Satan’s best-laid plan is to have us destroy ourselves first.

At any stage of life, Satan loves using the weaknesses of our flesh as a weapon against us; much like the bully who grabs our wrist, swinging it toward our face, yelling, “Quit hitting yourself! Quit hitting yourself!” Satan targets our insecurities and then laughs at our self-destruction. The Bible says we fall into his snare and are “taken captive by him to do his will” (2 Timothy 2:26). [An excerpt from Facing the Mirror: Finding a Self to Live With]

For years, this was my problem--and sadly, I thought I was the enemy.

I didn't realize I had been taken captive by Satan (in my mind). I was ignorant of all his devices against me. And more than that, I wasn't aware he was a defeated enemy.

On the contrary, my mind, and my mirror, constantly said I was the enemy. Instead of being aware of Satan's strategies against me, I was more aware of my faults and failures. And the voice in my head always called me stupid for making yet another mistake.

The Apostle Paul said in 2 Corinthians 2:11, "Lest Satan should take advantage of us... we are not ignorant of his devices." In other words, Satan lost his advantage when Jesus died, took our sins, and rose again. Jesus retrieved our authority! This was bad news for the devil. So his goal now is to regain the advantage.

And this is done primarily through our own ignorance.

Don't believe the lie: "What you don't know won't hurt you!"

This isn't true! What you don't know about who you are in Christ, or the ways in which the devil plants thoughts in your mind, or plays on your emotions to make you feel depressed--are all things that will hurt and destroy you if you don't learn the truth!

A quick story:

When I was around 12 years old, my brother and I had to ride the bus to school. There was a certain kid who also rode the bus who loved to pick on everyone around him. One day, I got tired of this and stood up to him. But when he swung at me, I got scared and fell down in the aisle pretending to be hurt hoping he'd leave me alone.

When we got to school, I had to swallow my pride and get up. All day, I carried the condemnation of my actions. My thoughts kept reminding me of how weak I was, and if that wasn't enough, I was ashamed that I had "lied" by pretending to be hurt physically, when really I was just hurt on the inside.

The bully on the bus was just a kid looking for attention. He made a lot of noise and then swung--and missed! Yet, he got off the bus a winner because I defeated myself first.

And this is exactly what Satan does.

He doesn't want anyone to know (or remember) he's been defeated, so he makes a lot of noise and throws a few punches, waiting for us to destroy ourselves first. But the Bible says, "Who is he who overcomes the world, but he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?" (1 John 5:5). In other words, your simple belief in Jesus that gained you salvation is all you need to defeat the devil!

But if you don't know that, the bully is going to harass you. He doesn't want you to know that even on your weakest day, you are still greater than him! "You are of God, little children, and have overcome [the enemy's devices], because He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world" (1 John 4:4).

So hold your head up today. Brush off the mistakes of this morning or yesterday. Satan's a liar and you're not defeated!