He is the serpent, the Great Dragon, Beelzebul, the ruler of this world, the prince of the power of the air, the evil one, and the adversary. He is Satan. And—if you are a follower of Jesus Christ—he hates your guts with a passion. Like a roaring lion he is prowling about seeking to destroy you. How can you stand firm and resist the devil so that he will flee from you? First, do not be naive; you must consider his ways.
- He may slander God to you in order to cast doubt on God’s goodness and shipwreck your faith (Gen 3:4-5).
- He may tempt you to deceive others in order to create, or maintain, the impression of being more spiritual (Acts 5:3; Jn 8:44).
- He may corrupt your mind and steer you away from the simplicity of Christ and His gospel (2 Cor 11:3).
- He may hinder [cut in on, as in a race] your gospel witness and steal it from unsuspecting hearts (1 Thess 2:18; Matt 13:19).
- He may wrestle against you, fighting against your progress in Christ (Eph 6:12).
- He may tempt you to commit sexual immorality against your spouse as a result of neglecting the intimacy of the marriage bed (1 Cor 7:5).
- He may harass you with some form of fleshly affliction (2 Cor 12:7).
- He may blind the spiritual eyes of your unsaved family, friends, and neighbors so that they may not see the glory of Jesus in the gospel (2 Cor 4:4).
- He may keep your unsaved acquaintances in bondage to sins that hinder them from coming to God (Gal 4:8).
- He may smite you with physical disease (Luke 13:16; Job 2:7).
- He may murder you (Ps 106:37; Jn 8:44).
- He may sow tares [counterfeit Christians, sons of the evil one] within your assembly of believers in order to deceive and create disunity (Mt 13:38-39; 2 Cor 11:13-15).
- He may lead you toward theological compromise by causing you to be friendly to false doctrine and its teachers (1 Tim 4:1-3).
- He may persecute you for your godliness (Rev 2:10).
- He may tempt you to do evil (Matt 4:1; 1 Thess 3:5).
- He is—at this moment—prowling about seeking to capture and destroy you, chiefly through pride (1 Pet 5:6-8).
- He will most assuredly slander you before God in heaven (Rev 12:10).
- He may ask God for permission to sift you out for concentrated attack and temptation (Luke 22:31).
- He may use the power of suggestion to move you away from the will of God (Matt 16:21-23).
- He may try to cripple your effectiveness through confusion, discouragement, and despair (2 Cor 4:8-9).
How can you stand firm and resist the devil so that he will flee? The Bible exhorts believers to war against the enemy of faith by not remaining ignorant of his schemes (2 Cor 2:11); by submitting to God (Jas 4:7), being sober and alert and resistant to him (Eph 4:27; Jas 4:7; 1 Pet 5:8), and by not speaking lightly of him (Jude 8; 2 Pet 2:10).
5 Defensive Pieces of Armor and 2 Offensive Weapons: We must put on the armor of God, which includes the defensive weapons of truth, righteousness, gospel proclamation, faith, and salvation. We must also employ the offensive weapons of the sword of Scripture and prayer (Eph 6:11-18). These are the only means by which we may firmly stand against the devil. “Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might” (Eph 6:12).
[The above list makes a great personal Bible study or the basis for small group discussion.]
Grow in your understanding of Bible-based discipleship: Counseling One Another: A Theology of Interpersonal Discipleship
Other recommended resources:
- Safe and Sound: Standing Firm in Spiritual Battles (David Powlison)
- Good News About Satan (Bob Bevington)
- The Christian in Complete Armour: Daily Readings in Spiritual Warfare Cumberland Valley Books or Reformation Heritage Books or Amazon (also available in Kindle version).