Hi again, I hope you had a wonderful Christmas. As 2010 rapidly approaches I'm sure that many of you have been thinking, as I have, about what the New Year might bring. Certainly 2009 was a trying time for many people in our nation. We will face tremendous challenges in the upcoming year but I want to encourage you that none of what happens to us is news to God. He is still on the throne and He still works in the lives of every believer. Praise Him for His unfailing love towards us!
Our subject then, is especially appropriate to start off the New Year. Understanding how our enemy, Satan works, is essential to overcoming his strategies to destroy our lives. I purposely covered our other two opponents first (the world and our flesh), because too often Christians want to use Satan as the excuse for all their sin. Most of you are too young to remember, but there was a popular comedian in the 60's and 70's named Flip Wilson. In his act, he had the famous tag line for everything he did wrong, " the devil made me do it." Very funny, but not accurate. If you follow that example, you will not deal with the other types of temptation correctly and thus be doomed to fail. It is very important to understand how each type of temptation works in order to be successful in defeating it. However, we must look at who Satan is, what power he actually holds and how he uses that power to try to destroy our lives, which is his primary goal. Read 1 Peter 5:8. We need to have a proper perspective on the enemy of our soul.
Now some of you, especially if you are new to this, may be wondering about this Satan stuff. Many people who say they are Christians even believe that there is no Devil or Satan or even a Hell for that matter. As I have said before, some people pick and choose what they want to believe in the bible. The bible clearly teaches that Satan is real, from the book of Genesis through the book of Revelation. The name Satan is used 53 times, the devil 32 times (NIV). He is also referred to many times as the enemy. He is also mentioned by many other names such as: the serpent, the murderer, the tempter, the liar, the wicked one, the prince of: this world, of demons and the power of the air. Had enough yet? There is more. The adversary, the accuser of the brethren, Beelzebub, Belial, the angel of the bottomless pit and more. Do you get the idea that God wants us to know something about Satan? Who or what is Satan, what does he do and how does he work? Well, you can learn a lot just by studying those names. I will attempt to give you some help in understanding his influence the world and us as individuals.
We do know that Satan was an angel, originally named Lucifer. Isaiah 14 tells us that he fell from heaven because of his pride. He went so far as to say he would be like the Most High God. When he was expelled from heaven, he made it his goal, using the earth as his kingdom, to lead mankind into rebellion from God. As mentioned in an earlier post, Jesus did not argue with him when he offered the kingdoms of this world. He has power in this world. One of our first glimpses into his devices is found in the book of Job, the oldest book in the bible. In the first chapter, Satan comes with the angels before God (which tell us that he still has access to God). God asks him where he has come from and Satan answers, "from roaming the earth to and fro". By the way, God already knows, but I think he is reminding Satan how he has fallen. Satan then lays out a plan to destroy Job, who is a righteous man. Reading this story will tell you a lot about how Satan works. Satan wants to destroy every person's trust in God, including yours! If you do not recognize this, his job becomes much easier.
In Revelation 12:7-9 we see that at some point in history Satan was cast down to earth along with his angels. (Those angels that followed him, generally acknowledged as one third of all the angels. Rev 12:4) These fallen angels are called demons. During His ministry on earth, Jesus confronted demons many times. They are real. They are still led by Satan himself. They have power albeit limited by God. There are several instances in the bible where they actually posses human beings, causing them to do things that they would not ordinarily do.
In today's western civilization, the idea of Satan and demons is often ridiculed as superstition. We have been taught that there is no existence outside of the natural; therefore there can be no supernatural beings. Interesting that many people believe that have no trouble believing in UFO's and aliens. Just a thought. In many other countries throughout the world though, they recognize the work of demonic power because they see it more in action. Talk to missionaries that work in third world countries and you will find that they often deal with it. I believe that we see it less in America because Satan works in a more subtle way rather than head on attack. Our pride in being wise, educated people leaves us much more vulnerable to sneak attack. If we don't believe an enemy exists, we won't prepare for war. Just like before 9/11, we are in a war but we don't know it. One of Satan's greatest strategies was promoting the idea that he isn't real! It has worked well in our society, allowing him free access to promote evil ideas and practices. His influence began back in the garden, when he put doubt into Eve's mind by questioning God's trustworthiness. He has continued that strategy ever since.
I hope you now have a better idea of what we are up against as we follow Jesus Christ. We are in a war, whether we recognize it or not. There is good news, however. We are on the winning side! 1 John 4:4 says "greater is He that is you, than he who is in the world". (KJV) Now that we know something about the enemy, in the next post we will look at how we fight the battle.
Using a concordance, look up the verses that use the names of Satan that were mentioned. See what you can learn about his weapons of warfare in these verses.
Read Genesis 2:18 – 3(all)
In your prayer time, ask God to show you what you need to know to be effective in fighting the battles ahead.
Until next time, may God bless you in your study of His word and your desire to draw closer to Him,