“Simon, Simon, look out! Satan has asked to sift you like wheat.” (Lk 22:31 CSB) Those words should have put a chill up Peter’s spine. Just the thought of having the devil after him should have terrified him as it should every believer.
The Bible teaches us that Simon Peter was not the only person to ever do battle with the devil. So did Job, David, Paul and even our Lord Jesus. The truth is – the devil is after each of us. Peter described him as a – “roaring lion, looking for anyone he can devour.” (see 1 Peter 5:8 CSB) As sure as the sun comes up this day, you can be sure that the devil will come knocking at your door. What do we do when the devil comes calling? Do we try to resist him in our own strength?
Scripture teaches us that in our own strength we are no match for the devil. Even Michael, the great archangel of God said to Satan – ‘The Lord rebuke thee!’ (Jude 1:9) Michael did not try to go toe to toe with the devil, but instead he rebuked Satan in the name of Christ.
Satan knows that he is no match for the Master. We read in Mark’s gospel of an encounter between the demons and Christ. The Bible says that when Christ came into their presence, they cried out saying – “What do You have to do with us, Jesus-Nazarene? Have You come to destroy us? I know who You are-the Holy One of God!” (Mk 1:24 CSB) The demons shriveled back in the presence of Christ. Paul tells us that one day every knee shall bow and every tongue shall confess that Jesus is Lord to the glory of the Father. (see Php 2:10-11)
Concerning our battle with the devil, the Apostle Paul wrote – “…be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil.” (Ephesians 6:10-11 ESV) Many have tried to analyze the various pieces of God’s spiritual armor, but Paul summarizes it all in the book of Romans – “But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no plans to satisfy the fleshly desires.” (Romans 13:14 CSB) Christ is our spiritual armor and strength. It is in His power that we can stand strong. To put on God’s spiritual armor is to clothe ourselves in Christ. How do we do this?
1) We Must Decide to Die to Self
Paul tells us to ‘make no plans to satisfy the fleshly desires.’ Satan seeks to lure us into sin. The writer of Hebrews talks about the sin which so easily besets us. The reason some sins seem so powerful is because we the lust that dwells within us desires them. (see James 1:13-14) Therefore in order to resist Satan’s temptation, we must recognize these sinful tendencies for what they are and choose to die to them so that we might live for Christ.
2) We Must Choose to Live for Christ
It is not enough to simply say – “I’ll never do such and such again.” The truth is – we will do them again and again unless we tap into a power that is able to overcome them. That power comes from Christ through the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit. Paul writes – “…be strong in the Lord…” Be strong by abiding in Him and allowing Him to abide in you.
Each of us will have a visitor today. The devil will come knocking at our door. But instead of answering that knock through the power of our own strength, we must immediately turn to Christ and allow Him to address our unwanted visitor. “The Lord rebuke thee”, worked for heaven’s mightiest angel. It will work for us as well.