“Know your enemy” is the admonition of the ancient Chinese military strategist Sun Tzu in his classic book, The Art of War. It is critical for every follower of Jesus to know the enemy of our souls, the Evil One. Scripture assigns different names and titles to the Evil One, calling him “Satan”, a Hebrew word meaning “adversary”: Satan attacks God’s kingdom and people. The Bible also calls the Evil One, “Devil”, a Greek word meaning “slanderer”: the Devil slanders God and God’s people as the “accuser of believers” (Revelation 12:10). He is also known as the “Tempter”, ever seeking to lure people away from God.
Alert to the need to know the enemy, the foundation for American public education was laid by early settlers in Massachusetts with the “Old Deluder Satan Act” of 1647. Its purpose was to provide for the teaching of reading so that people could read the Bible and know their enemy, the Old Deluder, Satan.
The Evil One would like to delude people into thinking that he does not exist; French poet Charles Baudelaire said it well: “The devil’s cleverest ruse is to make men believe that he does not exist.” (Donald Barnhouse, The Invisible War) We see that strategy playing out in today’s culture as people laugh off the Devil as but a silly mythical figure, sporting a red suit, forked tail and horns. But if the Devil fails at that, he seeks to deceive people into thinking that he is an invincible foe we are powerless to resist.
As followers of Jesus, we know that God and Satan are real, but Satan is not God’s equal, so that we revel in singing the words of Martin Luther in his hymn about God as our Mighty Fortress:
“The prince of darkness grim, we tremble not for him;
his rage we can endure, for lo! his doom is sure;
one little word shall fell him.”
We take the Evil One seriously, but not too seriously because he is a defeated foe. But while the battle still rages, we are bold to ask Father to deliver us from the Evil One. We pray this because, “When we don’t pray, we quit the fight. Prayer keeps the Christian’s armor bright. And Satan trembles when he sees the weakest saint upon his knees.” (William Cowper, hymn: “What Various Hindrances We Meet”) We do know our enemy, but we also know Who delivers us!
PRAY THE LORD’S PRAYER (MORNING-NOON-NIGHT)