We all know the story of Adam and Eve and the mistakes they made in the Garden of Eden. When we read the narrative in Genesis 3, we usually point out their failures and what they cost the whole world. But maybe we should look between the lines and learn some things about our adversary too, Satan himself. Here's are a few things I noticed as I was reading this passage today.
1. Satan’s smart. Genesis 3:1 says he was the shrewdest of all God’s creation. He was shrewd then. He’s shrewd now. And He’s had several thousand years to get more shrewd. Never take Him lightly. 2. He’s deceptive. “Did God really say?” he asked. The nature of deception is that, when we’re deceived, we don’t KNOW we’ve been deceived, which is why deception is such a powerful and insidious weapon. 3. He lies. “You won’t die,” he said to Eve, but he knew that was a lie. Unfortunately, she didn’t. 4. He’s real. He’s not just a cutesy Halloween character. One of his most clever schemes is his ability to make himself look so ridiculous that no intelligent person would take him seriously. But Jesus took him seriously, and so must we. Jesus acknowledged Satan as a literal, supernatural adversary. We should be as wise.
So here's his game plan: 1. He creates doubt. This was his original tactic with Eve. He enticed her to doubt God’s goodness. 2. He brings discouragement. Nothing pleases the enemy more than a Christian who wants to give up. This is why the Bible says repeatedly, “Be steadfast. Press on. Finish the race. Don’t quit.” (Gal. 6:9) 3. He disrupts clear thinking. Paul referred to this as “arguments and pretensions that set themselves up against the knowledge of God.” Satan places thoughts in our minds, then makes us think they’re OUR thoughts, which quickly takes us down the road of guilt and shame. 4 He piggybacks on our hurts and pain. He loves to use our pain as an entry point to gain access to our emotions. I see this a lot with unforgiveness and bitterness as people resolve to hate someone for the rest of their lives. That hatred and refusal to forgive provides the enemy a place to stand. It creates a stronghold. A stronghold is anything that has a “strong hold” on us.
So Satan and his demons are alive and well, though their days are numbered.
So what should a believer know. Here's a short list: 1. Know your authority in Christ. When we do battle with the enemy we are enforcing the power of the Cross. There is no greater power, and WE possess it The most important thing to know about Satan and His demons is that they’re no match for Jesus. And Jesus, of course, lives in us! (John 14:20) That authority is imparted to US! So how do we utilize it? First, we must believe we have it. Authority means nothing if we don't believe that we have it. 2. Accept it with humility. It isn’t difficult to be humble about authority when one knows it’s delegated, not earned. Walk in humility, and you’ll have authority. (James 4:6) 3. Be bold. In Acts 4:31 it says that the early church was filled with the Holy Spirit and they spoke with boldness. Paul said, “We are not as those who shrink back.” (Heb. 10:39) 4. Walk in dependency. We don’t go out and hunt down the devil and challenge him. We simply go about the business of preaching and teaching, caring and loving...and when demonic powers challenge us, we deal with them in the authority of Christ. 5. Speak truth. Satan’s primary weapon is the lie, which means our primary defense is the truth. Dealing with the devil isn’t a power encounter; it’s primarily a truth encounter. Expose the lie, and the power is broken. 6. Remember that he’s a defeated foe. The battle’s not over yet, but the end result is certain. He loses...all because of the Cross. Never underestimate the power of just one drop of the blood of Jesus. One drop can cleanse away ALL our sin. One drop can transfer us from the kingdom of Darkness to the kingdom of light. And...one drop...can cause a million demons to flee in terror. As John the Revelator wrote, “we will overcome him by the word of our testimony and the blood of the lamb.” John also wrote “This is why Jesus appeared: to destroy the works of the devil” (1 John 3:8). That was His heart and mission. May it be ours as well.
There are basically two types of people these days when it comes to spiritual warfare. There are warriors...and there are casualties. We all get to choose which camp we belong in. Stand your ground, friend, you have INFINITELY more power than you realize. Use it.