It shouldn’t come as a surprise. The waters of spiritual warfare are extremely muddy and murky. This then, is my attempt to shed the light of God’s Word on some of the falsehood being peddled around.
1. Satan Is Real
There are two extremes to avoid in spiritual warfare. One is to believe that the devil is a myth. Satan, who is also known as the devil, was an angelic being who lost his place in heaven because of rebellion and pride. He was thrown out of heaven with the angels who sided with him, about a third of all the angels. Unfortunately, there are Christians who actually believe the devil doesn’t exist. Scripture makes it very clear that he exists.
The word translated “devil” in Matthew’s account of the temptation of Jesus is the Greek word diabolos. It is the root of the modern English words diabolical and devil. Diabolos is often used as a noun and means a traducer, a false accuser, and a slanderer. Not only is he real, the devil is the supreme embodiment of evil. He is not a fun loving, beer-swigging guy who just wants you to have a good time. If he could, he would devour you!
The second extreme is to see the devil behind every calamity. The problem with this is that it stops you from taking responsibility for your own actions. There are demon hunters who feel an unnecessary interest in the devil. They spend all their waking moments chasing the devil and his demons. This is unhealthy. Spend your time more productively. The devil is a defeated foe. Stop trying to defeat a defeated enemy. Instead, simply rest in what Jesus did for you, and fight from victory!
2. Satan Is Not All-Powerful
Only God is all-powerful. God is omnipotent. The devil isn’t. Think about it. If the devil was all-powerful, he would have stopped you from receiving Christ! He would stop you from going to church. He would prevent you from praying. He would stop you from reading the Bible.
Because you have such great authority in Christ, his greatest weapon against you as a Christian is ignorance. The Bible says, “My people are destroyed from lack of knowledge.” It is God’s people who are destroyed, not the unbelievers. Sometimes the enemy adds a bit of deception into the mix. The combination of ignorance and deception can be lethal. Many Christians are deceived into feeling guilt-ridden and worthless because they don’t see themselves the way God sees them. Some feel unloved and not good enough to be accepted by God. They’ve been deceived into seeing God as a distant and cruel taskmaster instead of a loving Father who longs to have a loving relationship with them!
Secondly, the devil can’t make you do what you don’t want to do. He relies on your cooperation. That’s why he is a liar, a cheat, and the master of deceit. He needs that to get to you. He can’t control you. All he does is drop ideas into your mind, which is the chief battlefield of life. That’s all he can do. Sugar-coat sin to make it look attractive and then suggest you try it. Sow seeds of doubt in your mind. That’s the way he tempted Eve. And he works the same way today. If you can say no to the devil, he can’t force you. He can persuade you, but he can’t make you.
3. Satan Is Not Omnipresent
Only God is present everywhere at the same time. The devil has a complex and highly organised network of demon spirits and is able to communicate within this network faster than the speed of light. Because of this, he sometimes appears omnipresent, but he is not.
In the context of spiritual warfare, this truth is liberating. It means the devil has a significant limitation: he is limited by space. Therefore, you can place an embargo on information transfer between demonic spirits as a tactic of spiritual warfare. For instance, you can say, “I seal up this atmosphere with the blood of Jesus and decree that what’s happening here in this place [room, hall, programme etc] will not be seen elsewhere within the kingdom of darkness.”
4. The Devil Is Not a Roaring Lion
The Bible says, “Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.” Some people have used this verse of Scripture to suggest that the devil is a lion, able to devour us. But is he? What is the Bible teaching here? Satan is not a lion, and he can’t devour you if you’re a believer.
Peter says the devil prowls around like a roaring lion. He behaves like a roaring lion. He does this to instil fear in the minds of his targets. The very next verse says, “Resist him, standing firm in the faith.” You don’t resist a lion. You run away from it. However, the Bible exhorts us to resist the devil because he is only a pretender. He is not a lion. If you resist him, he will run away from you!
5. Satan Doesn’t Have All Knowledge
The devil has only limited knowledge. Although he knows some things, he is not all knowing. The devil does have psychic powers, which he uses to empower fortune-tellers to predict future events, but only God is all-knowing.
The devil can tell some of (not all of) your thoughts. How do we know this? Because mind readers often can read your mind and tell you what you’re thinking, and they don’t do that by the power of God! For this to happen, however, you have to give them access to your mind by going to see them or submitting to their control. By contrast, God is able to tell everything that’s on your mind all the time. If the devil was all-knowing, he wouldn’t have crucified Jesus! He did not know that Jesus was born to die.
Be empowered by this knowledge to fight from victory, not for victory!
QUESTION: What is your understanding of spiritual warfare? Please click here to leave your comment:
*Excerpted from my new book The Ultimate Guide to Spiritual Warfare: Learn to Fight from Victory, Not for Victory! which is now available for pre-order from all on-line retailers. Request your copy today.