Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour.
— 1 Peter 5:8
I suppose there was no one funnier in the early 70’s than comedian Flip Wilson, especially in his caricature of a woman named Geraldine Jones, who appeared to be easily tempted to make extravagant purchases. Wilson would come out dressed in a very colorful but outlandish dress, high heels and wig, then prance around the stage before saying in a high pitched voice, “The Devil Made Me Buy This Dress.” Even though you knew it was coming, it always was met with lots of good-hearted laughter. In fact, in most all of his parodies, Flip Wilson would eventually get around to pointing to the devil for his indiscretions by saying, “The Devil Made Me Do It!” As funny as those lines were, they weren’t that far off, as we’re warned by the apostle Peter.
The word for “Stay alert!” literally means, “Shake sleep.” It can also be translated, “sober up!” It’s like shaking a drunk out of his stupor. We don’t have to panic when terror or calamity come our way but we should be watching, and ready for action when we see the signs. Being alert points to our staying awake at the switch—by keeping our eyes open and prepared to act.
A few years ago, the Barna Research Group reported in a poll that 40% of Christians did not believe in a literal devil, although he is mentioned over 100 times in Scripture. They preferred to think of his mention as a metaphor for evil. Many unbelievers think of him in comical terms, like a harmless little imp with a pitchfork who sits on your shoulder trying to influence you to make a bad choice.
Jesus tells us that the devil is a real enemy. Our Lord’s greatest temptations were at his hands prior to His ministry (Matthew 4:5-11). The devil is like a terrorist who hides in the shadows looking for an opportunity to “steal, and kill, and destroy” (John 10:10). God wants us to be aware of that reality and through our faith and prayer, to stand firm, even when suffering and affliction may come as a result. As humans we’re no match for the devil, but neither is the devil a match for God!
In Christ we can resist anything the devil brings our way (1 Peter 4:9). God has given us the steps to finding protection, peace and power in all circumstances, including what our nation is facing today. Once we humble ourselves and acknowledge that we need God and turn to Him in prayer, we are promised the strength to be victorious. You see, the devil is a defeated foe—the war has already been won by the death, burial and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ. We can claim that victory through prayer.
This weekend, on September 26, an intense season of prayer will continue in America with simultaneous events in Washington, D.C. led by Jonathan Cahn (The Return) and Franklin Graham (Prayer March 2020). You can join these events on the internet or if you live in and around Albuquerque, hundreds will be meeting together for a city-wide prayer event on top of Sandia Crest from 12-2 PM. We invite you to join us as we sound the shofar and intercede for our nation. Maranatha!
*Image from Vectorstock.com
To help us walk closer with God and to know Him better