Summary: For us to enter into battle against Satan without having a strategy for victory would be suicide. Fortunately, the Word of God has given us a map, has given us a strategy for defeating the Devil.
It was late October when an officer commanding a platoon of American soldiers received a call from headquarters. Over the radio, the captain learned that his unit was being ordered to recapture a small French city from the Nazis—and he learned something else from headquarters as well. For weeks, French resistance fighters had risked their lives to gather information about the German fortifications in that city, and they had smuggled that information out to the Allies.
The French Underground’s efforts had provided the Americans with something worth its weight in gold: a detailed map of the city. It wasn’t just a map with the names of major streets and landmarks; it showed specific details of the enemy’s defensive positions. The map even identified shops and buildings where German soldiers bunked or where a machine-gun nest or a sniper had been stationed. Block by block, the Frenchmen gave a detailed report of the German units and the gun emplacements they manned.
For a captain who was already concerned about the mounting casualty lists, receiving such information was an answer to prayer. Although the outcome of the war wouldn’t depend on this one skirmish, to him it meant that he wouldn’t have to write as many letters to his men’s parents or wives telling them that their loved one had been cut down in battle.
Before the soldiers moved out to take their objective, the captain gave each man a chance to study the map. And wanting to make sure his men read it carefully, he hurriedly gave them a test covering the major landmarks and enemy strongholds. Just before his platoon moved out, the officer graded the test, and with minor exceptions every man earned a perfect score. As a direct result of having that map to follow, the men captured the city with little loss of American lives.
You know, before any commanding officer can expect to be victorious in war, there must be a detailed plan for how they will win the battle. To go into battle without having taken the time to determine a strategy would be setting themselves up for defeat, and not just defeat, but enormous loss of life. It is no different in the spiritual warfare that you and I are waging today. For us to enter into battle against Satan without having a strategy for victory would be suicide. Fortunately, the Word of God has given us a map, has given us a strategy for defeating the Devil. We can find this strategy in… 1 Peter 5:8… Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.
This morning, we are in a spiritual battle. Paul says in Eph. 6… we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. He tells Timothy to fight the good fight of faith. We are in a spiritual battle and just like any other battle, we must have a strategy for victory. Yes, Jesus won the war when He died and rose again, but Satan is still fighting, and he still has the ability to defeat you and me. So we must be prepared for battle, we must have a strategy. And I believe Peter gives us a good strategy, a good defense in this simple verse. And I want to share with you the three things that I believe we can see in this verse that will help us to win the battle against Satan.
I. Defeating The Devil Requires A Correct Awareness
The first step for defeating the devil is to come to a correct awareness, a correct understanding about him. We must be aware of who Satan really is. Is he the little guy with red skin, horns, a pointed tail, and carrying a pitch fork? What is he really like?
When going into battle the importance of knowing your opponent cannot be overstressed. Commanding officers rely heavily upon understanding their enemy’s purposes, strengths, and weaknesses, tactics, weaponry, and any advantages that are available. The same is true in the sports world. Coaches and players spend hours, in season and out of season, watching film of their opponents; studying the strategies of the opposing coaches; finding the apparent weaknesses that their team could build on when playing against each team; watching for how the opposing team would react in certain situations. Why do they go through all that trouble? Doesn’t it seem like a better use of time to be out on the field working their own strategies? Not really. Why? Because they have learned that the best team is not necessarily the most athletic team, but the most prepared team, the team who knows their opponents.