The spiritual battle never ends. Satan doesn’t leave the office and head home. He works day and night, weekends and holidays. He is looking to trip us up whether we are surrounded by people or all alone. As we have seen in the garden and desert temptation encounters, he goes after us in times of strength and weakness.
And when the devil had ended every temptation, he departed from him until an opportune time.
It is a mistake to think that this showdown in the desert was a one-and-done temptation series for Jesus. We miss the mark if we take the approach that Satan “tucked his tail between his legs” and no longer gave Jesus another thought. While Scripture says that Satan departed until an opportune time, we can be certain that he continued to tempt Jesus. John writes in Revelation that the devil “accuses [believers] day and night before our God” (Revelation 12:10). The phrase “day and night” is another way of saying that he never stops.
Peter reminds us that Satan is like a hungry lion whose stomach is always growling. He stalks his prey, watching and waiting for times of pride, failure, strength, and weakness. We are never more vulnerable than when we have broken away from community and are living on our own. When the lion can separate the prey from their community, danger lurks. There is only one word to describe an animal left alone when a hungry lion is on the prowl. That word is “dinner!”
Paul tells us to always keep our guard up. Satan is not all-knowing, but he has studied the human condition for thousands of years. He knows our traits and tendencies. We must stand firm “in the Lord and in the strength of his might” and “put on the whole armor of God” if we are to stand against the craftiness and trickery of Satan (Ephesians 6:10-11). Paul adds that even spiritual victories are dangerous by reminding us that anyone who thinks he is standing firm must “take heed lest he fall” (1 Corinthians 10:12).
Satan will never give you a break. He is always looking for the opportune time. That’s why we must diligently be on guard—in our strengths and weaknesses.
Dropping my guard, putting down my armor, allowing pride to seep into my heart—these are things that make me vulnerable. Lord, help me keep my eyes fixed on you. In Jesus’ name. Amen.