Many are intrigued by the topic of spiritual warfare. Speculation and sensationalization abound, as sincere people obsess over the subject. A multitude of books and opinions have flooded the religious marketplace, creating a hodgepodge variety of strange, spooky beliefs. I recently heard a TV preacher elaborate on a supposed system of angels and demons which he believes have power of human souls. These entities supposedly battle over our appetites for food, sex, money, and fame. I don’t think I believe the preacher’s claims, but I have to at least give him kudos for creativity!
Seriously, how can a sincere Christian make sense out of all of the confusion that’s out there? If there really is a devil who is supported by demonic cohorts, I feel we need to have some sort of understanding concerning his nature and activity. Fortunately, God’s Word provides some solid truth for our souls. Consider three pieces of advice found in the Bible.
It is real.
Peter cautioned the early church, saying, “Be serious! Be alert! Your adversary the Devil is prowling around like a roaring lion, looking for anyone he can devour” (1 Peter 5:8). For the apostle, Satan wasn’t some imaginary figure of fantasy and folklore. From personal experience, he knew of Lucifer’s strategies and snares (see Luke 22:31-34 and 54-62). In startling imagery, he depicted the Devil as a hungry, maniacal animal in pursuit of prey. Don’t be deceived. Satan is real. Though many scoff at the idea, there is a spiritual enemy who desires to distract you from God’s plan for your life (see 2 Corinthians 4:4).
Faith is the key.
According to Scripture, a steady reliance upon Christ is the key to Christian living (see Romans 1:17 and Galatians 2:20). It is the means of all spiritual victory (see 1 John 5:4), so it stands to reason that it is also the secret for overcoming the enemy. Peter encouraged believers to resist the pulls and prompts of Satan’s kingdom by being “firm in the faith” (see 1 Peter 5:9). To stand strong, we must remember God’s truth and we must rely on it. This is how Jesus defeated the Devil (see Matthew 4:1-11). Never forget — you haven’t been called to figure out all things related to demons and the Devil. You’ve simply been called to a faith relationship with your Heavenly Father.
Christ can help you overcome.
If you keep your eyes on Jesus, you will experience victory over the things the Adversary throws your way. The Lord will build you up and make you strong. Like a finely tuned athlete who is able to compete at a high level, you will be equipped for spiritual endurance (see 2 Corinthians 9:8). Discouragement and distractions won’t detour you. Lies won’t deceive you. Peter encouraged believers who were under satanic attack, saying, “the God of all grace, who called you to His eternal glory in Christ Jesus, will personally restore, establish, strengthen, and support you” (1 Peter 5:10). When our eyes of faith are fixed on our Heavenly Father, He can deliver us from all things, even the Devil and the demons of Hell. Keep on trusting Jesus, and don’t get too caught up on what’s going on behind the scenes. He will see you through!
Dr. Patrick Latham