Our series, Spiritual Soldier, continues as we study spiritual warfare and practice it in our fight with evil spiritual forces. These battlefield trainings prepare you to win the battles you face as a soldier for Christ.
In this battlefield training we focus on the enemy of our souls, Satan, or the devil. But we will not spend much time talking about him because he doesn’t deserve the attention. You will find he is not as formidable as you think. But that doesn’t mean you do not have to be aware of him.
By taking a quick look at Satan you will know who he is and how he operates. When you see his attacks you will recognize them and be able to stave off every fiery dart he fires at you. Let’s dive in!
- Satan is a created being.
The first, and most important, proof about the devil you must know is that he is a created being (Ezekiel 28:13). He did not exist along with the Trinity at the beginning of creation. Therefore, he is not nearly as powerful as God.
He must present himself as all the other angels must present themselves to God on a regular basis. In Job 1-2 we are given divine insight into several truths about Satan. First, his name means, “Adversary.” He is the adversary to God and His people.
In Job 1:6-12 Satan must come and present himself with the other created beings. The “Sons of God” refers to angels, celestial beings. Therefore, Satan is an angel of sorts. I will explain in the next truth how we can classify him now.
Next, he is limited in his power. He can only do what God allows him or permits him to do. God gives Satan permission first to harm everything Job has (Job 1:12). But he is not permitted to harm Job himself.
The second time he appears before the Lord for presentation (Job 2:1-6) God permits him to harm Job’s health, but he is not allowed to take his life (Job 2:6). Satan’s power is limited by God.
Satan is not omniscient, omnipotent, or omnipresent as God is. He does not have all power to do as he wills. He cannot be everywhere present as God is. And he does not know everything about you as God does.
Realizing this empowers you in spiritual warfare. Satan does not know all of your weaknesses. He does not know everything about you. He must learn by trial and error how to attack you. He is not all-powerful and cannot harm you more than God allows. He cannot do anything to you other than what God permits.
And he is not everywhere present. This means he is limited and can only be in one place at one time, just like you. Therefore, he is most likely not personally attacking you. However, he has many demons to aid in tormenting people, including the children of God.
This is where the battle of spiritual nature resides. As I said in my principles of spiritual warfare you cannot be possessed by demons or the devil. But they can attempt to win you over to their side or attack you personally.
This is why you must stand with all the weapons in your arsenal against them. They cannot win the battle because you have all the weapons of spiritual warfare to defeat them. But you must know and use these principles and weapons.
Because the devil is so limited he is most likely attempting to harm those who are heavy hitters in the Christian faith, higher targets who are hurting the gates of Hell in more public and defeating ways. I’m not saying you are not a heavy hitter, but he has most likely sent some demons after you. Be prepared for anything no matter who brings the battle to your door.
- Satan tries to usurp God’s place.
From the very beginning of his existence, at least at some point early on, Satan tried to take God’s throne from Him. Several prophetic Scriptures, the very words of Jesus, and a revelation from the apostle John show us more about Satan.
The prophetic passages begin by speaking oracles against human kings and princes. But as much prophecy does, they begin to speak of a celestial being instead of just humans.
Isaiah 14:12-15 is an example of this heightened speech against the enemy of Israel, and then Satan. Isaiah begins by speaking against the king of Babylon. But then the language seems elevated as he tells us about Satan.
He prophesies about Satan’s fall from heaven, calling him Day Star (Isaiah 14:12). In Latin, this translates to Lucifer, one of Satan’s names. Satan is prideful, and we see that in his desire to ascend to the heavens and set his throne on high (Isaiah 14:13). He wanted to make himself like the Most High (Isaiah 14:14). Instead, he is cast down into the pit of Sheol (Isaiah 14:15).
Ezekiel speaks of the king of Tyre and adds to the portrait of our enemy that he was beautiful and wise in the beginning (Ezekiel 28:12). He was in the garden of Eden (Ezekiel 28:13). Later, John reveals an Revelation that one of his names is the serpent of old. So either Satan and inhabited the serpent that tempted Adam and Eve or was the serpent.
He started out as a righteous angel, a guardian, and many scholars believe he was the worship leader among the angels (Ezekiel 28:14-15). The rest of his prophecy lines up with Isaiah’s, describing Satan’s demise.
In the New Testament, Jesus speaks of the time He saw Satan fall from heaven like lightning (Luke 10:18). And Revelation 12:7-17 recounts either Satan’s fall when Jesus and the prophets are speaking of it or a later fall again.
Though Satan tries to steal God’s throne and make his place there, Jesus sits on the throne and rains in righteousness today (Mark 16:19; Ephesians 1:20-21; Hebrews 1:9). Jesus is clearly in charge of everything in creation.
- Satan is the prince of the power of the air.
The Bible also talks about Satan as the prince of the power of the air (Ephesians 2:2). Right now, Satan has limited authority over the earth while the Church is still here. You live as an enemy combatant behind enemy lines. Satan seeks to persecute Jesus’ Church. Every Christian can be persecuted and endures trials and tribulations. Spiritual warfare helps you gain victory.
Some teachers and preachers talk about Satan owning the deed to the earth. They cite the seven seals of Revelation which seal this deed to the earth (Revelation 6:1-17; 8:1-5). Whether this is accurate or not, Satan has been given authority over the earth for a time.
In the book of Job Satan tells the Lord twice when he presents himself before Him that he has been roaming about the earth (Job 1:7; 2:2). We may deduct that this is after Satan’s fall and he is relegated to the earth, only visiting heaven when he must present himself before the Lord.
Satan is limited to the earth but his rule is not absolute. God’s Kingdom is still in operation. It grows one person at a time as Jesus changes the hearts of individuals coming out of darkness into His light. You spread God’s Kingdom light through your testimony and the power of the Holy Spirit.
Christians are in the world but not of the world. We work for Jesus in this world but we do not share its values. You must not get comfortable in this world. Your home is heaven. While Satan controls the world systems you have power to take his kingdoms by force through spreading the gospel of God’s Kingdom.
- Satan seeks to devour you.
Peter tells us that Satan is like a roaring lion seeking to devour you (1 Peter 5:8). He is the enemy of your soul and those around you. He wants to destroy you. But we have a remedy.
In the surrounding verses Peter calls Christians to be sober minded and watchful. We need to pay attention to the spiritual battles around us. Ask God to give you discernment to see them in the spiritual realm.
Christians who are unaware of the battlefield cannot recognize what Satan is doing against them. They find themselves vulnerable to his attacks. They do not see spiritual battles, mistaking them for physical ones. And they believe they are helpless.
Peter tells us to resist the devil (1 Peter 5:9). His tactics are the same for other Christians around the world who are being persecuted and suffering for their faith. The way you resist him is by standing firm in your strong faith.
Know the truths of God’s Word and stand on His promises. Don’t give the devil a foothold. Some Christians believe his lie that no one has ever experienced what they’re going through. But Satan attacks in the same ways. Bind yourself to other Christians to build one another up in faith.
- Satan is the father of lies.
Jesus proclaims to Jewish religious leaders that the one whom the Son sets free is free indeed (John 8:36). They claim they are free even though they are nationally under Roman rule. They are so deceived. They claim Abraham is their father, but Jesus tells them they are of their father the devil, the father of lies (John 8:44).
The remedy to combat Satan’s lies are through truth. Paul talks about the belt of truth as one of the pieces of God’s armor for fighting spiritual warfare (Ephesians 6:14). We will expound on the armor of God piece by piece later in our study.
Some people argue for subjective truth, the idea that my truth is not your truth. They make truth an individual concept rather than universal. Others fight for objective truth, the concept that truth is universal and understood by everyone.
But the Bible presents truth not as individualistic or universal but in the Person of Jesus Christ (John 14:6; John 16:13). Jesus is the Truth who places His Spirit in us who believe in Him. At his trial before Pilate, the Roman governor asks Jesus, “What is truth?” but walks out before Jesus answers his question (John 18:38). The Truth was standing in front of him.
We must stand on the truth of Scripture and the Person of Jesus Christ to win the battle against the father of lies. The truth unravels the lies and exposes their deceptions. We must allow the light of the gospel of Jesus to break the darkness and deception of the enemy.
- Satan is the accuser of the brethren.
In Revelation 12:10 Satan is called the accuser of the brethren. He seeks to point out every fault you have. Even as you obey the Holy Spirit and your character and deeds are transformed into the character of Christ he accuses you.
Only listen to Jesus’ voice. Satan will use your inner voice to criticize you. The Holy Spirit speaks life into you. Even when He addresses character flaws He does it in a redemptive way that builds you up. If you hear voices of any kind that put you down, it is the accuser of your soul, not the Lord.
Stand against Satan’s accusations. He speaks from deception and lies. He is not here to make you better or help you. He wants to destroy you. And he will use any unethical approach he can to defeat you.
Ignore the voice of the devil. Jesus tells us how to defeat the accuser of the brethren (Revelation 12:11). Believers overcome Satan by the blood of the Lamb and the word of their testimony. Jesus has already defeated Satan and covered you with His blood. Stand and the power of the blood of the Lamb.
Second, speak your testimony and tell your story of faith to others. When you declare it you destroy Satan’s lies. You remind yourself God’s grace toward you. You declare Jesus’ power to change you from a child of darkness to a child of God. Stand on the word of your testimony.
- Satan is a defeated foe.
This principle of Satan’s defeat has been mentioned and shown throughout this battlefield training. Several scriptures have talked about Satan’s defeat. We have already mentioned that he was thrown down out of heaven after trying to usurp God’s throne (Revelation 12:7-17).
The God of peace will soon crush Satan underneath your feet (Romans 16:20). You fight spiritual battles from a position of strength, already having the high ground. You can see every attack.
You can see the enemy’s tactics and strategies. Jesus has already won your salvation and freedom at the Cross. So you fight from strength and don’t allow the enemy a foothold. Don’t give him an inch.
I mentioned at the beginning of our training that Satan is not as formidable as you think. Nobody talks about the defeated enemy. History is written by the victors. Satan only gets the attention and ground that you give him.
But when you understand your place in Christ and the weapons you have at your disposal, there is no need to give any ground to the enemy at all. Stand in the strength of your faith in Jesus and what he has already done. You will never suffer defeat with these weapons in your arsenal.
Now that you know these truths about Satan you are prepared for his attacks. You know what to expect because you know his character. With such a detailed dossier on the enemy of your soul you can fight every spiritual battle with God’s strength.
You can stand against every scheme and fiery dart of the enemy. He uses the same playbook. He thinks his old, time-tested tricks will work on you every time. But you know better and you know the One who brings victory. What else do you think we should know about Satan?
Now that we have talked about the character and person of Satan we will turn to his strategies and tactics against us. We will look at what he does to try to make you lose your head in the heat of battle. Join me for our next battlefield training.