Identify the Enemy, Part Two
Yesterday I pointed out that our true enemy, the devil, is relentlessly engaged in a strategy to bring Christians down. With deceptive stealth, he's "like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour" (1 Peter 5:8). But the next verse tells us that the shield of faith will protect us from him. We can resist the enemy (see 1 Peter 5:9)! We are part of the groundswell of God's triumphant movement.
But this counterstrategy carries with it severe tests. They're coming. Some have obviously already arrived, and we are to be aware of others to come. My task is to equip you for them and to warn you ahead of time that more are coming—whatever they may be. If I knew, I would make a public announcement. But nobody knows. All we do know is that more will come our way. Our adversary never runs out of creative, deceptive ideas. But we will not fear, we will not be moved, we will not worry.
Peter offers even better news: "After you have suffered for a little while, the God of all grace, who called you to His eternal glory in Christ, will Himself . . . [I love these four promises; look at the words.] . . . perfect, confirm, strengthen and establish you" (1 Peter 5:10).
Don't miss the meaning of each term. He will "perfect" us in the suffering. This means He will restore us, bringing us to a new level of maturity.
Next, He will "confirm" us in the suffering. At the heart of this term is the concept of being made solid in our character. He will use the hardship to solidify our character.
And then we're told, He will "strengthen" us. The fatty flab brought on by easy living will be replaced with strong muscles of determination.
Finally, He will "establish" us. The Greek term suggests the idea of laying the foundations. The suffering will drive us deep to the bedrock of our faith.
And in the end, who is going to win? Read verse eleven: "To Him be dominion forever and ever. Amen." We could add Selah!
"I believe it," says the apostle Peter. "I stake my trust in it. I stand on it. I can assure you when the hard times have run their course, your lives will be perfected, confirmed, strengthened, and stabilized." The adversary will continue his assaults and take his cheap shots. I need to tell you ahead of time, that's coming. But in the end, God wins.
In the amazing Book of Revelation, John vividly describes the enemy, his attacks, and the ultimate outcome. The war has already been won by the good guys. When Jesus died on the cross and rose again, it was all over for Satan. He was and is ultimately defeated. Still, he fights on. And yes, he wins a few battles along the way. But it doesn't matter, because he's lost the war.
It reminds me of wars past, when communications were poor. Sometimes, armies went on fighting for months after the war had officially ended, because they didn't know they had already lost. So it is with Satan and his armies.
John basically stands toe to toe with the enemy, spits in his eye, and says, "Take your best shot, Satan. Do your worst. And we'll answer, 'Hallelujah anyway!' Because we know the victory is already ours."
Still, when Satan and his lieutenants attack us, we must do battle. We must gather up our courage from the Word of God and march out to meet the enemy face to face. But we go knowing we are already victorious.
The adversary will continue his assaults and cheap shots. But in the end, God wins.— Charles R. Swindoll Tweet This
Excerpted from Why, God? Calming Words for Chaotic Times, Copyright © 2001 by Charles R. Swindoll, Inc.
Used with permission. All rights reserved.