Resisting Evil

Sam Petitfils

 “Be sober-minded; be watchful.  Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.  Resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same kinds of suffering are being experienced by your brotherhood throughout the world (1 Peter 5:8-9).

The last several centuries has witnessed a turn from a belief in the supernatural towards purely natural explanations for all things.  But such explanations cannot account for the evil so widespread in the world. Peter, in this passage, gives the true and proper explanation: the devil our adversary.

The Bible warns us from straying from the sincere devotion to Christ (2 Corinthians 11:3) and falling for the schemes of the evil one (Ephesians 6:11).  Satan continues his assault of God’s plan by tripping up even God’s followers so that they become ineffective for God.  But the Bible provides the proper response of the child of God: resist.

In verse 9 above, the Apostle Peter spells out the formula for dealing with Satan’s wiles:

Resist.  Yes, we must not allow the evil one to linger in our minds and hearts with his subtle allurements. Instead, we must say no to him.  In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus admonishes His disciples to turn the other cheek, but when dealing with the devil, we need to turn and run.  We should flee temptation and always resist the devil (James 4:7).

Resist firm in your faith.  The way to effectively resist is to build up your faith (Jude 20).  We cannot hope to do this overnight, but by adding layers of faith and growth day after day, we acquire spiritual wisdom and strength to fight the Lord’s battles.

Knowledge.  Peter also writes, “knowing that the same kinds of suffering are being experienced by your brotherhood throughout the world.”  We do not fight this evil enemy of God all alone, but we join millions of saints who also are targets of the evil one.  When we ponder this, we soon realize others wage the same battle, and we are not alone.  In Hebrews 11, the writer mentions some noble “heroes of faith,” who waged battles for the Lord and stood against evil.  Perhaps they are the great “cloud of witnesses” (Hebrews 12:1) who have passed the test and now cheer us on from heaven’s grandstands.  If they have faithfully stood for God amid growing evil, so we must as well.

Do not become weary in well-doing (Galatians 6:9), nor turn and run.  We must “act like men” (1 Corinthians 16:13), and be watchful (1 Peter 5:8).  Our adversary prowls the earth seeking someone to devour.  Do not give him the time of day.  Instead, proceed on God’s course, and soon the battle will end, with you in the heavenly grandstands cheering others on.

 

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