The devil is the enemy of God. Rather than submit to God, He sinned from the beginning and separated himself from God. 1 John 3:8 “He who sins is of the devil, for the devil has sinned from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that He might destroy the works of the devil.” Since the devil is the enemy of God, Jesus Christ came to the earth to destroy the works of the devil. The devil is powerful, but he does not have the power of God. 1 John 4:4 “You are of God, little children, and have overcome them, because He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.” The devil is in the world but God is within us. We are able to overcome the power of the devil because God is greater than the devil and God is within us. Just as we cannot see God, we cannot see the devil. We certainly see God by what He has created. We see the work of the devil in influencing people of the world to sin before God.
The devil desires for us to sin and come to his side away from God. You remember that after Jesus was baptized, He was tempted by the devil. Matthew 4:1-3 “Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. And when He had fasted forty days and forty nights, afterward He was hungry. Now when the tempter came to Him, he said, ‘If You are the Son of God, command that these stones become bread.’” You can continue reading in Matthew chapter 4 to see other ways that the devil tempted Jesus. Jesus might have been weakened by fasting forty days and forty nights. The devil tried to separate Jesus from God and cause Him to sin. But Jesus resisted the devil and used the word of God to combat him. Jesus did not sin and did not go to the devil’s side.
Just as Jesus was tempted by the devil, you and I will also be tempted by the devil. James 1:12-15 “Blessed is the man who endures temptation; for when he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him. Let no one say when he is tempted, ‘I am tempted by God’; for God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does He Himself tempt anyone. But each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed. Then, when desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, brings forth death.” God does not tempt us, but the devil tempts us. He can use our own unholy desires to tempt us and entice us.
1 Peter 5:8-10 “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. But may the God of all grace, who called us to His eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after you have suffered a while, perfect, establish, strengthen, and settle you.” Be sober. This isn’t a game we play with the devil. Be vigilant. Keep awake and watch out for the devil’s attacks. The devil is compared to a lion. A lion uses multiple techniques to kill and devour its prey. Often times a lion tries to sneak up on its victim and catch them unaware. At other times, a lion roars to transfix and paralyze its victim with fear, which is why they roar just before they attack.
The devil uses many tricks and devices to get to us. He puts his disciples in the world next to Christians (Matthew 13:37-42). He takes the word of God out of people’s hearts so that they won’t believe and be saved (Luke 8:12). He can put ideas into people’s hearts so that they follow them and sin (John 13:2). He can use our pride against us. In giving the qualifications for an elder or overseer, the apostle Paul wrote in 1 Timothy 3:6-7 “Not a novice, lest being puffed up with pride he fall into the same condemnation as the devil. Moreover he must have a good testimony among those who are outside, lest he fall into reproach and the snare of the devil.” Just as a hunter may use snares to catch his prey, the devil uses snares to capture individuals to do his will. 2 Timothy 2:25-26 “In humility correcting those who are in opposition, if God perhaps will grant them repentance, so that they may know the truth, and that they may come to their senses and escape the snare of the devil, having been taken captive by him to do his will.”
The battle we fight against the devil is a spiritual battle not a physical battle. It requires spiritual armor and weapons. Ephesians 6:11-18 “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. Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God; praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints.” We need God’s truth, God’s righteousness, the message of the gospel, faith, salvation, the word of God, and prayer to combat the devil.
My encouragement to you is to be sober, be vigilant, submit to God and resist the devil. James 4:7 “Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you.” Through the power of God you can overcome the devil.