“Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour” (1 Peter 5:8).
Satan prefers that we do not recognize his role in our conflicts. As long as we see other people as our only adversaries and focus our attacks on them, we will give no thought to guarding against our most dangerous enemy. Both James and Peter were aware of this danger, and they warn us to actively resist Satan’s schemes (James 4:7; 1 Peter 5:9).
Paul gives a similar warning, reminding us that “our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms” (Eph. 6:12).
Adapted from The Peacemaker: A Biblical Guide to Resolving Personal Conflict
by Ken Sande, Updated Edition (Grand Rapids, Baker Books, 2003) pp. 50-51.
Food for Thought
“There are two equal and opposite errors into which our race can fall about the devils. One is to disbelieve in their existence. The other is to believe, and to feel an excessive and unhealthy interest in them. They themselves are equally pleased by both errors and hail a materialist or a magician with the same delight.”
— C.S. Lewis, The Screwtape Letters
So the problem isn’t really the terrorists, or even the difficult person in your neighborhood, family, or church.
What would be your answer if someone approached you on a street corner and asked, Who is your most dangerous enemy? Think about it for a moment. Just what would you say? Odds are that among both non-Christians and Christians, most of us would answer in terms of flesh and blood; in other words, someone or some group of people.
But as Ken reminds us, that’s just not the case. Or at least, it’s not the truth. Three scriptural authors — Peter, James and Paul — all echo the reality that our most dangerous enemy in this life is Satan.
But think about that question again — Who is your most dangerous enemy?
And think about the reactions you would get, from non-believer or believer, if you answered with, Satan. Would you get the raised eyebrows of total shock and awe? Would you get a full-out belly laugh followed by a “come on, I’m being serious here”? Would you get a dismissive roll of the eyes, indicating you must be one of those people?
Our responses to that question and the responses we might get from those around us are very, very telling. There is an enemy out there and we’re basically oblivious to his schemes – we’re asleep at the wheel. We just keep on blaming each one another, a.k.a., flesh and blood, for everything that’s going on.
Ken says it well: Satan prefers that we do not recognize his role in our conflicts.
If we have any intention of living and moving and have our being as peacemakers, it’s imperative that we live with an awareness of our most dangerous enemy. Now it is true that most of our struggle comes through flesh and blood, but we’ve got to be self-controlled and alert to the truth that it’s not against flesh and blood. Peacemakers with that kind of presence of heart and mind are Satan’s most dangerous enemies. Awake, o sleeper! Live dangerously!
I sometimes have a hard time with thinking Satan is my greatest enemy. I think I am my greatest enemy.
But I’m sure the devil loves to play on my weaknesses and sinful inclinations to wreak havoc on me.
Do you agree with Ken and the Peacemakers devotion, or not?