This is a long one, so buckle up!
What opens the door for the enemy to come in? When a believer relies on their own strength, righteousness, and wisdom, get ready for an attack. Satan does not want anyone to learn how to be free in areas that hinder or bind. He wants to keep God’s people in bondage so they won’t accomplish what God wants for their life.
The next question is: Do we as Christians, grant Satan permission to take us bondage in an area? Or, does God grant Satan to take us bondage in an area?
Take the Old Testament for instance, God’s people sinning and then God granting the enemy to take them in bondage; then His people crying out to Him and Him releasing them, but teaching them through it.
Satan is a thief, always looking for ways to get in; windows; open doors; and then climbs over walls. One open door most often used in a believer’s life that will give him access is “Pride!” Most people will not admit that they have a spirit of pride though. Before we dismiss this thinking that we don’t have a spirit of pride, look at some definitions of what pride is:
Pride Is Trusting In Your Own Strength
Luke 22:31 – And the Lord said, “Simon, Simon! Indeed, Satan has asked for you, that he may sift you as wheat. (Verse 32) “But I have prayed for you, that your faith should not fail; and when you have returned to Me, strengthen your brethren.”
Plain as day, New Testament, Satan has asked permission to sift Peter a believer. However, Jesus tells him, “I prayed for you, and once you come back to Me, strengthen your brethren.” In other words, Peter, you’re going to fall.
The Greek definition for the word “ask” is, “To ask for something and to receive what one has asked for – to ask for with success, to ask and to receive. In other words: Satan asked and received permission to sift Peter like wheat.
Satan had a right to enter an open door in Peter’s life. Perhaps Peter was trusting in his own strength with pride. Why? Because of the conversation that takes place before this passage.
Matthew, Mark, and John, record the conversation, but Luke doesn’t. See if you can hear pride in Peter: Mark 14:27 – Then Jesus said to them, “All of you will be made to stumble because of Me this night, for it is written: ‘I will strike the Shepherd, and the sheep will be scattered.’ (Verse 28) “But after I have been raised, I will go before you to Galilee.” (Verse 29) But Peter said to Him, “Even if all are made to stumble, yet I will not be.”
(Verse 30) And Jesus said to him, “Assuredly, I say to you that today, even this night, before the rooster crows twice, you will deny Me three times.” (Verse 31) But he spoke vehemently, “If I have to die with You, I will not deny You!” And they all said likewise.
Jesus had told them, “All” and “all” means “all” of you. But Peter arrogantly says, “Not me!” Jesus even quoted a Scripture from the Old Testament that the sheep will scatter. But Peter says, “Nope, the Bible’s wrong.” That’s pride!
Matthew 16:21 – From that time Jesus began to show to His disciples that He must go to Jerusalem, and suffer many things from the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised again the third day. (Verse 22) Then Peter took Him aside and began to rebuke Him, saying, “Far be it from You, Lord; this shall not happen to You!” (Verse 23) But He turned and said to Peter, “Get behind Me, Satan! You are an offense to Me, for you are not mindful of the things of God, but the things of men.”
Jesus looked right at Peter and said, “Get behind Me Satan!” He addresses Satan in the man. If you will recall: Peter cut the ear off of a soldier because he was trying to split the soldier’s head wide open. He was still trying to stop Jesus from what He said must happen. That’s arrogance! Peter was going to take a whole garrison on with one sword. That was trusting in his own strength. Then later on this same Peter that was going to take on all these soldiers, denies Jesus three times in the same night.
Many mature believers fall into this trap: They walk with the Lord a long time and they begin to trust in their own strength in order to resist temptation. Is it possible that this is why King David fell? 1 Corinthians 10:12 – Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall.
Pride Is Trusting In Your Own Righteousness
Job 1:6 – Now there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the LORD, and Satan also came among them. (Did you catch that? The sons of God are fallen angels and they went before the Lord and Satan came also.) (Verse 7) And the LORD said to Satan, “From where do you come?” So Satan answered the LORD and said, “From going to and fro on the earth, and from walking back and forth on it.” (Verse 8) The the LORD said to Satan, “Have you considered MY servant Job, that there is none like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man, one who fears God and shuns evil?” (Verse 9) So Satan answered the LORD and said, “Does Job fear God for nothing? (Verse 10) “Have You not made a hedge around him, around his household, and around all that he has on every side? You have blessed the work of his hands, and his possessions have increased in the land.
(Verse 11) “But now, stretch out Your hand and touch all that he has, and he will surely curse You to Your face!” (Verse 12) So the LORD said to Satan, “Behold all that he has is in your power; only do not lay a hand on his person.” Then Satan went out from the presence of the LORD.
If you read the rest of Job, you will find that these verses are not that hard to understand. The three friends that show up to comfort Job, but they don’t really, keep asking him, “Are you sure there is not an open door in your life where you have allowed this evil to come in?” Job keeps telling them no, over and over.
In Chapter 32, there is a young man named Elihu that has been sitting there listening the whole time. He starts talking and tells the others that none of them “Old dudes” have figured this out, so he’s going to tell them what the problem is.
Job 32:1 – So these three men ceased answering Job, because he was righteous in his own eyes. (Verse 2) Then the wrath of Elihu, the son of Barachel the Buzite, of the family of Ram, was aroused against Job; his wrath was aroused because he justified himself rather than God. (This young man saw what was wrong in everything that Job had said.)
Job 33:8 – “Surely you have spoken in my hearing, and I have heard the sound of your words, saying, (Verse 9) ‘I am pure, without transgression; I am innocent, and there is no iniquity in me. Job would have had to have been Jesus for that to be true. Then Elihu concludes this in Job 36:3 – I will fetch my knowledge from afar; I will ascribe righteousness to my Maker.
Here is the open door in Job’s life: He thought he was righteous because of what he did, not because of who he knew. Job’s whole discourse is about, “I’ve done this…I haven’t done this…” Mature believers fall prey to pride in this area. “I, I, I, have done all this for You Lord, why then is this horrible thing happening to me? Haven’t I been good?”
When we first get saved, we know that our righteousness comes from God, and God came by His grace and saved us. We also know we didn’t do anything to deserve His goodness and mercy. But ten years later and more, now a leader in a church; leader of prayer meetings; we do all these good works, we begin to feel we’re righteous because of what we do.
We are not righteous by what we do, we are righteous by the blood of Jesus Christ the Son alone! When we begin to believe and trust in our own righteousness, that’s pride! How about this prayer the Pharisee prayed, “Thank You Lord that I’m not like others!” That’s exactly what Job does for 31 chapters. “Compare me to anybody, Lord.” The God showed up and put him straight. Here’s just a few things God tells Job.
Job 38:1 – Then the LORD answered Job out of the whirlwind, and said, (Verse 2) “Who is this who darkens counsel by words without knowledge? (Verse 3) Now prepare yourself like a man; I will question you, and you shall answer Me. (Verse 4) “Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth? Tell Me, if you have understanding. (Verse 5) Who determined its measurements? Surely you know? Or who stretched the line upon it? (Verse 6) To what were its foundations fastened? Or who laid its cornerstone, (Verse 7) when the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy?
(Verse 12) Have you commanded the morning since your days began, and caused the dawn to know its place,” (Verse 22) “Have you ever entered the treasury of snow, or have you seen the treasury of hail,” (Verse 24) By what way is light diffused, or the east wind scattered over the earth? (Verse 34) “Can yo lift up your voice to the clouds, that an abundance of water may cover you? (Verse 35) Can you send out lightnings, that they may go, and say to you, ‘Here we are’?
Job 39:26 – “Does the hawk fly by your wisdom, and spread its wings toward the south? (Verse 27) Does the eagle mount up at your command, and make its nest on high?
Job 40:8 – “Would you indeed annul My judgment? Would you condemn Me that you may be justified?
And of course, Job repents, as we should when questioning God. Or when we start telling all the good things we have done in His name and these things should not be happening. Are we trusting in our own righteousness?
Please don’t misunderstand: We are to live righteous lives, but we don’t do it in our own strength. The righteous life we live is from Christ and it is all based on what He did.
Pride Is Trusting In Your Own Wisdom
This next passage in 1 Kings 22, is about Ahab who was married to Jezebel. Jezebel had 850 prophets, but they lost their heads to Elijah. Ahab had 400 prophets on his payroll, so they would prophesy good things only. There are leaders today that keep people around them that won’t tell them “No.” Those are not wise leaders. Ahab is the king of Israel and Jehoshaphat the king of Judah. Ahab was a bad king and Jehoshaphat was good. One day King Ahab says to King Jehoshaphat, “Lets go attack the king of Syria and get back Ramoth in Gilead.” King Jehoshaphat says, “Let’s ask a prophet.” Ahab calls his 400 prophets together and they say, “Yes, go!” Jehoshaphat wanted to know if there were any other prophets.
1 Kings 22:7, 8 – And Jehoshaphat said, “Is there not still a prophet of the LORD here, that we may inquire of him?” (Verse 8) So the king of Israel said to Jehoshaphat, “There is still one man, Micaiah the son of Imlah, by whom we may inquire of the LORD: but I hate him, because he does not prophesy good concerning me, but evil.” And Jehoshaphat said, “Let not the king say such things.!” (Ahab had put Micaiah in prison three years earlier.)
(Verse 15)Then he came to the king; and the king said to him, “Micaiah, shall we go to war against Ramoth Gilead, or shall we refrain?” And he answered him, “Go and prosper, for the LORD will deliver it into the hand of the king!” (Verse 16) So the king said to him, “How many times shall I make you swear that you tell me nothing but the truth in the name of the LORD?” (Verse 17) Then he said, “I saw all of Israel scattered on the mountains, as sheep that have no shepherd. And the LORD said, ‘These have no master. Let each return to his house in peace.’ ”
(Verse 18) And the king of Israel said to Jehoshaphat, “Did I not tell you that he would not prophesy good concerning me, but evil?” (Verse 19) The Micaiah said, “Therefore hear the word of the LORD: I saw the LORD sitting on His throne, and all the host of heaven standing by, on His right hand and on His left.
The host of heaven refers to angels, but it can also refer to “the fallen angels. The angels are standing on His right hand and on His left! Remember Jesus said that when He comes, the sheep will be on His right and the goats on His left! Here is a Scripture that proves this:
2 Kings 21:1 – Manasseh was twelve years old when he became king, and he reigned fifty-five years in Jerusalem. His mother’s name was Hephzibah. (Verse 2) And he did evil in the sight of the LORD, according to the abominations of the nations whom the LORD had cast out before the children of Israel. (Verse 3) For he rebuilt the high places which Hezekiah his father had destroyed: he raised up altars to Baal, and made a wooden image as King Ahab king of Israel had done’ and he worshiped all the host of heaven and served them. (Verse 4) He also built altars in the house of the LORD, of which the LORD had said, “In Jerusalem I will put My name.” (Verse 5) And he built altars for all the host of heaven in the two courts of the house of the LORD. (Verse 6) Also he made his son pass through the fire, practiced soothsaying, used witchcraft, and consulted spiritist and mediums. He did much evil in the sight of the LORD, to provoke Him to anger.
Manasseh worshiped demons, fallen angels that were standing on the left of God’s throne. They also showed up concerning Job with Satan, but they must have permission to do anything. Now back to what Micaiah was saying about seeing the host of heaven.
1 Kings 22:20 – “And the LORD said, ‘Who will persuade Ahab to go up, that he may fall at Ramoth Gilead?’ So one spoke in this manner and another spoke in that manner. (Verse 21) Then a spirit came forward and stood before the LORD, and said, ‘I will persuade him.’ (Verse 22) The the LORD said to him, ‘In what way?’ So he said, ‘I will go out and be a lying spirit in the mouth of all his prophets.’ And He said, “You shall persuade him, and also prevail. Go out and do so.’ (Verse 23) “Now therefore, look! The LORD has put a lying spirit in the mouth of all these prophets of yours, and the LORD has declared disaster against you.”
First of all, look who is in control. There is not a battle between God and the devil. The devil is a creative being and God is the Creator. God is in charge, always. And God will use the enemy to fulfill his purpose. God gave this lying spirit orders! God is totally in control and when we sin and don’t repent, we open a door to the enemy to come in. And God just might grant the enemy permission to come and sift us like wheat. When we think we’re smarter than everyone else, including God, and won’t listen to warnings, there is going to be trouble!
James 3:14 – But if you have bitter envy and self-seeking in your hearts, do not boast and lie against the truth. (Verse 15) This wisdom does not descend form above, but is earthly, sensual, demonic.
People who trust in their own wisdom, will swear its God talking to them, but it’s a demon instead. So, would God ever grant permission for Satan to attack a believer? Absolutely! We read with Peter, Satan asked to sift him; we saw it with Job; and we saw what happened with Ahab.
But why would God give permission for Satan to do that? Because it’s always for our good! Would a parent spank a child? Sure, for their good because they don’t want them going the wrong way.
Look at the most miss-quoted Scripture: Proverbs 16:18 – Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall. Most people will quote, “Pride goes before a fall.” No, wrong. It says, “A haughty spirit goes before a fall.” It says, “Pride goes before destruction!”
So when a person has pride in their life, they are going to be destroyed! So what does God do? He sends His grace and the enemy comes when they don’t repent, then they go into bondage, so that in that bondage, they cry out, “God set me free,” and God sets them free, if they cry out to Him! However, if the person continues in their pride, destruction is coming. God doesn’t want us destroyed and sometimes He will use the enemy and harsh measures to get us to turn! Peter and Job had Satan come against them, but they repented.
Peter became one of the greatest preachers in the New Testament, and Job was restored double of everything Satan had stolen! However, Ahab never repented and he died! Ahab thought he could out-smart God. Ahab put his kingly garments on Jehoshaphat, thinking they’ll kill Jehoshaphat, and he would be the ruler of them all. Jehoshaphat got away though, when the soldiers found out it wasn’t Ahab.
1 Kings 22:34 – Now a certain man drew a bow at random, and struck the king of Israel (Ahab) between the joints of his armor. So he said to the driver of his chariot, “Turn around and take me out of battle, for I am wounded.” And Ahab died!
Do you not think God guided that arrow? But in God’s grace, He had warned Ahab, it s going to happen if he didn’t listen to Him.
Pride is trusting in your own strength; your own righteousness; and your own wisdom! Pride is a trap that the strong, the righteous, and the wise can fall into. If we don’t trust in the Lord’s strength, righteousness, and wisdom we will definitely fall.