A New Look at Your Real Enemy (Part 1)

BY: Deana Bell, Director, and Restored Marriage
For most of my life I have attended churches that do not speak of or even acknowledge the existence of Satan. I never quite understood it, but yes, I too, spent years of my life ignoring something that should never be ignored. I don't know what the reasons are - possibly fear or ignorance - but I am certain that God wants us to know who our enemy is.

Back in 2008 my life was a mess. But from the outside you’d never know it. My husband and I were college sweethearts with two children and a modest house in the suburbs. My husband was just getting started on his climb to upper management in the software industry. I was a stay at home mom by choice, who really enjoyed working from home. From the outside it looked like we had it all.

But there was a dark secret about to shatter our family. Unknown to me at the time, my husband was involved in an affair with a woman from work. I was so involved being a mother to our children that I often forgot that I needed to make my husband a priority. I had made mothering and my children idols. Idolatry is always a sin; even good things, if they become our focus, can separate us from God. But where my husband and I were both failing was knowing who our REAL enemy is. It wasn't the other woman. It wasn't the kids. It wasn't even each other. It was a force so old that it dates back to Creation.

At this point, I didn’t fully realize I was in a spiritual battle. I didn't even know it existed. But one day, I opened up my Bible to 1 Peter:

So be truly glad. There is wonderful joy ahead, even though you must endure many trials for a little while. These trials will show that your faith is genuine. It is being tested as fire tests and purifies gold - though your faith is far more precious than mere gold. So when your faith remains strong through many trials, it will bring you much praise and glory and honor on the day when Jesus Christ is revealed to the world. (1 Peter 1:6-7 NLT)

Dear friends, don't be surprised at the fiery ordeal you are going through, as if something strange were happening to you. Instead be very glad - for these trial make you partners with Christ in his suffering, so that you will have the wonderful joy of seeing his glory when it is revealed to the world. (1 Peter 4:12-13 NLT)

So humble yourselves under the mighty power of God, and at the right time he will lift you up in honor. Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you. Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour. Stand firm against him and be strong in your faith. Remember that your family of believers all over the world is going through the same kind of suffering you are. In his kindness God called you to share in his eternal glory by means of Christ Jesus. So after you have suffered a little while, he will restore, support, and strengthen you, and he will place you on a firm foundation. (1 Peter 5:6-10 NLT)

As I read this, my eyes welled up with tears and without even noticing it, I had cried a puddle in my lap. THIS, my friends, spoke to me like something out of a dream.

Did God really know what I was going through?
Did He really care enough to show me these verses?

As I read these verses over and over again, they spoke to me in a way that inspired me to look at my "trial" in a different way. If God really knew what I was going through, I knew He would be there to help me get through it. I found so much life-giving wisdom and inspiration in these verses that I decided to print them out and post them all around the house as reminders that the "fiery ordeal" that was taking place in my life was meant to keep my eyes on Him. Many times I would simply stand, looking at the pages I had printed, just letting the words soak in. Every time I read them, I felt God pouring His Spirit into my soul.

Reading that my "adversary the devil prowls around," felt very scary to me. Remember that NO ONE I knew at the time, EVER talked about Satan. The question I kept coming back to was, "Why does the devil want me?" (If you know the ending to my story, you know WHY the devil wanted my marriage.)

In spite of my fear, I felt immense hope in the fact that this verse said that I was "sharing Christ's sufferings." You mean, if I suffer for a little while, God will protect me and eventually reveal His glory through ME? At the time I didn’t understand the enormity of it. I just knew that I wanted to be like Jesus and if I needed to suffer a tiny fraction of what He did, I was willing to do it.

On December 11, 2008 I finally found out about my husband's affair. My life came crashing down and the flood came so quickly that I had no time to think. I felt like I was drowning, and I just wanted someone to save me. Everything felt so overwhelming.

Does this mean I am going to get divorced?
Does this mean I lose the love of my life?
Does this mean that I have to watch another woman try to be a mother to my children?
Does this mean that I am going to be alone?

And then…I allowed Satan to whisper in my ear. I allowed Satan to deceive me. I allowed fear to creep in. Although I believed in God, I didn't realize that the enemy was at work and I decided, on my own, that anything would be better than the pain and anguish I was feeling. The devil had convinced me that I would be better off dead than live a life like this. Temporarily, I had forgotten the verses that the Lord had spoken to me. Although I never attempted suicide, I had given it enough consideration that I needed help from trained doctors and nurses and was checked into a local in-patient psychiatric clinic.

As my husband left me on the first night at the hospital, he gave me a letter he had written in response to my plea for help. In his letter he said that, effective immediately, he was going to end the affair with the other woman. In addition, he was committing himself to our marriage and whatever it would take to get us back on track.

I held onto that note like it was a golden treasure. I read it multiple times a day. I cried. I felt hope. And I cried some more, thinking about what this really meant. I felt like I had my husband's promise, but since I had been so blind-sided, I continued to wonder if it was really true. What I didn't realize at the time is that I had GOD'S promise. And God's promise was way more effective, powerful and mighty than any man-made promise.

to be continued......
(Look for Part 2, next Tuesday)
DEANA BELL:
Deana is currently one of the Directors of Covenant Keepers, International. She graduated from the Dove School of Leadership through Chesapeake Bible College and received her Pastor's license in 2019. Previously she and her husband, Koji, served as the Mid-West Regional Directors of Covenant Keepers and as small group leaders in that area. She has a degree in Secondary Education as well as experience in counseling from a biblical standpoint. For the last 20 years, she has also served her family as a stay-at-home mom and homeschool teacher. 
 
She is passionate about having a relationship with Jesus and the Holy Spirit. She has seen many miracles in her life as well as in the lives of the people around her. At her core, she is an encourager and disciple of Christ, spending most of her days ministering to people and digging into the Word. She also speaks at conferences, loves to write, and teach the Word of God. She and her family currently live and attend church in the Charlotte, NC area.

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