God’s word identifies the devil as the great adversary with whom we must deal (I Pet. 5:8). Our world abounds with evil governments, evil institutions, evil people, evil things, evil deeds and doctrines. Multitudes suffer greatly from these evils, yet many foolish people are hesitant to acknowledge the existence of Satan, the author of all evil.
God, in His book, has provided us a description of Satan. He is the adversary of God and all things good (I Pet. 5:8). He is the accuser of all who live godly lives (Rev. 12:10). Remember how he accused righteous Job before God (Job 1:9-11). He is the father of lies (John 8:44), and the deceiver of the whole world (Rev. 12:9). He is a master of disguises. He sometimes appears as an angel of light (2 Cor. 11:14). He is a schemer who plots evil against God’s people. He is a murder of souls (John 8:44), and has caused millions of people to be struck down by the hand of others. Like a hungry lion, he is a stalker and a predator (I Pet. 5:8).
Satan uses four methods to ensnare the souls of human beings. The first of these is affliction. He used pain and suffering in his efforts to destroy Job (Job. 1:13-19). With swift strokes, in a single day, he destroyed Job’s children and swept away all of his possessions. When that failed to break Job’s faith, he afflicted him with a horrible disease similar to small pox. He turned his wife and neighbors against the suffering man. Job was forced to live in isolation at the village’s refuse dump (Job. 2:7-8).
Luke tells us of a woman who was afflicted by Satan for 18 long years (Luke 13:16). Paul’s “thorn in the flesh” was a “messenger of Satan” to torment him with pain (2 Cor. 12:7). Among the afflictions Satan uses are physical, mental and emotional suffering, distress, fear, hopelessness, loss and betrayal.
Deception is another of Satan’s devices. John calls Satan “the deceiver of the whole world” (Rev. 12:9). With deception, he lures us to indulge in soul-wrecking sin. You may have heard his deceptions: “Nobody’s perfect”. “It’s no big deal”. “No one will ever know”. “This is your business, no one else will be hurt”. “You can quit whenever you want to”. “You have already gone too far”. “You know you can never be forgiven”.
To keep us from turning to Christ for salvation, Satan tells us: “You are too wicked to be saved”. “You could never live up to the Christian standard”. “You are too old to change”. “It makes no difference what you believe so long as you are sincere”. “One church is as good as
another”. “The church really doesn’t matter as long as you live a good life”. “Baptism isn’t really that important as long as you live a good life”. Mark it well: Satan is a liar, and the father of lies (John 8:44). He is an ancient and highly skilled liar. He has no shame. His goal is to keep you from Christ, so he (Satan) can own and enslave you, and use you for his own wicked purposes.
Distraction is an effective method of Satan. Jesus compared the minds and hearts of some people to a garden filled with weeds and thorns. He explained, “the care of the world, and the deceitfulness of riches, choke the word, and he becometh unfruitful (Matt. 13:22). The author of Hebrews wrote that “sin…doth so easily beset us” (Heb. 12:1). For every Christian who is overcome by wickedness, there are a hundred or more lost by distraction from their commitment to Christ. Satan leads us to get involved with so many things that we lose interest in spiritual matters. Many are distracted by things that are insignificant and don’t really matter. Hobbies, sports, clubs, lodges, etc. will keep millions out of heaven. We can allow worldly people to distract us. Problems in the church can distract us. Christ expects us to “seek ye first His kingdom, and His righteousness” (Matt. 6:33). Whatever the cause of the distraction, Satan wins, and we lose.
Temptation is a key tool used by Satan to draw us away from God. He tempts us through many avenues: fear, sex, money, power, embarrassment, peer pressure, desire for recognition and popularity, discouragement, bitterness, lack of forgiveness, loneliness, pride, harboring anger, and resentment. All of these and more the prince of darkness will cast in our pathway, hoping to bring us down. We dare not allow Satan to win in his efforts to capture our hearts. Never doubt his existence. Don’t underestimate him. He is evil, strong, and determined to destroy you.
God has promised that we can be victorious against Satan. We will not be tempted above what we are able to resist (I Cor. 10:13). The Holy Spirit in our hearts is greater “than he that is in the world” (I John 4:4). God’s written word is sufficient to defeat any temptation Satan presents (Matt. 4:1-11). God has provided adequate spiritual armor for the conflict. It is our duty to use it for our protection. We must arm ourselves with the sword of the Spirit which is the word of God. (Eph. 6:11-18). It is essential that we resist the devil. When we do, he will flee from us (James 4:7). Always keep in mind that there is not a single wound that Satan can inflict upon us that the blood of Christ cannot cleanse and heal (I John 1:7). We can and will be “more than conquerors through Him that loved us” (Rom. 8:37). John Waddey