There is a certain type of spiritual warfare that is aimed at taking you off course and distracting you from what God has called you to do. The greatest temptation in those times is to divert valuable time and resources to deal with it.
This is one reason why discernment, oversight and wisdom are so important when it comes to spiritual warfare.
This is what happened to Nehemiah. God gave Nehemiah a responsibility—to govern Jerusalem and lead the rebuilding of Jerusalem’s walls.
Throughout the book of Nehemiah, the Jews’ enemies used a number of strategies to stop them completing the project.
Here are 3 signs that spiritual warfare is a distraction, from Nehemiah’s story:
1. The Enemy is using Discouragement and Intimidation
The Jews’ enemy, Sanballat, is angry about Nehemiah’s plans to rebuild the wall. And his first response is ridicule. He mocks the Jews, and in the presence of his associates and the army of Samaria, says, “What are those feeble Jews doing? Will they restore their wall? Will they offer sacrifices? Will they finish in a day? Can they bring the stones back to life from those heaps of rubble—burned as they are?” (Neh 4:1b-2)
The aim of these insults and questions seems to be twofold:
- Gaining support for their negative opinions
- Getting Nehemiah and the Jews to doubt their capability of whether they can do what God has called them to do
This is a reminder that one of the enemy’s chief strategies is intimidation and discouragement.
Now look at Nehemiah’s response:
- He doesn’t let it aggravate him
- He refuses to let it affect his progress
- His first response is to take it to prayer
2. The Enemy Issues Threats
When the walls are halfway to completion, the enemies of Judah are becoming agitated. Now they issue a direct threat. They are plotting a physical attack. Notice that Nehemiah doesn’t minimize the threats—he takes them seriously—but he doesn’t stop the work, either.
Nehemiah keeps in mind that the enemy’s real purpose is to get the people to stop the work of completing the walls
So now, Nehemiah puts a strategy in place. He continues the building, but he also sets up a guard as well.
3. There is Blatant Distraction
Nehemiah’s enemies try another tactic, after the above two have failed. They send an invitation to Nehemiah to meet with them, to discuss various ‘issues’. And Nehemiah responds:
“I am carrying on a great project and cannot go down. Why should the work stop while I leave it and go down to you?” (Neh 6:3)
All of these threats escalate, but by the end of chapter 6, Nehemiah and his people have persevered and the wall is built.
Here’s the bottom line: In spite of the many distractions and threats, that wall was built without Nehemiah once having to directly engage in battle!
To sum up, there are going to be times when the enemy is threatening and his aim is to get you to draw aside and engage in spiritual warfare.
In this case, a threat is not directly in front of you, it is off to one side—and its chief aim is to distract and hinder you from finishing what God has called you to do. You have a choice as to whether or not to engage.
Be like Nehemiah, who determined to keep on going and did not allow his enemies to sway him from his purpose.
Spiritual Warfare Online Course:
I have just launched first new online course, ‘Spiritual Warfare 101: How to Identify and Overcome Spiritual Attack’ and I warmly invite you to join me!
This course includes around 30 mini lectures on video, and is full of Biblical wisdom and strategies to help you overcome in time of battle. There is also a downloadable full transcript in PDF version.
And once you’re in, there is no expiry date, so you can continue to journey with me through upgrades and increased course content in the future.
The Bible has great news. You do not have to be weighed down by spiritual oppression or put up with pressure and attack! Find out more about the course, ‘Spiritual Warfare 101: How to Identify and Overcome Spiritual Attack’ here.
© Helen Calder Enliven Blog – Prophetic Teaching
In the David McCracken Ministries family