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There is a war going on. As much as we might not wish to think about it, we are all caught up in a great struggle between good and evil. It is a conflict of cosmic proportions, involving not only the people in this physical world, but also the forces of good and evil in the spiritual realm. Paul wrote, "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" (Eph. 6:12). The power of God is greater than these forces, so we should not be overwhelmed with fear. But even so, we should not underestimate what we're up against.
At the head of all these wicked powers, of course, is Satan. Because his intent is to destroy us, the devil is our great spiritual adversary. In the Bible we are warned to take his threat seriously and arm ourselves in the strength of God to stand against his warfare. The worst thing we can do is remain complacent and assume that all will be well. The warning we are given in the Scriptures is clear: "Therefore let anyone who thinks that he stands take heed lest he fall" (1 Cor. 10:12). We ought to be extremely sober-minded when we think about the reality of evil.
The devil is not a physical being we can see with our eyes, but he is very real nonetheless. He tried to tempt the Lord (Mt. 4:1-11), and we can be sure he will try to tempt us. He is energetic and shrewd in his effort to overthrow our souls. Peter likens the devil to a "roaring lion, seeking someone to devour" (1 Pt. 5:8). He does not want anything good for us -- he wants to kill us.
Obviously, we need to take courage in the strength of God to overcome our adversary, the devil. In Eph. 6:10,11, Paul gave this admonition: "Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil." If we think we can defeat the devil on our own, we are going to be tragically disappointed.
This week, it will be good for us to think about the fact that we have a spiritual adversary who will destroy us if we do not place ourselves faithfully within God's safety. Those in Christ are those "who by God's power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time" (1 Pt. 1:5). There is an abundant, glorious hope of victory over the devil, but it is only in God. May we learn to trust Him more completely with every step we take!
Monday: 1 Peter 5:6-11
Key Idea: The devil's intent is to destroy us.
Questions for Family Growth: What attitude or frame of mind does Peter say we need to have concerning the devil? What are some ways the devil might "devour" us? In v.9, what are we encouraged to do? In v.10, what is God able to do?
Wisdom for the Day: Proverbs 29:25.
Tuesday: Matthew 25:41
Key Idea: Hell is a place prepared for the devil and his angels.
Questions for Family Growth: Will God punish eternally those who have rebelled against Him? Does this include the devil and his angels? According to vv.42-46, why will some have to "go away into eternal punishment"?
Wisdom for the Day: Proverbs 29:26.
Wednesday: Hebrews 2:14,15
Key Idea: Through the gospel of Christ, we can be freed from our fear of the devil's power.
Questions for Family Growth: In v.15, what is it that Christ delivers or releases us from? According to v.14, how did Christ "destroy the one who has the power of death"? What are some ways we can show our appreciation for what Christ has done for us?
Wisdom for the Day: Proverbs 29:27.
Thursday: 1 Corinthians 10:12,13
Key Idea: God will faithfully help His people to resist the devil's temptations.
Questions for Family Growth: What caution is given to us in v.12? What does it mean that "God is faithful"? What will He not allow to happen? Will we ever face a temptation that others have not met and successfully resisted?
Wisdom for the Day: Proverbs 30:1-4.
Friday: Revelation 12:9,10
Key Idea: God will completely triumph over the devil.
Questions for Family Growth: How is the devil described in v.9? What is said about God in v.10? According to 1 Jn. 5:18-21, whose power is greater, God's or the devil's? What other passages can you think of that bear this out?
Wisdom for the Day: Proverbs 30:5,6.