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The Night I Stood Up To The Devil

Have you ever stood up to the devil? You can, you know!

My people perish for want of knowledge. | Word Blessings | the night I stood up to the devil

What you don’t know can never help you!

I originally wrote this on Monday, November 14, 2011. On that same Monday in 1988, exactly 23 years earlier, I was fired from the job I had held for over 16 years.

In the previous article in this series, I described how I was tormented for months by fear and by panic attacks. All of that took place before I knew anything about the spiritual basis of fear.

As the photo-Scripture at right says, I was “perishing for want of knowledge.”

I think of all that as the “Before” part. Before I knew how to trust God, I had no clue about applying principles from the Bible. So I’m calling this the “After” part.

What I am about to relate is a real-life example of how knowing and applying passages from the Word of God allowed me to live in peace, just as God meant for us to live.

As I was saying at the end of the last part, my software business had all but vanished in the fall of 2001. But I trusted that God was in control, and that He had a plan for me.

Early in the morning of December 12, 2001, I had an experience that I can only describe as a message or a calling from God. If this ever happens to you, you’ll understand what I’m talking about. I just knew it was God, and it seemed He wanted me to write. I felt called to be a Christian writer.

In early 2002, God revealed why he took away my business.

In a “Focus On The Family” broadcast, the guest was Dr. Bruce Wilkinson. His book, “The Prayer of Jabez” had made his name known to Bible Christians. Now he had a new book, “Secrets of the Vine”. The new book showed how Jesus’ teaching in the vineyard applies to our lives:

I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser. 2 Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit He prunes, that it may bear more fruit.” (John 15:1-2)

It was that part about how the Vinedresser prunes the branches that arrested my attention. Wilkinson explained that sometimes God will “prune” away from us things He knows we can do without, and thus free us to do work for Him.

“That’s it!”, I shouted, slapping my hand on the table. “That’s why God allowed my business to go away!” He was making room in my life for the work He had called me to do.

So I really focused on writing, and reading prolifically everything I could find about how to apply the Word of God into my life. One of the early applications I found was from the great Apostle Paul. In one of his letters to his young pastor friend, Timothy, Paul wrote something that lifted me up from the bondage of fear.

The “scripture card” image below contains one of the most important pieces of information I have ever learned. I share it with you trusting that you will find it as useful as I did.

God has not given us a spirit of fear! | Word Blessings | Defeating the devil

The fear that you are experiencing is not from God.  Satan is the author of your fear!

What is fear, and where does it come from?

In that passage from one of Paul’s letters to Timothy, Paul wrote about a “spirit of fear”.

That grabbed my attention: “Just a moment: Paul,” I thought, “Did you say a ‘spirit‘ of fear?? A SPIRIT??!!”

Yes, that’s what he said. And that bit of knowledge was an eye-opening revelation to me! It taught me that fear is not just a physiological response to circumstances. Yes, sometimes it is. That’s why God built a “fight-or-flight” mechanism into our bodies. We get a shot of adrenaline when faced with real danger, to strengthen us just in the moment we need it.

But Satan and his demons, as they always do, corrupt the good things that God has given us by using them against us. Thus, more often than not, the fear we are feeling comes from demons in the spiritual realm. It’s one of their favorite weapons to use against humans.

Now, here’s how I used this to my advantage.

In the fall of 2003, our son Jeff was in his final year of art college. In the tradition of starving artists everywhere, he couldn’t afford to hire a model. Instead, he asked me to pose for him. I agreed, and asked if I could pose holding my Bible.

(The final painting is life-size, 42″ x 46″. You can see a photo of it at the bottom.)

As we set up the scene, I chose to open my Bible to Isaiah 43. My initial plan was to spend the posing time segments, when I had to sit perfectly still, memorizing Scripture. The bottom of the right-hand page contained this passage:

43 But now thus says the Lord,
he who created you, O Jacob,
    he who formed you, O Israel:
“Fear not, for I have redeemed you;
    I have called you by name, you are mine.
2 When you pass through the waters I will be with you;
 and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you;
when you walk through fire you shall not be burned,
    and the flame shall not consume you.
3 For I am the Lord your God,
    the Holy One of Israel, your Savior. (Isaiah 43:1-3)

I had been taught that phrases such as “pass through the waters” and “walk through fire” were poetic references to suffering. God doesn’t promise a trouble-free life. Sometimes we get soaked; sometimes we get singed. What’s important is knowing that God is with us through it all.

My initial intention was to learn new verses each time. Yet, session after session, I found myself wanting to see -— indeed, needing to see -— those reassuring promises from Isaiah: “…When you pass through the waters, I will be with you… when you walk through fire you shall not be burned”. Little did I know just how important those promises would be.

“Stand… take the sword of the Spirit, the Word of God”

Here’s the most important part of this story!
Read this carefully, and you’l see how, the moment I opened my mouth and began to speak His Word, God acted swiftly to banish the devil for me. Now I know, He had been right there, waiting for me to speak His Word, and so give Him my permission to act.

The “after” part of my story took place a few months after the portrait was done. In the wee hours of a warm summer night, I found myself half-awake. Suddenly, as though being rushed by a wicked intruder, I felt the all-too-familiar wave of panic beginning to rise within me.

Ah, but this time I knew what to do. I knew the source of the fear, and I was equipped with the Truth.

Not wishing to wake Joanne, I rose to my feet and said softly, “Lord, I know you’re right here with me.” Then I began to recite God’s Words:

When you pass through the waters I will be with you… when you walk through fire you will not be burned.” (Isaiah 43:2)

As I spoke those Words softly into the darkness of the bedroom, the rush of fear and panic subsided instantly.

In a moment it was over. The feeling of impending doom was gone! Do you know why? Because to do battle with Satan and his demons is to do battle with bullies, and that’s how bullies respond. When confronted with greater strength (in this case, the power of God by way of His spoken Word), they run!

“It Is Written…”

Matthew’s Gospel ( Matthew 4:1-11) recounts Satan’s efforts to tempt Jesus after He had fasted for 40 days: turn stones into bread; jump from the temple roof; worship me. Jesus deflected each of these temptations by applying the power of God’s Word. To each lie he replied, “It is written…” followed by a statement of truth from Scripture.

In so doing, Jesus gave us a model to follow. It’s a model I have used countless times.

You’ll note that my circumstances had not changed. I still had the same financial problems as before. But because I turned to Him in faith, God honored His promise of protection by preventing Satan from tying me in knots of fear and panic.

Do you recall how God says in Malachai 3:10-11 “I will rebuke the devourer for you…”? That promise comes right after He challenges us to put Him to the test by honoring Him with our finances. Well, here is a real-life instance of God keeping His Word! I still didn’t have much money, but I had His “perfect peace”.

Train For Battle Before The Battle Begins

The other crucial part of the process was the fact that I had pre-decided what I would do when facing fear. Remember how I said earlier that I had read that same passage from Isaiah 43 over and over? I was training for battle.

That’s how the victory is actually won. Like a soldier in battle, you have to know ahead of time what you will do. I knew that fear and panic are really battles against Satan. So, following Jesus’ model in Matthew 4 (“It is written…”), I had rehearsed in my mind over and over my plan to attack Satan’s lies with the Truth of God’s Word.

A week or two later, a devil took another run at me as I slept. I dreamed I was lying awake in bed, in the midst of a full-blown panic attack. In my dream, the bed was shaking so hard it woke Joanne. She asked what was happening, and why the bed was shaking. I told her a devil was trying to overwhelm me with panic.

Then–still in the dream–I said to Joanne with just a bit of a smile, “Watch this!”

Once again I quoted — this is all still in the dream — God’s promise from Isaiah 43:

When you pass through the waters I will be with you. When you walk through fire…” (Isaiah 43:2)

Suddenly, I was awake. The dreaded feeling was totally gone! I nearly burst out laughing in the middle of the night as I realized how God had just come through for me again!

The next morning, I related my dream to Joanne.

“You have,” she observed, “hard-wired yourself so completely that Satan can’t even get to you in your sleep!”

Joanne’s comment that I “hard-wired” myself is one of the most important statements in this whole article.

That is why I like to encourage people to do Scripture memory. That’s how you get victory over demons. Look at these Words regarding Satan from the lips of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ:

There is no truth in him… he is a liar and the father of lies” (John 8:44)

To deal with Satan is to deal with lies. When the lie Satan places in your mind says—as it did in my case—“ You’re all alone in this, and you’re going to lose everything”, don’t panic. Instead, rest in the comfort of God’s promises: “I’ll be with you even in this time of trouble. As you persevere and put your trust in Me I’ll bring you through it. In the process, your faith will grow stronger.” (That’s not a quote, but it’s a paraphrase of what God will do for us, when we release our problems to Him.)

Now, I’ve read the Barna polls, and I know that about 2/3 of Americans do not believe that Satan and his demons are real. This, despite the fact that there are 250 references to demons, by various names, in the New Testament.

But to deny the existence of demons is to call Jesus a liar. Stated simply: If you deny the existence of Satan or his ability to attack you, he has you!! You’re playing right into his hands.

But it doesn’t have to be that way. Jesus also said:

If you remain in my Word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free” (John 8:31-32).

Peace and freedom are yours WHEN you know God’s Word.

God gives perfect peace to those who keep their minds upon Him. | Word Blessings | Scripture memory

When you keep your mind firmly fixed on God, he gives you His perfect peace. What a great deal that is! This is not just “Bible-speak”. This truly happens.

What was I doing when I quoted the Bible and banished the devil? I was keeping my mind on God, not on my problems. I was preaching the Gospel to myself.

Remember that old saying: “What you don’t know won’t hurt you”? That’s a lie! (Satan probably started that.) The truth is: “What you don’t know can never help you.” In my case, once I did the work of knowing, and began acting upon that knowledge, God did the part I could not possibly do.

God meant for us to use His Book. He loaded it with word pictures showing how He relates to us and how to live in harmony with Him. It’s packed with truths and principles that He gave us. Those truths are our weapons against an adversary who knows we’re defenseless without them.

“Submit yourselves therefore to God…”

The transformation process I’ve just described was not instantaneous. Like forming any new habit, it took time for God to burn His Truths into the creases of my brain. All I can honestly tell you is that I’ve lived by the principles of God’s Word for years. And, despite current circumstances that would drive many to panic, I live in complete freedom from fear.

I don’t know what my future holds, but I know Who holds my future!

Portrait Of My Father

Portrait Of My Father

“Portrait Of My Father” by Jeffrey Smith

www.jeffreysmithart.com

~ Jan


Here is the link to the next article in the “Free From Fear” series:

How I Was Able To Defeat The Devil ►

{ 32 comments… add one }
  • Cerise West January 27, 2016, 2:21 PM

    Hello .. I want to thank u for this post because i believe u helped me just by reading it.

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    • Jan Smith January 29, 2016, 2:57 PM

      Cerise, that’s what I was hoping would happen.

      Reply Link
  • cerise west January 27, 2016, 2:17 PM

    i think God a very good reason for me to be reading this article . also was born 1

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  • Christophet December 21, 2015, 3:19 PM

    I am so glad I found this page! It holds true everything you are saying. The closer you are trying to get to Jesus or the Lord, the devil is always there trying to damage or tempt you away from those ties. Thank you!

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  • Toya November 25, 2015, 10:23 PM

    Thank you for sharing your story. O have always believed in God since I was younger. I am 30 years old and just now having to rely on him and trust him to bring a promise to past for me. I believe that he will do, it is just not happening as I thought it would. I felt like I would be out of this storm by now. I am still in the storm and feel like I get weary some days. I am trying my best to press my way forward and hold on to his hand but it seems so scary. I will push as long as I can, I am just afraid that I will give up before my prayers are answered. Any suggestions while I am waiting. Or has God said No to my prayers and I’m just still left hanging on in the dark! I am trying my best to seek his face and hear his voice. I’m just confused! Please God Rescue Me Out of This Storm!

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    • Jan Smith November 27, 2015, 6:07 PM

      Hi, Toya,
      Sometimes God leaves us in the storm to strengthen us for His purposes. It’s a sign that God has His hand upon you. If you can come to see it that way, it helps a lot. I’ve been “in the storm” for years. It’s just become how I live now. But I do so with His help. So are you!

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  • Tamara November 1, 2015, 10:02 PM

    Firstly, I can see why your calling is writing 🙂 very inspiring. Secondly, the portrait your son made is skilled. It is warm and gives a positive essence to you…very well done. Finally, my experience with the devil came before I read the Bible so I only knew what I had heard from others. I am very naive without God guiding me. I have always had an instinctual trust in God throughout my life. This experience showed me how important it is for me to trust Him in all parts of my life. He guided me to reading the Bible independent of other people, just Him and I. I know He has a plan for me but it overwhelms me thinking about it. I think now He is strengthening my love for Him, others and myself (so I don’t get down on myself), my humility and strengthening my faith to at least becoming that of a mustard seed. The devil and demons most definitely exist. This sounds silly but I have seen them both in the eyes of very troubled people and in the place I went when I killed myself thinking God wanted me to. God brought me back…a beautiful, compassionate Savior we have <3
    It is important to have all the armor of God. Again…well written.

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    • Jan Smith November 14, 2015, 7:07 PM

      Tamara, I’m goad to read that God is helping you through His Word via this article.

      Reply Link
  • Hounaida October 9, 2015, 3:44 PM

    Many thanks
    My name is hounaida ..I’m à lebanese girl ..as you know we live in a country full of desastre..and im very tired I tried many things to feel better ..God is taking may hand to show me truth.. fear is taking over me ..devil toolk everything from me ..I cant do nothing I want in life ..for now I d nt know what I need anymore ..like I dnt want anything anymore ..it is ver depressing.. i only feel good when I am at the church ….and enormes feeling of emptiness. .

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  • Joey September 22, 2015, 9:27 PM

    Very inspiring, thank you for sharing your story! God bless

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    • Jan Smith October 16, 2015, 4:37 PM

      Thanks, Joey. And remember: what God did for me that night He will do for you and for anyone. But remember: each of us has a part in the process. When Paul wrote in Ephesians 6:10-11, “10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. 11 Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil”, that’s God commanding us to know the Word well enough to be able to recognize the devil and defeat Him with the armor God has provided.

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  • Colan June 2, 2015, 4:35 PM

    I just want to take this opportunity to thank you from sharing this inspiring story above. I also have been tormented by the devil over the past days by bringing unwanted thoughts. It got worse to the point that I wanted to take my life becouse I thought the was no solution, but by the grace of God Im alive..

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    • Jan Smith June 5, 2015, 5:38 PM

      Thanks for your kind words Colan. I’m glad you didn’t listen to the devil and are still here. Remember: the devil always lies. So when you “hear” thoughts that are trying to lead you toward something that would be contrary to God’s Word, you know it’s a lie and you also know that the opposite is the truth.

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    • Nancy Grubaugh November 9, 2015, 5:51 AM

      Thank you for your testomony the past few weeks I all so was tormented by the devil I had my pastor and the people of my church prayed over me now I am free …..thank you for Isa 43:1&2 I will read it over and over tell I can say it in my sleep!! God bless you!!

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      • Jan Smith November 14, 2015, 6:49 PM

        Hi, Nancy,
        Now you can see for yourself how powerful the Word of God really is.

        Reply Link
  • Jojo February 1, 2015, 1:24 AM

    AWESOME.you really inspired me to start memorizing scriptures..great read.

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    • Jan Smith February 12, 2015, 9:44 AM

      Jojo, you really made my day by sharing that decision to begin memorizing Scripture. Once you put God’s thoughts (that’s what the Bible is) into your mind, He will use it to encourage you, to strengthen you, to challenge you, to correct you, and much more. You made a great decision. Don’t let the devil talk you out of it.

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  • Joan January 5, 2015, 1:55 PM

    As I said I am blessed.

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  • Joan January 5, 2015, 1:53 PM

    I am so blessed by these writings. Such clarity!
    Very timely for me.

    Reply Link
  • Ariyail November 12, 2014, 9:49 PM

    I’m 14 and my goodness! This post helped me a lot! Thank you so much ????

    Reply Link
    • Jan Smith November 13, 2014, 9:41 AM

      Thanks very much. I’m glad I could help you!

      Reply Link
  • move to hawaii for free September 8, 2014, 4:01 AM

    wonderful issues altogether, you just received a brand new reader.

    What would you suggest about your post that you just made some days in the
    past? Any certain?

    Reply Link
    • Jan Smith September 8, 2014, 6:25 PM

      I’m not sure I understand your question…

      Reply Link
  • ebony May 18, 2014, 10:25 PM

    The portrait is very nice. Professionally done BRAVO 🙂

    Reply Link
  • ebony May 18, 2014, 10:20 PM

    Well I have similarities to u Jan smith, I was actually asleep when Satan actually used a sexual unwanted thought to try to bring me back to my panic attack. It did work because I thought god and Satan was out of the question let my counselor tell it. Now since I no Satan is working on me in my dreams I now know to use bible scriptures to flee him and his demons away.this is great I’m reAding my bible the same time I’m reading your different posts. I really wonder how long it would take for me studying the bible to get rid of these unwanted thoughts. This is fairly new to me. Especially me being by myself studying.I’m scared to go into church for these unwanted sexual thoughts. I’m taking your posts very seriously becuz all I can do is turn to Jesus. That’s all I want to do.

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    • willie nance jr October 17, 2015, 6:12 PM

      I can relate to what you’re experiencing because I too get unwanted sexual dreams and dreams of somebody wanting to do me harm. It is the enemy attacking your fears because he somehow knew that would make you not wanna go to church. Be encouraged because if you have Jesus the battle is already won. He’s trying to put lust in your heart but God truly knows your heart so dontvlet the shame that the devil brings to your dreams stop you from praising and living for God.

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  • Laurie Frederick April 7, 2014, 9:14 PM

    WOW! Thank you for sharing, this site is wonderful!! I have always believed there was an adversary but never understood how much a part of everyday life he is until the last 2 years. He pulled back the curtain and revealed himself to me during a physical attack in the middle of the night from my eight year old daughter. It was the scariest event of my life, but ended with the Word of God saving us both. He still tries to get to me but I sense it’s him very quickly now and rebuke him. I have often felt compelled to write about it to help others identify and overcome the attacks but I haven’t started anything more than a table of contents. You have inspired me!

    Reply Link
    • Jan Smith April 8, 2014, 10:39 AM

      Laurie, thanks for posting a comment and for sharing part of your own story. I particularly like the part where you said your encounter with the enemy “…ended with the Word of God saving us both”. The power is in speaking the Word of God. So, the more Scripture you have chosen to internalize, the more you are able to stand against the enemy. ~ Jan

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