Have you ever felt under attack by a force beyond yourself? Paul was well aware of such an influence when he wrote of the “law in (his) members, warring against the law of (his) mind” Romans 7:23. We are at war with the most formidable foe imaginable. His mission is to destroy our faith in God.
Satan is not some mythical character with horns, tail, and pitchfork. He is very sophisticated and specialized. He is the greatest under-cover agent of all times., Biblical descriptions of him include everything from an angel of light to a ravenous beast. Anyone is a welcome challenge to him, from Adam to Jesus himself. Nobody is too good or powerful for his advances. He was strong enough to defeat one of the apostles of Jesus.
Satan’s attacks are relentless. He can provoke, tempt, enter into, transform himself, and vex. He is a cunning trap-setter, and his prey is man. The bounty he collects is eternal damnation. He loves to manipulate and control, and his most dreaded weapon is death. He convinces theologians that he is non-existent, and thereby gains his strongest foothold.
It is easy to see evidence of his activity in today’s world by observing the crumbling American home, vulgar speech, despicable movies, the conduct of office and factory personnel, and the cruelty of sports events.
Satan’s greatest temptations are hurled against “good people” not the drunkards, liars, thieves, adulteresses, and murderers. He already controls them. Both Christ and Paul were so aware of his influence that their teaching is filled with warnings and dangers for those who try to live godly lives (Matthew 24:24; II Corinthians 11:13-15; II Thessalonians 2:7-11; Galatians 1:8).
“The devil has a file on you.” He knows your name and shudders every time you confess Christ. He wants to destroy your desire to live a holy life. In short, he wants you to worship him. You may recoil at the spectacle of an organized “Church of Satan”, but there are many other ways in which you can pay homage to him. An egocentric preoccupation with self is one of his most deceptive attacks. Satan is the originator of self-worship, because that is his basic nature (Isaiah 14:13,14; Ezekial 23:2). When one exalts “self” he robs-God of the praise rightfully due him only. And the devil is pleased.
The popularity of the devil was revealed in a survey by Dr. Clyde Z. Nunn. The Cincinnati Inquirer of April 4, 1974, published the results of a study made by the Center for Policy Research, of which Dr. Nunn is Senior Research Associate. This study revealed that among the 3,546 persons interviewed, belief in the devil’s existence was up 11 per cent and the certainty of God’s existence was down 8 per cent.
Though Satan is neither omnipotent nor omniscient, he has tremendous powers of manipulation. The Bible says, “And we know that we are of God, and the whole world lieth in wickedness” I John 5:19. His sword of craftiness is wielded in the time and space container in which we dwell.
The most catastrophic blunder man can make is the attempt to combat Satan without submitting to God. Many are disarmed by believing the devil is not fierce. We must decide to submit to God. His promise is, “Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you” James 4:7.
To resist Satan without submitting to God is only half the strategy. But even after recognizing the enemy and deciding to seek help, we must still put on the armor. God’s arsenal is open to us. The battle array comes in all sizes.
“Wherefore take unto you the whole amour of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Stand therefore, having on the breastplate of righteousness; and your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith you shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God” Ephesians 6:13-17.
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