our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against
the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the
spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.” (Ephesians 6:12)
It will be foolhardy to step into the battlefield unarmed, untrained and unwary of the enemy’s fire power. Ill-equipped, we will be taking a very great risk and most likely would come out of it badly scathed or not survive it at all. When we have an enemy like Satan, we cannot afford to do business as usual or drop our guard. Either we are on the alert against his sniper arrows or be on our toes. Our Lord Jesus admonishes to “Watch and pray!” The enemy is crafty. He is a deceiver, a pretender and a cheat all in one. He has a bag full of tricks and snares that he can pull out on us to confound us – just when we feel so sure of ourselves. “Whilst people are saying, “Peace and safety,” destruction will come on them suddenly as labour pains on a pregnant woman,” and they will not escape.” (1 Thessalonians 5:3 )
He loves challenges and is ready to take them head-on because he has nothing to lose. The fact of the matter is that he is a defeated foe already, since our Lord Jesus on the cross took captivity captive. He has been bound hands and feet, and is just bidding time. He might not be a match for us except we let him. Jesus has conquered the devil for you and for me on the cross of Calvary.
Following his disgrace, when he was kicked out of heaven and away from the LORD’S presence, he has worked his way into the world and has taken possession of it. It will be ludicrous to flirt with the devil and expect to win the war. As strange bedfellows, how can we become victorious when we are sleeping with the enemy?
There was a time we fell for his tricks, but that was part of growing up – a time when we indulged in the pleasures of sin at our own risk and peril, unwittingly though; times when he lured us into believing that sin was pleasant. Not any more! Now our eyes have been opened to the reality of his games. Disguised as ‘an angel of light,’ we may confuse darkness, filth and lies as glorious. “As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient. All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our sinful nature and following its desires and thoughts.” (Ephesians 2:2-3)
The Apostles Peter and James [the brother of our Lord Jesus] sought to reinforce our will by urging us to “Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him standing firm in the faith....” (1 Peter 5:8-9) “Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you.” (James 4:7)
It is no ordinary combat, but one that requires us to put on the whole armour of God—the full regalia—so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm...with the belt of truth, the breastplate of righteousness, feet fitted with the gospel of peace, the shield of faith, the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God.” (Ephesians 6:14-17). .
When we fall prey for all his snares, it is because we are dragging our feet; we are not fit for war. Before Gideon took on the Amalekites, God required him to “announce now to the people, ‘Anyone who trembles with fear may turn back and leave Mount Gilead.’ “ (Judges 7:3) Twenty-two thousand men left. These were the faint-hearted, unwilling to risk their lives for the glory of the nation of Israel. In the end only three hundred warriors faced the enemy.
“The battle is the Lord’s and the victory is ours.” As Joshua and the Children of Israel advanced to take over the fortified city of Jericho, he listened attentively to God’s words. “Now Jericho was tightly shut because of the Israelites. No one went out and no one came in. Then the LORD said to Joshua, ‘See, I have delivered Jericho into your hands, along with its kings and its fighting men.’ “ (Joshua 6:2) Joshua did not fight that battle, he only complied with God’s instruction and victory was assured for him and his men. God was confirming what He had promised when Joshua took over the reins of power from Moses. “I will give you every place where you set your foot.” (Joshua 1:3)
When the Apostle Paul declares us ‘conquerors’ in Christ Jesus, it is because there are battles to be fought and won. It is time for us to walk in victory. Jesus has laid it all down for us when He declared on the cross ‘It is finished!.” However, a word of caution; It is not because we are believers that the evil one will not attempt to destroy us; rather it is because we belong to Christ, his arch-enemy, that he continuously throws arrows at us in a bid to frustrate and discourage us. We can start by building up our defences based on the provisions of the word of God.
“You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the One who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world.” (1 John 4:4)