Last week I shared how I was ever so careful not to be eaten by a shark on my recent vacation. It made me wonder if I take my everyday threats as seriously.
Over the next few weeks, I’d like to give you the scoop on your greatest enemies, beginning with Satan. I realize most people laugh at the idea that he even exists. Maybe they sport a pair of red horns and a tail for Halloween, but they certainly don’t take him seriously.
I hope you do.
To understand why Satan is such a threat to you today, you need to understand his backstory.
When God created Satan, he was one of God’s most beautiful angels. Outwardly, that is. Inwardly, he was far from content to worship and serve and enjoy God; he wanted to be God.
“You were blameless in your ways from the day you were created, till unrighteousness was found in you” (Ezek. 28:15).
When Satan’s beauty went to his head, he was intoxicated with pride and he schemed a revolt:
“‘I will ascend to heaven; above the stars of God I will set my throne on high . . . I will make myself like the Most High'” (Isa. 14:13–14).
His rebellion against God’s authority didn’t go exactly as planned. Instead of kicking God off His throne, Satan was kicked out of heaven (Luke 10:18). And when he fell to earth, he brought his rebellion against God with him.
Satan’s First Appearance on the Scene
Satan sure didn’t waste any time. Open any Bible, turn just a few pages, and there he is, inviting the first woman who ever lived to join his rebellion against God. Oh, he didn’t put it in those words! He’s too crafty for that. He went about the whole ugly ordeal by doing what he does best: deceiving and tempting. Just as he’d experienced a great fall from heaven, he coaxed and pulled off the great “fall” of mankind.
While Satan played a crucial role in man’s fall, God played an even more crucial role in man’s rescue. In Genesis 3, as God is cursing Satan for his role in this rebellion, He offers this cryptic, hope-filled hint of what’s to come:
“I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and her offspring; he shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel” (v. 15).
Satan’s Sure Defeat
And that’s just how it happened. Satan bruised Jesus’ heel when Jesus suffered and died on the cross. It looked like a victory for Satan, but not for long. Through His death and resurrection, Jesus crushed Satan’s head. Colossians 2:13–15 puts it this way:
And you, who were dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made alive together with him, having forgiven us all our trespasses, by canceling the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands. This he set aside, nailing it to the cross. He disarmed the rulers and authorities and put them to open shame, by triumphing over them in him (emphasis added).
Satan knows he’s beat; he knows his time is short. In fact, God’s Word spells out his final demise in Revelation 20 for anyone to read:
The devil who had deceived them was thrown into the lake of fire and sulfur where the beast and the false prophet were, and they will be tormented day and night forever and ever (v. 10).
Satan’s Short-Lived But All-Out War
For now, Satan is busy making the most of his short-lived freedom. As “the god of this world,” he’s busy blinding the minds of unbelievers “to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God” (2 Cor. 4:4).
He’s also relentless in targeting believers in Jesus. First Peter 5:8–9 warns us,
Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. Resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same kinds of suffering are being experienced by your brotherhood throughout the world.
If you’re anything like me, you don’t want to be in a war. But when does anyone ever want war? They just do their best when they face it to conquer rather than to be conquered.
How to Stand Against Satan
So how can we stand against Satan?
- Acknowledge his very real presence. (It’s hard to beat an enemy you don’t believe in or fear, don’t you think?)
- It’s impossible to conquer Satan if you still belong to his dark kingdom. (All of us did at one time, you know.) Pray that if Satan has blinded your eyes and deceived you, God would give you sight and transfer you from Satan’s kingdom of darkness to Jesus’ kingdom of light (Col. 1:13).
- Realize that Satan has already been defeated by Jesus on the cross. Don’t try to conquer Satan in your own strength; be strong in Jesus’ strength (Eph. 6:10).
Check back next week to learn more about your second enemy. And in the meantime, I’d love to hear from you. Have you considered Satan a serious threat in your life? Any new thoughts after reading this post?