Know Your Enemy

10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11 Put on the full armour of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. 12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. 13 Therefore put on the full armour of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. 14 Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, 15 and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. 16 In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17 Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. 18 And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people. (Ephesians 6:10-18)
8 Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. 9 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. (1 Peter 5:8-9)
Over the last couple of weeks, we have been looking at how this world tries to influence our thinking, and how our flesh has been programmed to predispose us to live independently of God. But as well as the world and the flesh, we have a third enemy – the devil. This week, we want to help you to get to know that enemy.

Who is the devil? Is he the being that Hollywood would have us believe he is? Is he even real? Are we immune to his tactics as Christians, or do we need to fear him? If we are aware of how the devil works, we are much less likely to fall for his tactics and schemes. The devil is a liar, so discovering the truth about him enables us to resist him.

Those of us who were brought up within the Western worldview tend to live our lives as if the spiritual world doesn’t really exist. When we hear teaching about Satan and his demons, it can seem old-fashioned or unreasonable to believe that they are actually real. However, from Genesis all the way through to Revelation, the Bible maps the battle between good and evil, between the Christ and the antichrist, between the Spirit of truth and the father of lies. That war was won on the cross two thousand years ago when Jesus defeated the devil and exposed him to ridicule. But whilst the war is won and the final outcome is certain, the battle still rages on for us each day. The Apostle Paul warns us that we are fighting the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly realms. The Apostle Peter warns us that the devil prowls around like a lion looking for an opportunity to sink his fangs into us.

So should we be afraid of the devil? No! He has already lost the battle between truth and lies that takes place in our minds and in our hearts. We needn’t fear the devil – just so long as we don’t forget about him. In this week’s Everyday Devotions, we want to help you to learn the Bible’s strategies for warding off the devil, and then how to go on the offensive too!
1)   In the movie The Usual Suspects, somebody claims that “The greatest trick the devil ever pulled was convincing the world that he doesn’t exist.” Do you agree?
2)   How often do you think about the reality of the devil? Do you live with these passages from Paul and Peter at the forefront of your mind? If you don’t, can you think of any ways that this affects your life negatively?
3)   What do you think of when you think about the devil?
4)   How are you currently taking your stand against “the devil’s schemes”?
Father God, I thank you that your Word talks very plainly about the devil. Thank you that you tell me much about him, and that you also tell me that your Son Jesus has defeated him. Help me to put on the full armour of God each day to take my stand against the devil’s schemes. Enlist me in the spiritual battle described by Peter and Paul! Amen.
If you have time, consider carrying on your conversation with God using one of our helpful Prayer Pathways.
Today’s Everyday Devotions have also inspired a devotional video that you can watch on our YouTube channel.
Today’s Everyday Devotions have been brought to you with help from our friends at Freedom In Christ
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