One of the devil’s favorite strategies is to subtly yoke us to his work without us even realizing it. He brings thoughts to us that magnify the offenses and slights of others. He does his best to make us dwell on negative things until we reveal with our mouths that the thoughts he is whispering in our ears are bearing fruit.
In this chapter, we will see how the Devil tricks us into abandoning humility, putting on his yoke, and partnering with him.
It is terrible to realize that Satan has deceived us to the point of cooperation with his plans. We must not be ignorant of his devices. (2 Corinthians 2:10-11)
Satan is called “the accuser of our brethren.” The accusation goes on day and night before the throne of God.
Revelation 12:10 (ESV) And I heard a loud voice in heaven, saying, “Now the salvation and the power and the kingdom of our God and the authority of his Christ have come, for the accuser of our brothers has been thrown down, who accuses them day and night before our God.
One way Satan accuses us day and night before God’s throne is to use God’s people to do his accusing for him. By doing this, he deceives us into wearing his yoke.
He persistently bombards us with judgmental thoughts, accusations, thoughts of un-forgiveness, anger, jealousy, and bitterness. He plays past and future scenarios in our minds, trying to trick us into making it all about ourselves. He deceives many of us into turning inward and becoming insecure, self-focused, and self-centered. This is the fruit of pride and causes our Lord to resist us. It is a scary thought.
We identify pride and selfishness by the way we think of ourselves. What I deserve, what I need, why I can’t, what I believe, and what I am entitled to. The more self-centered we become, the smaller our world becomes.
“The smallest world we can possibly live in is the one we are the center of.”
Without humility, we will likely be yoked to Satan and his agenda. Isaiah 58 speaks of this yoke.
Isaiah 58:9 (ESV) Then you shall call, and the Lord will answer; you shall cry, and he will say, ‘Here I am. If you take away the yoke from your midst, the pointing of the finger, and speaking wickedness,
The yoke is described as “pointing the finger and speaking wickedness.” It is an accusing, critical spirit, a spirit of superiority. It is the fruit of a prideful heart and dead give-away that we have yoked ourselves to the enemy’s work.
A yoke is a device that allows animals to be bound together to share the workload. A critical, judgmental spirit tethers us to Satan’s work so that we share his workload and bear fruit for his kingdom. No wonder God resists the proud.
1 Peter 5:5-6 (ESV)Likewise, you who are younger, be subject to the elders. Clothe yourselves, all of you, with humility toward one another, for “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.” 6 Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you,
When we have a critical spirit, we quickly criticize others while not being very critical of ourselves. We busy ourselves looking for specks in other folk’s eyes and are blinded by the massive log in our own. Pride blinds us to truth and makes us short-sighted.
Matthew 7:5 (ESV) You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye.
“Humility will always be the place with the greatest illumination and clearest perspective.”
Being overly mindful of what is not right in others causes us to forsake the Spirit of reconciliation and embrace a perspective apart from love and grace.
Consider this; If we wrongly criticize someone’s child, who will be the first to take offense? The parents. Our Father is the same way. When we judge God’s children, we are judging Him. When we judge our leaders, we are judging His leadership. When we criticize the brethren, we say in our hearts that God’s workmanship is not up to our lofty standards. It is a twisted perspective that is anti-Christ.
James 4:10-12 (ESV) Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will exalt you. 11 Do not speak evil against one another, brothers. The one who speaks against a brother or judges his brother, speaks evil against the law and judges the law. But if you judge the law, you are not a doer of the law but a judge. 12 There is only one lawgiver and judge, he who is able to save and to destroy. But who are you to judge your neighbor?
When we judge others, we not only speak evil of the law and pass judgment on the law but the lawgiver as well. When we judge others, it is a dead giveaway that we carry the burden of a sin-consciousness and are bound to the enemy’s work.
It is crucial to understand how the enemy works in these areas so we can recognize when we are being attacked and keep ourselves from being yoked to his plan. We must keep ourselves from becoming a child our Father resists.
With over two hundred Christian denominations in America, is it possible that our judgments against other groups of believers have blinded us from seeing this critical spirit in ourselves?
Are we so arrogant to believe that there are not people in every denomination that genuinely love God? Is their deception any worse than ours? If we are pointing fingers and speaking wickedness about them, are we not in worse shape than they?
We are yoked with the enemy if we participate in the above scenarios. However, we don’t have to stay yoked. We can break it with simple, sincere repentance. There is no demonic power that can stand against it. When we humble ourselves and repent, God stops resisting us and becomes our champion!
We must be in close relationship with other believers with a license to speak into our lives. Truthfully, we need the help of others to keep us on track in this area because it slips into our thinking so subtly. No one has to fight spiritual warfare alone.
Our thought life is the primary battlefield in spiritual warfare. We must guard our minds and take deceptive, critical thoughts captive before they take root in our hearts.
2 Corinthians 10:3-5 (ESV) For though we walk in the flesh, we are not waging war according to the flesh. 4 For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds. 5 We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ,
A close relationship with the Lord empowers us with the anointing of the Holy Spirit, and it is the anointing that breaks the yoke. (Isaiah 10:27) So if we find ourselves bound to the enemy, we just run to the Father, humble ourselves, repent, and destroy the yoke.
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