It was an ordinary day in our newly renovated house. The staircase was newly refurnished. It had turned from brown to wengge, which the interior designer said was the "in" color of today. The second floor was airy and bright. It was painted in white and it beautifully reflected the warm sunlight brought in by the new glass windows.
As I was climbing up the stairs, I saw a black comb falling down. It was swaying to the left, to the right and to the left again. It seemed like it was dancing in the air. I forgot what I intended to get (or do) upstairs and thought I should get that black comb and put it back in place. Which place? I didn't know. It wasn't a familiar comb. Mine was a beige brush with white bristles. My mom used brushes too. My dad used combs, but his were the white ones.
I searched for it around the house. I went to our library and found two guests arguing, fighting over something. There was the comb behind them near the curtain. Then it disappeared. I walked to the sala and saw more people crying and fighting. I saw the comb again. Then I went to the kitchen, another group of people were arguing there. Lo and behold, the black comb was resting on the kitchen counter. If it only had a face, I felt it was smiling, happy and content seeing people in confusion and disdain.
* * *
When I woke up, I realized upon taking my first breath that the black comb was Satan. This was a dream I had more than 2 months ago. During that time, I was so in-love with God that I simply shrugged this dream away, I thought "Satan can't fool me." Dummy me, I was too idealistic and prideful that I thought I could fight Satan head on.
I thought because I have God, I don't need to care about Satan anymore. Who is he to come near me anyway? I had completely forgotten that God does allow Satan to test His people. Remember the story of Job? That was the start of my two months of depression. During that time, I learned a whole lot about Satan. And I'm more than willing to share them with you. This is a MUST READ. Satan is just around the corner, creeping & lingering. If you are left unaware, he might just eat you up.
I learned that:
1. Satan condemns us... again and again and again. He rides in our insecurities and tell us, "You're no good. Becky is still better than you. Look at her achievements." He dims your hope and future, making you fill you are worthless. As I said, it is again and again and again. It happens every waking day, until you acknowledge it as a contaminating thought from Satan.
2. Satan holds us incapacitated. He makes us immobile. Believe it or not, there was a time in the past two months that I did not want to get up from bed anymore. When Satan dims your hope and tells you that you have no future, you can't hardly move. True enough, I would rather sink deep into my thoughts where I could run freely and let time pass than be awake when I could do nothing.
3. Satan uses a soothing voice to encourage us to think, to say and to act something that is unpleasant to God but pleasant to our sinful nature. He can even rationalize with us, saying "It's okay be be angry with your dad. He doesn't deserve your forgiveness with all that he has done to you" or "Go ahead and spend everything you have, life is short. Eat, drink and be merry!"
In my case, Satan told me "It's okay to be silent. Don't share your problems. People won't understand and they have their own share of problems." That's what I did. He wants people to follow their own desires until God for them becomes a mere thought in the cloud.
* * *
More than anybody else in this world, Satan loves to see us in misery. He ignites us to anger. He wants to ruin relationships. He throws gentle whispers to condemn us and bring us to a point of utter hopelessness. He confuses our mind with unnecessary "if''s and what if's" until we worry enough to become immobile. He wants us to quit our ministries, to quit on our family, and to quit life altogether. He is Satan, the master deceiver.
Some Action Points:
1. Be sensitive to Satan's attacks. Discern if thoughts are Biblical or not. This is why it is VERY important to meditate His word day and night. It's a matter of equipping ourselves to be ready in the battlefield because Satan is literally out there to attack. When Satan attacks, it can hurt. It can damage our relationship with others. It can make us callous towards God.
Cast Satan away and counter him with God's truths and promises! I've tried it and it worked!
2. Turn to God for freedom. Unlike God the Father who teaches and disciplines, Satan condemns. Unlike God who cleanses and purifies us, Satan makes us sink deeper in despair. He makes us feel guilty until we have no face left to seek God or to meet people. He tells us "It's because you were wrong! You foolish woman!" May we remember that our guilt has been washed away by Jesus' blood in the cross. Turn to Him for forgiveness and freedom.
3. Acknowledge that we are weak and He is strong. My time of healing started when I was able to acknowledge three things: 1. the presence of Satan, 2. my weakness and 3. my need for God. I was weak to counter him. I was ready to give up. But then God reminded me that it is okay to be weak. He intended to choose and save the weak. "But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong." (1 Corinthians 1:27)
I realized that when God says that He loves me, He loves every bit of me including the weaknesses that I disliked in myself. Nothing in all creation can hinder me from His love. He has accepted me for who I am. He has chosen me... for a purpose. In God's eyes, because of Jesus, I am now worthy. Satan cannot belittle this truth anymore.
4. Embrace our strengths and weaknesses. Satan is out there to tell us that we should be like Becky, smart, go-getter, people-person & plain perfect. I am a Sanguine Choleric and Satan made me want to trade my temperaments with a melancholic who could surely do well in the management research class I was struggling to pass. I wanted to be a melancholic who is patient enough to research and master each and every topic I was interested in. I wanted to throw my restless self away.
But God created me with the perfect combination of temperaments and characteristics. It's because of sin that these traits sometimes deviate from their original & beautiful purpose. God created me to be me. He honed me to be creative, to think of endless ideas, to be original. He has given me gifts that I should explore and cultivate. I cannot think of myself as worthless just because I couldn't do what others do well. God created me to be unique & unlike any other. Same with you! So, tell Satan to back off if he compares you with others.
5. God loves us for our being, not doing. Satan created the wrong, worldly, priorities where worth is based on achievements or our "doing". He deceived the world that we should "do good" for the Lord so that He will love us more. But truth be told, there's nothing we can or cannot do that will make God love us any more or any less. He just loves us, period. And this is what unconditional love means. He differs from our earthly parents who may love those who are smarter, give more attention to those who are younger.
Last September, I started to fast. I sacrificed meat from my diet and days of facebooking. And yet come October and November, when Satan came and attacked, I wasn't able to please God with my life anymore. I lost hope in Him. I became calloused, I wasn't sensitive to His leading. I couldn't feel the Holy Spirit.
When I got to Isaiah 1, God reminded me that my sacrifices amounted to nothing if I were to entertain ungodly thoughts and actions. God cares more about my relationship with him and how I am delighting in His presence, than my sacrifices to Him. He has everything in heaven and on earth in his fingertips, what would a kilo of beef do for Him?