1 Peter 5:8 (NKJV) 8 Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour
This week we have been looking at the nature of our warfare with the Devil. In His Word, God gave us his full armor so that we could go into our daily battles from a position of strength and not weakness. We also need to have spiritual “intelligence.” This helps us understand how the enemy works and the nature of the warfare we fight against him. With these things in place, we can defeat all of the “wiles of the devil.”
Yesterday we got a glimpse into the battle going on around us. We live in two worlds at the same time. We live in the world we can see and we live in a world that we cannot see. In Daniel, we found that there were two rulers over the kingdoms of the earth in his day. There were the natural rulers of the Persian Empire and there were the demonic rulers. The angel God sent to answer Daniel’s prayer had to fight through the demonic ruler to get to him. This same angel revealed that there was another demonic ruler coming called the Prince of Greece. Greece was the next empire to rule this region.
In Hebrews 1:14 we read that the angels of God are spirits sent forth to minister for the heirs of salvation. Paul says in Ephesians 6:12 that we wrestle against powers principalities and spiritual rulers in heavenly places. All of these scriptures point to a conflict between spiritual beings. We are also spiritual beings and we are part of that conflict. As we pray, worship, preach the Gospel and live upright lives as true Christians, we empower the angelic realms and defeat the demonic realms.
Why is this warfare necessary? If God is almighty, and he is, can he not simply destroy the rebellious angels and reclaim the earth? The simple answer is, yes. He could do that but he has chosen not to at this time. There is a reason. The battle is not really to secure the ultimate will of God in the earth. Nothing can stop that. We read about it in Ephesians 1:10.
Ephesians 1:10 (NKJV) 10 that in the dispensation of the fullness of the times He might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven and which are on earth–in Him.
There is a day called the fullness of time when God’s will is going to come to pass. All things will be brought together under Christ Jesus. That is inevitable. The battle is for the will of God to be enforced in the earth today. The purpose is so that the full number of God’s children will come into the kingdom of God. When that number is reached, the fullness of times will come and the war will be over.
The reason for the very real warfare that is going on today between the forces of darkness and the forces of light is the protection of the right of people to choose. God will withhold his full power until every person that can choose life does and until everyone who wills to choose death makes that choice. His will for you and I is that we do our part in this battle to bring in those souls that are assigned to us in our lifetime. The increase in the natural instability of the world reflects the increase in the level of spiritual warfare because we are coming to the end of the age.
I want to take a little time today to look at the kind of things we face in this battle. Paul tells us the armor of God will enable us to stand against the wiles of the devil. In 2 Corinthians 2:11, he says we must not be ignorant of his devices. Both of these words imply a plan or method.
The Greek word translated “wiles” in Ephesians 6:11 means to follow craftily, frame devices, and deceive. It also implies investigation by method and settled plan. Satan has a plan of attack. He follows us craftily and comes up with ways to overcome us. He methodically investigates the church to determine strengths and weaknesses and then he formulates a battle plan against each one of us and against each believing church. He determines what kind of threat we are and how to take away our effectiveness. His main weapon is deceit.
Since the resurrection of Jesus Christ, the devil and his forces have been severely limited in what they can do against the church. Jesus said all authority had been given unto him in both heaven and earth as a result of his victory. The church has the right to walk in that authority. Jesus also defeated the devil and took away from him the keys to death, hell and the grave. Any person who accepts covenant relationship with Jesus through salvation can walk in this authority and power.
Any believer who understands the position of strength that is available to them and walks in it has nothing to fear from the devil. He has no weapon that can defeat us. This understanding is the true nature of the armor of God. The devil knows this better than we do, so he must undertake a different kind of warfare against the church.
Satan’s warfare against us depends on the one weapon that he still has at his disposal. Deception. It is his favorite weapon and he is very good at using it. Peter reveals its nature to us in today’s scripture. The devil is like a roaring lion seeking whom he may devour.
When the bible uses the word lion to describe the devil, we conjure up images of being eaten by a giant beast with sharp claws and huge teethe. Indeed, we would not stand a chance against a full grow lion who came at us directly. However, a lion does not come against its prey directly. Cats of all kind stalk their prey.
We used to have a dog and a cat. We have had this combination of pets many times through the years and they have always gotten along eventually. They usually became friends. This was not the case with the these two. The dog was a dachshund beagle mix. The cat was a Himalayan. The cat was here first. When the dog came, the person we got him from told us to make sure the cat let the dog know he belonged in the house. That was not a problem.
We had the two of them for many years and the dog was terrified of the cat. Every now and then, the cat made sure the dog remembered who was boss. He did not just walk into the room and take a swipe at the dog’s nose with his claws. He hid and waited in ambush. When the dog passed by, he jumped out at him. We would hear a little yelp and the dog ran to his bed looking beseechingly at us for help. The cat was “wily.” The cat used “devices” to attack the dog.
The devil is not a lion. Jesus is the Lion of the tribe of Judah. The devil just acts like a roaring lion. He deceives and stalks us. He will roar his threats either through people or in our own minds. He will tell us how hopeless our situation is and how weak and foolish we are for resisting. The game is to get us to take off our armor. He wants us to give up the authority that Jesus won for us so he can attack our weakness and cause us to sin. When we do, we submit to his authority and he can hurt us.
We do not have to be fooled by this fake lion. When he roars and blusters at me, I like to remind him that Jesus already defeated him. If he ever was a lion, he is not one now. His roar may be loud, but he has no teeth and Jesus has declawed him.
Our enemy is seeking whom he may devour. That means the meal has to cooperate. The next time the devil comes to you roaring his threats and declaring your weakness and unworthiness, tell him you choose not to cooperate. Tell him, “Devil, I know you are looking for someone you may devour. I am telling you now that I have on the full armor of God and you may not devour me. As a matter of fact, I am going after you with the sword of the spirit and if you don’t back off; I will make a meal out of you!”
James 4:7 (NKJV) 7 Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you.