Battling Our Enemy

“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 ESV)

Be Sober-Minded

To be sober is the opposite of being intoxicated or drunk. It means to be clear-headed. Why is that important? The enemy is so dangerous that only a fool would not take him seriously. Maybe you’ve seen videos where a crowd has gathered for entertainment, like in a bull fight stadium. Everyone’s laughing and carrying on with frivolity, when suddenly, the bull jumps into the stands. Now everyone’s screaming. Now everyone is sober-minded.

One of Satan’s best techniques is to lull the Christian into a silly, light-hearted approach to their spiritual life. To live like there is no danger. To parent your children like there’s no danger. To skip spiritual disciplines and prayer like there is no danger. To live close to worldly values like there is no danger. It’s fine. Like the Joker’s famous line, “Why so serious?”[1] Because the sworn enemy of God is way more serious than we are and prowling around your life seeking to devour you. This battle will take grim determination to win.

Here are some practical helps with this:

Being sober-minded avoids two unbiblical extremes. One is to ignore him and not give any thought to him at all. The other is to obsess over him, believing there’s a demon behind every bush, every hangnail, every time your car doesn’t start. We don’t obsess. We are sober-minded.

Say a daily prayer for help to overcome the enemy. Isn’t this what Jesus taught us? “When you pray…pray then like this…. lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil.” (Matthew 6:7, 9, 13) Jesus apparently thought evil was so pervasive and dangerous that we should pray for God’s help in deliverance.

Avoid hanging out with Christians who aren’t serious about their spiritual life. I think there is a kind of self-righteous seriousness and I’m not talking about being boorish. But there are many, many people for whom their Christianity is just a causal thing. Their approach to Christianity is light-hearted. I would encourage you to be sober-minded and forge relationships with others who are as well. Then their iron can sharpen your iron.

Scripture quotations are taken from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version. ESV® Permanent Text Edition® (2016). Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.

© 2018 by Steve DeWitt. You are permitted and encouraged to reproduce and distribute this material in any format provided that: (1) you credit the author, (2) any modifications are clearly marked, (3) you do not charge a fee beyond the cost of reproduction, (4) you include Bethel’s website address (www.bethelweb.org) on the copied resource.

[1] The Dark Knight. Dir. Christopher Nolan. Perf. Heath Ledger. Warner Bros. Pictures, 2008. Film.

To hear the message of this excerpt in its entirety, click here

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