Satan is not only real, he is ruthless! He has co-laborers–demonic forces. I like to call them The Committee. The "roaring lion" metaphor in first Peter wasn't for dramatic effect. The Committee works fast and goes after those who are weak, alone or woefully unprotected. They spit, snarl, intimidate and they love the taste of Christ-follower. Satan clamors for strongholds and if he can't get that, a toehold will do. But don't look for blatant manifestations of Satan. He likes to stay low key. He's a stealth, serial killer. Satan's best work is done in the shadows, just on the edge of light. If Satan can find an angle to plant a little concoction of temptation, accusation, condemnation and intimidation he's got you where he wants you, neutralized!
This is why we're hit with a stern warning, "give no opportunity to the devil". This warning is for anyone who's passionate about taking hold of abundant living and spreading broadly the "good news". Here's a reality of war: The only way Satan won't target you is when you've given up the dream and settled for a "normal' life. Just look around, normal is not enough.
But the real battle is in the way The Committee hammers our mind. Satan led Jesus on a temptation tour, enticing Him to sell-out cheap for something that looked very good. The Committee always uses tantalizing bait and will swap-out bait until we bite. And when we bite on a lie, we get dragged through desert valleys of shame until we're left for dead. Because of this a warning is critically important. Most of us have joked about "hearing voices" in our head. But it's no joke, it's very real! Our mind IS where Satan goes to work and he brings his friends. His aim is to shame us, blame us, tempt us, crush us and sometimes just discourage us. If it goes unchecked, Satan will reduce us to living in utter emotional squalor. The real danger is to live in this pitiful place so long that you can no longer imagine a different place. It's time to take the war to the enemy.
We have a weapon of war that's designed for hand to hand combat, the truth of God's word! We need to build our lives like Nehemiah rebuilt Jerusalem, a brick in one hand and a spear in the other. Deal with each wave of attack, one at a time. Tell the enemy that your identity is secure in Christ, you don't need the approval of man. Tell the accuser you're loved and useful, you're not taking the "loser" label another day. Tell The Committee you resist bitterness and tonight the sun won't go down on your anger. Tell those terrifying whispers coming from the shadows that "perfect love casts out fear". Tell the lion in the weeds that the depression you seem to battle is not to be mistaken for abandonment or weakness, you're still God's child and under the protection of the "good shepherd". Fight back now! Cry out to God. Reject and renounce lies. Come back tomorrow for another battle, it never ends. But here's the kicker, "the gates of hell will not prevail". Tune your ear to God's Word and His voice. Listen closely, that's the voice of truth, love and life, cheering for you!
I Peter 5:8, Eph. 4:26-27, Matt. 4, I John 4:18, Matt. 16:18