Sunday, September 6

It’s a battle

Scripture: 2 Kings 25, 2 Chronicles 36, Jeremiah 40-41, Revelation 12

Revelation 12:9 This great dragon—the ancient serpent called the devil, or Satan, the one deceiving the whole world—was thrown down to the earth with all his angels.

Observation

This weekend, Michael is preaching from 1 Peter 5, including v. 8.

1 Peter 5:8 Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour.

In Revelation 12, John describes the spiritual battle we are in and our enemy, the dragon, also “called the devil or Satan, the one deceiving the whole world.” John’s vision, like Peter’s, is of a vicious enemy bent on destroying us. He is angry, knowing that his time is short (he doesn’t have forever; he is not God’s equal but opposite). He has “declared war against…all who keep God’s commandments and maintain their testimony for Jesus.” We are in a battle.

For first century Christians, this spiritual battle with a deadly enemy was a reality; for many of us, it is an afterthought, at best. And that may be exactly what the enemy wants. If he can lull us to sleep, make us forget that we’re in a battle, we’ll be much easier to destroy. Peter’s words were never more appropriate: “Stay alert! Watch out for your enemy.”

Application

C.S. Lewis in his book The Screwtape Letters warns us against two errors regarding the devil. One is to disbelieve, the other is an excessive and unhealthy interest.

I’m not suggesting that we look for a demon behind every event or in every person. But we do need to be aware of the spiritual battle we’re in, and alert so that we’re not deceived. I believe the enemy of our souls is at work in our culture, sowing seeds of racism, doubt, divisiveness, animosity, pride, unwillingness to listen, stubbornness, anger and hatred (and so much more). When we get caught up in the spirit of the age, we are being manipulated by our adversary. Step back. Seek Jesus. Resist the lies.

Read Ephesians 6:10-20 for Paul’s primer on spiritual warfare.

Prayer: Lord, help me and my brothers and sisters to be engaged in the battle without being deceived or lulled to sleep. Thank you for the promise in Revelation 12:11 that we can defeat the evil one by the blood of Jesus and the word of our testimony!