“….in order that Satan might not outwit us. For we are not unaware of his schemes.” 2 Corinthians 2:11
Phoebe Palmer, raised in New York City, was one of the first women of the 19th century to become a celebrated public figure and speaker. In her classic work, “The Way of Holiness,” she writes, “But the adversary, who had stood ready to withstand every progressive step [of my spiritual growth in Christ] suggested, ‘Be careful, God may disappoint your expectations….” This quote by Palmer is powerful not only because of the biblical truth it represents, but also because she includes the enemy’s “suggestion.” Ever since Eden, Satan has been attempting to plant seeds of doubt in our minds where the character of God is concerned.
Satan is always ready. God cautioned Cain, “…sin is crouching at your door;…” (Gen 4:7) Peter’s familiar warning comes to mind: “Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.“ (1 Peter 5:8)
If our enemy is so constantly fixed on us, as believers, what hope do we have? (Glad you asked.)
Nineteenth British theologian, John Henry Newman, paraphrased the power of the Gospel when he wrote, “While we are found in Christ, we are partakers of His security. He has broken the power of Satan;…the dragon hath He trod under His feet! And, henceforth, evil spirits, instead of having power over us, tremble and are affrighted at every true Christian.” In short, our enemy is a defeated enemy, terrified that believers will become constantly aware of our position in the Victor, Christ.
This is why Peter continues, “Resist [the devil], standing firm in the faith [in Christ].” (1 Peter 5:9) Satan wants no part of Jesus Christ – which is why he hopes daily that we will mindlessly abandon our commitment to the Lord, becoming more and more entangled with the cares of this world. The world is full of believers who’ve “fallen asleep at the wheel of their Christian devotion.” Remember, when Paul exhorted the Ephesians to “be filled with [controlled by] the Spirit,” he was writing to Christians. (Ephesians 5:18)
Be ready. Be alert. Abide in Christ. Meditate on His Word. The tomb is empty. The battle is already won.
Soli Deo Gloria, Nick