This aggressive and scheming foe has one main goal for you, your family and friends -- "to devour." That includes various serious problems in this life and damnation in eternal fire afterwards! The devil will do his best to take you down. Christians are NOT exempt and must do the following for protection and survival:
Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to DEVOUR. (1 Pet 5:8)
Those spiritual preventatives cited are clear and twofold: (1) Be self-controlled; (2) Be alert to his clever schemes designed to deceive and destroy. 1 Peter 5:9 also says:
Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that your brothers throughout the world are undergoing the same kind of sufferings.We must also RESIST THE DEVIL. That means his thoughts, goals, ambitions, desires, etc., which are all temptations in various forms -- some very subtle. All Christians are troubled by him. If you are a real Christian, you are not alone.
Another truth about this is: he will downplay sin in one fashion or another and try to make you think disobedience to God is to your advantage, as he did with Eve. He knows sin brings forth spiritual death to the righteous, but will spread the opposite message (lie) to others about this. He does that through once saved always saved. If you are wise, do NOT give the devil a foothold:
And do not give the devil a foothold. (Eph 4:27)
In the woods, I found a regular white paper plate and I wrote out my last will -- a note to my wife and two kids and I hung it inside that cabin on the wall so that when somebody found my bones sometime, they'd know who I was and who to get a message to. I can't remember what convinced me that I wouldn't go on much longer. I climbed into my sleeping bag. I was shaking so bad that I couldn't fall asleep. I must have at some point, and this figure came through the wall. It looked like some kind of a large dog's head, just an image with a foaming mouth. And it knew my name and it talked to me directly. And it said, "Are you cold enough yet, Mike? Are you hungry enough yet, Mike? I can get you out of here." And I said, "I reject it," I said. "I'll never turn my will over to you." And the figure went away and it got semi-light in the cabin. I felt warm. I felt full. And I slept til ten o'clock the next morning. Slept like a baby. And the next two days, I was just kind of okay with everything. Whatever happened was gonna happen.
Besides all of that, in Job we learn that the devil can manipulate circumstances and people to tempt. In fact, he even put his evil wishes into the mouth of Job's own wife to speak to him at his lowest point! He is a merciless, formidable foe and nothing less. You need the whole armor of God to stand against the devil (Eph. 6:11-17). This is not glorifying the devil, but making people aware of who you are dealing with and declaring the truth.
"If you are the Son of God," he said, "throw yourself down. For it is written: 'He will command his angels concerning you, and they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.'" (Mat 4:6)
Again, the devil can quote Scripture and will, if necessary, as he tries to get you into unbelief, discouragement, deception and/or sin. His thoughts, suggestions and imaginations might come gradually or abruptly, but he gives them to devour spiritually. He is malicious and deceitful to the core. You must guard yourself or you will be his victim too.
Though that is disturbing to know about our chief spiritual adversary, it is an important truth! You must monitor the thoughts you ponder:
We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ. (2 Cor 10:5)
To make matters even worse, false teachers can quote Scripture too and there are many who do that! Therefore, we must make sure Scripture is not used out of context. To do this we must consider the verses before and after the verse in question. Also, when trying to arrive at the proper interpretation of Scripture, we must consider all verses on any given subject.
And no wonder, for Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light. (2 Cor 11:14)
In other words, the devil can disguise himself to appear as a beautiful angel of God. This explains alleged visions in Mormonism, Catholicism and Seventh-Day Adventism. The beautiful side of evil can have a deadly end! The crux of those messages found in those visions contradicts the other visions found in these other groups! In other words, the visions in Mormonism contradict visions in Catholicism which also contradict the visions in Seventh Day Adventism.
Since God does not change (Mal. 3:6; Jam. 1:17), it is logically impossible for the source of all these visions to be God, especially since they have an unscriptural message! They are from the devil, even if there are great miracles associated with them. The devil is real and trying to devour through that form of deception. If even an angel from heaven would declare a salvation message different from that found in Scripture, that angel is not only wrong but accursed for doing so:
But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other than the one we preached to you, let him be eternally condemned! (Gal 1:8)
Dear reader, don't just accept any plan of salvation that varies from the message found in Scripture, even if an angel named Moroni allegedly came to a person named Joseph Smith Jr. or a personage claiming to be Mary appeared and declares that she is "the way" to Almighty God, as occurred at Fatima, Portugal. Scripture clearly declares Jesus is the only way to the Father (John 14:6). Since Jesus is "the way," Mary can't be.
The devil is real and he will go to the lake of burning sulfur in the end with real people:
And the devil, who deceived them, was thrown into the lake of burning sulfur, where the beast and the false prophet had been thrown. They will be tormented day and night for ever and ever. (Rev 20:10)
He seized the dragon, that ancient serpent, who is the devil, or Satan, and bound him for a thousand years. He threw him into the Abyss, and locked and sealed it over him, to keep him from deceiving the nations anymore until the thousand years were ended. After that, he must be set free for a short time (Rev 20:2,3).NOTE: When the devil is released he goes forth to DECEIVE again! The devil is the master religious deceiver to devour and destroy SOULS.
and will go out to DECEIVE the nations in the four corners of the earth--Gog and Magog--to gather them for battle. In number they are like the sand on the seashore. They marched across the breadth of the earth and surrounded the camp of God's people, the city he loves. But fire came down from heaven and devoured them. And THE DEVIL, WHO DECEIVED THEM, was thrown into the lake of burning sulfur, where the beast and the false prophet had been thrown. They will be tormented day and night for ever and ever (Rev. 20:8-10).
(2) In fact, after the 1,000 year of Christ the devil will be RELEASED from the Abyss prison he was in to go out and "deceive" people (Rev. 20:7,8) -- the same thing he is doing now (Rev. 12:9)!
(3) That means God wants the deceiving and tempting devil (our ENEMY) to roam freely among us. To prevent ourselves from being "devoured" by our relentless and aggressive scheming foe, we must be ALERT and SELF-CONTROLLED (1 Pet. 5:8,9) and CONTINUE TO BE SO TILL THE VERY END (Rom. 11:19-22; Col. 1:23; Heb. 3:14; Rev. 2:10,11; etc.). Solomon, Jeroboam, Gideon, Asa and many others in the OT, sadly, didn't which implies the intensity of our battle.
(4) As God had the Israelites in the OT battle -- facing many impossible problems, including "giants," we have our battles to FIGHT today. Our battle is with the invisible spiritual forces of darkness. Victory has always been gained the same way -- then and now -- by FAITH IN ALMIGHTY GOD.
The Christian life is like breathing air. As we CONTINUE to breath to stay alive physically we must similarly CONTINUE to follow the PRECIOUS Lord Jesus to stay alive spiritually. The devil will try to hinder that through people and circumstances.
All those in Paradise overcame the devil and YOU surely can too. To personally die with a PURE HEART must be achieved and that will be accomplished by being faithful to the Lord Jesus to the end. Such overcomers alone will see God's face (Mt. 5:8; 1 Tim. 5:22; Rev. 21:27).
Eternal fire beyond the grave was prepared for "the devil and his angels":
Then he will say to those on his left, "Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels." (Mat 25:41)
The same fire that will claim the devil and his angels will also torment people who die in a spiritually lost condition:
But the cowardly, the unbelieving, the vile, the murderers, the sexually immoral, those who practice magic arts, the idolaters and all liars -- their place will be in the fiery lake of burning sulfur. This is the second death. (Rev 21:8)
Dear reader, do not be deceived: There is no reincarnation! There is no second chance after death! Lord Jesus, the ultimate authority on all spiritual matters, taught a judgment and an afterlife in either a paradise environment or eternal fire. Also, there is no Purgatory or annihilation of the wicked, according to the Lord Jesus. He taught there are only two roads, two gates, two destinies and two groups of people (Mt. 7:13,14).
Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world. (1 John 4:1)
Test everything. Hold on to the good. (1 Th 5:21)
Our only standard for God's truth is the Word of God, which is used for testing all teachings (2 Tim. 3:16,17). It is in the Bible alone that we can be made "wise unto salvation through faith in Christ Jesus" (2 Tim. 3:15). Do you know the real plan of salvation?
Fear God, not the devil. Resist the devil, yield to God. The devil is real and means you harm. God means you good, but offers you a choice. The choice is yours, but it is also your eternal destiny. Remember these truths about the devil.