HONEY, I SHRUNK THE DEVIL (part 1)

 

Satan is not convinced with words but with authority.  When Jesus came on the scene, He declared war on the devil and plundered his goods.  How?  First, He cast out demons.  Second, He lived a sinless life, giving Satan no room to attack Him.  Third, He died on the cross, devastating the powers of darkness.  

We bind him the same way.  First, we cast out demons. Second, we put on the righteousness of Christ. Deficiency in armor make us subject to an attack.  If we believe lies about ourselves or about God, we become vulnerable to Satan’s onslaught.  His weapons are deception, intimidation, accusation,condemnation, and temptation.  We are told: “Resist him, firm in your faith” (I Peter 5:9).   

Our most effective strategy is dying to self.  Satan was defeated at the cross (Colossians 2:15), and he is again disarmed as we die.  Jesus assaulted Satan most by doing what He came to do–die. We do the same.

To extremes when speaking of the devil.  Some never feel we talk about him enough and trace every problem to a demon.  On the other hand are those who don’t think we need to talk at all about him, some because all authority is in Christ, and others because you can’t get too serious about a sinister demon in pajamas. Peter presents a balance. In his naïve days, he was told that Satan was going after him.  He shrugged it off with an unrehearsed vow of allegiance.  Within four hours Satan worked him over.  Had not the Master counterattacked the devil’s onslaught with prayer, Peter would never have come through.  

Seasoned by service, he later gave the saints valuable information on the enemy’s tactics: “Be sober, be watchful.  Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.  Resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same experience of suffering is required of your brotherhood throughout the world” (I Peter 5:8,9). His two-point strategy is…

Recognize.  Sobriety enables us to see things as they are.  Watchfulness means our eyes stay open.  Peter gives us three enemy names. First: adversary.  We may think that our enemy is the person who gossips about us at church—or those secular humanists.  Paul reminds us that “we wrestle not against flesh and blood.”  One reason for weakness in the Church is that we wrestle more often with flesh and blood than with Satan.

The second designation is devil, meaning “slanderer.”  How freely he mocked the Almighty when talking with Eve:  “Has God really said?”  When God spoke favorably about Job, Satan responded,  “Does Job fear God for nothing?”  Satan likewise slings missiles of accusation at God’s children.

The third term is lion.  Peter says that the devil does not sit in a cave; he stalks about.  When God addressed Satan on Job’s behalf, He asked him where he had been.  The devil answered, “From going to and fro on the earth, and from walking up and down on it” (Job 1:7).  As he roams, he roars.  God usually speaks in a still, small voice.  Satan tries to intimidate with his noisy growl.  Fearful saints cower before his onslaught, while intelligence forces realize that his growl gives him away.  Recognizing him prepares us to…get ready for part 2 in three days.

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