Oddly enough, one of my favorite Scriptures is 1 Peter 5:8 (ESV) which says, “Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.” It is not an encouraging verse per se, but I repeat it to myself often.
I find it helpful to remind myself that I have an enemy (and a fierce one at that). There is a predator in my midst, stalking, watching, and waiting to attack. He seeks to devour me and my family, and 1 Peter reminds me to be on my guard.
Satan Hunts Christians
So often we are blinded to the fact that we are being hunted as prey. We accept worry, fear, doubt, and anxiety as a normal part of existence instead of recognizing them as vicious tools in the hand of our enemy. We forget we have an enemy who stalks us. Satan watches our every move, listens to our words, watches our interactions, and handcrafts a plan of attack that is designed to specifically disable us. He knows our weaknesses better than anyone, probably even ourselves.
Our lives are frequently characterized by sin and negativity: lying, lust, fights, gossip, slander, impatience, hostility, unforgiveness, bitterness, selfishness, fear, doubt, worry, etc. The root of all of this negativity is the prince of lies himself. Satan, like any true predator, stalks his prey. He watches us for signs of weakness, for tendencies and patterns, for aversions and distractions. Satan plays into our hearts and minds, altering the way we see reality, making us more likely to stumble. He knows how to isolate us, what will set us off, what will be most tempting to us, and what lies we are most susceptible to. He sets up situations that specifically exacerbate these tendencies in an effort to make us fall. We walk into his trap without ever seeing it, and we are debilitated by the aftermath because we never saw it coming.
There are thousands of ways Satan tries to trip us up and make us fall, most of which are extremely difficult to detect. His actions, though subtle, can have long lasting effects that leave us reeling. One little lie from the enemy can lead to years of insecurity, doubt, and broken relationships because it alters the way we view reality. One move of his hand can take us down without us ever knowing it. He specifically designs his attacks to fall in line with our natural ways of thinking and reacting so we are uniquely disabled without ever realizing how it happened.
How God Helps Us
In light of this knowledge, we must ask the Holy Spirit to reveal areas in our lives that are hindering us. We need God to point out the specific points of weakness that Satan exploits and ask him to bind up our wounds. We must become aware of the ways in which Satan attacks, whether through specific temptations, lies we believe, preconceived notions, or otherwise, and ask God to work in those areas of our lives. We must ask God to make us keenly aware of situations that make us vulnerable to attack and show us how to resist Satan when he comes near.
Vigilance comes through intense focus on a goal. 1 Peter 5:8 tells us to be sober-minded and watchful. The New Living Translation says to “stay alert!” The message is clear: we must be ever-aware of the enemy if we want to live to our fullest potential. When we relax our focus, Satan becomes all the more powerful because he only has to do a fraction of the work to inflict maximum damage. Car accidents don’t occur because the driver was paying attention; accidents happen because a situation took them by surprise. The worst accidents often occur because the driver was distracted and didn’t see what was coming their way until it was too late.
The same is true of Satan. When we stop paying attention, stop asking the Holy Spirit to make us aware, Satan’s attacks become more effective because they catch us off guard.
James 4:7 says to “resist the devil, and he will flee from you.”
Today we must choose to be alert, sober-minded and watchful so we can readily resist our attacker when he approaches. Too many of us are unintentionally living as prey. We must open our eyes and recognize that life is not random. There is a war going on around us, and we have an enemy who hand crafts attacks to deeply wound us in a specialized way. We have the power to stop him by being aware of our weaknesses, surrendering to God and resisting Satan’s attacks as they happen. Then no matter what he throws at us, we will not be shaken.
“For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.” Ephesians 6:12 (ESV)
Contributor: Kinsley Smith, MTS, she can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org