Do you believe in Satan?
The idea of a personal devil has fallen into disrepute. In a study by the Barna Group released in Faith & Christianity magazine, 60% of Christians surveyed at least somewhat agree with the statement that Satan “is not a living being but a symbol of evil.” Only 26% strongly disagreed with the statement, leaving another large percentage wishy-washy or undecided. We prefer to focus on the goodness of God and His grace and mercy. Even those of us who believe in a real, living demonic being waging war for total domination of our souls, often don’t give spiritual warfare its rightful due.
Why do I bring the wily demon up? As we search for contentment, it is important to root out the obstacles on the path. Contentment exists in the mind and is a product of our beliefs and dominate thoughts. We talked last time about a negative self-image and how ruminating on flaws and failures keeps us stuck in discontent and prevents us from moving forward toward the calling of God and His purposes for our lives. Where does this crazy “self-talk” come from? If you are born again, you are the righteousness of God in Christ, you have available everything you need for life and godliness. You are a new creation.
Who or what is stopping us from stepping into our greatness? What stops us from believing with Paul, “I can do all things [which He has called me to do] through Him who strengthens and empowers me [to fulfill His purpose—I am self-sufficient in Christ’s sufficiency; I am ready for anything and equal to anything through Him who infuses me with inner strength and confident peace.] (Philippians 4:13 AMP).”
If we are ignorant of the very real, intelligent, and diligent forces working against us, we misdirect our energy into fighting ourselves, trying to fix ourselves rather than taking aim at the real enemy—knocking him out of the way so we can move forward.
The Bible is clear that Satan is real. Even Jesus was not immune to his attacks. After His baptism, Jesus went into the desert to fast and pray before beginning his ministry. While He was there, Satan came to Him with all kinds of crazy ideas on how to accomplish His mission: jump from the top of the temple, turn stones into bread, even to worship the devil himself in exchange for a piece of his kingdom. Every time the devil presented a new, even more outrageous suggestion, Jesus countered with the truth of scripture, finally telling him to get lost! You can read the story for yourself in Matthew 4:1-11.
Worth noting that the very same tempter who presents these shortcuts and enticements is the first one to condemn you for following through. Satan and his hoard are clever, but not too creative. They have two tricks: lies and condemnation.
Jesus knew who He was (and is!). He didn’t fall for Satan’s insinuation that He needed to prove Himself when the serpent hissed, “If you are the Son of God then…” And He wasn’t tempted to take a shortcut to power by joining forces with the enemy. He knew His Bible and He knew His position. You need to be rock-solid in these things, too, if you are to be content in Christ, confident of your ability to face any circumstance.
Do you know who you are in Christ? Are you aware of your privileges and power? What accrued to you at Salvation?
Much more to come. In the meantime, listen to and evaluate the ideas that pop into your head. They might not all be your own! Do they line up with what the Bible says about you as a believer in Christ? If not, tell the devil to take a hike!