Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. 1 Peter 5:8
Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God so that you can take you8r stand against the devils schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore, put on the full armor of God.. Ephesians 6: 10-13
An eating machine: emotionless, calculating, seeking to fill its own desires and satisfy its hunger. Simple. Prey is prey, no personal agenda other than a full stomach. Horrifying truth if you’re a gazelle: it’s not about you – it’s about the lion’s hunger.
I came face-to-face with a horrifying corollary revelation as I awakened from a dream at five o’clock one morning. In my dream, someone I loved and trusted was dispassionately humiliating me. The conversation was about, of all things, a cell phone plan, but that was beside the point I suspect the Holy Spirit was trying to impress upon me. I woke with a feeling of stark horror, seeing an image of the person I knew calmly driving a knife into my chest while he spoke with cold, dispassionate, conscienceless, emotionless, heartless, impersonal, calculated deliberation about why he was doing it.
I have always hated violent, scary movies. I have a natural empathy for others, and I always identified with characters in movies, whether with their joy or their terror. I have to be careful about what I let into my overly compassionate brain! The most frightening movies and real-life stories involve killers –and in these days terrorists – who take other lives in that impersonal, passionless, conscienceless, remorseless, deliberate, cold and calculated way. They don’t kill because they are angry with their victim; they kill to satisfy a hunger within themselves that is the embodiment of pure evil.
I immediately asked the Lord what in the world my dream was about, and suddenly I knew. Our enemy the devil doesn’t care about and isn’t the least bit interested is us as individuals; his only interest is in hurting God, depriving God of the objects of His love, the ones Jesus cherishes, the ones who return his love with gladness and praise and worship. Satan’s hunger is to destroy God’s creation, God’s children, and God’s purposes for their lives and relationship with Him.
I remembered another odd incident when I was 17 years old. One evening I was taking a shower when suddenly, out of nowhere, the thought of a universe without God struck me. The empty horror of barren, pointless, cold and empty existence sank me to my knees shivering on the tile under the warm running water. I shook off the panic by reminding myself of the love I knew from Jesus, the certainty that he lived, he loved and died and rose again FOR ME and lives forever vibrantly and gloriously still with an undying love for me.
Oh, how that must “fry” the devil, when we know with heart-level, gut-level certainty how much the Creator of the universe cherishes us! Lucifer was the chief cherub, the leader of worship in Heaven, when he let love for his own beauty pollutes his heart and set him resolutely and viciously against God Almighty and God’s creation, including all of humanity. He and the angels who joined him, a third of the host of Heaven who rebelled against God, were defeated and cast down, his name changed to Satan, which means “destruction.”
How his narcissistic anger must burn in knowing his defeat is certain because of the victory Jesus won in taking upon himself all our sins and our punishment on the cross, forever cancelling our guilty verdict and restoring us to freely forgiven fellowship with our Father!
Do you know how precious you are? Do you know you were born onto a cosmic battlefield? The most important part you play in the battle for yourself is coming to know and believe the love God has for you? (I John 4:16) The next strategic understanding we must have is that we do have an enemy who wants nothing more than to convince us the first truth isn’t true. His weapons of temptation, accusation, and deception are limited and totally useless against our sure knowledge of the price God paid for us to live in fellowship with him and our firm resolve to live, out of that love we know God has for us, lives that reflect love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control (Galatians 5:22) even in the face of a narcissistic, self-focused, personal satisfaction-driven world, even in the face of other people who’ve been fed the lies, distortions, accusations, temptations, and abuses the devil lays out as a snare to snag them, capture them, then devour all of God’s plans and purposes for them, in them and through them.
And the only reason he conducts this hideous, horrifyingly impersonal, calculated, cold, heartless, conscienceless, passionless, brutal warfare is to hurt our Father God. I for one will not give my enemy the satisfaction of his polluted hunger. I choose to believe, in spite of the reality of betrayal, disrespect, and dismissal, that the greater reality is this:
How great is the love the Father has lavished on us., that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!…He who does what is sinful is of the devil, because the devil has been sinning from the beginning. The reason the Son of God (Jesus) appeared was to destroy the devils work. …This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers….Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God….You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in your (Jesus) is greater than the one who is in the world….Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God…. This is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. I John 3:1, 8, 16, 4:4, 7-8, 10-11
And so I choose to love, everyone I can, in every way I can, at every time I can, because I AM part of the victory of Jesus s and I have a job to do in making His love real to others. I will not cave to bitterness, addictions, offenses, my own insecurity that might lead me to demand control, things my way, “worship” from others,. I will not let the devourer use me to hurt my beloved loving Father God!
“You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor[a] and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? And if you greet only your own people, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.
You were NOT created to be prey of a hungry, bitter, arrogant and calculating enemy either; you were created to be loved by the Author of Life and the Lover of your soul! Rise up and claim that love for yourself, to wrap yourself in a fiery passion for you forever!
Know Your Enemy, Know Your Victory!