The Armor of God Series – Part One
It is said that the number one rule in warfare is this: Know Thine Enemy. As Christians, we are well aware that we are in a battle. This battle rages on day after day. There is no cessation of fire and certainly no times of peace. It is a full-on fight against an enemy who is as calculated as he is cunning and as ruthless as he is destructive. He seeks to advance on our territory inch by painstaking inch.
The Bible clearly identifies who our enemy is:
Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. Ephesians 6:10-11
His name is the devil. Or, in the original Greek language, his name is diabolos – The Slanderer. His attacks are well-coordinated and designed with the intention to hinder, hurt, and ultimately destroy. This diabolical devil entraps 2 Timothy 2:26, deceives Revelation 20:10, tempts Luke 4:13, prompts John 13:2, masquerades 2 Corinthians 11:14, accuses Revelation 12:10, lies John 8:44, incites 1 Chronicles 21:1, and controls the world 1 John 5:19. He is a strong foe indeed!
In order to fight him well, we have to know exactly who we are up against. If he studies our ways, we need to study his ways. If he specializes in tactics, we must specialize in tactics. If he has a battle plan in place, we must have a battle plan in place. In simpler terms, we must know thine enemy and be prepared for him! But, how do we do that?
Peter helps us out here:
Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. 1 Peter 5:8
In one figure of speech, we collect some very important intelligence on our enemy:
1. Our enemy roars.
Lions roar to communicate between members of the same pride, to show how big they are, and to mark their territory. By doing this, they are able to ban together and keep other lions off their home turf. A lion’s roar is so powerful that not only do you hear it, you feel it, too. The closer you are, the more its vibrations tremor through your body.
“Am I a dog,” Goliath roared at David, “that you come at me with a stick? And he cursed David by the names of his gods. “Come over here, and I’ll give your flesh to the birds and wild animals!” he yelled. 1 Samuel 17:43-44
David not only heard Goliath’s roar, he felt it. The booming voice of the enemy sent shivers down the spines and vibrated the weak knees of the entire Israelite army prompting them to run for cover. His echo reverberated throughout the valley, paralyzing even the toughest Israelite soldier. But, David was no stranger to the lion. He had already killed one with his bare hands 1 Samuel 17:36. As a result, Goliath’s roar was unimpressive to David. David knew that the roar held no power. Instead, he replied to the roar by saying:
I come to you in the name of the LORD of Heaven’s Armies – the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied. Today the LORD will conquer you, and I will kill you and cut off your head. 1 Samuel 17:45-46
BOOM! Mic drop. David responded to the roar by telling the enemy just WHO He was messing with – The LORD of Heaven’s Armies.
2. Our enemy is on the prowl.
The Greek word for prowls around is peripateó and it means to walk around in a complete circuit (going “full circle”). Merriam-Webster adds extra meaning to this with its definition of prowl: to move quietly through an area while hunting; to move through a place or area especially while searching for something often in a quiet or secret way.
When it comes to hunting, one word best describes the lion’s style: covert. The lion encircles its prey, studies its ways, and finds its weak spots over a period of time without any detection whatsoever. After all his intelligence information is gathered, the lion calculates the best plan of attack. Then, he waits until the opportune time to pounce. Luke 4:13
Lions are incredibly good at hiding and phenomenally patient. Hunting is a quiet sport for them. There is no roar. The well-timed attack is always sneaky, subtle, and surprising and usually done under the cover of darkness where lions can stalk their prey without the threat of detection. However, the intelligence gathered before the attack is done during the daylight hours while the lion appears to be lounging, almost as if he’s sleeping, all while keeping close watch on his prey.
3. Our enemy is hungry.
Another accurate word to describe a lion would simply be stalker. He lurks around, studies his prey while licking his lips without the prey even knowing he’s there. If he is spotted, he will sit up and stare nonchalantly into the distance. All the prey has to do at this point is stare long and hard at the lion as if to say, “I know you’re there. You’re not fooling me. Don’t even think about it,” and the lion will leave it alone. Why? Because a lion’s prey has one distinct advantage over the lion – speed. Prey can outrun and outlast the lion on any given day. That’s why the lion has to be so quiet and ever so sneaky.
Knowing this, it’s understandable that prey animals are most afraid of lions when they can’t be seen. It’s the unseen lion who is a threat. Therefore, the lion has become a master of disguises.
“For Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light.” 2 Corinthians 11:14
Like a chameleon, our enemy, the devil, is able to change his outward appearance, blending in and adapting to our environment without as much as a double take from us. For the lion, this means he may appear as if he’s sleeping or disinterested or laying down low in the thicket. But, no matter what deception he is trying to pull off, one thing is certain – his stomach is growling.
Once the lion attacks, his ravenous hunger is unleased. He goes for the jugular or mouth first in order to choke his hapless victim. Then, he goes for the bowels. Then, the organs. The lion will consume as much of his prey as he possibly can. He gorges himself into oblivion. He comes with one purpose – to destroy John 10:10 – and does exactly that.
However, if a lion misses his target on the first run he usually abandons the chase. All the prey needs to do is fight hard through the first round. Run hard! Stand strong! Defend! If the prey can outlast the predator, the lion will realize he has seriously miscalculated his opponent and turn back to recalculate his next attack.
The same is true for our enemy, the devil. He is calculating. He longs to devour us. He watches and waits for just the right time. His roar intimidates and shakes us up. It quickens our pulse and temporarily paralyzes our faith. His roar marks his territory, staking his claim on our very lives, and sends out a call to his troops to ban together. But, we know the roar itself is POWERLESS. The roar cannot harm us. And, neither can he…as long as we know how to fight him.
So, how are we to stand against such a vicious beast? In spiritual terms, how do we stand against our calculating, stealthy enemy who is hell-bent on our destruction? How do we not tremble at the sound of his voice – whether a loud, earth-shaking roar or a sinister, sneaky whisper? How do we defend ourselves when he creeps up in the dark of night? How do we recognize him when he’s all wrapped up in light?
The answer to these questions is simple – we must know how to fight him. Let’s learn how to take him on! But first, in order to go toe-to-toe with him, we have to know where he’s going. Where is his target?
Next Wednesday, we will discuss the battlefield – the place where the lion is heading. And, I’ll give you hint…it’s not the jugular nor the bowels.
Read The Armor of God - Part Two here.
Read The Armor of God - Part Three here.
First, I am a child of God. And, like a child, I am always learning and growing. The more I know Him, the more I love Him. Second, I am a wife to a good man. Missions is his thing while teaching women to love God’s Word is mine. Third, I am a mama to three plus a sweet cockapoo who thinks he’s #4. My children are my ongoing sanctification. Fourth, I am a passionate advocate of all things healthy & natural, an even 50/50 split of introvert/extrovert, and a dreamer/designer. Old friends call me Becky, newer ones call me Rebecca, and the most intimate ones call me Beck. You can just call me friend.