by: Gary L. Hutchens
The devil is our deadliest and most committed enemy. The Apostle Peter described him as our “adversary” (enemy) walking about “like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.” (1 Pet. 5:8). In the face of such an enemy Peter instructed us to be “sober” (under control) and “vigilant” (watchful, alert, aware, on guard).
If we walked outside of our home one morning and were literally confronted by a wild, roaring lion, we would react immediately. We would quickly recognize that we were in mortal danger of being killed by that lion. We would not just stand there in its presence. We would not try to pet it. No, we’d get our feet moving as fast as could and get back inside our home, and close the door! And, we would immediately make a phone call to the authorities to come and deal with that lion.
Peter said the devil is that lion! A literal wild lion on the prowl would kill us for food, if given the chance. Just so, the devil is looking for opportunities to destroy us spiritually and eternally. What he wants to do to us is far worse than being killed physically.
Satan is not limited to using overt temptations to get us to commit some obvious sin. He is very skillful at recognizing and taking advantage of any opportunity, any point of weakness, any open door to wedge his way into our lives planting doubts, fears and anxiety. Make no mistake, he is working through this pandemic right now to try to weaken our faith and pull us away from God.
In doing his work, Satan obviously does not openly identify himself as the devil. He has some degree of power to perform “signs, and lying wonders,” (2 Thess. 2:9). Be sure to note that those are “lying” wonders. He’s a master at “unrighteous deception…” (vs. 10). So much so that he “transforms himself into an angel of light.” (2 Cor. 11:14). A true angel of light? Absolutely not, that’s part of his unrighteous deception; he wears a mask. Speaking of the devil, Jesus identified him bluntly: “he is a liar.” (Jn. 8:44).
Satan cannot make us sin, he cannot make us become unfaithful to God. But he knows how to hammer away at our faith and dedication in various ways. He tempts us openly through “the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life” (1 Jn. 2:16). But he also works on us through physical weaknesses, such as illness and injury. He works on us when we’re dealing with relational problems and when we face financial setbacks. If we’re not careful, such life-challenges can weaken us spiritually and leave us vulnerable to the devil’s attacks.
The Apostle John was very direct in determining a person’s spiritual identity. “He who practices righteousness is righteous,… He who sins is of the devil,” (1 Jn. 3:7-8). But, again, the devil is the great deceiver. John goes on to state, “the whole world lies under the sway of the wicked one.” (1 Jn. 5:19).
The devil cannot win against our will. James instructed, “Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you.” (Jas. 4:7). But that does not mean he will give up. Satan is at work right now, through this pandemic and other challenging circumstances facing our nation and the world. We must firmly make up our mind to not let the devil have any place in our life (Eph. 4:27). As we do that, the devil loses…
Gary L. Hutchens