Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour. – 1 Peter 5:8
2 Corinthians 11:2-4
2 For I am jealous for you with the jealousy of God himself. . .
3 But I fear that somehow your pure and undivided devotion to Christ will be corrupted, just as Eve was deceived by the cunning ways of the serpent.
4 You happily put up with whatever anyone tells you, even if they preach a different Jesus than the one we preach, or a different kind of Spirit than the one you received, or a different kind of gospel than the one you believed.
In early November 2020, pharmaceutical partners, Pfizer and BioNTech, announced that they had developed a vaccine for COVID-19 which was 90% effective. This is a true modern scientific breakthrough. Regrettably, a week later Microsoft detected three state-sponsored hacking operations (also known as APTs) that have launched cyber-attacks on at least seven prominent companies involved in COVID-19 vaccines research and treatments (ZDNet).
What is an APT?
Cyber APTs are a relatively recent development that puts not only individuals, but companies, state and federal government computer systems at risk
An APT (Advanced Persistent Threat) is a stealthily, shrewdly, intelligently conceived, and developed effort to attack computer networks. It is not a singular effort or battle but rather more a campaign in which an intruder, or team of intruders, establishes an illicit, long-term presence on a network in order to mine highly sensitive data (imperva.com).
The targets of these assaults, which are very carefully chosen and researched, typically include large enterprises or governmental networks. The consequences of such intrusions are vast, and include:
- Intellectual property theft (e.g., trade secrets or patents)
- Compromised sensitive information (e.g., employee and user private data)
- The sabotaging of critical organizational infrastructures (e.g., database deletion)
- Total site takeovers
Executing an APT assault requires more resources than a standard web application attack. The perpetrators are usually teams of experienced cybercriminals having substantial financial backing. They are often a nation state or state-sponsored group which are government-funded. They represent a new level of cyber warfare (imperva.com).
If an exceedingly bright human hackers can figure out how to do this, certainly even more highly intelligent spiritual hackers can do far worse.
Children of the King are also subject to spiritual APT offenses and incursions. Our souls and spirits are relentlessly probed for weaknesses. There is little information for our assailants to obtain, because of their intelligence network, they already know what we know. Rather than extraction, they attempt to implant suggestions, ideas, emotions. They use disinformation and misinformation to attempt to sabotage our walk with the Father.
Revelation 12:9 The serpent of old who is called the devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world . . .
We have a great extremely intelligent and cunning enemy whose purpose is to thwart the Father’s purpose. “As the serpent, Satan deceives (2 Corinthians 11:3); and as the lion, Satan devours. The word ‘Satan’ means ‘adversary,’ and the word ‘devil’ means ‘the accuser, the slanderer’” (Wiersbe).
REFLECT & PRAY
“We must never forget that we are in a spiritual war. Regardless of how well things may seem to be going for us, we live in a perpetual war zone. How many casualties occur because we think we live in a time of peace” (Stanley)?
Father our adversary fully intends to harm us and make us spiritual casualties in our service to You. Father teach us to know and understand our enemy and enable us to take a stand and resist him until he flees.
“The devil is always out to see whom he can ruin. Again, Peter must have been remembering how the devil had overcome him and he had denied his Lord” (Barclay).
31 “Simon, Simon, Satan has asked to sift each of you like wheat.”
32 “But I have pleaded in prayer for you, Simon, that your faith should not fail. So when you have repented and turned to me again, strengthen your brothers.”
1 Peter 5:8 Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour.
“Peter portrayed the devil here as a roaring lion seeking to devour its prey. The devil roars like a lion to induce fear in the people of God. In other words, persecution is the roar by which he tries to intimidate believers in the hope that they will capitulate at the prospect of suffering. If believers deny their faith, then the devil has devoured them . . .” (Schreiner).
The extreme distinction between the Father’s goals and methods and those of the enemy the devil is conspicuous and striking. The Father gently and tenderly cares for His children (1 Peter 5:6-7), inviting them to bring their worries to him so that he can sustain them. The Father promises to care for and protect His flock (1 Peter 5:2) in difficult times.
The enemy wants only to terrify the children of the King. His goal is to induce fear that will devour their faith. He does not want to deliver them from fear but to rather destroy them. He is like a wounded, crazed animal lashing out in its final death throes.
What should children of the King do? Should they capitulate and turn the other cheek? Absolutely not. “Those who act like sheep, will be eaten by wolves” (Anonymous). Children of the King are told to be vigilant and resist. They are to stand firm against the devil and his machinations.
James 4:7 Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.
James commanded us to resist the devil actively and persistently. The Greek word translated resist is antistete. Antistete has the sense of to stand against, resist, set oneself against, oppose, refuse to yield whether in deed or word.
“This promise of the devil’s flight bears upon our understanding of his nature and influence. The devil had been referred to only indirectly up to this point (James 2:19; 3:6). He is the embodiment of all that resists God and is at enmity with God (James 4:4). James . . . [Reveals] absolute evil is never a positive force.”
“Evil cannot coerce the human will but is dependent upon it, much like a parasite. The devil is the active opponent of God and his people, but he resorts to his lying, deceptive capacities. Human creatures who believe these lies contribute their physical and mental strengths to his cause of influencing humanity for their destruction and his glory.”
“The devil is not called the tempter within James, for temptation results from evil desire within the self (James 1:14). But the devil is close by the temptations and conflicts that humans cause. Nevertheless, if he is consciously resisted, in submission to God, the devil cannot fight back and must flee the attack that is our resistance to him.”
“How do believers know that he is present? Wherever envy and selfish ambition are present in the conflicts and quarrels of the body of Christ, the devil is there” (Richardson).
How do we do this?
It is essential for each child of the King to take a stand on the Word of God and refuse to be budge “Unless we stand, we cannot withstand . . . Just as David took his stand against Goliath, and trusted in the name of the Lord, so we take our stand against Satan in the victorious name of the Lord Jesus Christ (Wiersbe).
2 Corinthians 10:4-5
4 We use God’s mighty weapons, not worldly weapons, to knock down the strongholds of human reasoning and to destroy false arguments.
5 We are destroying speculations and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God, and we are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ,
“Our faith must be like a solid wall against which the attacks of the devil exhaust themselves in vain. The devil is like any bully, and retreats when he is bravely resisted in the strength of Jesus Christ” (Barclay).