My precious sisters and brothers, we have an enemy. Are you familiar with his tactics? Satan is not a mythological being. He is very real. One of the strategies of any enemy is to remain hidden, because the element of surprise always gives the upper hand in battle. Our enemy is no different. He is strategic and skilled and he is hoping you aren’t paying attention.
“Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that the family of believers throughout the world is undergoing the same kind of sufferings.”
I think it’s interesting God chose a lion to describe Satan. George Schaller knows all about the hunting habits of lions. He is recognized by many as the world’s leading field biologist, studying wildlife in various parts of the world. He recalls watching a group of gazelles attempt to cross some thick brush in order to get a drink of water. The unsuspecting gazelles didn’t know there were hungry lions waiting for them on the other side. The lions were quick to grab the gazelles that tried to cross while the other gazelles ran.
The interesting part of this story is two hours later the remaining gazelles tried to get to the water using the same exact route…not once, but twice! The gazelles’ lack of wisdom (and terrible memory) led them to their death.
How many times are we like those gazelles? We forget the paths that lead us straight to the enemy and he is happy to devour us in those vulnerable moments. Our failure to stay alert, coupled with our lack of wisdom leaves us exposed as easy prey. I make this mistake more than I care to admit. There is a reason God warns us to “be alert and of sober mind”. Our enemy is hidden and he is waiting for us to let our guard down.
But it’s not just his hiddenness that Satan uses to attack. Another tactic our enemy uses is deception. He distorts God’s truth and leads people astray. Jesus says he is a murderer and a liar.
“He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies.” John 8: 44
His lies come in many forms. Sometimes it’s condemning thoughts he puts into our heads…
“You’re worthless” “How could God ever love someone like you?” “The Bible is a myth” “God just wants you to be happy. If it feels good, do it.” “Did God really say (fill in the blank here)?”
…and on and on the lies go.
Or, sadly, his lies can come through wolves in sheep’s clothing (those who call themselves Christians but are not). There are plenty of those out there who claim to follow Christ but their hearts are far from Him. Jesus noticed this too and quotes Isaiah when speaking to the Pharisees…
“These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me.” Matthew 15: 8
Our enemy uses these deceived people to taint the Body of Christ with deception. Satan is skilled in twisting Scripture for his own benefit. We live in a very confusing time. There are a lot of messages that sound godly on the surface but in fact lead people astray. Be very careful who you listen to. Just because they are a pastor or a famous Christian author/leader does not mean they are from God.
“For such people are false apostles, deceitful workers, masquerading as apostles of Christ. And no wonder, for Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light. It is not surprising, then, if his servants also masquerade as servants of righteousness. Their end will be what their actions deserve.” 2 Corinthians 11: 13-15
This is why it is so important to know the genuine Scriptures so that we can recognize the counterfeit messages Satan tries to sell us. My prayer for you today is not to be discouraged by all of this, but to be encouraged that we have a Savior who has disarmed our enemy.
“He canceled the record of the charges against us and took it away by nailing it to the cross. In this way, he disarmed the spiritual rulers and authorities. He shamed them publicly by his victory over them on the cross.” Colossians 2: 14-15
Our enemy and his entire army is disarmed! Satan has been defeated! Of course he doesn’t want you to know that. But God tells us plainly that he disarmed Satan by canceling our record of sin and nailing it to the cross. Those are life giving words! I pray you are encouraged today that while you have an enemy who tries to steal, kill, and destroy your joy, you have an awesome Savior who gives you life and gives it to you fully.
“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” John 10: 10
Take every step today with this glorious Truth in mind. You are victorious because Jesus is victorious and it is He who will guard you from evil.
“But the Lord is faithful; he will strengthen you and guard you from the evil one.” 2 Thessalonians 3: 3