Resisting the Devil

Tim Brown

READ : 1 Peter 5:6-14

Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. (v. 8)

Christians often make two equal and opposite mistakes with respect to the devil. The first is giving the devil too much respect. Did you notice that Peter refers to the devil as “your adversary”? The devil is not the equal and opposite of the living God, who has been perfectly revealed to us through Jesus Christ through the power of the Holy Spirit. God has no equal and opposite. In the Revelation of St. John, the archangel Michael fulfills that role. The devil is mighty and dreadful and we must be alert to him, but he is not almighty. Martin Luther was fond of referring to the devil as a mad dog on a chain that is only dangerous to us if we step within his reach!

The other mistake Christians often make is giving the devil too little respect. Peter wouldn't have written these things if the devil posed no danger to us. So how do we arm ourselves against the fiery darts of the evil one? We take up the shield of faith (Eph. 6:16) and follow the example of Jesus who warded him off with the Word. “It is written . . .” is the sword slash of the Spirit that resists the devil and makes him flee from us (James 4:7). Luther's great hymn “A Mighty Fortress” includes an important reminder: “One little word shall fell him.” Friends, resist the devil with the Word of God!

PRAYER

Give us confidence in your Word, Lord, as we resist the devil!