“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.”  – Ephesians 6:12. 

The movie Captain Phillips is about a band of four Somali pirates who manage to board the huge cargo ship armed with AK-47s and palpable desperation, and the Alabama crew, most of whom have taken refuge in the engine room. They begin resisting the takeover of their ship by any means available. What unfolds is an escalating game of cat and mouse, in which each side is defined more clearly by its weaknesses than its strengths. The crew of the Alabama have the numbers, but not the weapons. The pirates have the weapons, but no sense of the ship and—once it becomes clear to them that the crew does not intend to cooperate cheerfully with their $10 million ransom demand—no real idea of what to do next. The pirates advantage lies in their desperation and the fact they are willing to die.

The Christian life is one of great peace as we see in the beginning of the movie as well as times of conflict such as the rest of the movie. A Christian is someone who is at war with three great enemies: the world, the flesh, and the devil.  The devil is the Christian’s great adversary. But what should Christians know about him, and how do they overcome his attacks?

In the Rolling Stones’ song, Sympathy For The Devil, it says, “Pleased to meet you, I hope you guess my name, but what’s puzzling you is the nature of my game.”  The devil wants us puzzled but God doesn’t want his people to be puzzled. The devil’s main weapon is lies, and his lies take the form of schemes. When you think of the Devil we need to think of the most sophisticated cunning liar ever to exist. Yet, the good news is that Paul said in 2 Corinthians 2:11, “…so that we would not be outwitted by Satan; for we are not ignorant of his designs.”

Remember, our foe is not human or physical: he is spiritual and he has spiritual forces that possess unbelievable power. He uses his personality and powers to carry out his plans. Therefore, we must remember, we cannot fight him on our own, with our own methods, with our own strength. You must realize that there is a real enemy who has a real mission to really destroy you. So, this week ask yourself, do I really know my enemy? It’s hard to win the battle when you don’t know who you are really fighting.

Satan, wants to hijack the lives of every Christian in an effort to keep them from reaching our destination of growing into spiritual maturity. Dealing with this is so intense and so strenuous that Scripture describes it as fighting a man-eating lion or waging warfare against an enemy. The devil is a liar (John 8:44), a deceiver (Revelation 12:9), a tempter (Matthew 4:1-11). He comes to kill, steal and destroy (John 10:10). What can we do to prepare for the attacks of the enemy?

In order to stand against and resist the temptations, deception, and accusations of Satan and his powers, we need to prepare ourselves for action. This preparation includes knowing and internalizing the truth about who God is and how He has worked in our lives. 

It is important for us to understand that our enemy is already defeated in every sense of the word. Jesus defeated Him once and for all at the cross. 

Discussion Questions:

  1. How has your view/understanding of the devil changed over your life?  What helped shape your most current view of him? 
  2. Knowing our enemy is a big part of the spiritual battle we all fight. As we learn more about the devil, we’ll be better prepared to understand his schemes and be able to resist him. What do the following verses tell us about who the devil is and how he likes to operate? John 8:44; Isaiah 14:12-15; Acts 13:9-10 and 1 Peter 5:8.  What insight from these verses is most helpful to you in fighting the spiritual battle?
  3. What do the following verses tell us about the limitations and certain end of Satan?  Romans 16:20, 1 John 4:4, James 4:7
  4. How familiar are you with the armor of God?