“Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour.”~ 1 Peter 5:8 (NLT)
The Bible tells us that Jesus came for many reasons. He came to take our place and endure the punishment for our sins. In doing so he earned our salvation and secured a place for us with Him for all of eternity. (John 3:16 NLT) We no longer need to fear death, but rather, can look forward to it with joyful anticipation.
He also came to destroy the works of the devil (1 John 3:8 NLT) and to instruct us in how to stand firm against the enemy. (Ephesians 6:13-18 NLT) Until we come to the realization that it is Satan behind many of the struggles in our life, there is little hope in overcoming them.
One way that Satan attacks us is by injecting doubt into our minds. The clearest example of this is the fall. God told Adam (and thus, Eve) that they could eat the fruit from any tree in the garden except from the tree of knowledge of good and evil. Genesis 3:3 (NLT) clearly shows that when Satan approached Eve, she knew God’s instructions. Satan then placed doubt about God in Eve’s heart and we all know how that story ended.
Another tactic of the enemy is delay. In this mode, Satan makes you put off doing something in the hopes that, whatever it is, will never happen. The longer we put things off that we know we should be doing, the more we dread those things. For Christians, Satan uses delay as an attempt to wear you down to the point of giving up. For those who do not have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, he utilizes it as ploy to prevent that relationship from ever happening.
Yet another weapon in his arsenal is diversion. The enemy brings this into play to make us desire the wrong things. He achieves this by making that which is sinful seem desirable to us. This is another way he seduced Eve into eating the fruit from the tree of knowledge of good and evil. He told her that eating it would make her like God. That was an attractive proposition to Eve. She didn’t eat the fruit because she was hungry. She disobeyed God in the hopes of becoming like Him. She knew the fruit from that tree was a no-no to even touch, but Satan produced a desire in Eve stronger than her obedience to her Creator.
Another instrument in Satan’s attack against us is discouragement. Many times this follows a test or trial in our lives. The Israelites were surely discouraged on their trek to the Promised Land and in Psalms it is evident that David was often disheartened. Satan takes the tests and trials that God allows to strengthen and refine us and instead utilizes them to discourage us. In most instances we do not become discouraged over night. The enemy plants a tiny seed of disappointment in our mind and then slowly waters it with negative thoughts. Before you realize it, you are deeply discouraged and what started as one little negative thought has grown into full fledged defeat.
Coaches of sports teams often view video footage of their competitors. They do this to study their moves in an attempt to know what they are up against. A coach needs to know the enemy in order to prepare and train his team to defeat them.
In the same way, we have to know who we are up against before we can adequately prepare for the spiritual battles we face! The enemy is cunning and deceitful and will use our weaknesses to gain entry into our life.
Fortunately, God has given us the playbook of our enemy, Satan, within the Bible, along with all we need to defeat him. Don’t allow yourself to be blindsided. Read the playbook. Know the enemy and claim every weapon that God has given us to be victorious!