The world (Sep), the flesh (Oct), and the devil: a triumvirate of forces that conspire against you in your struggling attempt to honor God. We often underestimate the wickedness of the world. We may be surprised by the sudden weakness of our flesh in the face of temptation. At least we are already aware that the devil is the depth of evil. He is referred to as the wicked one, the accuser of the brothers, a murderer, and a liar, and the old serpent that deceives the whole world. Perhaps one of your great risks from this enemy, though, is forgetting how powerful he is. He is also referred to as a strong man, the ruler of this world, the prince of the power of the air, and the god of this world. He has a lot of experience at working with the enemies we’ve already studied. He knows just how to pull certain strings in the world to appeal to your flesh. He is an expert. And he would love to see your testimony for God destroyed. “Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour” (1Peter 5:8, ESV).
But don’t be discouraged – the devil is a defeated enemy! One of the purposes of Christ’s death was that “He might destroy the one who has the power of death, that is, the devil,” (Heb 2:14). Satan is alive and active, but his power has been broken. Just as John tells us that we overcome the world through our faith in Christ (1John 5:4-5), he also tells us, “I have written unto you, young men, because you are strong, and the Word of God abides in you, and you have overcome the wicked one,” (1John 2:14). You are helpless on your own to withstand his crafty attacks, but by the Word of God (remember how the Lord Jesus handled the temptation from the devil in the wilderness?) and by faith in God, victory is yours.
This is why Peter, after warning us about this roaring lion, says, “Resist him, firm in your faith.” And James encourages us by saying “Resist the devil, and he will flee from you,” (James 4:7). Why would this roaring lion flee a young believer? Because of your firm faith in God and your reliance upon the Word of God abiding in you (Hint: make sure you are spending time in the Word!)
So don’t be discouraged. But, don’t be flippant or ignorant or careless either. No, Peter says “be sober-minded; be watchful.” Satan was created as the highest of God’s angelic order. He can attack quickly and viciously and can bring you down in a hurry. The devil is not someone to be joked about. He is not someone to call out in “spiritual” pride. He is not someone we are to attack in the fleeting strength of momentary emotional excitement, masqueraded as spiritual energy. No, “resist him” when he attacks and do so through a firm faith that is grounded deep in the Word of God.