Don’t Forget Who The Real Enemy Is
Who is our real enemy? The apostle Peter provides a clear answer to this question. In his first letter to Christians he issues the following warning: "Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. Resist him, steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same sufferings are experienced by your brotherhood in the world" (1 Pet. 5:8-9, NKJV). Satan, our adversary, is real and active. He is going to hell and he wants to take you with him.
In a world that has largely turned its back on God and the Bible, the concept of a thoroughly wicked spiritual being orchestrating events behind the scenes and influencing people toward lawlessness is one that is often scoffed at. However, French philosopher Charles Baudelaire's oft repeated observation is worthy of attention: "the cleverest ruse of the Devil is to persuade you he does not exist!" In order to be awakened to the reality of the Devil's existence one need only log on to social media or tune in to the evening news.
In recent days, on the heels of a coronavirus pandemic during which many portions of the country have been locked down for months, a video featuring a white police officer snuffing out the life of a black man following his arrest has become the rallying point of protests which have given way to violent riots and looting in numerous cities. Inequities and injustices rooted in prejudices over skin color and cultural background have taken center stage as frustration and anger boil over. Citizens of our nation have turned against one another on a scale that would have seemed almost unimaginable only a short time ago.
Now is the perfect time to be reminded that mankind has an enemy who will use any means at his disposal to turn people away from God and righteousness.
1. Satan is a deceiver. Christ identified Satan as "a liar and the father of it" (Jn. 8:44). Satan wants us to believe that our neighbors are our mortal enemies. He would have us think that those of a different skin tone or different cultural background can never really understand us. He wants us to imagine that somewhere out there someone will come up with the perfect humanistic philosophy that will provide the solution to all of these problems. But the Bible accurately unveils the true character of his work as follows: "So the great dragon was cast out, that serpent of old, called the Devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world; he was cast to the earth, and his angels were cast out with him" (Rev. 12:9). Keep your eye on the deceiver. Don't forget who the real enemy is.
2. Satan is a divider. The apostle Paul wrote of those causing division in the church at Corinth, saying, "And no wonder! For Satan himself transforms himself into an angel of light. Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also transform themselves into ministers of righteousness, whose end will be according to their works" (2 Cor. 11:14-15). Satan seeks to keep people apart, suspicious of one another, and in competition with one another while leading them to believe they have taken up a righteous cause. I have seen profanity-laced tirades uttered against those who question whether the recent rioting is justified. I have witnessed Christians in recent days on social media harshly criticizing other Christians because they have said, "All lives matter," instead of simply saying, "Black lives matter, period." Do we need to listen to one another and learn why certain phrases or approaches may be viewed as offensive based on one's background? Certainly. However let's also understand that Paul warned the Christians in Galatia, saying, "For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this: 'You shall love your neighbor as yourself.' But if you bite and devour one another, beware lest you be consumed by one another!" (Gal. 5:14-15). Where is this spirit of harshness and division coming from? Keep your eye on the divider. Don't forget who the real enemy is.
3. Satan is a destroyer. Paul instructs us to, "Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places" (Eph. 6:11-12). It is Satan who wants to see the whole thing burn to the ground. He wants us to turn on each other, hate each other, belittle each other, and hurl accusations at each other. If he cannot destroy a church by means of false doctrine or immorality, he will be content to use racial tensions and civil unrest to do the job. Keep your eye on the destroyer. Don't forget who the real enemy is.
That these problems exist in our world should come as no surprise. John the apostle wrote to his fellow Christians, saying, "We know that we are of God, and the whole world lies under the sway of the wicked one" (1 Jn. 5:19). So, how can we counteract the satanic influence that has engulfed our world? Jesus said, "And just as you want men to do to you, you also do to them likewise" (Lk. 6:31). Do some hate and mistreat others because of their skin color or cultural background? Absolutely. Is it true that some people seek to unjustly oppress others for their own personal advantage? Yes. The truth is that this world has no shortage of sinners under Satan's sway who need to repent and surrender to King Jesus. Have you been ensnared by Satan's schemes? In a world under the influence of the Devil, whose side are you on? Don't forget who the real enemy is!