“Be serious and keep watch; the evil one, who is against you, goes about like a lion with open mouth in search of food; Do not give way to him but be strong in your faith, in the knowledge that your brothers who are in the world undergo the same troubles.”
1 Peter 5:8-9 (BBE)
As believers, we are not ignorant of the devices of the enemy. This means that we are able to discern the work of the devil.
Once you are able to discern the activities of the enemy, then he has lost his advantage (2 Corinthians 2:11). The things that were intended to make you weaker will end up making you stronger.
We see the role that discernment plays in Acts 16. Let’s look at verse 17:
“She followed Paul and the rest of us, shouting, “These men are servants of the Most High God, and they have come to tell you how to be saved”
Acts 16:17 NIV
An onlooker would have deemed the words of the girl to be accurate and even divinely inspired. However, Paul discerned that she was possessed by a demon and cast the spirit out of her.
This teaches us that the activities of the enemy may not always look bad at first. They may even be appealing as something good and from God. But the Bible teaches us that the enemy has the ability to disguise himself as an angel of light (2 Corinthians 11:14).
This is why every believer must be discerning. The things of the Spirit are not obvious to a natural man, but they can be perceived by a spiritual man (1 Corinthians 2:13-15). We are spiritual men because we have the Holy Spirit in us.
Consider the words of Jesus in Luke 22:
“Simon, Simon, behold, satan demanded to have you, that he might sift you like wheat, but I have prayed for you that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned again, strengthen your brothers.”
Luke 22:30 NIV
When Jesus said ‘Simon, Behold!…’, He asked him to see or perceive what the devil was doing and to identify it as the work of the enemy. Peter eventually denied Jesus.
Anyone would have considered this event as Peter simply succumbing to pressure at the time. But it was an attack of the enemy! Jesus had seen it coming and had warned Peter.
The second thing we learn from the story of Peter is the counterattack that Jesus employed. He prayed that Peter’s faith be strengthened. In 1 Peter 5:9, we are told to resist the devil by being steadfast in our faith.
Friends, do not be ignorant of the devices of the enemy. Discern by the Spirit and resist him with your faith. We have the advantage!