Advice on fending off the relentless attacks of Satan.
Up next, on Leading the Way with Dr. Michael Youssef. How can I prepare myself for the day of attack? How can I know Satan's timing? Today I want to tell you about the three major times in your life and in mine that are Satan's opportune time.
That are Satan's favorable time in our lives. Thank you for listening to Leading the Way with Dr. Michael Youssef. Author of more than 50 books, including The Leadership Style of Jesus, Fearless Living, and the just released Never Give Up. Make it a point to visit Leading the Way's resource store so you can learn about and order all of these titles and more. Just visit ltw.org. And you can always call us too. Speak to a ministry representative.
We are at 866-626-4356. Now in just a moment, Dr. Youssef shows you how Satan uses the situations of daily life to distract from God's best. And when you know his tactics, you can better defend against those tactics.
Here now is Dr. Michael Youssef to begin today's Leading the Way. We often say timing is everything. And a lot of people understand this principle of timing. The traders know the principle of timing. The investment managers know the principle of timing. The military strategists understand the principle of timing.
Farmers certainly understand the principle of timing. All but Satan also understands the principle of timing. He knows it well. And he knows exactly when to attack. He knows exactly in what issue and what area in your life and in my life that he tempts and attacks. He knows exactly when you are down and susceptible to his attack and his temptations.
And then he actually tailor design a temptation or an attack that is absolutely perfect for your situation. He knows when you think in your mind that you are on top of your game. He knows when you are down in the dumps. He knows when you are about to be blessed.
He knows all that. He knows how to unleash his fiery darts into your life and into mine at the times when we are least expecting him. Certainly you have to agree that Satan has been attacking a lot of Christians these days.
He has been attacking a lot of Christian marriages these days. Through his spirit of discouragement, through his spirit of hopelessness, through his spirit of fear, through his spirit of doubt, through his spirit of unbelief, through his spirit of distrusting in the promises of God, he attacks. And this is not only the experience of many, many believers around the world and among many among you, and certainly I know it's my experience, but all we know about this is from the Word of God. And that is why I want you to turn with me please to Luke chapter 4 beginning at verse 1. There is a passage that is very familiar to most of you. This is the passage about Jesus' temptation in the wilderness.
And after three times Jesus definitively and clearly through the Word of God, he trouts him and he defeats him. And then after he has done that three times, verse 13 of chapter 4, I want you to look at it with me. It says, when the devil had finished all of his temptations, he left him until an opportune time.
Some of your translations said until a favorable or more favorable time. Underline that verse in your Bible. When did Satan tempt Jesus to begin with in the wilderness? His tempting of Jesus was calculated, and I'm going to show you from the Word of God. His tempting of Jesus was a time when Jesus was physically, emotionally, and mentally exhausted. After fasting for 40 days, the Bible said, he was totally spent. And you know, Satan does the same thing with us. Listen carefully. He is very calculating, he is very timely, he is very cunning, he is very strategic in his attacks.
And he doesn't waste his attacks. Verse 13 again of Luke 4. After Jesus defeated him completely, Satan was looking for a more favorable time.
More opportune time. And of course, we know what that was for Satan. It was in the Garden of Gethsemane, you remember. He came back. That was his opportune time, that was his favorable time. That was the time he came back to Jesus. Because Satan realized that if he could not target Jesus by dazzling him with the world domination, with sovereignty over the universe. He was banking that his fear of the cross, and not just the physical fear, but the fear that he is going to be separated from the Father when he carried your sins and mine on that cross briefly as it was. That he thought that fear can get to him. If he could not get Jesus to take that shortcut and get into being sovereign Lord of all without going to the cross.
He thought that his opportune time would be in the Garden of Gethsemane. And here in one simple verse, one simple verse. Luke 4.13, the Bible reveals to us Satan's dirty little secret.
His dirty little secret. And that is why every believer in the Lord Jesus Christ must be aware, must be alert. Every believer in the Lord Jesus Christ must be on his and her guard as to understand when Satan attacks. So that we can say with the Apostle Paul that of his devices, or of his tricks, or of his deceptions, we are not ignorant. And we're aware.
But the question that most people ask is very simple. It says, how can I prepare my heart, my soul, my spirit, how can I prepare myself for the day of attack? How can I know Satan's timing? Someone would say, well, you know, there's no chance of me fasting 40 days and 40 nights. And to get to that kind of situation, probably that's not going to happen. Oh, but the principle is right.
Learn from the principle. Through Satan attacked Jesus at the end of the 40 days. He did not tempt him in the beginning of the 40 days. He came right at the end of the 40 days and he began his temptation. And that is why today I want to tell you about the three major times in your life and in mine that are Satan's opportune time. That are Satan's favorable time in our lives. Opportune time number one, right after a great blessing that God has given you, after a great success, after a great victory. Opportune time number two is right before a great blessing. Right before an answer to great prayer that you have prayed for a long time.
And opportune time number three is when you're physically and emotionally and mentally exhausted. Number one, right after a great blessing. Verse one, chapter four, Gospel of Luke. And Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan.
What does that mean? Well, he had just returned from the Jordan River where he was baptized by John the Baptist. And there is the crowd. John the Baptist's disciples and many others are there witnessing. And in the middle of that baptism, Jesus was witnessed to by God the Father as who he is. That he is God's only begotten Son.
You can't even imagine being there and hearing that majestic voice of the Father saying, This is My Beloved Son. He is it. No one like Him. No one near Him.
No one will ever be close to Him. This is My Beloved Son. But guess what the next voice was. The Father says, This is My Beloved Son. And the next voice is the voice of Satan saying, If you are the Son of God. Immediately after a great victory, after a great blessing, after a magnificent testimony from God the Father, He comes in after this great blessing and tried to trip Jesus. My beloved friends, listen to me.
You and I need to be alert. We need to be on our guard right after a great blessing, right after being blessed of God. After a great answer to prayer, you need to be on your guard. After a great victory, after a great success, you need to be on your guard. The great temptation is that, Man, I'm the one who brought the success upon myself.
The greatest danger is to begin to think that you are the fountain of your own prosperity. Watch out. Because this is Satan's opportune time. Why is this Satan's opportune time? Listen carefully. Because at that time you feel least dependent on God. Why do I say that? Why do I say that?
Listen to me. Every one of us, every one of us, we cannot handle success very well. None of us handle success very well. And that is why your time of blessing, your time of success, your time of victory, your time of accomplishment is Satan's opportune time. Proverbs 16, 18 said, Pride goes before destruction and the Holy Spirit before the fall. Now let me ask you this.
Only you can answer that to yourself. Have you been blessed when others have not? Have you received a great honor? Have you just received a new lease on life?
Have you experienced great victory? Watch out. Watch out. Because you are in Satan's fighting line. You are in Satan's most wanted list.
You are on Satan's target list. Let me tell you the only way I know is this. Is to stay as close to the Lord after a great victory as you did when you were desperately crying to the Lord for help.
That's the only way I know how to do it. Is to take whatever you receive and you put it as a drink offering unto the Lord. Satan opportune time number two. Right before a great blessing. Now many of you are going to be encouraged by this one.
Some of you are probably saying, Michael, man, I've been to hell and back. I can do with some blessing in my life right now. I know, I can do with some victory in my life. I can do with some success in my life right now.
Well take courage. Luke 4 14, immediately following the wilderness experience that is the temptations of Satan trying to clobber Jesus. Right immediately after that Jesus began his public messianic ministry.
Right after this time of temptation of attack by the devil. Immediately there was a great blessing awaiting him. There was a time for him to preach and teach for all the ages. Jesus is about to perform one miracle after another. Jesus is about to implement God's plan of salvation that has been in his mind and heart from the very beginning. Jesus was about to open the doors of heaven wide open for everyone who would come to him. And Satan wanted to stop that.
He wanted to stop that. verses 14 and 15 of Luke 4 Jesus returned to Galilee in the power of the Holy Spirit. And news about him spread through the whole countryside. And he taught in the synagogues and everyone praised him. The greatest victory was awaiting Jesus right after he defeated the enemy.
Right after he defeated Satan. And your greatest victory is coming soon after you take a stand and defeat the enemy in your life. Your greatest blessing will be after refusing to give in and to give up.
Your greatest success is going to come immediately after you're standing firm regardless of the price that you're paying. You see, Satan is not dummy. He knows, he understands and he will try to sabotage the coming blessing. He will try to sabotage your answer to prayer that God is about to bring in your life. He will try to prevent you from enjoying that coming victory.
He will try to discourage you just before your graduation day. He will try to get you to give up just as your prayers are about to be answered. He'll try to get you to run out of patience and give up prayer. No wonder Jesus repeatedly said, don't give up in prayer. When you are praying and trusting God, he wants you to give up just before the blessing is ordered by God. And Satan will try to keep you from receiving the victory that you have prayed for, that you waited for, the blessings that God had promised you just before it's answered. Satan's opportunity time number one, right after a great blessing. Satan's opportunity time number two, just prior to receiving a great blessing.
Opportunity time number three is when you are physically and mentally and emotionally exhausted and tired. For Jesus, that was Satan's opportunity time, 40 days, 40 nights. I am told that 40 days is about as much as any human being can take before dehydrating and dying, literally.
It's about the maximum anyone can take. And so, right at that time, he shows his ugly face. Chapter four, Luke, look at verses two and three. For 40 days he ate nothing during those days. And when 40 days ended, right at the end, when he was about to break his fast, and he became hungry, he was nutritionally starved, he was mentally famished, he was emotionally spent.
And that became Satan's opportunity time. Because when you are physically and mentally and emotionally drained, you are too drained to focus on God. You are too drained to have clarity of vision. You are too drained to stand against the temptation.
And that is why, let me talk to moms with small children. Be careful with your baby kind of constantly keeping you awake and you get tired night after night after night. You're going to get exhausted. Be careful. Do whatever it takes to get a decent night's sleep. Those who are sick and don't get enough sleep, watch out.
Those who are stressed out in our society today and are totally drained, watch out. Because that's Satan's opportunity time. You remember Elijah the prophet from the Old Testament? He had a great victory on Mount Carmel when the prophets of Baal called upon Baal day after day, and finally they failed miserably with one prayer calls upon Jehovah God, and he sends the fire and takes, licks everything, including the water.
What a great victory. And he destroys the prophets of Baal. But then, out of fear of that evil Queen Jezebel, he runs and he runs for nearly 70 miles.
70 miles! He just ran and ran. He was exhausted. And he's totally fogged out.
His vision was unclear. And he goes in there and he puts his head between his knees and says, God, kill me. I've had enough. He just had a great victory. And you know what God said to him? How dare you do that? How dare you after a great victory, you sit here and say, take my life. Right?
No. God said to him, what you need is a good, decent night's sleep. In fact, he slept for several days. Sleep of exhaustion. And then he fed him.
And he said, now I can talk to you after you have rested. Why? Because when you're physically, emotionally, and mentally drained out, your mind will not function correctly. And God is not about to rebuke you when your mind is not functioning correctly.
Why? Because when your mind does not function correctly, you are prone to overreaction. You are susceptible to blowing things out of proportion.
You are vulnerable to exaggerating your circumstances. Oh, the world is coming to an end. So be it. And Satan knows that. He knows exactly your vulnerable spot, and he will aim his darts. And that is why when Satan showed Jesus all of the kingdoms of the earth, it's really basically the whole universe. Satan knew that Jesus came from heaven in order to arrest the deeds of the earth from his hands that he took from Adam and Eve when Adam and Eve followed him.
He knew, but he knew also that he only going to get that after the cross, not before. So he was so hungry, and he was trying to show him a shortcut. Oh, shortcuts. God delivers some shortcuts. Why wait?
Why wait for marriage? Everybody does it. Why tithe? You need the money? Shortcuts. Forever tempting us. Shortcuts, shortcuts, shortcuts. And that's what he does with every one of us. Shortcuts.
And that's what happened. When we are physically and mentally exhausted, Satan will offer you shortcuts. Shortcuts in relationships, shortcuts in the use of your integrity and your ethics at work.
Shortcuts get you to do the wrong thing for the right reason. Let me ask you this. Are you experiencing Satan's attack right now? Take heart. Victory is around the corner. The blessing is around the corner. Answer to Christ-centered prayers around the corner. Are you flushed with victory?
God has blessed you in some way? Take heed. Get behind the coat tail of your commander-in-chief, for there is only one place where you can get the victory. Thank you for joining Dr. Michael Youssef for Leading the Way. You're invited to hear more of Dr. Youssef's powerful content.
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