With the spoiler alert given in Spiritual Warfare: An Introduction – Part 1, we know that Jesus Christ wins the battle over Satan. But Satan still tries to get into the minds of Christ-followers through temptations and trials. He attempts to confuse us and sway us away from all Godly behavior and thoughts. The Scripture tells us that Jesus does not tempt anyone—thus leaving Satan as the cunning and crafty tempter (See James 1:13).
This article looks at Satan as our adversary and Jesus Christ as our mediator. Girding us with His strength, Jesus fights our battles as we face Satan’s persuasive temptations and relentless trials.
Spiritual Warfare: Satan—The Adversary
The Bible calls Satan the Father of Lies (John 8:44), but he disguises himself as an angel of light (2 Corinthians 11:14).
Satan and his demons want us to fail as we go through testing and trials. Demons are fallen angels who follow Satan. Their plan is: to ruin God’s plan, obstruct people from working for the Lord, and deceive us into believing sin is acceptable.
Don’t be fooled by Satan—the master of lies and deception. We may hear words, like those below, in our mind or from other people. Be alert and be aware that these types of statements are NOT to be believed.
“Dipping in the company fund one time won’t hurt you—God knows you need the money.”
“Pornography isn’t hurting anyone. You are in the room all by yourself.”
“So, what if she/he is married? She/he isn’t happily married.”
Satan wants us to sin. He wants us to be disobedient to the laws and mandates of God. He tempts us with the deeds of the flesh.
The Bible speaks of those encouraging sin as those disguising themselves as apostles of Christ.
For such men are false apostles, deceitful workers, disguising themselves as apostles of Christ. No wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light (2 Corinthians 11:13–14).
Sometimes we experience deep temptations from Satan. Other times we experience tests from God to prove our devotion to him. As in the case of Job, God allowed Satan to test Job. Job lost his family, his friends, his possessions, and his health. We must recognize that spiritual warfare attacks are from Satan—the deceiver—even though sometimes God has given permission for Satan to tempt us to test our faith and loyalty to Him.
Now the deeds of the flesh are evident, which are: immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, disputes, dissensions, factions, envying, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these, of which I forewarn you, just as I have forewarned you, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God (Galatians 5:19–21).
Sometimes the spiritual warfare we face may be intense! It is often so deep that one might feel the only way to rid themselves of this battle is to succumb to it. But we must persevere through these times. We must stand firm and fight the temptation with every fiber of our being. The trial or struggle may seem strange. It may come out of nowhere. It may be a terrifying internal struggle that no one knows you are going through or it can be out in the open and even be physically manifested in fatigue, depression, or an oppressed appearance. But the lure is real. Satan wants us to fall prey to his schemes because he wants to make us ineffective for Jesus Christ. But God will use these times to test our character to see if we can be shaken.
In Spiritual Warfare: How to Stand Firm in the Faith, Ray Stedman says,
Among Christians, the devil will often attack in the realm of the intellect to lead us to be overly obsessed with certain points of theology. There are many Christians who pride themselves on being intense students of the Bible and systematic theology . . . I believe that one of the greatest triumphs of Satan has been his strategy of pulling people away from a simple childlike faith and leading them into endless pointless disputes over doctrinal minutiae. ₁
I like Stedman’s word obsessed. While he is talking about being obsessed with theology, we can be obsessed with other things—our marriage, our reputation, our jobs. Satan will use what he needs to in our thought life to lead us away from fulfilling God’s will for our lives. We cannot fight the enemy’s strongholds in our own strength. Satan wants to make us ineffective witnesses for Christ. While Christ will forgive our sins, those trespasses can create havoc in individuals’ lives and cause all one has worked for in their lives to collapse and/or be destroyed.
Spiritual Warfare: Jesus Christ—Our Mediator
A few years ago, my husband and I were in downtown Belize City. When we left a fabric store, I noticed a group of young boys around 8 or 9 years old following my husband with their eyes fixed on the wallet in his back pocket. I knew what they were planning, so I fell back behind my husband and walked between my husband and the boys, preventing a pickpocketing incident from occurring. Acting as a mediator between my husband and the boys, I kept the crime from ever occurring.
That is exactly what Jesus—our mediator—wants us to do. He wants to step in and prevent sin from transpiring. He wants us to turn to Him and be our mediator. Just as I was being a mediator that one summer day, Jesus wants to be our mediator to prevent us from falling into sin. Leaning on Him for our strength is our source of power.
For there is one God, and one mediator also between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave Himself as a ransom for all, the testimony given at the proper time (1 Timothy 2:5–6).
Christ is stronger than the devil. He defeated Satan on the cross. While Satan can afflict people, he cannot defeat God. Satan is intelligent and deceitful; he knows our weak points and he tempts us in those areas. We must remember that the demon’s goals are to impair and wreck lives. The Bible says we must know the schemes of the devil. By being aware of the devil’s schemes, God’s children can face current or future battles with understanding, discernment, and strength.
Through persistent prayer, immersion in God’s Word and possible fasting, this struggle can be won. This battle belongs to the Lord and Jesus is our mediator to help us through it. There is a form of darkness that comes to us when we experience this agonizing form of spiritual warfare, but the battle is still His. Satan presses in hard, but we should not be fearful. We should give the Lord glory and honor by relinquishing our lack of strength and power to Him, so He can fight the devil on our behalf.
When a Christ-follower has finally made it safely through this excruciating period, gratitude and thanksgiving for saving us from sin, we must still be diligent and on guard, in case the same temptation comes upon us later—maybe next month or maybe in the next decade. We must put on the armor of God and fight this severe temptation with complete surrender, trusting that God through our mediator Jesus Christ is the only one able to take our weaknesses and make us strong.
Finally, be strong in the LORD and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore, put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. (Ephesians 6:10–16).
Again there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the Lord, and Satan also came among them to present himself before the Lord. The Lord said to Satan, “Where have you come from?” Then Satan answered the Lord and said, “From roaming about on the earth and walking around on it.” The Lord said to Satan, “Have you considered My servant Job? For there is no one like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man fearing God and turning away from evil. And he still holds fast his integrity, although you incited Me against him to ruin him without cause.” Satan answered the Lord and said, “Skin for skin! Yes, all that a man has he will give for his life. However, put forth Your hand now, and touch his bone and his flesh; he will curse You to Your face.” So the Lord said to Satan, “Behold, he is in your power, only spare his life.” Then Satan went out from the presence of the Lord and smote Job with sore boils from the sole of his foot to the crown of his head. (Job 1:2–7)
The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I [Jesus] came that they may have life and have it abundantly. (John 10:10)
No temptation has overtaken you but such as is common to man; and God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, so that you will be able to endure it. (1 Corinthians 10:13)
Dear Lord Jesus, I believe You are the source of protection. Protect me from my weaknesses and temptations. I want to draw closer and closer to You. I need Your power to overcome the fiery darts flung on me. I am choosing You today and every day, so You can use me for Your glory. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.
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₁ Stedman, Ray. Spiritual Warfare: How to Stand Firm in the Faith. Grand Rapids: Discovery House, 1999.
Bible verses are taken from the NASB if not noted otherwise.
SPIRITUAL WARFARE: The Battle Between Good and Evil, Part 3 of 4
SPIRITUAL WARFARE: The Armor of God, Part 4, Part 4 of 4
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Bible verses are taken from the NASB if not noted otherwise.
Edited by E. Johnson