Monday, July 27, 2015

10 Strategies for Ditching the Devil

The devil is real.  He and his angels are battling God for the souls of men.  But neither God nor the devil appear and make men do their bidding.  This gives us, mortals, the agency to choose between light and darkness.  After a series of poor choices, the outlook may be bleak.  So if the devil is having a heyday in your life, what can you do to get rid of him?  And by the way, we all make poor choices, so the darkness is familiar to all of us.  The strategies for winning though, are known by those who live in the light.  Here’s a few that I’ve thought of:

Mental Strategies

So the devil is going to play mind games with you.  He is the master of temptation.  When Jesus was alive, the devil came to him and said, I see that you’re hungry, turn these stones in to bread.  Jesus used the Word to counter him.  Then the devil said, “See all the kingdoms of the world?  All this power will I give thee…” if you worship me.  Jesus got strength from the commandment that says you should only worship God.  Then the devil challenged his identityThrow yourself from the top of this building and see if God loves you enough to send angels to save you.  Jesus was certain of his divine identity and refused to put God to a test like that. (Luke 4)

Strategy #1 — Use the Word to counter temptations of appetite.  The word is like a sword that cuts down the Devil’s logic. (Eph 6)

Strategy #2 — Use the Commandments to counter temptations of power and influence

Strategy #3 — Ignore the Devil when he challenges your identity.  You are the offspring of God and your divinity is not negotiable.

Strategy #4 — Sing a hymn.  The Devil hates holy music and he will leave you alone if you articulate in your mind the words.

Minesweeper Cutting Loose Moored Mines

Physical Strategies

Think for a moment about the strategies of men who make junk food for general consumption.  God did not inspire them to make food that damages the body so the Devil must be behind it.  Then consider yourself in state of emotional distress and along comes the Devil tempting you to reach for that easy pre-packaged snack.  If it is in your house, you will almost always fall to the temptation to eat it.  Eventually you will be enslaved to the consequences of an unhealthy body. (In using this analogy I'm not trying to be excessively critical of the foods we eat but to show how some things that are easily accessed can be tempting.)

Strategy #5 — Do not allow tempting items in your house.  If it’s not within reach, you can ignore the Devil without a lot of effort.

But what if the temptation is right there, within reach, calling you?  For example, my son was telling me that sometimes he forgets to pray at night because his pillow is calling to him and he lays down before he kneels down.  In that case, the pillow is the temptation.  The best strategy is to follow a routine.  Without a routine, the Devil will get you every time.

Strategy #6 — Follow a routine.  At bedtime pray before lying down.  In the morning, pray before peeing.  

Sometime the devil is so persistent that he keeps coming back again and again.  He is counting on you giving up and he intends to outlast your resistance.

Stephan Palmer says, “Resisting resistance only makes it stronger.” source  I’m going to add that fighting the Devil is like using his strategies against him.  He inspires combat and he loves it when you use his ideas.  Instead of combat try God’s strategy.  In reference to certain types of devils, Jesus said, “Howbeit this kind goeth not out but by prayer and fasting.”  Matthew 17:21 Let go of the devil and make room for more of God's glory.

Emotional Strategies

Strong negative emotions are easily manipulated by the Devil because we offer no resistance when we are angry.  When someone else is angry our instinct is to defend ourselves.  The quickest way to diffuse anger in someone else is to humbly receive and fully acknowledge it.  If you are the one who is angry you must send the message in a nonjudgemental way using words to moderate the intensity of what you feel.  It is possible to feel and express anger without allowing the Devil to damage the relationship.  Source:  Hendrix pp 154-156.

Strategy #7 — Learn to be a responsible sender and a good listener when dealing with anger.

Depression is the spiral of thoughts by which we come to the conclusion that there is no hope.  When the devil sees us in a hopeless state, he laughs.  We can overcome hopelessness by envisioning the ideal future.  We have to imagine it in the present tense and with as many details as possible.  The timbre of your thoughts will help you resonate with positivity and not negativity.  Michelle M Hammond says, “boot out desperation, get busy with purpose, and say hello to self satisfaction.”  Hammond, p. 43 source  She’s talking about finding your purpose in life.  You might like reading about your purpose in life.

Strategy #8 — Follow a vision and thereby avoid hopelessness

Spiritual Strategies

There is nothing like cutting back over to the right side of the fence that entails ditching the devil.  If you live a life of holiness, he will keep away.  “But ye are commanded in all things to ask of God, who giveth liberally; and that which the Spirit testifies unto you even so I would that ye should do in all holiness of heart, walking uprightly before me, considering the end of your salvation, doing all things with prayer and thanksgiving, that ye may not be seduced by evil spirits, or doctrines of devils, or the commandments of men; for some are of men, and others of devils.”  (D&C 46:7)

Strategy #9 — Walk uprightly with a holy heart, pray and be grateful daily

If you surround yourself with others who are also fighting temptation, you will benefit from their encouragement and example.  I don’t know of a better place to rub shoulders with this kind of person than at church.  When you are there, don’t stand on the periphery and hurry away as soon as the service is over.  Get involved, get connected and ask for the specific encouragement you need.

Strategy #10 — Go to church where you are sure to be encouraged in your efforts

If you want to read more about where the devil came from see D&C 29:36-45.

I truly hope that these strategies encourage you. There is a way to ditch the Devil. Those who have spent years resisting temptation and live in light know the strategies that work. I share with you some of the strategies I’ve tried. I’m sure there are others. Do not give in or give up. You have the power of choice and while you are here on the earth you are not controlled by the Devil unless you allow it.

If you liked this post you might also like Be Free!

Image credits:
Devil Painting Flickr/unknown
Minesweeper diagram:  By U.S. Navy [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
Angry child courtesy Flickr/Mindaugas Danys
White fence image courtesy Flickr/Michael Huey

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