As Christians, we know all about our enemy, Satan. I think we are truly breaking out of the age where churches wouldn’t preach on the devil, or teach about how he affects our everyday lives and our very own minds. Nowadays, the devil’s tricks and plots against Christians have been exposed more than they ever have. This is amazing and a wonderful thing, as we desperately need awareness of who the enemy is. However, there is one big problem in all of this.
We like to move throughout life on our dark days mulling over how Satan has fought us. We go to church telling everyone, “Oh, the enemy has really been fighting me this week.” And we go on and on, talking about how the enemy brought us so low. I think we develop an unhealthy obsession with where we used to be, or even where we might be now. We fixate on Satan.
We look back on how the enemy fought us and we stop there. We give all of this credit to Satan and just end the story. I think it’s such a crime against both ourselves and the glory we owe God to close the book right there. We need to stop giving Satan all the credit.
I am no stranger to this. I can personally admit I have been very guilty of giving Satan what isn’t due him. When telling people about my personal testimony, I’d often tell them what Satan did to me in my past, but I’d totally leave out what God did. Yes, Satan did fight me, but I should have been telling people how God used the situation for good. And even when we do add God’s part into the story, we sometimes just spend far too much time talking about the devil.
The scripture I found for this comes from Luke 10, taking place just after Jesus sends seventy disciples out into the surrounding towns to prepare them for His visit. They return to Him giving an excellent report, but take a look at what Jesus has to say.
“17 Then the seventy returned with joy, saying, “Lord, even the demons are subject to us in Your name.”
18 And He said to them, “I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven. 19 Behold, I give you the authority to trample on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall by any means hurt you. 20 Nevertheless do not rejoice in this, that the spirits are subject to you, but rather rejoice because your names are written in heaven.” (Luke 10:17-20)
The disciples come back fixating on the demons. Their minds are set on the act of fighting Satan, meanwhile they should be focused on the One who could even drive them out in the first place. They come back to Jesus only talking about the demons, instead of talking about all of the other great things that happened on their trips into the towns.
Jesus replies, telling them that He saw Satan himself fall from Heaven, and acts like it’s no big deal. Because to Him, it’s not. In Revelation 20, Scripture tells us God binds Satan in the bottomless pit, however, God doesn’t even do it Himself. He sends an angel to take care of the job, clearly illustrating that Satan isn’t even worth His time.
Jesus tells us He gives us authority over the enemy, which I also think is underused.
Not only this, but He tells us not even to rejoice in it, but rather rejoice that our names are written in Heaven. He’s telling us that it’s not worth our time as Christians to fixate over what the devil is doing, but rather look past him at what God is doing.
Now, am I saying we need to stop talking about Satan altogether? Absolutely not. Scripture does specifically tell us to expose the enemy.
“11 And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather expose them. 12 For it is shameful even to speak of those things which are done by them in secret. 13 But all things that are exposed are made manifest by the light, for whatever makes manifest is light. 14 Therefore He says:
“Awake, you who sleep,
Arise from the dead,
And Christ will give you light.” (Ephesians 5:11-14)
It is tremendously important to expose Satan, or else we wouldn’t know how to properly defend ourselves from the attacks we obviously know are real. We have to understand Satan and know that he is a liar, a murderer, and a thief. He gets a thrill out of seeing the complete suffering and misery of human beings, and he takes joy at the random expense of others. I’m sure he hates even his own servants. He is the most evil, hateful, miserable being in all of existence. The only purpose he serves is to concoct schemes for tearing us away from God.
He is completely consumed with jealousy. He knows he has already been defeated and he bides his time in wait for the day God sentences him to eternal torment in hell. He knows he has lost the war, but he still grips onto this small shred of what he considers victory, in that he can try to sway God’s own children away from Him, and thus break God’s own heart. He knows God has a sweet spot for humans, and he tries his hardest to convince humans to turn away from Jesus. Satan attacks us, although the attack is meant less for us and more of an attack on God. If Satan can do anything to wear us down, break us, drive us away from church and the arms of the Father, he counts that as a personal victory because God is brought to great heartbreak when we choose not to allow Him to love us.
It is so important to know all of this. And it is important to educate ourselves about the scripture concerning Satan and how he works, as well as how demons work and the reality of them.
If you start preaching on demons, most churches will look at you like you are crazy. They’ve been desensitized by the cliche Hollywood demon movies, a method designed by Satan himself to discredit what the Bible itself says is true.
We need to expose Satan, but what I am trying to say is that we must expose him and then move on. We have to acknowledge the presence of darkness, rather than ignore it or pretend it doesn’t exist. We have to come to terms with the reality of Satan, but then we must look onward at God. Don’t stop your gaze at the devil, but turn and look on to Jesus. The more attention you give the devil, the more power you give him.
The victory does not belong to Satan, the victory belongs to God! So instead of fixating on what the devil did to you, tell people about what God did instead. Testify on how God used a bleak situation for good, how He completely foiled the enemy’s plans for you. Tell how God used what was intended for evil for purity and light and life.
Like I said, it’s important to expose the devil and his demons. However, the devil isn’t behind every corner. Not every shadow is a demon lying in wait for you. Yes, there are forces of great darkness out there (Ephesians 6:12). But there aren’t only forces of darkness, there are also forces of light and of good. We need to be focusing on those. A healthy dose of awareness of the enemy is good, but we become overly superstitious when we go on and on about demons and how they bother us.
The Devil isn’t the Only Enemy
We need to realize that we have two enemies in this world: Satan, and ourselves. Remember, Adam and Eve chose to eat the forbidden fruit. The devil didn’t force it down their throats. Each day we fight the devil and our old selves trying to resurface. We are to take no confidence in our flesh (Philippians 3:3).
I am just as guilty of this as anyone else. We tend to do something wrong and blame the devil. Sometimes Satan didn’t even have anything to do with it, but it was our own desires or thoughts and actions that led us to sin.
“14 But each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed. 15 Then when desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin, and sin, when it is full-grown, brings forth death.” (James 1:14-15)
Sometimes we create our own heartbreak. Sometimes we are the problem, not Satan. Or, at times, the cause is a mixture of both. But don’t use the devil as your target of blame. It is so easy to place our wrongs on the devil, or all the things we’ve screwed up on. We know he is evil, so it is much easier to discharge our wrongs onto him. We try to rationalize our wrongs by professing that they are derived from Satan.
Satan is the root of all evil, but he is not always the cause of it. Sometimes we are.
In conclusion, I encourage you not to give the devil too much credit. It’s important to understand him, to expose him, and to conquer him, but ultimately our eyes need to be on God. God has done so much more for us and has given us the freedom of testimony that we waste on Satan. It could be used for so much more, and our testimonies could be so much more powerful if we spent them praising God. To God be all the glory.