Living By Faith Blog


Biblical, battle-tested, real-life help for "living by faith in the Son of God" (Galatians 2:20). — Steve Fuller

How James Fraser Overcame Satanic Attack

Lisu Village from wikipedia commonsGospel Advance

In the early 1900’s James Fraser took the Gospel to the unreached Lisu people, who lived in the remote, mountainous area between China and Burma.

At first, to help the existing missionaries with their work, he lived in the more-populated lowlands.  But he was thrilled to meet some of the Lisu people who came down out of the mountains to trade.

This enabled him to start learning their language and culture, and to build some relationships. As a result, he started taking day-hikes into the mountains to meet more of the Lisu.

On these trips he shared the good news of Christ, and was encouraged to see many choosing to trust Christ and destroy their idols.

So he was excited when he was finally able to move up into the mountains and spend all his time among the Lisu.

He chose to live in a village called “Little River,” which he reached after hiking a couple days, and which was a dozen shack-like dwellings built on a steep mountainside.

After he settled in, he got to work — praying, meeting more Lisu people, improving his language skills, and sharing the good news of Christ.

Overwhelming Oppression

But things did not go well.

Even though the Lisu he met in the lowlands were open to the Gospel, that was not true of those who lived in the mountains.  Weeks went by, and no one came to faith.

Then he started experiencing deep depression.  At first he thought this might be caused by the remote location, the poor diet, the language barrier, or the constant rain and mist.

But it soon became clear that this was more.  Because everything he had believed started to feel unreal.  His prayers felt lifeless.  God seemed absent.

And he was barraged with questions — Does God really answer prayer?  Does he know and care about you?  Were you right to come here?  Did you miss God’s will?  You traveled all the way from England to this remote area — and what fruit are you seeing?

This oppression felt overwhelming.  At times it was so intense that he considered taking his life.

What Did Not Work

He had heard that Satan could only tempt us if we are not surrendered to Christ.  Which meant that the way to overcome temptation was to fully surrender; or as he had been taught, to “let go and let God.”

So he did.  He went through every area of his life and surrendered it afresh to the Lord.  He stopped any striving — and tried to fully let go and let God.

But it did not work.  Not only was there no improvement; the oppression got worse.

But God had not forgotten him.

Use The Promises

Right at this time a fellow missionary came, bringing his mail.  And in the mail was a magazine he had never heard of, called The Overcomer.

This magazine explained that there is a Satan who seeks to destroy God’s people.  This reminded Fraser that Satan was behind this oppression; that Satan was seeking to destroy him so the Lisu people would not hear the Gospel.

But the magazine also pointed out that through the Cross, Satan’s power has been broken.  And that through Christ we can resist and overcome Satan’s attacks.  Not by surrendering and letting go.  But by fighting back with God’s promises.

Here’s how James Fraser put it —

I saw that deliverance from the power of the evil one comes through definite resistance on the ground of the Cross … The Lord Himself resisted the devil vocally: “Get thee behind me, Satan!’  

I, in humble dependence on Him, did the same … using the promises of Scripture as weapons.  And they worked.  Right then, the terrible oppression began to pass away.

The result was victory.  Satan’s attacks were defeated.  And over the next years the gospel spread throughout the area, and thousands came to faith.

But even though he had defeated Satan’s attacks, that did not mean they stopped.  From time to time they came back.

So as soon as he could, he got by himself, and fought back —

I voiced my determined resistance to Satan … I claimed deliverance on the ground of my Redeemer’s victory on the Cross.  I even shouted my resistance to Satan and all his thoughts.  The [attacks] collapsed then and there, like a pack of cards …

In times of conflict I still find deliverance through repeating Scripture out loud, appropriate Scripture, brought to my mind through the Holy Spirit.  It is like crashing through opposition.  “Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.”

(From Mrs. Howard Taylor, Behind The Ranges: Fraser Of Lisuland, China Inland Mission (1959), pp.91-92.)

Crucial Points

Jesus crushed Satan’s power on the Cross.  Like God said to Satan about Jesus —

He shall bruise your head.  (Genesis 3:15)

Understand that through faith we are united with Christ in his victory over sin and Satan —

We know that our old self was crucified with him in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin. (Romans 6:6)

But we don’t experience this just by surrendering or being passive.  Temptation is overcome as we aggressively resist Satan’s attacks —

Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.  (James 4:7)

So how do we resist Satan’s attacks?  By using the shield of faith and the sword of the Spirit —

In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one; and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.  (Ephesians 6:16-17)

It will be war.  All-out war.  But Christ has already won the victory.  And you will experience this victory as you fight the fight of faith, using prayer and God’s Word.

To arms!

Comments?  Feedback?

I’d love to hear them.  Leave a reply below — thanks.

If you know someone this would help, email it to them using the “share” button below.  Or use the other buttons to share it on your favorite social media.

If you would like to interact with others who are seeking to live by faith in Christ, visit our Forums page.

If you would like to receive a Saturday email summarizing the week’s posts — subscribe here.  (I will only use your email address for Living By Faith Blog communications, and you can easily unsubscribe at any time.)

And here are some related posts you might find helpful –


(Picture is from Wikepedia Commons.)

Category: Overcoming Sin and Temptation, Stories about Other People


11 Responses

  1. Ron R. says:

    Thanks Steve… you just gave me some more verses to memorize and cherish in my heart…(Psalm 119: 9,11)

  2. Paul Walton says:

    I think there is much wisdom in joining together with other believers, or a spouse when it comes to missions. Not knowing the whole story of James Fraser It sounds like he was in a very isolated atmosphere, we need others in the body to help encourage us.

    Yes the Lord is able to meet us and fill us, but even Paul traveled with companions. Isolation is not good for anyone, we become members of the body of Christ, we need our brothers and sisters, and they need us.

    No doubt the poor man suffered under attacks from the enemy, but I can’t help but wonder if some supportive close fellowship might have been helpful?

    • Steve Fuller says:

      Hi Paul,

      Yes, I am sure fellowship would have been helpful during this difficult time. But the good news is that God powerfully met him and enabled him to overcome Satan’s attacks.

      But I would not be too hard on him for going out alone. He was so burdened at the desperate plight of the Lisu people that he felt he should do this — which (I think) is also what David Brainerd did with the American Indians.

      So it’s wise, if at all possible, to go with others. But if for whatever reason we can’t, God’s grace will enable us to resist Satan’s attacks.

      And I’m so thankful for the encouraging fellowship I’ve received from you!

      • Paul Walton says:

        Agreed, the support of others in no way guarantees our victory in spiritual struggles. Christ can work in any circumstance, I’m just wondering how many folks in the body of Christ suffer from spiritual depression because they lack true fellowship?

        Looking at the animal kingdom, the lion usually attacks the weaker member of the pack.

  3. This is bang-on. After battling through some incredibly intense spiritual warfare (and learning for the first time in 20 years of being a Christian what spiritual warfare even is!), I have come to believe that many Christians plead with God for “deliverance” from oppression when they should be taking hold of what God has already equipped them with and rebuking Satan themselves.

    Whether it be addiction issues, temptation, anger, depression, anxiety, fear, or any other demonic destruction, God has ALREADY given us the answer we’re pleading for! It came the moment Jesus was sacrificed for our sins and we became children of the Most High.

    I often chuckle at the thought of God listening to my pleas for deliverance while he’s shaking his head (lovingly, of course!) and saying “well, why are you asking me for that? I already gave it to you 2,000 years ago in the form of my Son’s victory over the evil one! Now take hold of it and fight the fight for yourself!”

    Passive Christianity is an ineffective way to witness, evident by the fact that no one is lining up at our door to accept Jesus simply because they are so impressed with our righteous living (a lie that was force-fed to my generation). The same goes for our own spiritual battles. Satan loves to keep us deceived into thinking that we are being “active” by fervently praying for deliverance but in truth, we are being passive and ineffective by not taking hold of all God has empowered us with and rebuking the enemy (and the attack) ourselves.

    Satan comes against us in many ways, both subtle and obvious. The more I learn to fight the obvious attacks with the power Christ has already given me, the more I learn to see the subtle ones, too. Praise God for that!

    • Steve Fuller says:

      So glad you found this encouraging, Natasha.

      I love reading biographies of godly men and women who have walked the path before us, and who have learned such crucial lessons.

      Now to live this out. To arms!

  4. izabela says:

    wow. that is really powerful to think about. When I grow up I want to do lots of missionary trips and never give up on God. I thought, all those people have not accepted God and don’t know him and I don’t want them to go to Hell. There are many people out there that do know God but are losing their faith. This is a great daily prayer for those people and maybe for yourself.


  5. Susanne Schuberth (Germany) says:

    This is a hyper-mega-super post, Steve!!!!!
    I hope you still remember me, your former lengthy blog bomber. 🙂 Perhaps you saw that I was reading your blog posts though because of those hits from Southern Germany…?

    Briefly, since I wrote the last time on your blog – about one and a half year ago – I experienced one of the worst times in my life. Nobody knew about it. I kept on writing on the internet almost daily but I never openly wrote about what I was going through.

    Satan attacked my life from any side possible. For instance, chronic pain was a tormenting everyday experience. Also, having been healed and set free from depression/bipolar disorder myself by Jesus some years ago, Satan had attacked our daughter massively. Last summer my husband and I were drowning with fear that she could commit suicide. It was a horrible time, indeed.

    Those attacks from Satan always left me confused, suspicious against everyone, fearful and extremely powerless regarding faith. Sometimes it felt as if I would go backwards instead of forwards by growing in the Lord. Our enemy – 😈 – seemingly robbed the whole foundation Christ had been establishing in my heart. I was desperate, weak, and helpless. From day to day I realized more and more how much I needed the Lord because there was not one area in my life left over which the evil one had not tried to destroy by infiltrating his subtle lies.

    However, here comes the Good News, the Gospel, so to speak. 🙂
    For a long time I have been praying to the Lord that he would help me. And He did. Indeed, as I was at my lowest, I realized that I am nothing without Him. If Jesus had not met my needs, nobody on earth could have been helpful at all. And so, I am glad to see that your article here, Steve, and my experiences go very well together.
    Finally, Jesus gifted me with hell-shaking faith to resist the evil one. Today in the morning I faced another one of uncountable heavy attacks with which Satan tried to stop me to trust in the Lord wholeheartedly. Though it felt awful and painful – those flaming darts digging their way into my heart – I asked (a bit fearful still), “Jesus, what shall I do?”
    “Praise me and the Cross where I conquered him.” I obeyed and, behold, since then, whenever Satan approaches me – and he often does – I tell him without any doubt and without any fear, “Go, and leave me alone!” and, in fact, he leaves immediately. It has nothing to do with my own person, to be sure, yet I think it’s Christ’s authority which he hates so much that he hides in the darkness again. Until the next attack [I am looking forward to it, yep 👿 ].

    Oops, what I forgot to mention is the means by which the Lord let me receive His hell-shaking power: it has been continual prayer that enabled me to remain in the Lord’s presence day and night. I don’t know whether this might be interesting for your readers, Steve, but now I find it is not that complicated for anyone to pray for power against the evil one and for the power to share the gospel (evangelism) courageously.
    Recently I read a helpful article on the question, “Do You Pray Continually?” Just in case someone is interested, here’s the link:

    So, Susanne, that’s enough for now, don’t fall back into your old mistake of writing king-sized…uh,…or queen-sized…comments as Blaise Pascal had “recommended”. 😉

    Be who you are, Steve. Just know that you are always loved by God who really blessed you and us all with your honest blog postings.

    Every blessing to you and your wonderful wife!


    • Steve Fuller says:

      Hi Susanne,

      Sorry for the delay in responding; things have been a bit busy.

      It is a joy to hear from you again, and especially to hear that you are strong in trusting Christ. Thank you for sharing your thoughts with us.

      And may Christ himself richly bless you this Christmas season.


Leave a Reply

Join 3,436 people who receive Living by Faith updates —

More Help for Your Faith

  • RSS Feed
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • YouTube


"I just found your blog recently, and I've NEVER found such clarity, understanding and comfort before." (Sarah)

"AWESOME. Going to mangle this sin tonight with the Promises of God." (Alec)

"If I could subscribe to only one blog, yours would be it." (Lyn)

"I think you are really on to something with this blog. I don’t know of anything else like it." (Doug)

"Excellent comment. Really well put and wisdom that is strangely lacking in much evangelical thinking." (John)

"Thank you -- I needed to hear this. So clear and concise yet captivating." (Stacey)

"Such a helpful post. I’ve bookmarked it and reread it two or three mornings just this week." (Doug)