The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel that displays the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.
2 Corinthians 4:4
Paul refers to Satan as “the god of this age.” Because of that, until Jesus returns this world will never improve. Evil, apostasy, and depravity will increase as the evil one works toward establishing his own rule and worship as depicted in Revelation 13.
The devil is “the god of this age” which means we are living in a world that opposes the godly values that you and I hold dear.
However, God has not left us defenseless in these evil times. He has promised to protect and strengthen us to deal with Satan’s attacks. He remains the sovereign Lord over all creation. Satan’s earthly dominion is allowed by God, but again I repeat the devil is not deity, but a created being, a fallen angel with limited power and authority.
The Lord has equipped Christians to stand and fight against the enemy. In other words, although the age is evil, we must continue to stand up for righteousness and the advancement of the good news of Jesus Christ.
Yesterday, we looked at the armor God has given us for our protection. But the last piece of equipment that Paul mentions in Ephesians 6:17 is and offensive weapon, “the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.” So we fight the evil in our world according to the commands and promises in God’s word. As we forge ahead by the authority of scripture we bathe our actions and thoughts in prayer. (Ephesians 6:18)
As children of God through Christ, we have been given all we need to function and make a positive difference in an inherently evil world. And just as we have been equipped for battle we are also given considerable information about the enemy and his tactics.
Following are 7 ways Satan attacks believers:
(1) defamation (2 Corinthians 11:3, 14)
As you strive to lead a godly life and build a reputation for righteousness, Satan may attack your good name. Don’t be surprised when you’re treated as the bad guy. In such situations remain true to God, do not be led astray, and trust the Lord to vindicate your cause.
(2) accusation (Revelation 12:10)
As the accuser, the devil may put you in situations in which you are falsely blamed. Not only does he use demons and unbelievers to stir up trouble, but he also works through carnal or ignorant Christians. These attacks can happen anywhere; home, work, and even in the church. Nothing agitates us more than to be blamed for something we didn’t do. In those times, remember to resist the temptation to blow your top. Take your stand with the sword of the Spirit (God’s word), prayer, truth, and the other strategies we discussed in yesterday’s devotional.
In 1 John 2:16, we’re told that temptation is rooted in three areas: the lusts of the flesh, of the eyes, and the pride of life. Satan doesn’t want you to be spiritually mature and serving Christ. You can expect that your spiritual intensity will be met with considerable opposition. Remember that the evil one doesn’t play fair and will strike your weaknesses.
(4) imitation (2 Corinthians 11:14)
Satan can appear as an angel of light. He can veil and disguise evil to make it look good. That’s why it is so important to have a solid understanding of Biblical doctrines so as not to be swept away from the truth.
(5) deception (Revelation 12:9)
Satan is the father of lies. He may send people into your life who appear to have just what you’ve been looking for. They may appear godly and say all the right things. Learn to trust the Spirit within.
(6) disruption (1 Thessalonians 2:18)
Paul said that Satan hindered him from visiting the church at Thessalonica. In fact, his ministry was completely derailed and he was imprisoned. But God used him anyway.
If the devil disrupts your good intentions for God, it doesn’t mean your service for the Lord is over. God is not confined by separation, isolation, time, or distance. He can use you where you are.
The Bible warns that we’re to be on guard against false prophets. How easy it is to fall for doctrine that tickles our ears, yet is contrary to the truth of God’s word. Satan is the master liar. His desire is your eternal destruction, to keep you from a saving knowledge of Jesus. And once you’re saved, he will do all he can to extract you from the faith. Don’t ever think you are so wise that you can’t fall for one of the devil’s lies. Be on guard. Resist.
You may have noticed that I didn’t mention disease as a tool of Satan. Just as Satan doesn’t deserve the credit for all our troubles, so it is with sickness. He can use illness only if God allows it.
The cause of life’s troubles is not nearly so important as what we do about them. What matters is what we’re doing today in response to those difficulties. Whatever the cause, God’s word provides a remedy for every problem.
Please take notice of this important point. Everything that God tells us to do to avoid and resist the devil should be standard daily operating procedure for every Christian. And it can be reduced to two things, trust in God and faithful obedience to His word.
And so we come to these great words of comfort:
Little children, you are from God and have overcome them, for he who is in you is greater than he who is in the world. 1 John 4:4
24 To him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you before his glorious presence without fault and with great joy—25 to the only God our Savior be glory, majesty, power and authority, through Jesus Christ our Lord, before all ages, now and forevermore! Amen. Jude 24-25
For more on this topic, check out this article: Your Thorn of Trouble that Won’t Go Away
Reprinted from The Forever Notebook, Book 3 (July – September) Get your copy here: Paperback and eBook/Kindle formats.
8 Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. 9 Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that the family of believers throughout the world is undergoing the same kind of sufferings.
1 Peter 5:8-9
All Christians are subject to satanic attack. That’s why we’re told to “be alert.” And just in case you don’t think it’s a big deal or you’re not a target for evil, Peter warns you should take this counsel seriously. Be “of sober mind.” It’s no laughing matter. You could be next.
This is the second of three devotions on the reality of Satan. Tomorrow we’ll look at 7 Ways Satan Attacks Believers. Bad things happen, but not all of them can be attributed to the devil. Today, however, we’ll focus on God’s instruction on how we can avoid and ward off those evil attacks.
We’ve already seen the importance of being alert and sober minded. By the way, Satan is a liar and deceiver. He would love for you to think all this talk about satanic attacks and spiritual warfare is much ado about nothing.
In verse 9, we’re told to “resist him, standing firm in the faith.” Hold onto sound Biblical instruction. Remain firmly aligned with Christ and His promises.
I find it amazing how family members and friends are experts on a faith they refuse to accept. And some of their arguments are convincing. They don’t mind treating you like you’re a fool for believing such nonsense. Don’t allow the devil to cause you to doubt your faith or change your godly belief system.
When your faith is challenged, don’t blow your witness. Remain true to godly values. Satan will push all your buttons to provoke you into saying or doing something you will regret. He’s a master at making the good guy look like the bad guy. Resist.
James 4:7 echoes Peter’s instruction and tells us what we can expect when we resist the devil. “Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.”
The most thorough teaching on how to resist Satan is found in Ephesians 6:11-17. “Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes.” (v11) The verses that follow expound upon the extraordinary armor with which we have been equipped.
What does God say about you and your relationship to Him? What does God say about the situation with which you have been confronted? Abide by the Lord’s truth and not by Satan’s distortion of it. And if you don’t immediately know the answer, find wise counsel. If you can’t find it in God’s word seek help from a respected Christian. You’ve heard it all your life that the truth will set you free. Find it and resist the devil.
Don’t give the evil one an opening by engaging in sinful behavior. Once you have been lured down the path to temptation, it’s a long and hard road back.
(3) The Gospel of Peace
When you gave your life to Christ, you ceased to be at enmity with God. You entered into His peace. There is no peace to be found with Satan. His way always leads to chaos. Rest in the reality of the peace you have with God. Do not be suckered into anger that seeks evil revenge or results in ungodly behavior.
I can’t improve on that great old hymn, Standing on the Promises. Trust in the Lord with all your heart and put the devil on notice that you will not put up with his evil nonsense.
You are saved by grace and through faith. You’re a child of the King, your birthright is irrevocable, and you belong to Jesus.
(6) The word of God
When Jesus was confronted by Satan in the wilderness, he responded with the truth of God’s word. The greater our understanding and knowledge of scripture, the greater our ability to resist the devil’s attempts at tripping us up.
Verse 18 adds prayer to the list. It wasn’t included in the armor illustration used by Paul to instruct us on how to resist the devil. But prayer definitely applies. “… pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests.”
The bottom line: God has equipped us with all we need for resisting the devil and his schemes. And we have God’s promise that He will give us strength and protection when we’re under attack.
For more on this topic, check out this article: 7 Ways Satan Attacks Believers
Reprinted from The Forever Notebook, Book 3 (July – September) Get your copy here: Paperback and eBook/Kindle formats.
The next day the great crowd that had come for the Feast heard that Jesus was on his way to Jerusalem. They took palm branches and went out to meet him, shouting, “Hosanna! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!”
I have long been fascinated with this scene which is often referred to as The Triumphal Entry. We commemorate this event in the life of Christ with a day we call Palm Sunday which, of course, is named for the palm branches strewn before Jesus in the streets of Jerusalem. It was a joyous occasion as Jesus was lauded as a conquering hero riding on the back of a small donkey. However, it took less than a week for many from that same crowd to turn completely from praising Jesus to calling for His death. How quickly their shouts of joyous “Hosanna” changed to the hostile chant, “Crucify Him. Crucify Him.” So, we ask, how and why did those people change their opinion of Jesus so quickly?
1- Satan’s failed plan involved a mob mentality
Did you ever watch the old cowboy movies when the mob would turn on the good guy and want him hanged? Of course, since he was the good guy who wore the white hat he would ultimately be proven right and set free from his penalty in just the nick of time. Today, we frequently see the mob mentality at work as the new coach on a college or pro team is welcomed and praised as he takes charge of his new team. Then one day after a series of losses those words of praise turn to words of “fire the bum!” The same is true in the political arena. A new president takes office with high approval ratings but before long the cheers turn to jeers as his popularity takes a nose dive. No doubt, our generation is much like those who were lauding Jesus’ praises on that first Palm Sunday. Just as it happened then it could just as easily happen today. In fact, with today’s 24 hour news, rabid commentary, and social media, it would probably only take us a few hours to turn against Jesus.
2- Satan’s failed plan played on the human desire for acceptance
Many people subscribe to the “what’s in” way of decision making. Surely, if it is popular it must be right. Or, so they think. There have been periods within my lifetime in which it has been fashionable to be a Christian and church membership boomed. There have also been times when the reverse was true as in recent years when there has been a decline in acceptance of the traditional Christian church. We go the way of the crowd because we want to fit in. We long for acceptance. Of course, there is great danger in following the crowd especially when the crowd is wrong. There were though a handful of faithful followers who did not turn against the Lord. Their relationship was not based on popularity but on God’s truth as revealed in Jesus.
3- Satan’s failed plan capitalized on false human expectations
Many of the people lining the streets and joining in the praise fest were those who were expecting Jesus to be a great earthly king who would lead them back into prominence as a nation and deliver them from their servitude to Rome. In verse 13, we see they shouted, “Blessed is the King of Israel!” Their expectation was that Jesus would be a great military leader and king like David. Indeed Jesus was their king but their expectation of how He would lead His people was way off the mark. Consequently, they turned on Jesus.
4- Satan’s failed plan was doomed from the beginning
The 3 previous scenarios provided fertile ground for the manipulative work of the devil. He could effectively use their mob mentality, the dynamic of going along with the crowd, and their ignorant expectations of Jesus for pushing the crowd toward his goal. This was his greatest time of opportunity. In Luke’s gospel we are told that when Satan failed to achieve his objective by tempting Jesus, and “he left him until an opportune time.” (Lk 4:13) The devil was hard at work seeking to divert Jesus from God’s plan for man’s redemption. Satan turned Judas against Jesus, sought to sift Peter as wheat (Lk 22:31), and then he worked in the hearts and minds of the unsuspecting crowd, the Jewish leaders, and Roman authorities to accomplish his evil purposes. Satan’s sinister plan led to a cross at Golgotha, but what looked to be certain victory actually resulted in Satan’s defeat. Satan’s plan played right into God’s plan for our reconciliation to God through Jesus Christ.
5- Satan’s failed plan is always trumped by God’s unfailing plan
God allowed Satan to have his way but only to the point of accomplishing the divine objective for our redemption. God’s way will always be victorious. The praise offered to Jesus on the first Palm Sunday was a small representation of that which was to come as Jesus won the victory of victories. As King of Kings and Lord of Lords Jesus is worthy of all praise now and forever. God’s good always triumphs over Satan’s evil. God is omniscient (all knowing), omnipotent (all powerful), and omnipresent (present everywhere simultaneously). Satan is none of those things. The Deceiver had been working behind the scenes to set the stage for Jesus’ destruction and Palm Sunday served as his launching pad from which his plan rapidly unfolded. No matter how well conceived his plan, he was not then nor will he ever be able to stand against the power of Almighty God.
There is a very personal lesson to be learned from this incredible drama in which good triumphed over evil. When your life is filled with uncertainty and the weight of difficulties is holding you down remember that God has a higher plan. His plan for good in your life will triumph over all that the enemy may throw your way. You should never forget that “the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world.” (1 Jn 4:4) You should never give up because you “know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” (Ro 8:28) Praise God for the victory!
For more on this topic, check out this article: Are You Ready for Life’s Ultimate Battle?
Reprinted from The Forever Notebook, Book 1 (January – March) Get your copy here: Paperback and eBook/Kindle formats.