In the middle of the night when we were trying to sleep, the mice would get busy and they would keep us awake. At first we wore earplugs. I guess out of desperation for some sleep, we were denying the reality of the problem — mice can cause disease, get into food, eat through wiring, destroy furniture, leave behind their droppings, in addition to keeping you up at night. Then we felt sorry for ourselves. After several nights with little sleep, we had a pity party, wondering, "Why is this happening to us?" Finally, we got mad and went up into the ceiling, through the attic, and eventually put out 2 different types of traps and 3 different types of poison.
Guess what? The mice are gone. We're enjoying peaceful sleep once again.
This kind of delayed reaction reminds me of the way we often try to deal with the devil — not that mice are of the devil. The apostle Peter tells us, "Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour." (1 Peter 5:18) Sometimes, however, our initial reaction to the devil's attacks is like our first reaction to the mice — we just use earplugs and try to deny the reality of the problem. Other times, we just feel sorry for ourselves, wondering, "Why is this happening to me?" We throw ourselves a good pity party.
The best reaction to the devil's attacks is to get mad at him and resist him. God tells us through James, "Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you." (James 4:7)
So let's go forward in faith just like Paul urged the Christians at Ephesus to have: "Above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one." (Ephesians 6:16) "For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places." (Ephesians 6:12) We have the power to resist our enemy, "For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds." (2 Corinthians 10:4)
So the next time the devil tries to give you a hard time through attack or temptation, don't pretend it isn't happening. Don't give in to a fatalistic pity party. Instead, remember the words of John, the beloved apostle, "You are of God, little children, and have overcome them, because He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world." (1 John 4:4)