Saturday, May 13, 2017

S.T.A.N.D. on Who Satan Is--Spiritual Warfare VIII

     We are seeking to be Spiritually Trained And Not Defeated, so we can S.T.A.N.D. on the promises of God.  As a good soldier, you need intel--accurate information as to who the enemy is and how he operates.  Let’s go down the list of Satan’s names.  In the Bible, a name equals  character.  So, it’s not just a label; a name is a profile, a character sketch of who someone is.  Satan’s names describe who he is and what he does. Satan also compared to things we can relate to; whether it’s a name or a comparison, we need truth, the whole truth and nothing but the Truth to understand who our foe truly is. Jesus is that Truth.  Satan is the utter opposite of that.

Satan:  The name means “adversary.”  Doesn’t that cover it all?  He is God’s, ours and the Kingdom of God’s.  In everyday terms, he doesn’t play nice.  Ever. "Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour…" (1 Pet. 5:8)

Devil:  The name means “false accuser” or “slanderer.”  Look at how he slaughtered Job’s character by insinuating that he only loved God because of what God had blessed him with:
“Does Job fear God for nothing?’ Satan replied. “Have you not put a hedge around him and his household and everything he has? You have blessed the work of his hands, so that his flocks and herds are spread throughout the land. But now stretch out your hand and strike everything he has, and he will surely curse you to your face.” (Job 1:9-11 NIV)

The Tempter:  Satan baits us, unpure and simple.  He knows our weakness and goes after us in that area. "For this reason, when I could bear it no longer, I sent to learn about your faith, for fear that somehow the tempter had tempted you and our labor would be in vain." (1 Thess. 3:5 NIV)

The Evil One:  Satan loves to snatch the Word out of our hearts as quickly as he can, so we are left with our own understanding or listening to his dark whispers: "When anyone hears the word of the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what has been sown in his heart. This is what was sown along the path." (Matt. 13:19 NIV)

Jesus prayed for his disciples and for us: "My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one." (John 17:15 NIV)  No goodness and no mercy exists in Satan.  He aims his arrows at our heart, knowing that is the very place God desires to inhabit with His love.  Satan shoots to kill: "In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one."  (Eph. 6:16 NIV)

The Prince of This World:  When Adam and Eve sinned, they lost dominion over this planet.  The physical realm hates a vacuum, and so does the spiritual.  Satan happily took over the planet.  If the Garden was the headquarters for Adam’s dominion, then when Adam was exiled due to his disobedience and sin, his authority was exiled as well.  Satan grabbed that leadership and took on this title.  But, he is not King.  Only Jesus possesses that title.  The Word states Adam's task: "The Lord God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it. (Gen. 2:15 NIV)

But having bit into that fruit that allowed him to live his life with his own knowledge and thus no need of God, God removed Adam: "So the Lord God banished him from the Garden of Eden to work the ground from which he had been taken. After he drove the man out, he placed on the east side of the Garden of Eden cherubim and a flaming sword flashing back and forth to guard the way to the tree of life." (Gen. 3:23-24 NIV)

Adam was cast out and so was Satan.  We are prey and he is a predator.  But Jesus is our Protector:  
"Now is the judgment of this world: now shall the prince of this world be cast out." (John 12:31)

The God of This World:  Satan wants our devotion and worship, counterfeiting God’s desire for devotion and worship from us.  God allows us to choose; Satan loves blind obedience. "In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them."(2 Cor. 4:4)

The Prince of the Power of the Air:  Satan travels back and forth from his spiritual realm to this earth.  He has one purpose in mind and that is to harass and deceive human beings: "Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience…" (Eph. 2:2)

An Angel of Light:  Satan pulls out his shiny angel costume and flaunts himself to those whose spiritual discernment is lacking.  Ugliness in unappealing; beauty with ugliness at the core is deadly to those who don’t recognize it: "And no wonder, for Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light." (2 Cor. 11:14 NIV)

Lucifer: (“Morning Star”) These verses in Isaiah describe a king whose arrogance causes his fall.  It is striking how pride, whether in human beings or in the heart of an angelic being, leads to the same fate:  a fall.

How you have fallen from heaven,
   morning star, son of the dawn!
You have been cast down to the earth,
   you who once laid low the nations!
You said in your heart,
   “I will ascend to the heavens;
I will raise my throne
   above the stars of God… (Is. 14:12-13)

Pride is the center, the very core of evil:  "Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall." (Prov. 16:18)

A Wolf:  Predators look for the weak.  Predators show no mercy.  Predators don’t rest.  Neither does Satan: "The hired hand is not the shepherd and does not own the sheep. So when he sees the wolf coming, he abandons the sheep and runs away. Then the wolf attacks the flock and scatters it." (John 10:12)

A Lion:  A lion hides in the grasses.  It waits and waits.  The lion may crouch so long that the herd forgets it is there.  The herd may even think it has moved on.  But at the right moment, when the herd has let down its guard, BAM! It strikes with lightning speed and takes down its lunch for the day.  Satan is no different and like a lion, he is on the prowl, 24/7: "Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour…" (1 Pet. 5:8)

An Angry Bird:  Throw down seed, and watch out, here come those hungry birds.  Throw down the Word of God, and here Satan comes, beak wide open.  He wants to gobble up that Word planted in your heart before it can take root and make a difference in your life: "As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path, and the birds came and ate it up... Listen then to what the parable of the sower means: When anyone hears the message about the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what was sown in their heart. This is the seed sown along the path."(Matt. 13:4 & 18-19 NIV)

Great Dragon, Serpent, Deceiver of the Whole World:  That covers it all.  Reptiles have cold eyes and a desire to hunt.  Whether it’s a giant dragon metaphorically destroying all in its path, or a stealthy snake, slithering through a tree to catch the attention of a young woman, the motivation is always the same.  He wants to deceive so as to destroy: "The great dragon was hurled down—that ancient serpent, called the devil or Satan, who leads the whole world astray.  He was hurled to the earth, and his angels with him." (Rev. 12:9 NIV)

Father of Lies and A Murderer:  Deception is crafted from truth laced with lies.  Satan is the master craftsman of the lie.  It worked in the Garden and still works today, with tragic results. Lies and deception are a potent brew, for they lead to death: "He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies."  (John 8:44 NIV)

Ruler(s) of the Darkness:  Satan has his kingdom and his methods.  But we are not to be ignorant of his schemes: "For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places." (Eph. 6:12)

Thief:  Jesus’ definition is unsurpassed.  Satan will never change: "The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly." (John 10:10)

Author of Confusion:  If you are running around, confused and angry, that is not of God, even when you are doing the work of God.  If you are exhausted, guess who is hounding you?  God’s work leaves us spiritually refreshed, although we may be physically tired.  Inside, we know that we have made God smile.  If we are bitter, resentful, angry or numb, the work is not of God. We need His wisdom to do what He has called us to do, no more and no less: "For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace…" (1 Cor. 14:33)

"Who is wise and understanding among you?  Let him show it by his good life, by deeds done in the humility that comes from wisdom.  But if you harbor bitter envy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast about it or deny the truth.  Such ‘wisdom’ does not come down from heaven, but is earthly, unspiritual, of the devil.  For where you have envy and selfish ambition, there you find disorder and every evil practice."  (James 3: 13-16 NIV)

God’s words are simple, direct and quietly spoken to your heart.  Satan gives you lots of detail and keeps giving you more and more to ponder, for now he has your full attention.  God’s voice is still, small, yet powerfully to the point as the prophet Elijah found out: "And he [the Lord] said, Go forth, and stand upon the mount before the Lord. And, behold, the Lord passed by, and a great and strong wind rent the mountains, and brake in pieces the rocks before the Lord; but the Lord was not in the wind: and after the wind an earthquake; but the Lord was not in the earthquake: And after the earthquake a fire; but the Lord was not in the fire: and after the fire a still small voice." (1 Kings 19: 11-12)

If you review this catalogue of names, what do you find? 
Don’t be ignorant.  We obey what Jesus calls us to do:  "Lest Satan should get an advantage of us: for we are not ignorant of his devices." (2 Cor. 2:11). 

Whatever you are facing, God’s Word charts your course: "Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths." (Prov. 3:5-6)

"The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord: and he delighteth in his way. Though he fall, he shall not be utterly cast down: for the Lord upholdeth him with his hand." (Ps. 37:23-24)

"In their hearts humans plan their course, but the LORD establishes their steps." (Prov. 16:9)

"Through thy precepts I get understanding: therefore I hate every false way.  Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.  I have sworn, and I will perform it, that I will keep thy righteous judgments." (Psalm 119:104-106)

Any deviation from God’s Word and the principles He sets forth in it will lead straight into Satan’s gaping jaws: "There is a way that appears to be right, but in the end it leads to death." (Prov. 16:25 NIV)

What is Satan’s endgame?  What is his ultimate goal for us?  We will cover that next. 

Excerpted from S.T.A.N.D. Spiritually Trained And Not Defeated: Our Position in Christ, Our Mission in Christ A Handbook on Spiritual Warfare.  Buy it on Amazon.

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