"But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect." 1 Peter 3:15
Getting to know your Adversary
I am a firm believer of understanding an opponent. In a competitive situation, it helps you to win. One of the best strategies is to know how you will be attacked so that you can effectively defend yourself and/or pull of a counter attack. But what do you do when you’re in a situation where your weakness gets continually exploited, and there is no appearance of a sound counter attack available?
I don’t handle failure well because I hate to lose. If I fail at something or do it wrong I over analyze, over criticize, and then come down hard on myself. While all of us have very different lives, different challenges, and different successes we all have one common opponent. Our opponent is relentless, ruthless, and cunning- the kind of opponent who is a win at all costs kind of guy. He will outright lie to you, exploit your weakness, push you to the brink and tell you half truths. The opponent I speak of, Satan.
I probably lost some of you with the very use of the word Satan. Bear with me on this. Up until a few weeks ago I had never given Satan much thought. I understood what he represented at a conceptual level, but had never really pursued it beyond that. To me, Satan was something in the Bible that had caused Adam and Eve to sin, and tempted Jesus. I guess you could say that I thought of him in more of a historical context rather than something that was operating in the here in now. Even from a social context, the look you get on most people’s faces is bewilderment when you mention the word Satan, or Devil… I’ve even gotten this “you’re weird” look a spiritual conversations!
The Set Up…
For the last few years God has been really working on my life. During this time my understanding of Christ has grown immeasurably! I guess that I first grew in my knowledge of Him from a business perspective (Many thanks to Liberty University’s MBA program).
Since graduating, however, I have had time to get to know this God that I serve on an even deeper and more personal level. I wanted to get to the heart of the matter and not have a vague understanding of Christianity… I wanted to know Him. Kevin recommended that I dive into a personal study of theology. So, I got a theology book by Charles Ryrie for Christmas, and away I went. To say that I have been blown away by the amount of material that is in this book is an understatement. While a number of things have changed, as far as my theological approach and general understanding, one of the biggest impressions left on me has been the chapters on Satan.
For those of you who believe Satan is some sort of metaphor for bad things, the Bible tells us you are wrong. If, like I did, you think that Satan is an entity that only acted in ancient history but is no longer present and active, I care about you too much to not tell you that you are mistaken. Satan is real, he hates us, and he is very much alive and active – that little booger is running around wreaking havoc on everything! Here’s how the Bible describes him: Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. (1 Peter 5:8)
Your doubt and misunderstandings plays right into Satan’s strategy for ruining your life. In John 10:10 Jesus told us the bad news about Satan… “The thief [Satan] comes only to steal and kill and destroy…” But Jesus didn’t stop there, he went on to tell us the good news: “[but] I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” What Jesus is saying here is that He wants us to know the strategies of Satan so that He can help us fight back and have a GREAT life, in Him!