Talk is cheap
If you were your enemy, how would you attack you? What would your approach be? What would be the first play in your strategy book? While I don’t often think of myself as being someone’s enemy, or purposely trying to mess with someone, I think it’s helpful to try to put myself in “the enemy’s” mind to better understand how to counter his attacks. When I do this I find a few common threads you might find he uses against you as well.
Here’s the thing, the enemy of our soul is very smart, but he’s not particularly creative. He tends to use the same tactics over and over. He’s also on a budget. Satan is not like God, he does not have unlimited resources at his disposal. So, he’s left making due with what little he has available. And talk is cheap.
Think about it, which is easier: trying to contain the havoc you wreak on his plans while walking confidently in the calling and power of God, or intimidating you into silence before you start? The latter, obviously. So if you where the enemy, and you were on a budget, what would you do? You (and I, and he) would fill our minds with fear, and endless possibilities of “what if”. You would speak doubt and belittle. You could cast a vision of conflict and loss. Intimidation is incredibly effective, and talk is cheap.
Let’s think back to some biblical examples; remember the 12 spies who gave their report of Moses and the Israelites. They saw that there were giants in the land, saying “and we appeared as grasshoppers in our own sight.” At that point it didn’t matter what the giants thought about them, they had already lost the battle in their own minds.
How about David and Goliath. For 40 days this mammoth of a man had the entire army of Isreal paralyzed with fear and intimidation. Twice a day for over a month, he shouted insults to God and belittled his people. The negativity stole the men’s courage, from the king to the lowest foot soldier. Until, a young man secure in who he was, having taken hold of God’s promise, knowing he couldn’t loose (despite the size of the enemy), ran out and in seconds of the beginning of the battle knocked the giant down with a child’s toy and cut off his head with his own sword.
Now that’s messing with the enemy’s head for a change.
How about Nehemiah? We read about the burden he carried for the city of his heritage, the call that God placed on his life to lead his people out of a defeated slave mindset and back into acting out of the place of favor in the sight of God. But they too had enemies, and they too came against them, but never like they said they would. Chapter after chapter we read of scoffing and schemes. There were constant threats, sent directly from the enemy as well as coming from scared allies. False prophets foretold death in the middle of the night and enemy laid traps to trick them into danger. But they never actually attacked! Time after time, warning after warning came, but they never showed up for the fight. Talk is cheap, battles you might loose are an entirely different situation.
I love Nehemiah’s response to this noise, he said, “I am engaged in a great work. Why should I stop working to come and meet with you?” Later Nehemiah writes, “They were just trying to intimidate us, imagining they could discourage us and stop the work. So I continued the work with even greater determination.”
What if we met the enemy’s attempts at discouragement with renewed vigor for the work set before us. What if we saw opposition as encouragement that we’re on the right track? What if we taught him that every time he tries to intimidate us we’ll just work harder? What if we learned to “chop off the head” (so to speak) of the enemy with his own sword and silence his lies?
Several weeks ago I stepped out in a new way. I ministered in an area that I never imagined I would. For the weeks leading up to this I was terrified, not of what I was going to do, but of people’s reactions. I anticipated great conflict. I was exhausted just thinking about fielding the questions and defending my position. The day came, I woke up, did what I set out to do and waited for the fall out. And I waited. And waited. And waited. And nothing happened. Nothing. Not one negative comment. Not one disapproving look. Not one uncomfortable debate. Nothing. Nada. Zilch.
Because talk is cheap, but actually opposing what God is doing is costly to our enemy. He knows he’s going to loose.
Don’t get me wrong, dealing with the deluge of a constant verbal assault is no easy feat. But what if we learned to decipher the voices? What if we were quickly able to tell the difference between the voice of our enemy and the voice of our good shepherd? What if we did something radical, and didn’t submit ourselves to the voice of intimidation and forced the enemy to drain all of his resources and still loose?
Talk is cheap, but we don’t have to listen.