First, I would be interested in hearing what your concept of Satan was before you were a Christian? Please make sure that you include it in your next correspondence with me, if you don’t mind. Also, go ahead and hit the reply button of this e-mail so that the text that I am writing to you is in your next e-mail to me, and then answer the questions that you find below and send them back to me too. I need to see what you are able to discover in this study!
God want us to know the facts regarding Satan’s strategies, the consequences of following Satan, how to escape his influences, and how to pick ourselves up when we fall spiritually. I Peter 5:8 tell us that Satan is our adversary and describes him as a roaring lion, walking about seeking whom he may devour! The best advice that anyone could give you is to “Watch Out!”
There are many fundamental facts that we need to understand about Satan and his plans for us and how we can thwart his activity. Please take the time to study these facts, they are crucial in helping you to live the victorious life! As you study them, jot down these truths and your thoughts about them. With many of them, you will find some questions that you should ponder. These will help you to internalize these truths from God’s Word!
Fact 1: Becoming a Christian doesn’t mean you will no longer have problems; but you now have the Supreme Problem-Solver of the universe living within you!
This fact should give you a bit of comfort! You have God walking with you and able to help you in any situation.
1. Read I Peter 5:7-9 in your Bible. Peter’s letters were written to believers. He says that we need to be “self-controlled and alert.” Why?
2. In John 16:33, Jesus gives us two profound “promises” regarding Christians and adversity:
In this world, we will definitely __________________.
But we can take heart because _________________.
Why should both of these facts encourage us?
Fact 2: The difficulties you will experience as a Christian will come from one or more sources.
A. One source of difficulties is from the natural consequences of foolish (but amoral) actions.
How does Galatians 6:7 apply to such things as: Putting your thumb where the nail is supposed to be; investing in a shady company without first checking it out; marrying a habitual drug addict; jumping off a ten-story building with no parachute?
B. Another source of our difficulties is the temptations of Satan.
Satan’s main pursuit, day and night, is to try to induce you to disobey God and line up with his agenda instead. I John 2:15-16 lists three directions from which the worldly temptations of Satan will come. List the three types of temptation, and try to think of an example of each.
1._______________________ For example, when Satan says to me:
2._______________________ For example, when Satan says to me:
3.________________________ For example, when Satan says to me:
Now, read Genesis 3:6 in your Bible. You can see Satan’s same pattern in the temptation of Eve. You can also see it when Satan tempted Jesus in Matthew 4. You see, Satan’s schemes are not new. The lust of the flesh is the misuse of your natural appetites for food, sex, comfort, pleasure, etc. (2 Samuel 11:2-4, Matthew 4:2,3) The lust of the eyes is the compulsive desire to possess things; wanting whatever one sees. (Matthew 4:8; 2 Timothy 4:10) And the pride of life is the compulsive pursuit of fame, power, recognition, exaltation in priority in you life; pursuits that could take God off the throne and put you on it. (Matthew 4:5, 6; Obadiah 3, 4)
C. One more source of our difficulties could be the discipline of God as a consequence of our sin.
God loves His children, and no loving father allows his kids to stray into forbidden territory without administering discipline-not to hurt them, but to give them corrective reinforcement for wrong choices. It’s the same between our Heavenly Father and us.
Read Hebrews 12:4-11 in your Bible. This passage seems to be saying that we should breathe a grateful sign of relief when God disciplines us. Why? (See verse 8)
As you can imagine, experiencing God’s discipline may not be enjoyable. But, as we patiently endure God’s discipline – and learn the lessons that He wants to teach us- what will result? (See verses 10-11).
Fact 3: Adversity caused by any one of these sources is allowed by God through a perfect blending of two Biblical principles: You will reap what you sow and God will still make good come of it.
Look at Galatians 6:7 and Romans 8:28.
1. How many things will God work together for good for those who love Him?
2. Does this verse say that every step of the way and every event will be good?
3. So what does this tell you about the times that you encounter difficult, hurtful, trying, destructive and truly bad circumstances in your life?
A foundational law of the universe is that reaping always follows sowing. Every cause has an effect. God has instituted these laws – both physical and spiritual- in order to keep His creation running smoothly. These laws are entirely impersonal. If you break them, they’ll break you, no matter who you are. If you jump off a ten-story building, you’re going to come down fast, hit hard, break a lot of bones and experience a lot of pain.- child of God or not. That’s the reality of cause and effect, action and reaction. But God can then take this tragic, painful, “sowing and reaping” experience and work it out for the very best for those who love Him and cooperate with Him.
You know, it is difficult to tell if God is the primary cause of a particular trial or mishap. Sometimes He is, and sometimes He isn’t. But one thing you can know for sure, He will react to that trial, come to your aid, and make sure it isn’t more than you can bear ( I Corinthians 10:13), mix it with a little grace, and use it to work out His absolutely perfect plans – for you and for His kingdom.
Fact 4 Christians are to flee temptation and resist the devil.
Some Christians get this backwards, and think we are to “flee from the devil” and “resist temptation” – the opposite of what the Bible says to do!
1. In Proverbs 4:14-15, what are we told to do when we come upon an opportunity that could lead us into sin?
2. In 2 Timothy 2:22, do you get the idea that we should stand and fight our youthful lusts, or quickly change our location and direction and put our efforts into other pursuits?
3. Why do you think we are commanded to take such a “cowardly” attitude toward the temptations we come across by running away from them as if they are some insurmountable foe?
RESISTING THE DEVIL:
Satan, on the other hand, is not to be fled from, but to be actively resisted. We don’t run from him or his minions, we stay and fight. But you’ll notice in James 4:7 that we don’t have to thrash him to within an inch of his life. We only need to resist him, and the promise from God’s Word is that he will flee from us!
1. Find Ephesians 6:10-18 in your Bible. Notice that we are instructed to put on our armor. Normally, why do people put on armor?
2. Consider each piece of armor we are instructed to “put on”. Jot down any thoughts your might have concerning why each piece is important, or what protection it is meant to give us.
Belt of truth:
Breastplate of righteousness:
Sandals of the preparation f the gospel of peace
Shield of faith
Helmet of salvation
Sword of the Spirit-the Word of God.
There is a pattern for resisting the devil that we need to be familiar with. James 4:7-8a provides us with a good pattern we can use to resist the enemy when his activities become evident to us. Think of it in terms of how you would deal with a burglar who had broken into your house. In that case, you would probably go through four steps to “DETeR” the thief from his objective (Detect, Empower, Trap, Reinforce) – which are the same four steps we need to take against our enemy, the Devil.
Step 1: DETECT “We are not unaware of his schemes.” – 2 Corinthians 2:11b
With a burglar we would say: “I think there’s a burglar in the house!” With Satan we would realize: “I think Satan is tempting me to sin!”
Step 2: EMPOWER “Submit yourselves, then, to God,” – James 4:7a
With a burglar we would respond by grabbing a gun or a flashlight or something. With Satan, it is crucial for us to spend a moment in prayer, asking God to help us fight Satan. Take your position with Christ in the heavenly realms. Be sure you’re filled with the Spirit. (For more information on How to Be Filled with the Spirit, please go to www.greatcom.org/spirit/ )
Here is a suggested prayer pattern for the Empower Step: “Father, Satan is tempting me to sin against You. He wants me to lie about that situation I’ve been dealing with. But I desire to master him. Please fill me with Your Holy Spirit. I take my position seated with Christ at Your right hand in the heavenly realms – high above all principalities, powers demonic rulers and wicked forces. With Your blessing and protection, and in Your power, I ask You to help me resist my enemy, and thereby, defeat him.”
You would be foolish to confront a burglar without some kind of an equalizer – like a shotgun or a baseball bat or something! In the same way, we are looking for trouble if we try to face the forces of darkness in our own power.
Step 3: TRAP “resist the devil and he will flee from you.” James 4:7b
With a burglar you would flip on the light. “Gotcha covered! Reach for the sky or I’ll shoot!” With Satan, you would expose him and address him directly – jus as Jesus did in Matthew 4:1-11- using your primary weapon: GOD”S WORD.
Here is a suggested confrontation pattern (this is just a suggestion, not a magic formula!) “Satan, I address you in the name and authority of the Lord Jesus Christ, King of kings and Lord of lords- who has ought me with His blood and made me a child of the Most High God. I am aware of your attempts to cause me to sin. In doing so, you have transgressed the commandment of God, for He has said in His Word, ‘do not steal. Do not lie. Do not deceive one another.” (Leviticus 19:11) You’re trying to get me to sin again God, so you are in the wrong. Therefore, in the authority given to me by God Himself, I command you to cease your activities directed at me, leave me this moment, and go where Jesus Christ tells you to go.”
1. Read Matthew 4:1-11 again in your Bible – Jesus’ big confrontation with Satan in the wilderness. Notice how Jesus used His primary weapon. You will note that He used the same phrase three times, to counter each of the enemy’s temptations. What was that phrase? (verses 4,7,10)
2. Now look back on the list of your spiritual armor. There are six pieces of armor listed, and five of these pieces are defensive equipment. What is the one offensive item listed?
Step 4: REINFORCE “Come near to God and He will come near to you.” James 4:8a
With a burglar you would call the police! Then take measures to prevent other burglars from gaining entrance the same way in the future. With Satan, after the fight, spend a short time in prayer, thanking and praising God, reading the bible, sealing the victory and strengthening you.
After you have defeated your enemy, it’s like a void is left there. Take a few moments to fill that void with the things of God. Read Luke 11:24-26 to see what happens if you skip this step!
Here’s a Scripture verse that you should consider to memorize: “Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Come near to God and He will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded.” – James 4:7-8
I hope that this study has helped you in the situation you are finding yourself in now.