by Rayola Kelley
Q: I am confused about the part Satan plays in this world as far as Christians are concerned. I have heard different explanations about it. Could you give me your take on this subject?
A: The subject of Satan is very controversial among Christians. There are usually two extreme perceptions about him. One perception is that he is involved with every bad thing that happens to people. As a result, deliverance ministries have gained tremendous popularity as “ministers” take on Satan and his kingdom in the lives of people and in different territories of the world.
The other extreme is that Satan has no involvement as far as Christians are concerned. The problem with this belief is that it shows wishful thinking or ignorance towards the enemy of our souls. As the Apostle Paul stated, we are not to be ignorant towards the devices of Satan. We know he is as a roaring lion that seeks for those whom he is able to devour (2 Corinthians 2:14; 1 Peter 5:8). The Bible clearly warns us that we will perish in ignorance.
It is vital that we develop a scriptural understanding of Satan to avoid extreme perceptions. Satan is the god of this world. In other words, the systems of the world are subject to him, and ultimately will bring him service and worship. He is the prince (ruler) or power of the air that works in the lives of those who are being disobedient (2 Corinthians 4:3-6; Ephesians 2:2). Since we know that his kingdom oversees and influences the kingdoms of this world, we also must recognize that his kingdom will naturally persecute those who offer any real opposition to him. Jesus said that the world would hate us as it did Him. Paul warned that those who live godly in Christ will suffer persecution. We must keep in mind that Satan is behind such persecution.
Therefore, any extreme concerning the subject of Satan simply means there will be no balance or proper order in our understanding. As a result, Christians will not be able to properly discern, thereby, allowing him to operate without any opposition. As the Bible states, there are seductive spirits and an antichrist spirit that is counterfeiting and undermining the work of God even among Christians. We are instructed to test the spirits behind a matter (1 John 4:1). After all, Satan is a thief. He works undercover in areas of darkness such as sin, delusion and ignorance. In darkness he will try to rob us of genuine faith, kill our testimony of Christ, and destroy Jesus’ life in us. As a result, we are instructed to remember that greater is He that is in us than he that is in this world.
As Christians, we must be ready to discern any wrong spirit in our lives, in the Church, and in our homes. We are considered soldiers, given armor to overcome, and instructed to submit to God, and Satan will flee (2 Timothy 2:3; Ephesians 6:10-17; James 4:6-10). Paul stated that he had fought a good fight. In 1 John 2:13, John made reference to those who are considered young people in the Lord, overcoming the wicked one.
God does use Satan in a Christian’s process. Clearly, God establishes the boundaries in which Satan can work when it comes to His people. We see this in the case of Job. We know the process is necessary to bring forth our maturity in Christ. For example, Satan was used in Job’s case to prove his faith. Job actually came out with a greater revelation of God. Jesus told Peter that Satan would sift him, but when he was converted, he was to strengthen his brethren(Luke 22:31-32). Before Jesus started His earthly ministry, He was tempted in the wilderness by Satan. The greatest weapon Satan uses in such temptations is lies or half-truths. Needless to say, he uses these lies to change a person’s reality and undermine their faith. Ultimately, it will cause people to walk in unbelief towards God and His Word.
As you can see, Satan is involved in the perfection of Christians. As a result, we need to discern if Satan is in a matter. We have been given the means to discern and overcome his influence with the authority of heaven. We have been called into a battle to overcome his influences through this present world. Satan is a worthy foe and uses any means he can to entangle us into his destructive web.
The real issue with Satan is to avoid adopting or giving way to the extreme perceptions of him. The complete counsel of God’s Word brings this subject into proper perspective. Study it on your own and ask the Holy Spirit to give you a balanced and proper understanding in regard to the enemy of your soul.