IDENTIFYING THE ENEMY
Hence, the most important thing to do now is to clearly identify our enemy. We have to know definitely who our enemy is, who it is that causes us to suffer. Many times, we think that we have been taken advantage of by men. But the Bible tells us that "our wrestling is not against blood and flesh but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the world-rulers of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenlies" (Eph. 6:12). Hence, every time we suffer at the hands of men, we have to remember that behind the men of flesh Satan and his dark powers are there directing. We should have the spiritual sight to discern between God’s work and Satan’s hidden schemes. We should differentiate between the natural and the supernatural. We should be mature and acquire spiritual knowledge so that nothing of Satan’s work in the dark will escape our observation.
If this is so, should we not see that every natural or accidental occurrence which we encounter in our daily life is the work of the enemy? Then we will see that Satan is hounding us and persecuting us in everything. The pitiful thing is that in the past we were taken advantage of by Satan so much, yet without any realization that it was he who was taking advantage of us. The most important thing now is for every one of us to have a hatred of Satan for his harassment of us. Our hatred against Satan can never go too deep. Before there can be the possibility of victory, we must maintain an opposing attitude in our heart and refuse to come under his oppression. We must realize that our sufferings which come from Satan are unjust and that these injustices must be avenged. This malice must be avenged. He has no right to afflict us, yet he inflicts such pain upon us. What an enmity! What an injustice! We must seek for vengeance.
THE CRY FOR VINDICATION
After the widow suffered, she came to the judge for vindication. We should learn from this. We should not come before earthly judges for anything. We should cry out to our Judge who is our Father God. The weapons of our warfare are not fleshly (2 Cor. 10:4); hence, we should not deal with the fleshly men, who are utilized by Satan, by any fleshly means. Instead, we should pity them because they have become Satan’s tools. In spiritual warfare, fleshly weapons are completely useless. Not only are they useless, but all those who use them will be overcome by Satan! We should use spiritual weapons to fight spiritual warfare. There are, of course, many spiritual weapons, which are all recorded in Ephesians 6. The most important of these is the prayer of verse 18. We are powerless in ourselves and cannot seek to avenge ourselves, but we can pray to God and ask Him to avenge us. Prayer is the best offensive weapon against the enemy. In prayer we maintain our ground, and through prayer we can attack the enemy and damage his plan, his work, and his power. The widow knew that for her to fight or argue with the opponent was futile, for a weak widow can never prevail against an evil rogue. In the same way, if God’s children will not trust in God’s power, if they will not have prayer as their shield, if they will not accuse the enemy in the midst of his accusations, crying for God’s avenging, but rather, go to war alone against Satan, they will surely be hurt by his flaming darts. In this parable, the Lord Jesus tells us the best way to overcome our opponent—by crying to God day and night, calling for His vindication of us and His judgment and punishment on Satan.
THE PRAYER THAT OPPOSES SATAN
The Bible gives us much help with respect to the prayer that accuses Satan. Now we want to briefly consider a few passages in the Scriptures that show us the prayer that opposes Satan.
We recall that in Genesis 3 the devil worked for the first time. Later, God judged him and cursed him. From this we know that Satan is cursed by God. In this curse, God clearly foretold that the head of the devil would be crushed by the Lord Jesus on the cross. Hence, when we suffer in his hands, we can apply this judgment. We can pray, "God, curse Satan once more so that he cannot work at will. You cursed him in the garden of Eden already; I pray that You will curse him afresh. Put him under the power of the cross again so that he cannot move." The thing that the devil is the most afraid of is God’s curse. Once God curses him, he will not dare to harm us anymore.
Mark 1 records that when the Lord Jesus was casting out the demons, He forbade them to speak. Hence, when Satan utilizes men to speak many words of confusion or violence, we can pray to the Lord to stop the mouth of the devil and to shut him up. Sometimes while we are preaching the gospel or teaching others the truth, we can pray to the Lord to stop the devil from opening his mouth to our listeners or saying anything that would cause the listeners to doubt or oppose the Lord’s word. We recall the story of Daniel in the lion’s den. One prayer which is always very effective is, "Lord, shut the mouths of the lions so that they will not harm Your people."
There is another wonderful prayer revealed in Matthew 12. The Lord tells us that in order to enter into the house of the strong man and plunder his goods, one must first bind the strong man. We know that the strong man the Lord speaks of here is Satan. Before we can overcome Satan, we have to bind him and stop him from his work. Of course, we ourselves cannot bind him and strip him of his freedom to oppose our work, but we can pray. In our prayer, we can ask God to bind Satan and strip him of the strength to fight against us. Whenever we are to work, if we first truly bind Satan with our prayer, our victory will be sure. Hence, we should always pray, "Lord, bind the strong man."
First John 3:8 says, "The Son of God was manifested, that He might destroy the works of the devil." Hence, whenever we see the works of the devil, we can pray, "O God, Your Son was manifested to destroy the works of the devil. I thank You because on the cross He has annulled the works of the devil. But the devil is still working. Annul his work in me, and annul his intention of working through my work. Annul his work in my environment; annul all of his works." When we pray, we can pray according to the condition at the time. If we see Satan working in us, our family, our office, our school, or our nation, we can ask God to annul his work in that place.
Jude 9 mentions one sentence which Michael the archangel spoke to Satan, "The Lord rebuke you." After this word, Satan was not able to oppose him anymore. Hence, this sentence can also be used in our prayer to the Lord as our opposition against Satan. We can ask the Lord to rebuke Satan. We should know that the Lord hears our prayer. If we ask Him to rebuke, He will surely rebuke. We should also believe that when the Lord rebukes Satan, he will not be able to withstand it. Satan is afraid of the Lord’s rebuke. We see that when the Lord rebuked the winds and the waves on the sea, they immediately obeyed Him and became calm. Hence, when the Lord rebukes Satan, it must be equally effective. If we read the Psalms we will see the effectiveness of the Lord’s rebuke. Psalm 18:15 says, "The river beds were seen,/And the foundations of the habitable land were laid bare,/At Your rebuke, O Jehovah." Psalm 76:6 says, "At Your rebuke, O God of Jacob,/Both chariot and horse fall into deep sleep." Psalm 80:16 says, "They perish at the rebuke of Your countenance." Psalm 104:7 says, "At thy rebuke they [the waters] fled." Psalm 106:9 says, "He rebuked the Red sea also,/and it was dried up." These verses show us the power of the Lord’s rebuke. Hence, if the Lord rebukes Satan, surely Satan will not be able to withstand it. Whenever Satan harasses us, we can ask the Lord to rebuke him.
Matthew 16 records Peter through his natural affection holding back the Lord Jesus from going to the cross. The Lord rebuked him, saying, "Get behind Me, Satan!" (v. 23). Every time Satan uses our relatives or natural affections to stop us from doing God’s will, we can pray to God to put Satan behind us.
In Matthew 6 the Lord Jesus teaches us to pray: "Deliver us from the evil one" (v. 13). We do not know when the evil one will come to oppress us, but we can always apply this expression in our prayer.
Colossians 2:15 says of the Lord Jesus, "Stripping off the rulers and the authorities, He made a display of them openly, triumphing over them in it." When we see the power of Satan on the rampage, we can stand on the foundation of the cross and ask the Lord to once again shame the devil. He was shamed on the cross already. Therefore, based on his first shaming, we can ask the Lord to shame him once more. If he is shamed, he will not be able to lift up his head or harm us anymore. Hence, we should pray to the Lord, "Lord, we are now standing on the foundation of the cross and are asking You to shame the devil once more."
(Collected Works of Watchman Nee, The (Set 1) Vol. 01: The Christian Life and Warfare, Chapter 12, by Watchman Nee)