Thursday, January 18, 2024

         Satan has been around for a long time.  He was in the Garden of Eden to tempt Eve to eat the forbidden fruit from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil—a direct act of defiance against God’s explicit command (Genesis 2:17).  He attempted a rebellion in heaven against the throne and authority of God (Isaiah 14:12-15 and Ezekiel 28:12-19).  He tempted Jesus in the wilderness (Mark 1:13).  Peter called Satan “enemy, devil and roaring lion.”  Those names suggest that the disciple knew Satan’s power and inclinations.  In his own words, Peter spoke about Satan’s ways and offered a warning to God’s people, “Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that the family of believers throughout the world is undergoing the same kind of sufferings” (1 Peter 5:8-9).  We find in these words some good admonitions for dealing with Satan and the temptations that he may place before us.
            First, Peter wrote for us to be “self-controlled.”  The expression “self-controlled” can mean to be sober-minded.  Be clear-headed.  We are to know that Satan is not going to fight fairly by noble rules and ways.  We need to know that a battle against the devil is a real one.  Be watchful because the enemy knows our vulnerabilities and can seize upon them at any moment.  Do not lull yourself into a false sense of security or contentment.  The enemy is real and on the loose.
            Second, Peter commanded his readers to be “alert.”  The idea is to stay awake and to stay watchful.  You never want to fall asleep when you are driving a car.  You take the necessary steps to stay awake, alert and attentive to the car, the road and other drivers.  Spiritually, the apostle is saying to keep your eyes open for Satan and his ways and schemes.  He can be relentless and fight against God’s people without tiring or giving up easily.  Do not willingly place yourself in vulnerable places or situations.  Stay alert and place boundaries around your life.  Do not look for temptations or testing.  Most of the time, temptations find us without any help.
            Third, Peter gave Satan some significant names that speak to his ways and motivations.  He is “your enemy.”  Enemy means adversary.  He is not your friend.  He is looking to consume you and to destroy you.  Your faith is a “10” to God.  But your faith is also a “10” to Satan but for a completely different set of reasons.  The word “enemy” can suggest that Satan is your legal adversary—He wishes to lay claim to you or to take the title on your life.  He is “the devil who prowls.”  He is always on the hunt.  He seeks openings and opportunities to offer us sinful choices and decisions.  He is a “roaring lion.”  The devil is a predator.  He is bent upon destruction and devastation anywhere he seeks to strike.  There is no good in him and he does not engage in good behavior.
            Fourth, Peter wrote that Satan is a “roaring lion looking for someone to devour.” The word devour can mean to drink down in a big gulp.  There are no left-overs.  Someone wrote that Satan takes big bites.  He does.  He does not look to nibble at us.  He looks to leave a mark and to harm us.  If you read Revelation, you will have a vivid picture of what the world will look like when Satan has his final free reign to wreak mayhem and destruction in every corner of the planet before Christ banishes him for a thousand years and finally for eternity. 
            Thankfully, we have victory over Satan through our faith and trust in Jesus.  Peter gave us three ways to enforce the victory that we enjoy in Christ.  First, Peter wrote to “resist him.”  To resist means to oppose.  It can mean that we set our face and will in opposition to the devil.  We do not listen to the easy and enticing words that he may speak.  Claim promises from Scripture.  Jesus resisted the devil in the wilderness by quoting and claiming the Word of God as His shield and defense.  If we do anything less than resist the devil, then he will likely have his way and prevail against us. 
            Second, stand firm in faith.  Hold on to Christ.  Seek the Lord in prayer and worship.  Lean on the Lord and give the enemy no inch or airspace.  We can only stand firm when we have something steadfast and sturdy to stand upon or to lean against.  Do not rely on emotions, feelings or appearances.  Trust what God has said.  Lean on His promises.  Trust God’s grace and goodness to be sufficient.  Renounce Satan and reject him at every occasion.  Be certain that serving and honoring the Lord is your objective in every situation.  Be clear about who has the true deed to your life—a deed that Christ won through His death and resurrection.
            And then third, realize you are not alone.  You are not fighting the devil by yourself or single-handedly.  Peter wrote that other Christians around “the world are undergoing the same kind of sufferings.”  You may feel like you are the only one facing temptation or fighting an uphill battle against the devil.  You are not.  He comes after your brothers and sisters in Christ too.  We can support each other, pray for each other and encourage each other.  We can enlist the support of other believers when the battles are really raging.  And we can be there for other believers when their battles intensify too.  Satan would love to persuade us to think that we are alone—isolated on an island where there is no support and God cannot reach us or is even indifferent toward us.  The devil seemed to suggest to Jesus that he was the only one who could deliver the kingdoms of this world to Him.  And remember, Satan approached Jesus when our Lord was alone in the wilderness. 
            Keep in mind that Satan is a created being.  He is also a defeated being.  He has limited powers.  He is not an equal to Jesus or a god in any way.  And we can resist and defeat him.  And we do that through Christ.  Remember the words of John who told us that the One who lives in us is greater than the one who is in the world (1 John 4:4).  Have a great Thursday!

No Comments






Acts Bible Communion Cross God's will God\'s will God Gospels Holy Spirit Holy Week Jesus Joseph Lent Peter Reformation Satan accountability action advent all saints allegory anger anxiety apologetics atonement awareness awe backsliding baptism beginning beloved betrayal bitterness blessing born again burden burnout calling care change character chistmas choices christian living christmas church history church circumcision comfort commitment community compassion complacency confession confidence consequences contentment control conversation cost courage creation death debt deception decisions deliverance denial dependence depth desire despair determination devotion direction discernment discipleship discouragement dishonesty disobedience distractions doctrine doubt dreams eagerness emotion encouragement end times endurance equality eternal life eternity evangelism evil example facing battles faithful living faithfulness faith family fatigue fear fellowship focus follow foreshadowing forgiveness foundation freedom friends fruit of the Spirit future generosity gifts giving glory goodness gospel grace grateful gratitude greed grit growth guidance guilt halloween happiness healing heart heaven help history holiday holiness home honesty hope humble humility identity impossible incarnation inspiration instruction integrity intentional jealousy journey joy judgment justice justification kindness kingdom knowing God lament law leadership lead lies life listening love martin luther maturity measure memorial memories mentoring mercy messiah minor prophets miracles missions mission mistakes motives mountaintops mourning music nation nativity nature new year new next generation obedience obstacles offering omniscience opportunity opposition overcoming parenting passion path patience peace pentecost persecution perseverence perspective plan poetry power praise prayer preparation presence pressure pride priorities process prodigal progress promise prophecy protection provision psalm purpose rebellion reconcile redemption refuge rejoice relationship remember remembrance renewal renown repentance resentment resolution restoration rest resurrection return revenge revival righteousness risk sacrifice sadness salt salvation sanctification scripture second coming seeking God self-control serenity sermon service shame sharing silence sincerity sin solitude sorrow sovereignty spiritual disciplines standard star stewardship storms strength struggle stubbornness stuck submission success suffering surrender talents talking temple temptation ten commandments testimony testing thankfulness thankful thanksgiving theology time tithes tough times traditions transfiguration trials trinity troubles trust truth veterans victory vision waiting warning weakness wisdom wise men witness wonder work worship