Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.
(1 Peter 5:8)
The Bible is filled with wonderful words of comfort and encouragement. It’s also full of warnings about what we are to be alert to. It warns us that we have an enemy we must be aware of (but not focused on) as Peter tells us in the scripture above. Jesus warns us in John 8:44 that the devil is the father of lies and a murderer. Paul advises us in Ephesians 6:10-18 to wear the Armor of God because of who we really face:
12 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.
There are other scriptures that warn us about our adversary, and if God found it necessary to warn us of him and his army, then there must be a reason. This enemy is an illusionist, a liar, a deceiver, a thief and a murderer. An illusion is something that deceives by producing a false or misleading impression of reality. In other words, it is something that can appear a certain way or even good (or bad) but isn’t that way at all. Examples of illusion: drugs and alcohol can seem appealing until you are bound to it. Wealth and material possessions can seem good, until you feel like you never have enough and strive for more. Certain situations or people can appear bad, but that may not be the case (and vice versa). The enemy works on the surface because we are visual people, yet he can also work behind the scenes, twisting the truth just enough so that we believe his lie because of how something appears. We must be careful not to consume the junk food that he tries to feed us through his lies or we risk falling into his traps.
When we read the Word of God, learn His ways and pay attention to His warnings, we will better be able to identify the schemes of the enemy, avoid his traps and stay on the right path. We will have the strength to break away from old patterns, mindsets and habits and say “game over”. “Game over” to believing the lies about ourselves. “Game over” to believing the painted picture of deception that he puts before us that he wants us to believe. “Game over” to unforgiveness and grudges. “Game over” to addictions, depression, and anxiety. “Game over” to fights, arguments and division. “Game over” to entertaining negative or lustful thoughts. We must choose not to play his games any longer. We must choose not to allow him to steal the the focus and glory from God by entertaining sinful thoughts (or following through with the thoughts) instead of thinking godly thoughts (or doing godly acts). When we same “game over”, Jesus gives us the strength to walk away from our past (or current problem/habit) and move forward to healing.
We must remain focused on Christ at all times, remembering that He is our shield and defense. When we bring our problems, worries and concerns to Him, He will go to battle for us which will allow us to continue on in the healing process. We just have to take that first step and say “game over”.