest players of all time. But most people don’t realize he failed to make the basketball team his sophomore year in high school. He didn’t quit playing because of one failure.
– Henry Ford went bankrupt five times before he finally succeeded.
– Thomas Edison failed over ten thousand times in his attempts to find the correct filament for the light bulb. When an aide urged him to quit after several hundred failures, he replied, “Why quit now? We know of at least a hundred things that won’t work.”
– Learning from our failures is part of the process of being successful. None of these people could have accomplished what they did if they had listened to the fear of failure. (Kent Crockett, The 911 Handbook, Peabody, MA: Hendrickson Publishers, 2003, 69)… if they had quit when life hit them.
QUOTE – Rocky Balboa – “Let me tell you something you already know. The world ain’t all sunshine and rainbows. It’s a very mean and nasty place and I don’t care how tough you are it will beat you to your knees and keep you there permanently if you let it. You, me, or nobody is gonna hit as hard as life. But it ain’t about how hard ya hit. It’s about how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward. How much you can take and keep moving forward. That’s how winning is done!”
And so, what is the pain, the suffering, the sin, the hurt that infects your life? What failure occurred in the past that has you thinking about quitting on God, leaving your church, separating from your Christian friends, maybe even your soul mate? Whatever it is, you do not have to be a victim to it.
Well, I know it all sounds good. But I also know we struggle to actually have such a mindset. How do we really do it? How do you and I turn a blind eye to the pain that screams so loudly from past experiences? What can we DO to practice our role as VICTOR rather than wallow like VICTIMS? How do we ward off this arrow of Satan?
Defending Against The Arrow
Here are a couple suggestions which may help. I’m sure you can think of some others as well:
Sometimes we just need to “keep on keeping on.” It’s no more complicated than that. Whatever it is you did before, keep doing it. Just because you don’t FEEL like doing it, doesn’t mean you should stop doing it. Feelings follow obedience. Failure and defeat will come. You are not perfect. Be ready to get up again and keep on going. We Christians need to learn how to get up after a crash. They happen. And too often they ruin us for the rest of our walk on this earth. If Christ is done with you after a crash, He’ll call you home. If you’re still here, then He wants more from you.
When the day is dark and gloomy
> And the fog obscures your view,
> And you feel there is no challenge
> Waiting anywhere for you;
> When it’s routine you must follow
> Through a dreary weather chart,
> And you feel the hand of duty
> Like a millstone on your heart;
> Face the skies however darkened,
> When you ache to turn away
Do the job that lies before you,
> Keep your courage one more day.
> You can never guess how often
> You affect another’s life
> By the fact you are a doer
> Not a quitter in the strife.^[Author Unknown]
Or… put another way – “do the next thing.”
From an old English parsonage down by the sea
> There came in twilight a message to me;
> Its quaint Saxon legend, deeply engraven,
> Hath, it seems to me, teaching from Heaven.
> And on through the doors the quiet words ring
> Like a low inspiration:
> “DO THE NEXT THING.”
> Many a questioning, many a fear;
> Many a doubt, hath its quieting here:
> Moment by moment, let down from Heaven,
> Time, opportunity, and guidance are given.
> Fear not tomorrow‘s, child of the King.
> Trust them with Jesus,
> “DO THE NEXT THING.”
> Do it immediately, do it with prayer;
> Do it reliantly, casting all care;
> Do it with reverence, tracing His hand
> Who placed it before thee with earnest command.
> Stayed on Omnipotence, safe ‘neath His wing,
> Leave all resulting,
> “DO THE NEXT THING.”
> Looking for Jesus, ever serener,
> Working or suffering, be thy demeanor;
> In His dear presence, the rest of His calm,
> The light of His countenance be thy psalm,
> Strong in His faithfulness, praise and sing.
> Then, as He beckons, thee,
> “DO THE NEXT THING.”^[Author unknown]
So often it really is as simple as that! Just take another step… one more step… don’t look way down the road… just look at the part right in front of you. The psalmist wrote, The steps of a good man are ordered by the LORD… (Psalm 37:23 NKJV). So concentrate on that next step. Once you get there, you can worry about the step to follow. One step at a time. Do the next thing.
Familiarize yourself with the Bible’s promises of victory. When Satan flings this arrow at you reminding you of past hurts, stirring up feelings of defeat, you can flee to these verses for strength. Remember how Jesus defeated Satan’s arrows in Matthew 4? He responded to Satan’s arrows by quoting the Word of God. Memorize some verses, like these, and use them against your adversary:
Through You we will push down our enemies; Through Your name we will trample those who rise up against us. (Psalm 44:5 NKJV)
But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. (1 Corinthians 15:57 NKJV)
These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33 NKJV)
For whatever is born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world–our faith. (1 John 5:4 NKJV)
Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? As it is written: “For Your sake we are killed all day long; We are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.” Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 8:35-39 NKJV)
There is no greater illustration of all this than our Lord Jesus Christ, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. For consider Him who endured such hostility from sinners against Himself, lest you become weary and discouraged in your souls. You have not yet resisted to bloodshed, striving against sin (Hebrews 12:2-4 NKJV).
He was not only the AUTHOR, but the FINISHER. He started out to redeem your soul from sin. He knew it would cost Him His very life, but He didn’t quit. On the cross, His victorious “IT IS FINISHED” rang out and continues to ring out today reminding us that what He started, He completed. He didn’t quit. And because of that, He can forgive your sins and mine and save our souls. Because of that, you can now be saved by simply believing on the Lord Jesus Christ (Acts16:31)… by calling on the name of the Lord (Romans 10:13)… by asking Jesus Christ to forgive your sin and save your soul. It’s as simple as that!
Well… too many who name the Name of Christ, quit too soon. Too many are weakened by Satan’s arrow, and easily beaten down by failure and defeat. It seems ridiculous for a Christian to be that way.
Let’s determine to be VICTORS and not VICTIMS.
Let’s be ready for this arrow of Satan and deflect it everytime he sends it toward us.
Let’s not let it be the reason we leave churches and Christian friends.
Let’s not let it bring down our marriages and taint the love we have for our spouse.
Let’s not let it discourage our kids and disillusion them to the claims of Christ. They cannot possibly be attracted to failure and defeat, but they will be attracted to a life of VICTORY!
May we Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour (1 Peter 5:8 NKJV).