Wednesday, November 18, 2020

The Battle with Satan

"Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes" (Ephesians 6:10).

While many modern people will readily admit that they believe in God, far fewer will admit to believing in the devil. It is true, of course, that for most people, the “God” they believe in is a figment of their imagination and not the Holy Creator and Judge of all human beings. All the same, it is noteworthy that despite the presence of so much horror and wickedness in the world, most people reject the idea of a powerful, personal spirit-being named Satan. This stems perhaps from the all-too-prevalent caricature of him as a joker in a red flannel suit, complete with horns, a tail, and a pitchfork.

This is not the perspective of the Bible and of the Christian faith. The Bible tells us that there is indeed a realm of fallen angels, and that their chief is Satan, the devil. The first thing the Bible shows us about the devil is that he is clever. He is able to present himself as an “angel of light” and to deceive us (2 Corinthians 11:14). It was as a clever deceiver that he approached Eve in the garden and persuaded her to sin.

Secondly, the Bible presents Satan as a formidable foe. For the most part, it is Christ who is compared to a mighty lion in the Bible, the Lion of the tribe of Judah. In 1 Peter 5:8, however, Satan is also compared to a powerful lion. He is not as powerful as Jesus, but he is much stronger then you and me.

Thirdly, the Bible presents Satan as accuser. In the book of Job and in Zechariah 3, we see Satan standing before God accusing believers of their sins. We also see God vindicating His people in His courtroom. Satan also accuses us to ourselves. He makes us think that our lives are ruined, so that we fail to confess sin and receive forgiveness. He accuses us to other people so that those who serve Christ will always be lied about in the church and in the world.

Paul states that we are called to make war against Satan. If we are “strong in the Lord and in His mighty power,” then we can take our stand “against the devil’s schemes” (Ephesians 6:10–11). He tells us that though we must contend against the world and the flesh, our battle goes beyond these, for it is also “against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms” (Ephesians 6:12).

We make war with Satan through prayer and preaching, but Jesus defeats him. He does so when we cast our cares and hopes on Him. Through prayer we please God, and God is pleased to crush Satan under our feet. Ask God to prepare you for the struggles, temptations, defeats, and victories of the Christian life.