(The third in a three-part series on the disciple and the battle)
The New Testament tells us that we are at war! It is clear that every follower of Jesus is engaged in a battle that is on three fronts: the world, the flesh and the devil. This blog focuses on the battle against the devil.
Paul reminded the church at Corinth to be aware of Satan’s schemes (2Cor 2:11), Peter said the devil was akin to a roaring lion looking for someone to devour (1Pet 5:8-9). Paul instructs the Ephesian church to put on the full armour of God to stand against the devil’s schemes (Eph 6:10-20). So, the battle is real and the enemy is wily.
The enemy at work
Without denying human complicity (see Eph 2:1-2) we need only turn on the news to find evidence of the enemy at work. The Supreme Court ruling on TWU, sexual identity confusion, the increase in violence on the streets of Toronto, the inhumanity of sex trafficking, especially of minors, corrupt businesspeople and politicians, all point to a society whose God-inspired moral core is being devoured by a roaring lion.
The tactics of the enemy
The Bible refers to the functions of the devil as accuser and liar. These are the two primary tactics that he uses in his fight against God and his followers. The first is to lie and accuse in order to cause the world to deny who Jesus really is. He does this by casting doubt on the trustworthiness of the Bible. He amplifies the weaknesses of the Church by whispering words like, “hypocrite” and “self-righteous” so that we lose our credibility as witnesses to God’s love and grace. He blinds our minds to the truth of who Jesus is (2Cor 4:4).
His second strategy takes effect when the first fails and we believe in Jesus. When denial of Jesus fails then distorting the image of God is his next move against believers. Through the distractions, or in the pressures of life, or because of “unanswered” prayer, he whispers lies and accusations about the nature of God – His sovereignty, trustworthiness, goodness and pure love. If we fail to discern the devil’s tactics we can lose hope in the truth of who God is, and indeed many have.
How do we fight?
Our counterattack is simple: Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you (James 4:7 NIV). Let us grow in our obedience to the voice of our Father in every area of our lives, so that the enemy would not have any legal grounds to harass us. Then when he does show up we can, with confidence in our authority, rebuke him. He wouldn’t be able to find a home in us. Don’t forget that the power of the devil has been broken by Jesus’ death on the cross (Heb 2:14). Live in that confidence!