of you experiencing this Satanic strategy lately?
The Wearing-Out Tactics of
By Watchman Nee
Satan has a work, which is attacking the children of
God. His attack may not come suddenly; oftentimes, it
comes gradually and slowly. Daniel 7.25 mentions how
Satan shall wear out the saints of the Most High. Satan
has in fact a plan against the saints of the Most High,
which is to wear them out. Hence let us clearly
recognize that the work of Satan in the lives of God’s
children is frequently not very noticeable, since his
work is slowly to wear them down.
is the meaning of the phrase, “wear out”? It has in it
the idea of reducing a little this minute, then reducing
a little further the next minute. Reduce a little today
and reduce a little more tomorrow. Thus the wearing out
is almost imperceptible; nevertheless, it is a reducing.
The wearing down is scarcely an activity of which one is
conscious, yet the end result is that there is nothing
left. Hence this principle of Satan’s working in the
lives of God’s children is to wear them out until they
are worn down completely. He will wear you out a little
today and then a little more the next day. He will make
you suffer a small amount now and a little more later.
You may think this to be something insignificant,
nevertheless Satan knows that the consequence of such
wearing away is to wear the saint out completely.
this reason, the Bible indicates that “the love of the
many shall wax cold” (Matt. 24.12), which means a
gradually growing cold. It also mentions how a certain
maid, having a spirit of divination, cried out after
Paul and his colleagues for many days (see Acts
16.17-18). Moreover, the Scriptures record that when
Felix hoped that Paul would give him money, he sent for
Paul the oftener and communed with him (Acts 24.26). And
the Old Testament also describes how Delilah pressed
Samson daily with her word and so urged him continually
that his soul was vexed unto death (Judges 16.16). Such
is how Satan gradually, and for many days, will
frequently wear out the children of God. “The evil day”
spoken of in Ephesians 6.13 refers to the wearing-out
tactics of Satan. We must ask God to open our eyes that
we may discern how Satan would wear us out and how we
should combat his wearing-out tactic.
Wearing Out the Physical Body
Especially with respect to the human body, we may easily
see how the enemy wears out the children of God. Two
examples come to mind: the smiting of Job’s body (Job
2.7,8) and the thorn in Paul’s flesh (2 Cor. 12.7).
These are classic cases of Satan’s wearing out men’s
bodies. Quite a few Christians experience sickness and
the weakening of their body after they are saved,
whereas formerly they were rather healthy. Should the
Lord open our eyes we will perceive that there is one
who is scheming against the children of God all the
time, and that one is Satan. Along this same line, we
ought to point out how many of the Lord’s servants,
before they went forth to preach the gospel, were in
good health, but that after they went out to work for
the Lord their health failed in a short period of three
to five years. This is the enemy wearing out the saints
of the Most High. He makes the child of God eat a little
less today and sleep a little less tomorrow. He causes
him to feel a little tired today and a little more tired
tomorrow. By thus adding a little at a time, a
believer’s health can finally become entirely shaken.
Such is the work of Satan.
Wearing Out Man’s Heart
only does he work on the body, Satan also works in the
human heart. Upon first believing in the Lord you may
feel very happy, joyful and peaceful. But if you are not
watchful—being ignorant of what the enemy can do—you
will find yourself one day mysteriously uncomfortable.
You feel somewhat restless today, somewhat unhappy
tomorrow, and somewhat depressed the day after. Little
by little, your peace is completely lost, your joy
totally gone. This is the way the devil wears you down
to a state of fatigue and despair.
Wearing Out the Spiritual Life
Satan also wears out your spiritual life. He will take
away your prayer life little by little, and cause you to
trust God less and less and yourself more and more, a
little at a time. He will make you feel somewhat
cleverer than before. Step by step you are misled to
rely more on your own gift, and step by step your heart
is enticed away from the Lord. Now were Satan to strike
the children of God with great force at one time, they
would know how to resist the enemy since they would
immediately recognize his work. What is so wickedly
subtle about Satan, though, is that he does not strike
with one grand stroke; instead, he will employ the
tactic of wearing out the saints over an extended period
of time, thus causing God’s children to lose out and to
backslide a little at a time. He uses this method of
gradualism to wear down the people of God.
Wearing Out Our Time
Satan will also wear out our time. Felix often sent for
Paul and communed with him. After two years of
conversation with the powerful and gifted apostle, he
was still unsaved. This is the enemy’s device to wear
people out. Today, Paul is invited to talk without any
result; tomorrow he is again invited to talk, with still
no result; and the day afterwards he is once more
invited to talk, and again, without any result. Paul was
inveigled to engage in “resultless” work for two whole
years. How the enemy wears out man’s time and energy!
the children of God do not discern Satan’s wiles they
can easily fall into his trap. How we must redeem our
time and make every hour count. We must resist Satan
from wearing out our time and must withstand him from
causing us to do works that will have no results.
Wearing Out Samson’s Consecration
Samson had failures, but he should not have lost his
consecration nor his testimony of separation. For the
loss of consecration means the loss of power, and the
loss of testimony signifies the loss of the presence of
God. Samson was a Nazarite, one who was consecrated to
God. Satan knew that the source of this man’s power lay
in his consecration. Hence in order to touch Samson’s
lifespring, he must take away his consecration. How did
he do it? He used the woman Delilah, who “pressed
[Samson] daily with her words, and urged him, that his
soul was vexed unto death. And he told her all his
heart” (Judges 16.16,17). Thus did Samson reveal the
secret of his power. And subsequently, he fell into the
snare of Satan: he lost his consecration, power,
testimony of separation and the presence of God. Such
“pressing daily” is done by the enemy.
our eyes are opened by God we shall be able to see that
when Satan wears people out he employs all kinds of
ways. He wears out the body, men’s heart, and one’s
spiritual life. He does not attack violently; he wears
out slowly. We must therefore guard against the
wearing—out tactics of Satan. We must not let him wear
us down. We will instead resist him at every step.
Must Detest the Wearing Out Work of Satan
Paul was preaching in Macedonia he met a certain maid
having a spirit of divination. She followed after him
and cried out, saying, “These men are servants of the
Most High God, who proclaim unto you the way of
salvation.” And this she did for many days until Paul
was so sorely troubled that he turned and declared to
the spirit, “I charge thee in the name of Jesus Christ
to come out of her.” And the evil spirit came out that
very moment (see Acts 16.16-18). In the spiritual realm
we need to have such detestation as Paul exhibited here.
We are not to detest men but must detest the evil
spirits. Paul, for sure, loathed the evil spirit but not
the maid. He commanded the spirit to come out of her. In
the affair, he treated the maid as a third person. Let
us have Paul’s kind of detestation whenever the devil is
wearing men down.
you really know how Satan tries to wear you out, you
will ask God to give you this sense of detestation—which
is, to loathe Satan and be angry with him! Many know how
to lose their temper on men but strangely enough do not
know how to hurl their temper on Satan. When they are
annoyed by people they will be thrown into a fit of
temper, yet they are not aware of how the enemy is
wearing them down. Day after day Paul was being worn
down by Satan until he was so exasperated that he opened
his mouth to resist the evil spirit, and thus the spirit
left the maid. Hence do not keep silent all the time.
Let there be voice raised in resistance. If God’s
children would grow angry and open their mouths to
oppose Satan, all would be well. If people will become
angry with the devil we will shout Hallelujah, How
wonderful! How very pitiful are some, who are so weak
that they allow the enemy to wear them down all the
time. Children of God should be angry at Satan and
should detest him. By being angry and showing abhorrence
they cease experiencing the wearing down of the enemy.
frequently as you are being worn down by Satan you keep
silent, patiently enduring and quietly suffering until
you feel so disgusted within yourself and become so
angry that you declare: “I oppose this, I will not have
it!” Just by saying this, just by being infuriated about
it, you are delivered and the wearing out process ends.
God’s children should therefore rise up to repudiate and
reprove the enemy. Some people fail to get relieved
because they still have “strength” to endure. A person
who keeps on enduring Satanic wear and tear, allowing
the devil to waste away his energy, his joy and his
spiritual life, has fallen into the wile of the enemy.
Let us be clear, of course, that we should not be angry
at the people who are used by Satan; on the contrary, we
ought to be patient with them, even loving them. But we
must oppose and resist the hidden con spiracy of Satan.
If we withstand what he does, we will soon be freed.
power to resist the evil one comes from discerning his
pressure. A number of believers, when they are
manipulated and assaulted, do withstand and resist him;
yet they find no strength in themselves. This is because
they fail to see Satan’s pressure. Though they resist,
they do not seem to have the strength to raise their
voice against the enemy. Whether or not you can resist
him depends on how much you detest him. If you are not
quite annoyed at him, your words to him will vanish into
the air. But if you are really exasperated, you become
angry at him. This anger becomes your power. As you open
your mouth you cause him to flee.
a detestation comes from revelation. Because you
perceive how the devil keeps on wearing you down, you
resist him. The moment you see this, Satan knows his
tactic is discovered and his hope is lost. May God truly
have mercy upon us that we may recognize the wearing-out
work of Satan. Let us realize that if we patiently
endure, the work of Satan will most certainly continue;
but if we are outraged, he will immediately leave us
alone. Let us understand that all means of resistance
are of no avail except we speak out to resist, and then
we shall see that Satan is forced to retreat. If one day
we recognize what Satan is doing—that he does plan
everything—we shall rise up boldly and declare: “I
reject it; I oppose it!” And as God gives us such a
resistance, it instantly becomes effective.
conclusion, we ought to read Ephesians 6.13, in which
Paul writes that we, “having done all” ought “to stand”;
we must stand, and not allow Satan to continue wearing
us down. We should ask the Lord to open our eyes to see
what wearing-out work Satan is performing on the
children of God. May we rise up to resist and to speak
against the enemy. May we declare: “I resist, I oppose,
I do not accept such wearing down.” If we reject and
resist whatever wearing-down tactic Satan may use upon
us, we shall witness the salvation of the Lord and the
deliverance from Satan’s wearing-out stratagem.
Such a word needs the covering of the blood. May
God cover us with the blood.
(From the book Let Us Pray by Watchman Nee)