1 Peter 5:8-9 – Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. Resist him, steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same sufferings are experienced by your brotherhood in the world. NKJV
It is necessary to look at the devil, at times, to remind ourselves that we have an adversary. Peter makes no mistake, when he refers to the devil as our adversary. I am disheartened when I hear misguided individuals attribute the pain in their lives, or the lives of others, to our loving Savior and Lord, while ignoring the evil intents of the devil!
In the Vine’s dictionary, adversary is defined as, “an opponent in a lawsuit”, “an enemy”. Both of these meanings give us clear insight into the role of the devil against every believer. In Revelation, he is described as the “accuser of the brethren,” and in our text, he is described as our enemy. He is not only our enemy, but He is also the enemy of God. Most people are not ignorant of Satan, or his devices, but there are some things that we might need to be reminded of.
Here’s a simple, yet profound way I think of the devil: if it’s good, in every respect, it’s God, and if it’s bad in any respect, it’s the devil. That means it is not only good to me, but good for me, spiritually, emotionally, etc. And bad can go into a whole array of things!
Critical to understanding your enemy: there is only one devil! And since there is only one devil, he is not omnipresent. He was created by God, for God, and he cannot be all over the world simultaneously. That means that the devil isn’t messing with me and you at the same time. I would venture to say that most of the time that we hear or say, “That’s the devil,” we are inaccurate. While it may be his influence, his demons, it is not him. He is only one supernatural being, and has no ability to be everywhere, all the time. Indirectly, he is at the root cause of evil, but he doesn’t always personally see to the evil.
His modus operandi, “a particular way or method of doing something; especially one that is characteristic or well established, is to use his demonic force against us. Whether the tactic is through deceit, temptation, testing, accusations, or any other negative influence, it’s usually the work of demons. They are plentiful enough to be in a lot of different places, messing with a whole lot of people, at the same time, giving the illusion that the devil is everywhere. But it is only an illusion!
As our enemy, his aim is to get us to do the same thing that Adam and Eve did: to betray God. Yes, they ate the forbidden fruit, but behind that, was the truth that they placed their trust in someone else’s word over God’s word. That someone else was Satan. They decided in that instant that God wasn’t totally honest with them and was trying to keep something from them, so they took the fruit and ate it. That was betrayal towards God. The devil used it then and he still uses it!
Satan is not your friend! He is incapable of being your friend. He is your enemy! And as such, he hates you as passionately, as God loves you. Your pain, your heartaches, your losses, your defeats, your demise, your destruction, brings him great joy. Whether you have been a Christian for 5 minutes or for 50 years, he is not for you, and neither are you being ignored by him.
A couple shared this testimony in a Christian publication: One day the couple had a conversation about the enemy. The husband felt that he was irrelevant to the devil because the devil had “bigger fish to fry”. Later that evening, following a phone call, he slumped over and died. The wife called 911, and there just happened to be paramedics on her street, visiting friends. They performed CPR until the ambulance arrived. He coded several times over the next few hours. But here’s the beautiful thing, God brought him back to life! Two weeks after dying in his home, he was completely whole, and a totally different person for God. His attitude about “bigger fish” had totally changed, and he understood that the forces of darkness knew no bounds. The devil tried to take his life, but God turned that situation around and He gets the glory! That’s the extremely shortened version!
Just as God has plans for your life, your well-being, your fruitfulness, the devil also has plans! In Jeremiah 29:11, it is written: “For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.” Using Jeremiah’s words, we could easily say this, “For I know the thoughts that I think towards you, says the devil, thoughts of chaos and filled with evil, to destroy your future and to rob you of your hope.” That’s a scary thought, but the truth is, he is determined to undo or to stop whatever God has in mind for you!
Now, I have not said this to make you afraid of the devil, but to make you aware of the devil. He is your number one enemy, and as such, you should know about him, his demonic kingdom, and how he operates it against you. I am going to tell you this now, and later expand upon it, you don’t have to be afraid of the devil or his demons. Not in Christ Jesus! In Jesus, you have been given authority over all the works of the devil and over the next few blogs, I want to share some things that will help you identify him, and stop his work in your life. I won’t cover it all, but hopefully it will get you motivated to be watchful and to be sober, where he is concerned. Keep reading! Wonderful Jesus!