How well do you know your enemy?
It strikes me as odd that we say we believe in Satan yet we live and act as if he is nothing more than a figment of our imagination or a comic book character. Satan is neither, to be sure, that is if you believe the Bible.
If I really believe in a devil, a real live entity of evil that is bent on our destruction, then I will live as if he is indeed alive, active, and pursuing my downfall with a scheme and a plan (John 10, Ephesians 6). In light of this truth, I need to know my enemy, and in response, change my activity.
I must live as if both God and Satan are real, but not equal.
We should not be ignorant of the devil's schemes nor should we be surprised when we see the destruction he leaves in his wake. We do not have to give him much rope to hang us with, we usually do a good enough job left to our own sinful nature. Yet this age-old adversary is wise and seasoned and willing to wait. His patience is formidable. If we are not submitted to Jesus in every area, our enemy may target one of those little secret closets that we have packed things away in: unforgiveness, lust, insecurity, or regret.
Five Things I Know About the Devil
1. He is evil, wicked, calculating, and void of any good at all.
2. He hates God and God's image in this world and works tirelessly to destroy all that God created as good.
3. He hates you and me and all humanity because we are the crowning creation in God's world and we are His image bearers.
4. He is not equal with God but is created by God and under the ultimate authority of our sovereign Lord.
5. His destiny is eternal destruction in hell.
How Knowing the Enemy Changes Our Activity
Since I know these things about my enemy, I must now change my activity. I must live as if both God and Satan are real, but not equal. I must pursue godliness, holiness, humility, and genuine love for God and neighbor. I must be aware, sober, and vigilant in my struggle against the spiritual powers and influences I cannot see but I battle daily nonetheless.
I must always be on offense (living a life of worship and obedience to Christ) and defense (fighting temptation and the enemy by the power of the cross and the risen Christ). I must avoid people and perceptions that would tempt me to compromise. I must stay clear of scenarios that could lead me down a road of regret and shame. I must read the Bible as if it is my authority, not a book of suggestions. I must pray as if my life depends on it.
There is too much to lose to live as if our enemy is not real, active and planning and plotting our destruction. But it is insufficient to fight him in our flesh. We will lose every time. Our victory is in Jesus Christ who is risen and coming again. Rest in His victory and change your activity as if you serve the Most High God who will rule and reign for eternity.