Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. (1 Peter 5:8)
You, my friend, are a really toothsome morsel.
So am I.
Not used to thinking of yourself in these terms? You’re not alone. Most of us don’t spend much — or any — time thinking about our most relentless and dangerous enemy, the one who constantly drools over us. And that’s by design — his, not ours.
The less we think about Satan, the better he likes it. Staying virtually invisible is his first battle strategy. The danger we don’t recognize is a danger we can’t guard against. Satan takes advantage of our inclination to ignore what makes us uncomfortable, what we aren’t sure how to handle, what we’d rather not know.
. . . be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. (Eph 6:10-11)
Scripture leaves us in no doubt that we are always in Satan’s cross-hairs. Whether or not we are conscious of being attacked at any given moment, we have an enemy who retreats only to sharpen his teeth and wait for an opportune time.
If Satan can’t maintain his low profile, his second tactic is to divert attention on himself by trashing others, including God. “Satan” means “Accuser,” and Devil means “Slanderer.” If the best defense is a good offense, Satan is the past master. He hurls accusations against us (You’re so weak, stupid, unloveable, undeserving, etc.) and hits his target more often than not. He encourages us to question the motives and actions of others, and especially the goodness and love of God. If he can get us to suspect that God may not really love us, he can put a major chink in our spiritual armor.
Another of Satan’s favorite strategies is aimed at making us feel full of fear and devoid of power. If our minds are consumed with all that is wrong and feelings of futility, there’s little impetus to fight back. We can forget that our help comes from the Lord, the maker of heaven and earth (Psalm 121:2) It’s been said that when we fear God, we need fear nothing else. We can either submit to God as our Savior and help, or we can submit to Satan, the father of lies. James not only gives us the right choice, but a reminder that we are not powerless against Satan. Like all bullies, he backs off when we stand up to him:
Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Come near to God and he will come near to you. . . . Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up. (James 4:7-10)
So let’s remember we’re always on the spiritual menu, and actively resist becoming the devil’s dinner!