We often forget as Christians the degree to which the life we live now as Christians is truly a type of warfare. Our enemy is the devil. He is the one plotting our downfall, assaulting us with strategies designed to wear us down and defeat us, instigating various treacheries that undermine our pressing on to victory, and striving to sabotage our strength in the Lord and fruitfulness as His children. The devil, a spiritual being opposed to the will of God in your life and seeking to thwart Him by leading you astray and trapping you in chains of guilt and shame, fear, and hate.
“Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a lion, seeking someone to devour” (1 Peter 5:8 ESV).
As a Christian, which is to say someone who has repented of sin and trusted Jesus as Savior and now follows Him as Lord, we are warned about the devil’s intent to harm and destroy us, comparing him to a thief who “comes only to steal and kill and destroy” (John 10:10a ESV). We are admonished to “give no opportunity to the devil” (Ephesians 4:27 ESV).
In other words, watch your life. Watch what thoughts you take into yourself, guard your heart from the threat of sinful attitudes and God-less perspectives. Consider well how your speech and actions can give the devil footholds in your life. And reflect on how careless thoughts and deeds can give your spiritual enemy opportunities to trap you in sin, accuse the God you say you follow, and bind you with chains of regret.
In Ephesians 6:10-19, the Bible shares with us the spiritual gear we need to successfully fend off the enemy and reclaim those things he’s stolen from God and from us. “Be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm. Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace. 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, praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end, keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints, and also for me, that words may be given to me in opening my mouth boldly to proclaim the mystery of the gospel, 20 for which I am an ambassador in chains, that I may declare it boldly, as I ought to speak.”
Basically, we’re to “gear up” with the spiritual equipment that God has provided, tend to it, and trust in the God Who has called us to follow Him. In essence, we have already won the victory and wearing the armor and utilizing it in faith, we access the fruits of that victory in this life and for the next.
After we are told in 1 Peter 5:8-9 to be watchful and resist the devil, we are encouraged with this promise, “After you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, Who has called you to His eternal glory in Christ, will Himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you. To Him be the dominion forever and ever. Amen” 1 Peter 5:10-11 ESV).
Thom Mollohan and his family have ministered in southern Ohio the past 25 years, is the author of Led by Grace, The Fairy Tale Parables, Crimson Harvest, and A Heart at Home with God. He blogs at “unfurledsails.wordpress.com”. Pastor Thom leads Pathway Community Church and may be reached for comments or questions by email at [email protected] Viewpoints expressed are the work of the author.