Who is most at-risk for spiritual attack?
I believe there are two main groups that are the most at risk for spiritual attack.
Just as a newborn baby is at it's weakest and most vulnerable point in life, a new believer is at their most vulnerable point in their walk with Christ, and therefore, is immediately targeted for attack. As soon as the person makes their declaration of faith and belief, Satan or one of his workers is right there, trying to place doubts about God or their salvation in their minds, or unwanted thoughts and temptations in their hearts. If the new believer stays around other believers who are more grounded in the faith (you might consider them "older" brothers and sisters), and begins to study his or her Bible diligently (spiritual food for spiritual growth), then the odds are that Satan will not be able to effectively attack them. However, if after accepting Christ, the new believer does not keep fellowship with other believers, or doesn't bother to study their Bible in order to learn and grow in Christ, then it's very likely that Satan will stage a successful attack on them, and either cause them to turn their back on Christ, or make them completely ineffective and possibly prone to believe false doctrines. Or they may spend their entire Christian life wondering about their salvation, and asking for the Lord to save them over and over again, never being able to experience the joy and liberation found in Christ, and, therefore, never able to truly share their experience with others in order to lead them to Christ and His love.
If you were planning on staging an attack on an enemy army, how would you decide where to strike first? Obviously you would want to attack the enemy forces that pose the most immediate threat to you. This is the same way it is with spiritual warfare. If a person is becoming an effective witness for Christ, you can bet that Satan is going to do everything within his (impressive, yet limited) power to nullify that person's ability to serve as a witness and worker for Christ. How many times have you heard of someone who was really getting excited about the Lord, perhaps because they were about to get a wonderful opportunity to serve Him, only to suddenly have things start to go wrong in this person's life, for no apparent reason? The odds are that Satan, or one of his workers, was doing his best to distract them in order to keep them from being effective as a Christian.
Eventually, we may reach a stage in our walk with Christ, where Satan will not be able to effectively attack us; at least not directly. Many times what happens then, is that the attack will become an indirect one. Perhaps people we've trusted will suddenly turn against us due to something they think we may have said or done, or bad things will start happening in the lives of our friends or family. While this is not a direct attack, often this is the most effective. By attacking our loved ones, the attack may not be as immediately apparent to us, and, therefore, we may not respond in the same way as we would to a more obvious and direct spiritual attack. We become distracted due to worry about our loved one's problems, and try to help them, in the process getting distracted from whatever it was we were doing that had Satan worried.
HOW DO WE KNOW?
Again, as I said in the previous paper, not ALL bad things that happen are a result of Satan's actions. So, obviously, the question becomes, how do we know if it's a spiritual attack or not?
The first thing to consider is: are you in one of the two groups mentioned above? Of course, Satan does not limit his attacks to only those two groups, but I believe the majority of his attacks are directed at them. Why? Going back to the war analogy, if an army has certain sections that aren't up on their battle drills, don't have a lot of firepower, and basically aren't too much of a threat, these sections will not be nearly as much of a priority as sections that are much more organized and more heavily armed, so as to be greater threats. Likewise, an army also wouldn't want to allow any re-enforcements to be added to their opponents forces, so any troops that have just joined up with the enemy army would be targeted in order to be taken out before they became organized and integrated into the enemy forces.
The effective believers are the sections that are organized and heavily armed. The new believers are the re-enforcements. So, if you are in one of these two groups, there is a much better chance that certain things happening to you may be the result of spiritual warfare, than if you are in the group of ineffective believers, which would be the sections of the army that aren't up on their battle drills, aren't heavily armed, and, therefore, don't pose much of a threat. These believers (Christ refers to them as "lukewarm" in Revelation 3:15-16) are the ones who don't have time to focus on God because they're worried about other things like getting ahead in their jobs, or "keeping up with the Joneses." Or they may be people who believe in Christ and have accepted Him, but are just having too much fun right now in their lives to worry about getting too into Christianity. Or these may be the believers who claim to believe in Christ, and that go to church three times a week, but the rest of the time things like God and Christianity are basically nothing more than words. If you fall into this group, I'm sorry if I offend you, but you just aren't that much of a threat to Satan, and he's probably not going to waste a lot of effort trying to make you ineffective, since you've allowed to world to do that already. So if something bad is happening in your life, there's a much better chance that it is just that: chance.
The next question to be asked is, what should you do if you suspect you're under spiritual attack?
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