By Candice Howell
I recently heard the quote by Pricilla Shirer that said, “The devil CANNOT destroy you, but he will find any way in his power to discourage you.” Although I knew this deep down, it wasn’t until after my family started a church two years ago that I realized the influence that he has in this world and how he is very much alive and on the move, especially against God’s will.
My dad was called into the ministry two years ago after my mom had been praying for the past twenty years. My dad originally went to Wheaton College where he was studying to be a pastor. He knew it was what God wanted and called him to do, but he was not obedient to this call due to extreme hardships that occurred due to his freshly fatherless home life. However, my mom and my aunt continued to pray for seven years that God would work in him and lead, guide, and call him. God answered my mom’s prayers by planting a church, Grace Cornerstone Fellowship, in the spring of 2016 where my dad is now the pastor.
Once we started our church, the spiritual warfare became evident. In no way was he wanting our church to succeed. Due to my dad’s difficult childhood, fears of doubt, anxiety, and depression started to creep into his mind after not having strong attendance for the first year.
But this did not shock me. Of course, satan was going to discourage and attempt to destroy something that is honoring and glorifying to God. Why wouldn’t he? He will not target the people who aren’t trying to live for Christ. He wants the strong ones. There was tension starting to form in our church and Satan was winning. He was using relationships to tear down what God wanted for my dad and our church. I started getting discouraged because I was seeing how hard it was to do God’s will. I cried out to God asking, “God! Our family is trying to do your will, but it seems impossible at times, why?” And that is when God spoke to me. He said, “Candice, my daughter, the people are not the problem. Satan is the problem. You have to start fighting your true enemy.” I started to remember my true meaning on this earth, to love and serve God in everything I do.
This was such a new concept for me. Fighting Satan? Don’t I need to fight the people that are causing the problems? The answer is no. The enemy knows our weakness and insecurities and he will do anything in his power to manipulate people, things, and circumstances. I have learned recently, that fighting people leaves the root of the problem untouched. I need to get on my armor and fight the one who is truly out to discourage, deceive, and divide. 1 Peter 5: 8-9 says, “Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith.” Spiritual warfare at times has been scary, but I know that if I am following Jesus the devil has no power over me, my church, or my family. God has already won the battle, and we now fight from His victory.