This line in 1 Peter is often mentioned when talking about Spiritual warfare. I doubt any Christian would deny that the devil has turned Earth into his playground. You can’t turn on the TV without being tempted by sin. You can’t go out on Friday night without seeing it everywhere. If you work in the secular world, someone is always talking about how drunk they got or the one night stand they had or their extramarital affair. Yet these invites and temptations are easy to resist, because we know they were put there by Satan.
Now let’s look at war. For many centuries one foe gathered on one side the other gathered on the other side. Then they tried to see who could kill the most. It’s a little more complicated now with tanks, aircraft, missiles and bombs. Still the object is to do enough damage so that the enemy surrenders. But these are just battles not war. War takes place a long ways off from the battlefield. It takes place in our military headquarters. Generals are planning each and every battle. They place men in strategic locations with very specific missions. The most powerful weapon any military has is it’s spies. The intelligence gathers. They let the adversary know where their enemy is going to be and they stir up confusion. There is a show on TV called the Mole where a team has a task they are supposed to do, yet the whole time one member of the team is trying to sabotage everything. The object of the game is to determine who the mole is. This also is Satan’s most powerful tool. Just about any book I have read where a pastor talks about the biggest problem in their ministries, it is from within. The gossipers, backbiters, and slanderers are what destroy ministries. That is what spiritual warfare is. It is fighting Satan when he is amongst us. I just finished reading The Ten Offenses by Pat Robertson. In it he mentions a man that had his life ruined by a little gossip. He lost his wife, his reputation, and his business went bankrupt. All this was because another Christian started a little white lie, and other Christians passed it on.
Now I want to look to the bible. I’m going to start with David. Think back to Absalom’s Conspiracy (2 Samuel 15) it hurt David that his son turned on him, but he knew that it was God’s judgment on him and accepted it. What hurt him though was Ahitophel’s betrayal. (2 Samuel 15:31) In Psalm 41:9 David says even my close friend, someone I trusted…has lifted up his heel against me. David understood his son’s greed for power. He understood God’s punishment on him. But the one person he thought he could count on betrayed him.
Job had lost everything. In one day he lost his livelihood and all his children. (Job 1:13-21) Then to top it off he became sick! (Job 2:7) What did Job need; a friend to encourage him, a shoulder to lean on. Instead he got three friends that proceeded to tear him down.
Even Jesus was betrayed by someone he loved. Yes, he knew what was going to happen yet he still loved Judas. (Matthew 26:14) We are told to encourage one another. (2 Corinthians 13:11) We should try to lift one another up. We should try to help each other and not tear each other down. Our old sin nature and adversary the devil wants to see us tear each other down.
I imagine everyone of us knows a fellow Christian going through a hard time. Do we reach out and help or do we hurt them as Job’s friends did him.