Men who have served our country in one of the branches of the military likely spent at least a little time pulling "guard duty." Posted at a checkpoint, gate, perimeter, or watch station, their charge was to stay alert, to watch for the enemy, and to guard and defend their post. Similarly Christians are always posted for spiritual guard duty. We have an adversary, a spiritual enemy who never sleeps. He is always searching for a weakness in our defenses, a "hole in the spiritual fence," so to speak, where he can slip through and do his dastardly and destructive work.According to God's Word, "Satan," the "serpent," the "prince of darkness," our "adversary," is no joke. Just like terrorists seek to destroy our way of life by discovering our security weaknesses and exploiting them, Satan seeks to find our spiritual weaknesses, so he can overrun the spiritual perimeter of our lives. His power is real and his ability to tempt and enslave us with sin should not be discounted.
However, as soldiers of Christ, we can overcome Satan by staying alert at our posts, by watching for the enemy, and by using the effective defensive measures, with which God has armed His troops. James said, "resist the devil, and he will flee from you" (James 4:7). Sometimes, though, it is hard to resist the enemy if we don't know what he looks like and what disguises he is likely to use. Satan is cunning! Just like a terrorist, he may try to disguise himself so he can sneak into our lives and destroy us before we know what hit us. If we are to be successful in defeating our mortal spiritual enemy, we must learn to see through his disguises.
Thankfully, God has not left us in the dark concerning the disguises Satan might use. Rather God has given us a "profile" on Satan, listing all of the possible disguises he might wear as he tries to sneak through our spiritual perimeter. Just like a guard at the airport gate has been trained to watch for someone who fits the terrorist's profile, so we must watch for the following disguises Satan uses.
First, Satan comes calling as the subtle serpent by simply trying to talk us into sinning. This is the way he approached Eve (Gen. 3:1-13). With his lies about sin's consequences, and his appeal to the sensual pleasures of sin, Satan is often able to beguile our minds and pervert our judgment. Beware! Just like cheese in the mousetrap looks appealing to the unsuspecting mouse, so sin looks appealing until you're caught in its trap, only to realize too late it was the bait of death. This is the way Satan approached Jesus in the wilderness, but Jesus used God's Word to defeat him (Mt. 4:1-11).
Secondly, if Satan is unsuccessful in talking us into sinning, he will disguise himself as an angel of light and try to trick us into sinning (II Cor. 11:13-15). Beware! Satan's deceptive presentations may make sin appear exciting and profitable, but remember, Satan is the father of lies (Jn. 8:44). The way to overcome this disguise is to mature in Christ, by studying God's Word so you'll not be deceived by false doctrine when it comes. (Eph. 4:14-15, II Tim. 2:15).
Finally, Satan disguises himself as a roaring lion (I Pet. 5:8-9). If Satan can't talk, or trick us into sinning, then he will seek to overcome us with persecution. Again, beware! The victory is almost won. Don't quit the battle now! Stand your ground! Peter encourages us to triumph over Satan's final disguise by standing firm in the faith, realizing our suffering is not unique, but rather that which every faithful Christian must endure. Paul says persecution is bound to come (II Tim. 3:12), but we must not give up nor give in, for the victory belongs only to the faithful, who hold the line in the face of adversity (II Tim. 4:7-8, Rev. 2:10).
Don't be fooled by Satan's disguises. "Ye therefore, beloved, seeing ye know these things before, beware lest ye also, being led away with the error of the wicked, fall from your own steadfastness. But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ" (II Pet. 3:17-18).
By David McCain
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