“And there was war in heaven. Michael and his angels fought against the dragon, and the dragon and his angels fought back. But he was not strong enough, and they lost their place in heaven. The great dragon was hurled down — that ancient serpent called the devil, or Satan, who leads the whole world astray. He was hurled to the earth, and his angels with him. Then I heard a loud voice in heaven say: ‘Now have come the salvation and the power and the kingdom of our God, and the authority of his Christ. For the accuser of our brothers, who accuses them before our God day and night, has been hurled down’ ” (Revelation 12:7-10 NIV).
This Scripture chronicles the fall of a prideful archangel named Lucifer. He was created in perfect wisdom and beauty with the lofty assignment of leading the heavenly host in worship. However, pride entered his heart and corrupted him entirely (Ezekiel 28:11-14). He foolishly believed that he could be like the Almighty and lead a revolt in heaven against God with one-third of the heavenly host following his arrogant deception.
Michael, the archangel of war, battled with this once-perfect worshipper. Lucifer and his followers fought, but they were no match for Michael. They were cleared out of heaven and not a sign of them were left. His “place” or position as lead worshipper in heaven was “found no more”.
Lucifer was cast from heaven to earth and was renamed devil, dragon, or Satan, which means to oppose and accuse (Luke 10:18-19). His corruption of worship started in heaven and continues today as he opposes man, who is God’s replacement as lead worshipper in his stead. This dragon knows from personal experience that worship establishes our most powerful position before God. We understand who God is and we also understand ourselves better as we express our love to Jehovah. However, we have false assumptions about God and a distorted view of ourselves when our worship is corrupted (Romans 1:18-27).
How does Satan corrupt our worship? He does it by accusation. He reminds us of our sins, failures, poor choices, regrets, and stupid decisions. The more we focus on these things, the least likely we are to commune with God. Like Adam, we find ourselves covered with fig leaves, hiding in shame among the trees when He calls us (Genesis 3:7-8).
Many times we do not even realize that our minds are under spiritual attack as these machinations of the devil are very subtle. We experience this violent spiritual warfare in our quiet moments. Sometimes we are riding to work, cooking a meal, mowing the lawn, or sitting quietly at our desk and our mistakes are played out before us like an old-time movie on a worn-out silver screen. We never once question or consider the origin of these destructive thoughts because we have played the same movie in our minds a thousand times too many. A question pops into our head: “What is your biggest regret?” We then review our darkest sins, bad decisions, and fateful consequences with painful introspection. Next we insert the overplayed “What If” movie and imagine a better life or future. Our train of thought then derails at the final station of regret and remorse as we collect ourselves in the wreckage of defeat.
We never even realize that this was a covert satanic attack to accuse and remind us of our biggest failures. All the devil has to do is ask, “What is your biggest regret?” – and we commence the process of self-destructive thinking as he monitors it. Satan brings us to a place of feeling like a total failure with a crushed sense of self-worth. Our minds are under attack morning, noon, and night with these satanic accusations. They are soft, subtle and we are so used to them we fail to offer any resistance because we think that the train of thought was initiated by us. Some of our first thoughts during our morning shower is how useless we are. This is followed by more images of dreams deferred over a hot cup of coffee en route to work. The last thoughts we have before going to sleep is how we could have, should have, and would have. Day and night Satan accuses us personally and before God (Revelation 12:10).
Can you see this pattern of starting and ending your day with regret? Will you allow these quiet accusations to continue from this deceiver? How long will you continue to listen? How many more times will you replay the DVD of your regret? Some of this detritus is ten, twenty, even thirty years removed and we are reliving the experience as if it happened yesterday. Please! We already know how the movie ends. We have a choice as to whether we listen to a chief accuser or the Holy Spirit.
We can overcome by recognizing the pattern of these demonic attacks against our souls. We must redirect our thinking. No matter how wicked our past sins, the blood of Jesus covered them all when we confessed and received His cleansing (I John 1:9).
Refocus on how Christ forgave, healed and delivered, which is far greater than our failures. More importantly, worship is our strongest antigen to these infectious accusations. Worship immediately derails destructive trains of thought as we remind ourselves of God’s goodness and His great love for us. It reminds us of how valuable we are to Him “in spite of”. Listening to meaningful gospel music, reflecting on how good God has been, or rehearsing Scripture in our minds are all acts of worship.
You may say, “But you don’t know how bad I messed up!” My response to you is, “Do you know how powerful the blood of Jesus is to completely forgive and cleanse us?” We must always remember that our victory lies in what Christ has done for us and through us (Ephesians 3:20-21). When Satan reminds you of your defeat, remind him of the blood of Jesus and his finished work. “They overcame him (i.e. Satan) by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony; they did not love their lives so much as to shrink from death” (Revelation 12:11 NIV).
No more regrets … just worship.