When the thought or concept of Satan comes to mind, we do well to consider the strong possibility that our thoughts about him are more the product of fancy than Truth. Our enemy is effective in hiding the fact of his existence in the minds of many. For those who believe the Bible and acknowledge the truth that the devil and his angels exist, however, the challenge we face often involves a distorted understanding of their role in seeking to hinder our walk with the Lord Jesus Christ.
As we seek to "grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ," it is good to be mindful that our maturing must include increasing understanding of those who oppose Him. Our focus is on our Lord, of course, but we also maintain vigilance against our spiritual enemies.
"Watch ye, stand fast in the faith, quit you (acquit yourselves) like men, be strong" (I Corinthians 16:13).
This watching must be Biblically defined. Against what do we maintain vigilance concerning Satan and his minions? As we have frequently proposed in this series of messages, deception is the devil's primary attack upon us. He seeks to cause to think and believe things that are not true about God, ourselves, other people, and our lives. "He is a liar and the father of it" declared the Lord Jesus of Satan, who seeks to make our minds the womb in which he bears his unholy offspring of delusion, distraction, and deception (John 8:44).
This raises a question that all believers must consider. Are there patterns of thought, attitude, and belief in us that are the product of devilish deception rather than God's truth?
The answer for all of us is undoubtedly yes. Our enemy is incessant in seeking to mislead us. Since our birth, and especially since our new birth in Christ, the devil and his minions have sought to inculcate falsehood in us. Indeed, one of the first things a new believer should be told is that he has entered into a pitched spiritual battle in which spiritual foes cannot steal his salvation. They can, however, strongly challenge the living and vibrant experience of our Lord's dynamic presence in our lives. If we are are unaware of our enemies' nefarious efforts to mislead, we will unwittingly embrace subtle deceptions that affect our walk with God and our relationships with people. Because we are not perfect in maintaining vigilance, we can be sure that thoughts, beliefs, and attitudes exist in us that are not completely aligned with Truth. Our "watch" therefore begins by a serious beseeching of our Lord to reveal such internal deviations to us, or as the Psalmist prayed, "Cleanse thou me from secret faults" (Psalm 19:12).
Our Heavenly Father is more than able and willing to lovingly correct us. The Bible is given "for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness" (II Timothy 3:16). Wise is the Christian who recognizes the role of Scripture in exposing areas of devilish deception in our thoughts, beliefs, and attitudes. Such humility also establishes a strong line of defense against future attacks by Satan to mislead us. The bright light of Truth illuminates all believers who acknowledge the effectiveness of both our enemy and our proclivity to being misled. More importantly, such humble awareness envelops our hearts and minds with the God who can overcome already existing deception, while also protecting us from present and future attacks.
As our Lord cleanses our minds of faulty thoughts, beliefs, and attitudes, our hands and feet subsequently bear the fruit of a surer walk of faith and obedience. "As he thinketh in his heart, so is he" (Proverbs 23:7). Love for God and man results, and the peace of Christ in our own hearts becomes a far more realized and enjoyed blessing of His grace. May we therefore remember that enemies seek to mislead, and in the light of Christ and His Word, may we seek God's correction regarding already existing diversions, while keeping watch for Satan's future attempts to deceive us.
"Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour."
(I Peter 5:8)