Don’t Engage

We have a neighbor across the street from our home who owns probably about 8 dogs.  He’s a nice, single guy who works overnight and therefore sleeps most of the day.

Three of his dogs are larger than the others, and often will find their way outside of the fence without their owner knowing.  I’d love to say that they are friendly dogs who never bark, but unfortunately that just isn’t the truth.  These three dogs love chasing cars, barking loudly (and at all hours!) and the biggest of the three is often quite aggressive.  My husband and I have never seen them bite anyone, but we have both been the recipient of bared teeth a time or two when going to the mailbox.

Months ago I happened to glance out my front window and saw a man walking on our side of the street.  I watched as the dogs across the way noticed him and ran toward the road, barking and snarling and growling like crazy.  They never crossed the road, and the man never engaged them nor did he show fear.  He kept his eyes fixed on his destination and just kept walking forward without flinching or looking at the dogs.  They carried on and caused a racket as they followed him up the road until the barking and snarling came to a stop because they realized he wasn’t going to engage them.  They went back to their spots in the sunshine until about an hour later when a woman came walking down on their side of the road.  Her response was very different to the man’s response.

The poor lady, obviously frightened, picked up a stick and threw it at the snarling dogs, which was like stirring up a hornet’s nest!  She said a few obscene words and then began to jog a bit while making eye contact with the psycho creatures – and you guessed it, they pounced!

The larger one pinned her to the ground with bared teeth while the other two hopped around her until a passer-by stopped his car to help her.  And the whole time I watched this terrible scene play out (while on the phone to the police), I felt the Holy Spirit gently point out the fact that had the woman, like the man, kept her eyes fixed firmly on her destination without engaging those dogs, she would have saved herself all this trouble and pain.  

What an amazing Spiritual truth!

For a few years leading up to this incident, I was on a beautiful journey of understanding the power of agreement with God.  

Google defines agreement as “being of the same mind,” and I found myself not always being of the same mind as God even though I read my Bible and filled myself with powerful sermons. Especially when the devil came around to bring confusion!  The devil has absolutely zero truth in him. God, however, is all truth.  Numbers 23:19 says, “God is not man, that he should lie, or a son of man, that he should change his mind. Has he said, and will he not do it? Or has he spoken, and will he not fulfill it?” (ESV).  God is not a liar and He never changes His mind, period.

So when we must AGREE with God when we read scriptures like, “I am crucified with Christ – it is no longer me who lives but Christ who lives in me” (Galatians 2:20), or “I will never leave you or forsake you” (Hebrews 13:5) or “Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation….” (2 Corinthians 5:17).  When we don’t agree with what God says, we actually give the devil power because we are speaking his language, which is nothing but lies (John 8).  Proverbs 3:5-6  says we must always agree with truth and trust in the Lord, even if it makes no sense to us at first.

One of the things that God showed me through the dog incident is that we can stand in agreement with God’s word and yet still engage the enemy’s lies when we dwell on what we think is “true” instead of keeping focus on the Truth.  

For example, the man that did not engage the angry dogs remained focused on his destination.  It was indeed truth that the dogs were barking and carrying on, and he may have even been slightly alarmed at this; but the truth is that the man had to be somewhere and had no time for distractions.  Likewise, the woman’s response showed that her fear and intimidation of the dogs was more true to her than the truth that she could have just crossed the street and not engaged them at all.  Yet she gave in to her fear and found herself in harm’s way.

Eve in the garden is a great Biblical example of someone who engaged the enemy.  In Genesis Chapter 3, the devil comes to Eve in the form of a serpent.  He twists God’s words just enough to make Eve doubt God – and we know the rest of the story!  Had she just shook the serpent off without engaging like Paul did in Acts 28, then Eve, like Paul, would have “suffered no ill effects” (Amplified).  

Jesus, on the other hand, was a master of not engaging!  

Check out his response to the devil’s innuendos in Matthew 4.  Jesus’ constant response was “it is written…”  He doesn’t even blink at the devil’s words, He just reminds him of truth and moves on.

I believe that continuing to engage the lies of the enemy and not agreeing with truth creates a stronghold in our minds that makes us more susceptible to demonic attacks.  Like the lady who engaged the dogs across from me, we can invite harm into our world when we engage and embrace the lies of the enemy.  But a renewed mind releases kingdom reality and healing into our lives!  The truth is, we won’t always understand with our minds (Proverbs 3:5-6), but we must agree and confess with our mouths to build faith (Romans 10:17) and then resist the devil so that he will flee (James 4:7).  

Let’s be proactive about shaking off the snake before we begin to engage it too much.  Knowing God’s truths from scripture and agreeing with them is a great place to start.

My prayer is that Holy Spirit reveal to us all the areas in our lives where we currently engage the devil’s lies. I ask Him to break any strongholds that may exist from areas where we have embraced the opposite of what God has spoken. I pray that the Truth of God’s word becomes more true to us than anything else, and that we can fix our eyes firmly on Jesus as He empowers us to continue on our journey with Him.  

 

 ~ Mandy Woodhouse

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