January 01, 2018
by Pastor Chuck SwindollScriptures: 1 Peter 5:8–9
When you're in a battle, before you can march out against the enemy, you have to know who he is. It's called "gathering intelligence." You need to know how he operates, where his base of operations is, what his tactics are.
When you're in a battle, before you can march out against the enemy, you have to know who he is. It's called "gathering intelligence." You need to know how he operates, where his base of operations is, what his tactics are. You have to be able to identify him in all circumstances.
And while we certainly have a number of earthly enemies, they are not the enemy about whom we must be most concerned. No. "Your adversary," Peter clearly states, is "the devil." He is at the root of all evil. He is relentlessly engaged in a strategy to bring us down. With deceptive stealth, he's "like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour" (1 Peter 5:8). Last time I checked, hunters called the lion the "king of beasts." The last time I did an investigation of the devil, he was the highest of all the angelic creatures. Though he fell from that exalted position due to pride, he didn't lose any of his brilliance. Make no mistake about it, when the highest of God's angelic creations fell, he instantly rolled up his sleeves and entered into conflict with the divine plan. Small wonder that we're told, "Be of sober spirit" (v. 8a). There's a war on! Once we identify the enemy and understand his wicked ways, we realize the world is a battleground, not a playground.
Let me pause here and set the record straight. First, we're living in a culture that is politically correct but is theologically, ethically, and morally corrupt. To the very center of its being, today's culture is corrupt. Humanity without Christ is totally depraved. The world will lead you directly away from the things of God, rather than toward them.
Second, we are now facing hardships, conflicts, and trials like none of us would have ever imagined, because we are encountering our adversary on his turf. Everything God's people love, he hates. For instance, he hates your Christian marriage. Chances are good that more marriages are in conflict in these stressful days than in days past. Chances are you've got troubles in your family—more than usual. Perhaps one of your children is in open rebellion. If they're not there yet, it's just because they're not old enough. It's only a matter of time. Why? Our adversary hates harmony in the family.
Chances are the conflicts occurring in your occupation have reached such an intense level, you're ready to say, "I don't even know if Christianity works anymore." It's all part of the enemy's strategy.
Chances are you're going through a struggle emotionally or physically—either yourself, your mate, someone in your family, or one of your close friends.
Chances are very good that a grandchild or a great-grandchild is very sick right now. The devil hates strong minds, secure wills, and stable bodies.
We shall encounter enemy attacks in any number of areas. While we ought not to live in fear of it, we're not to be ignorant of it either. The enemy loves for you to be kept ignorant about him, to think of him inaccurately or with a shrug. He hates messages like the one in this devotional. He is being identified for who he really is; he doesn't go for that.
Do you need some good news? It's found in this same section of Scripture. We can resist the enemy! Look closely yourself at the opening line of 1 Peter 5:9. "But resist him, firm in your faith . . . ." The enemy's attacks may be directed toward the vulnerable part of your life, but the shield of faith will protect you from them. You can resist him!
Furthermore, realizing that God is our refuge, we can go to Him immediately. There's nothing like prayer to dislodge the darts of the enemy. And you're not alone. Verse nine states "your brethren" are experiencing the same sufferings you are. You're not unique. You are part of the groundswell of God's triumphant movement. But this counterstrategy carries with it severe tests. We'll talk more about that tomorrow.