1 Peter 5:8 says, “Be alert, be on watch! Your enemy, the devil, roams around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour.”
My nephews found an elk that had recently been killed by a mountain lion in Durango, Colo., this summer. We visited my parents in that area the following week, and everyone was a bit hesitant to go off for hikes. We decided to go in a group, scanning the distance as well as the treetops. We came across the elk’s remains and there wasn’t much left other than half a jawbone and part of a shoulder blade. It had literally been devoured. That image will forever come to mind when I think of 1 Peter 5:8.
I was recently hit with a bout of vertigo unlike anything I have ever known. For the first few days I could barely even crawl. It could have been a time of deep discouragement, and yet I clung to the knowledge that God allowed this to happen. I remembered Job (book of Job) and Peter (Luke 22), two men whom God allowed to endure very difficult times to prove their faith unshakable. That has helped me to stand firm in faith on the days I have hardly been able to stand on my own two feet.
Just like Joseph in Genesis 50:20, I can see how something that was intended for evil can be used by God for good. I have had a time of rest for two weeks straight that never would have happened otherwise. I have been completely helpless, having to rely on others as a beautiful reminder in the midst of trial of just how much I am cared about and loved. And since my eyes have started to function again, I have been able to dive into scriptures in a way I might not otherwise have made time for.
One of the things I realized with new insight during my time of recuperation was that when Jesus was tempted by the enemy in the wilderness, the way He responded was simply by saying, “It is written...” and then quoting God’s Word (see Luke 4): He could have done anything, and what He chose to do was speak the truth.
There is a very real spiritual battle going on in our world between the kingdoms of darkness and light. Ephesians 6:12 reminds us that “our battle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the world powers of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavens.”
It’s a different kind of fighting that we are to do. Ephesians 6 lists the armor of God, that we are to use for protection, ending with the sword of the Spirit, which is God’s Word. That’s how we fight — with the truth and with prayer. The only way to combat the tricks and deception of the devil is to stand firm in the truth of God’s Word.
God’s Word is the weapon to be used in battle. Nehemiah 4:17 shows a fantastic picture of workers who were rebuilding the wall, working with one hand while holding a weapon in the other. Isn’t that how we ought to be living, too, always ready with God’s Word?
I love the image in 2 Chronicles 20:15-17 where the Lord tells the people who are facing a great enemy that they are not to be afraid or discouraged because the battle is not theirs, but the Lord’s. “You will not have to fight this battle. Take up your positions; stand firm and see the deliverance the Lord will give you.” In Exodus 14:13, just before the Lord parted the Red Sea and made a way out from the enemy, Moses told the people to “stand firm” while the Lord fought for them. Their job was to not be afraid and to stand firm.
If you are determined to live for God and obey Him, then you are a threat to the devil. So be alert, and be on watch. Be ready with God’s Word in every situation. Then you will be able to stand firm in faith.
• Lisa Jisa and her family have been residents of Ahwatukee Foothills since 2000. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.